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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?
Travelers' Questions Might Help

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. St*** from: Kailash Circuit ( 18 Days )

ello, we are willing to organized a tour of Kailash from Lhassa for a group of 4 persons (3 french and 1 from Kazakstan) around end of august. Could you provide a private tour for 4 persons ? and for what price ?

Thank you very much

St***

Answered by Helen

Dear St***, 

Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. I do not know if your friend who hold Kazakstan can apply China visa, as it is quite strict for them to get China visa, and almost the embassy would turn them down. So please tell your friend about it. No offence, and we had Kazakstan clients before but failed to get China visa so cannot come to join in the tour. If there are 3 or 4 of you, and I just wonder whether it will be OK for you to join in a group tour, and we have the group tour on 12th Sept, which I can provide you some discount if all of you would like to join in, and also our group size is 4 to 12 people, so not large group.  I will provide you the private tour quote too with 3 people and 4 people and also you can start it in Aug or Sept any time you want. And 30th Aug. will be Tibet Shoton festival which will last about 1 week in Lhasa, and the highlight will be the first day in Drepung Monastry for Thangka Buddha Show there. Best regards.

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

user portrait Ms. jo*** from: 10 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp plus Namtso Lake Group Tour

hi

I am interested in your 10D Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp plus Namtso Lake Group Tour for the departure date on 20 May. However I may likely book the flight arriving Lhasa on 17 May. is it possible to arrange the Tibet tour permit from 17 May before start of tour?

as my flight will be arriving at around 6pm after the free airport pick up time, can I take the airport shuttle bus by myself to my accommodation without a guide? how do I arrange pick up from my own-arranged hotel to the hotel booked by this tour on day 1 of itinerary?

also I am booking for one pax only and will like to share room. currently only one pax has booked. may I know if there is a minimum group size for the tour to be confirmed? or will it be last minute cancelled if the tour booking does not meet the minimum pax requirement.?

Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. jo***,

Thanks very much for your inquiry, and we currently have one departure date on 20th of May, you are quite welcome to join us! I was wondering whether you could fly to Lhasa on 20th or not. Well, you can also arrive in Lhasa on 17th, but there is extra fee. When you arrive in Lhasa at 6pm of 17th, you'll miss our free pick up on 20th, please note that you can't take bus or taxi from airport to hotel by yourself, because when you enter Lhasa, you must be escorted with a guide according to the policy (there will be policeman check-point on the way from airport to downtown), so the guide will pick you up at the airport and help you pass the check-point, and there is extra pick up fee. There is one tourist who has booked this tour, but he will stay in a single room. We will try our best to find a roommate for you, but if we fail, I was wondering whether you mind staying in guesthouse (dorm-bed, public bathroom, with breakfast), which can avoid single room supplement fee for you. The minimum group size is two persons, now there is one tourist has booked this tour, if you book this tour, there are two persons together, we won't cancel it. I will send detailed itinerary to you by email, please check it. Warm regards.


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

user portrait Mr. Ro*** from: Mount Kailash Tour Cost

Hi ,

Can I get information to do the Inner Kora Darshan of Mount Kailash. I am planning to start my tour from Lhasa. Appreciate if you could provide details//// Tour Operators . Please note I will flying from Canada to Lhasa and I do have a mutiple Chinese Visa.

Answered by Helen

Dear Mr. Ro***, 

Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. Normally people are not allowed to take the Inner Kora unless they finish the 13 circles outside kora, so at present we never managed it successful for the inner Kora tour there. And we only have the 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp tour available every month from April to Oct. Please kindly let me know when you would like to do this tour? So I can recommend you the proper date. Your visa will be No problem for us to apply Tibet permit. I will send you more details by email. Best regards.


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