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Chinese Visa

Tibet is part of China politically, so to travel into Tibet, a valid Chinese visa is a must-have document for sure. Tibet is the only province in China that requires a travel permit and a pre-organized tour for non-Chinese tourists.

There is no “permit-only” service for Tibet tours; the permit is part of an organized tour. To get the permit, you have to send by email the scan (or photo) copy of your passport and Chinese visa to your Tibet tour operator who will help to get it at Tibet Tourism Bureau; however, when you go to a Chinese Embassy or Consulate General to apply for a Chinese visa, if the officers there know you plan to travel into Tibet while in China, they will ask you to present them the Tibet permit firstly. It’s obviously impossible to present them the permit before getting the visa, because Tibet permit is only issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau after passport and Chinese visa copies presented. The rules are contradictory apparently, which just indicates that the Chinese government does not expect (too many) foreign tourists to visit Tibet due to the political sensitiveness there.

Chinese Visa

On the other hand, there are hundreds of thousand non-Chinese tourists visit Tibet each year if Tibet is not closed for political reasons, how do those tourists get their Chinese visa? The answer is the visa applicants did not mention Tibet tour plan in their Chinese visa application form, instead, the applicants just wrote their tours in China proper only, such as a tour in Beijing, Xi’an Shanghai or Chengdu. Rest assured that you will have no problem for doing this “white-lie”; the Chinese embassies will not track where you visit in China. You can visit whatever places you like after you obtaining your Chinese visa as long as laws in China is followed by you.

The Chinese visa application form(Download) and rules are the universally the same at different Chinese Embassies in different countries. In order to get Chinese tourist (L category) visa, you have to finish the following paper works at your local Chinese Embassy or Consulate

1. Basic Documents

(1) Passport
Original passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages; plus a photocopy of the passport's data page and the photo page if it is separate

(2) Visa Application Form and Photo
One completed Visa Application Form with a recently-taken color passport photo (bare-head, full face) against a light background attached

(3) Proof of legal stay or residence status (applicable to those not applying for the visa in their country of citizenship)
If you are not applying for the visa in the country of your citizenship, you must provide the original and photocopy of your valid certificates or visa of stay, residence, employment or student status, or other valid certificates of legal staying provided by the relevant authorities of the country where you are currently staying.

2. Supporting Documents

(A): Documents showing the itinerary including air ticket booking record (round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation.

(B): If documents mentioned in item A cannot be present, you should present an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China. The invitation letter should contain:
(1) Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
(2) Information on the planned visit (arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, etc.)
(3) Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual)


Chinese Visa FAQ

When is the best time to submit my application?
Generally, the validity of a single-entry visa is 3 months, counted from the date of application. So, we suggest applying 2 months before your planned date for visit. If you apply for it too late, you may not have enough time for the application. If you apply for it too early, it may become invalid before your departure.
Hong long does it take for the application?
Generally speaking, it takes 4 working days for processing the application. Many embassies or consulates also provide 1 working day service or 2 – 3 working days service, but you need pay extra money for the service.
Do I need to make an appointment to submit application?
It depends upon the embassy or consulate. More than 90% of the Chinese embassies and consulates don't ask applicants to make an appointment. However, you need to make an appointment at Chinese Embassy/Consulate in Nigeria.
If I can't go to the embassy or consulate in person, can I entrust someone else to submit my application and pick it up on my behalf?
Yes, the application can be presented by someone else, such as your friends, relatives, or visa agency, but the form should be completed and signed by yourself. Someone else can pick up it on your behalf as long as he can show the "Pick-up Form".
Can I change my trip plan after getting a visa?
Unless otherwise specified, you can change your trip plan. But you must enter and leave China before your visa expires.
Should I apply for single-entry or double-entry visa if I also travel into Tibet?
A single-entry Chinese visa is ok since Tibet is one province of China politically. Double entry visa is required only if you visit China-Hong Kong (Macau) -China.
You might also interested in
How can I get the visa if I cannot show embassy the round trip air tickets that leaving China?
Other Travelers' Questions

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Mr. Anthony Chan from: 7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp
Hello,

We are interested in the 7 day Lhasa to Kathmandu Group tour on Sep 22 2018 for 2 people we are interested in upgrading our hotels to 5 star in Lhasa and 4-5 stars in Shigatse if possible. I am also interested in renting a sleeping bag when near the EBC. We will also be on a train arriving from Xining. I am interested in a price quote and also how would we join to tour each day if we are sleeping away from the group. Thanks.

Cheers,
Anthony Chan
Answered by Helen

Dear Mr. Anthony Chan,

Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour and welcome you to join our 7-day Lhasa to Kathmandu group tour on 22nd of Sep. And we are glad to help you update your hotels in Lhasa and Shigatse. Although you won’t stay in the same hotel with our group members, our guide will pick you up from your hotel every morning. For the sleeping bag, you can rent one at Shigatse, after tour, our guide will take it back to Shigatse. Moreover, taking train from Xining to Lhasa will cost you about 21 hours (1 night) on the train, and we are happy to help you book train tickets. Please check your email and find more details. Best regards.

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

user portrait Ms. cristina cardoso from: 10 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp plus Namtso Lake Group Tour
Gostava de visitar o Tibete, não só Lhasa e os mosteiros principais e outras cidades, mas também apreciar a beleza natural, como o Lago do Céu. Que excursão é que me sugere que abrange estas duas vertentes?
Vou sozinha e gostava de me juntar a outro grupo.
Chego de avião de Pequim e pretendo também sair por Lhasa de avião.
Estou a pensar chegar dia 22 ou 23 de julho.
Fico a aguardar uma resposta.
Obrigado
Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. cristina Cardoso,

Thanks very much for your inquiry. We currently have one departure date on 22nd July for the 10-day group tour, you are quite welcome to join us! Joining this 10-day tour, you can enjoy the major cities, monasteries and scenic spots in Tibet, which would be a wonderful journey. And flying from Beijing to Lhasa is a better choice, which will cost you about four and half hour. Have a nice day.

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

user portrait Ms. Thanh Trinh from: Travel from Gyirong Port to Kathmandu
Hi there,
My group have 6 people want to go to Lhasa via Kathmandu by both flight and drive on July or August. We do want to do any tour in Kathmandu, Nepal. KTM is just a connecting place for us to apply Tibetan visa and permit. Based on that, how long would we should plan for this trip? Because I still have no idea how long for the drive from KTM to Lhasa.
Hope to hear back from you guys soon.
Thank you and best regards.
Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. Thanh Trinh,

Entering Tibet from Nepal, you need to apply for the Chinese group visa in Kathmandu. Firstly, we will apply for the visa invitation letter for you; Next we will send the visa invitation letter to you and our partner in Kathmandu; When you arrive in Kathmandu, you need to meet with our partner and give him your original passport, then he will assist you to apply for the Chinese group visa. Group visa application needs 3 or 4 working days, during that time, you can travel other places in Nepal with your passport copy.

The distance from Kathmandu to Gyirong Port is about 170km and it takes approximately 8-9 hours by car due to not good road condition. Please check your email and find more details. Have a nice day.

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

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7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp