China Visa& Tibet Permits
A tourist visa, is marked with "L" in the many kinds of Chinese visas. Visa L is characterized by a short duration of stay, usually 30 days, no more than 90 days, and could not be extended upon expiration.
Group visa, another kind of tourist visa, is applied by foreigner traveling in tour groups. Group visa is not issued on the passports, but on a separate paper, which requires the group members enter and exit the Chinese border together.
From Nov. 15th 2000, aliens traveling to Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions(SAR) in tour groups organized by travel agencies registered in the above-mentioned SARs are exempted from visa requirements for a period of not exceeding 6 days when entering into the following Chinese mainland cities: Guangzhong, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jinangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou,etc. The premise is that the traveler shall have the citizenship of a country having diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and carrying an ordinary passport.
Note: If you are coming to Lhasa from Kathmandu, you'd better get China visa from Kathmandu because whether you've already got the visa in your country or not, you must get a visa in Kathmandu, which is regulated in an official memo between China and Nepal.
Due to Tibet's unique ethnic traditions, cultural heritage, tourist service facilities, reception capacity, ecological environmental protection needs, as well as the traffic situation, the National Tourism Administration prescribe that foreign tourists, Taiwan and overseas Chinese tourists (except Hong Kong, Macao residents who hold Chinese passports or return certificates) have to arrange the Tibet Permit to Tibet otherwise they may have a great trouble. At the same time, all the people can get Tibet permit through a travel agency except diplomats, journalists, and government officials who have to travel to Tibet under the arrangement of the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office.
First bear in mind that there are overall four documents required for foreign tourists who want to travel freely in Tibet
- One is the Chinese Visa, which you can apply in the Chinese Embassy in your country (When you want to go to Tibet via the mainland of China).
- One is Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB), which you have to obtain in order to enter into Tibet by plane or train.
- One is the Alien Travel Permit (PSB) when you are planning to travel to the 'unopened' areas of Tibet.
- The other is the Military Permit, which you have to obtain if you are planning to travel to some military sensitive areas in Tibet.
All individuals enter into Tibet must hold a passport which is valid for at least six months.