When embarking on a Tibet tour from Kathmandu, Nepal, securing a Tibet Group Visa is a vital requirement. This visa label is affixed to your passport or travel document, but it’s important to note that the visa is not issued directly on your passport itself. Instead, it is placed on a separate document, ensuring your entry into Tibet’s mesmerizing regions. Whether you already hold a China Visa or not, obtaining this Group Visa is a mandatory step in compliance with the border treaty between Nepal and China.
Understanding Group Visa for Tibet Travel
Group Visa is a specialized type of China Entry Visa designed for foreign tourists journeying from Nepal to Tibet. Unlike regular visas for mainland China, obtaining a separate China Visa is not necessary. Even if you already possess a China Visa, it’s imperative to apply for a Group Visa in Kathmandu. The existing China Visa becomes invalid upon acquiring the new one. However, the benefit lies in the fact that you can enter mainland China using only the Group Visa.
Typically, this visa type holds a validity period of 15 to 20 days. The group can comprise any number of travellers, even just a single individual. Instead of being stamped directly in your passport, it is issued as a separate document. It typically contains important information such as name, passport number, Nationality, and validity dates of members in your group.
Differences between a Tibet Group Visa and a Chinese Visa:
|Differences||Tibet Group Visa||Chinese Visa|
|Application||The whole group member of the tour||By yourself|
|Issuing authority||Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu||Any authorized Chinese Embassy in your home country or a third country|
|Number of entries||Single-entry visa||Single or multiple entry visa|
|Visa Holders||The whole group member of tour||Individual|
These distinctions help clarify the unique characteristics of each type of visa, depending on your travel needs and circumstances.
How to Apply for a China Group Visa
Foreign tourists should allocate at least four days in Nepal to complete their Group Visa application and secure a Tibet Travel Permit. We offer assistance in obtaining the Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit. Tour Travel Tibet will compose an Invitation Letter for your Group Visa application in Kathmandu.
Here is a breakdown of our service procedures:
- Send us scanned copies of your passport, tour date, and itinerary at least 25 days before your Tibet tour commences.
- We will customize a travel itinerary to align with your preferences and craft an Invitation Letter to acquire a Group Visa number and the Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB Permit).
- Once we have successfully obtained your TTB permit, we will forward you scanned copies of both the TTB permit and Invitation Letter.
- Subsequently, we will submit your passport, along with the scanned copies of the TTB permit and Invitation Letter, to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu for the Group Visa application.
- You can anticipate receiving your Group Visa within a few days.
China Group Visa Processing
Obtaining a Chinese Group Visa usually takes 4 working days at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Urgent processing in 3 working days is also available. The Embassy operates from Monday to Friday. The visa applications must be submitted before 12 a.m. for a third-day afternoon pickup.
Travelling in Mainland China with a Chinese Group Visa
You can use the Chinese Group Visa for travelling in mainland China, but it’s valid for no more than 30 days and cannot be extended. If you have a valid Chinese Visa, it’s advisable to enter Tibet from mainland China and enjoy a Nepal tour afterwards.
Regardless of your entry point, a Tibet Travel Permit is essential. Tourists can apply through a local travel agency. The individual applications will be accepted by the Embassy official. Submit scanned copies of your passport information page, Chinese Visa page, and a photo image to your travel consultant. The permit process typically takes 8-9 business days, so apply 10-15 days before your Tibet trip for a smooth journey.
Important Notes for Tibet Group Visa
When it comes to obtaining a Tibet Group Visa and Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) permit, there are specific procedures and guidelines that all travellers must follow. These permits are essential for anyone planning to visit Tibet, and they come with their own set of rules and requirements.
Application through Registered Travel Agencies
Individual applications for Tibet Group Visa and TTB permits are not accepted by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. To acquire these permits, travellers must go through a registered travel agency specializing in Tibet travel. This means that you cannot personally apply for these permits; instead, you must use the services of a recognized travel agency.
Local Nepal Travel Agency for Chinese Embassy Application
Similarly, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu does not entertain individual applications for the Tibet Group Visa. Visitors who wish to obtain this visa must complete the application process through a local Nepal travel agency. It’s crucial to work with a reputable agency to ensure a smooth and successful application.
Validity and Itinerary Inclusion
The Group Visa is designed specifically for Tibet travel. It is valid for both Tibet and mainland China, but it comes with a maximum validity of 30 days. Therefore, when applying for the Group Visa, it’s essential to include your tour itinerary, which should cover both Tibet and mainland China. This ensures that your visa aligns with your travel plans and allows you to explore both regions seamlessly.
Existing China Visa Becomes Null and Void
One critical point to note is that if you already hold an existing China Visa, it becomes null and void once the new Group Visa is issued. This means that the new Group Visa takes precedence over any previously obtained China Visa. So, if you plan to visit Tibet, it’s advisable to apply for a Group Visa and align your travel plans accordingly.
What about the Group Visa application cost
Different prices for foreign tourists from different countries:
- For Americans:
- Top Urgent Visa: $175 ( 1 – 2 working days )
- Semi-Urgent Visa: $155 ( 3 – 4 working days )
- Normal Visa: $140 ( 5 – 7 working days )
- For Non-USA:
- Top Urgent Visa: $85 ( 1 – 2 working days )
- Semi-Urgent Visa: $65 ( 3 – 4 working days )
- Normal Visa: $50 ( 5 – 7 working days )
- A. The certain working day of Group Visa application is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 09:00 to 11:00;
- B. There will be no semi-urgent visa fee for French;
- C. The local Nepalese travel agency may charge a $20 to $50 per person service fee according to the number of people in a group.
Where is Group Visa Used?
Document Presentation During Your Tibet Journey
Throughout your Tibet journey, it’s essential to have your Group Visa and TTB permit readily accessible at various checkpoints:
- Kathmandu Airport: When you’re checking in at Kathmandu airport for your flight to Tibet, be prepared to present your Group Visa at the security counter.
- China-Nepal Border: If your route to Tibet takes you by road, particularly through Zhangmu or Gyirong, it’s crucial to have these documents on hand for presentation at the China-Nepal border.
- Lhasa Arrival: Upon your arrival in Lhasa and when checking in at your hotel, you will once again be required to furnish these documents for verification and processing.
Having these documents readily available ensures a smooth and compliant journey to Tibet, allowing you to navigate the various regulatory requirements seamlessly.
If you hold an Indian ordinary passport and plan to visit Tibet, you have two options:
A. Pilgrimage Group: This option involves joining a group of pilgrims organized by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, in collaboration with authorized Indian travel agencies. The Embassy exclusively accepts visa applications for pilgrimage groups that are submitted by the Ministry of External Affairs and authorized Indian travel agencies.
B. Ordinary Tourist Group: For those interested in a tourist group of Indian nationals, this can be arranged through a local Indian travel agency in coordination with CITS Tibet (China International Travel Service, Tibet). However, the issuance of group visas is contingent upon the Embassy receiving approval from the Tourism Bureau of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.