Tibet Travel Tips
Notice: Foreign Tourists Purchasing Tickets for Tibet Routes are Required to Hold Tibet Letter
According to the order of the General Administration of Civil Aviation, passengers who purchase flight tickets to Lhasa, Linzhi, Banda and Ali in Tibet as either a destination or connecting point may not purchase tickets online using Air China¡¯s website unless they are Chinese citizens with Chinese resident ID cards. All other passengers must bring their identification documents to a local Air China ticket office in order to purchase tickets. Passengers who do not follow these requirements shall be responsible for all losses resulting from the violation, such being restricted from board flights. Air China will not accept any liability for such losses.
According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, foreign tourists who travel to Tibet in one of China¡¯s civil aircraft are required to present their valid passports and original valid Tibet travel approval letters issued by relevant authorities. If either of these documents is not presented, they will be refused entry into Tibet. We ask foreign passengers to ensure they have the Tibet travel approval letter when purchasing their airline ticket so there are no problems boarding the airplane or entering Tibet. Air China bears no liability in cases where passengers do not have proper documentation.
Air China Ltd.
August 20, 2008
Why should foreigners apply for the ¡°Tibet travel approval letter¡±?
In view of unique ethnic traditions, cultural heritage needs and environmental protection in Tibet, as well as the traffic situation, tourism service facilities and reception capacity in this region, the Chinese government requires that all foreign tourists (non-Chinese citizens), Taiwan tourists and overseas Chinese people (not including Hong Kong and Macao SAR residents holding Chinese SAR passports or Home Return Permits), apply for the ¡°Tibet travel approval letter for foreign tourists¡± issued by the TTB (Tibet Tourism Bureau) before traveling to Tibet. Foreign journalists and diplomats are not permitted to enter Tibet as tourists.
Who needs to apply for the ¡°Tibet travel approval letter¡±?
Note: Chinese people living overseas shall also apply for the ¡°Tibet travel approval letter¡± if they hold non-Chinese passports.
Note: Hong Kong and Macao compatriots are no longer required to present a ¡°Tibet travel approval letter¡± when traveling to Tibet. Hong Kong and Macao tourists holding Chinese SAR passports, Home Return Permits (issued prior to 1988 and valid for ten years) or Mainland Travel Permits for Hong Kong and Macau Residents, can travel to Tibet.
Relevant provisions for foreigners to travel in Tibet
According to the National Tourism Administration, foreign tourists, Taiwan tourists and overseas Chinese (not including Hong Kong and Macao SAR residents holding Chinese SAR passports or Home Return Permits) are not permitted to travel independently in Tibet. Travel must be organized and planned in groups, regardless of the number of tourists.
Organized overseas travel groups can ask their travel agents to apply for the ¡°Tibet travel approval letter¡± from the TTB and its offices in various regions. The TTB has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Golmud, and they all deal with applications from individual overseas tourists who want to travel to Tibet.
How to apply for the ¡°Tibet travel approval letter¡±?
Applying for a Chinese Visa -Overseas tourists must obtain a Chinese visa from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in the location where they work or reside, with the exception of those who reside in countries that have signed visa-free agreements with China.
Applying for the ¡°Tibet travel approval letter¡± - Foreign tourists are asked to submit basic identification information (including name, nationality, age, sex, occupation, and passport number), route to and point of entrance, approximate travel time, travel intentions, telephone contact information and other materials, to designated offices of the TTB. This can be done directly or through travel agencies. A copy of the Chinese visa and first page of the tourist¡¯s passport need to be faxed or emailed to the TTB. Tourists should receive confirmation for travel to Tibet within two to four days.
The ¡°Tibet travel approval letter¡± is usually issued instantly upon receipt of copies of the tourist¡¯s passport and visa. Checking and approval of the letter requires three working days. In view of matters related to travel, such as air tickets, hotels, guides and vehicles, tourists are suggested to begin the application procedures as early as possible to confirm information on route, time and location for travel in Tibet.
Sample of the ¡°Tibet travel approval letter¡±