The Complete Guide to Central Asian Visas

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The ever-changing rules for visa applications in Central Asia are enough to make even the most rugged traveler doubt his future travel plans. Applying for these visas is time-consuming, frustrating, confusing and sometimes downright scary. We know, we’ve been there.

To help you, we have compiled The Complete Guide to Central Asian Visas. We spend a lot of time writing and updating this guide, and we like to think it’s the definitive resource on visas in this part of the world.

For those who don’t like to read long articles

I need an Uzbek LOI! Fill in this form.

I need a Turkmen LOI! Get a tour, or get a transit visa.

I need an Iranian LOI! Fill in this form.

I need an Azeri LOI or e-visa! Fill in this form.

I need a Kazakh LOI! Fill in this form.

Can I trust this information?

We keep this guide as up to date as possible. Besides living and traveling in the region and having a lot of direct experience with bureaucracy in these countries, we also get a lot of information from other travelers. We try to keep up to date with all the travel blogs out there, and we follow the main travel forums in English and French.

So we do everything we can to keep the information on this pages correct. But please remember that you are coming to a place where rules change as quickly as the mood of those who make them, and nothing is 100% certain. And please, if you find out something new at the embassy, let us know.

General tips

  • If you are planning an overland trip, we recommend you to get as many visas as possible in your home country. Start as early as possible with this task, this always takes longer than you expect.
  • Plan where you will get the remaining visas. You cannot get all visas everywhere, and price and processing time changes from place to place. Keep in mind also that some cities are much more expensive than others to stay for a longer period.
  • Let your visas overlap a day or 2. Apart from China and Afghanistan, visas in the region are fixed date, and you don’t want to add more stress to your border crossing.
  • Learn a bit of Russian.
  • Consuls love holidays.

14 Comments

  1. I will fly by Uzbekistan airways from KL to Bishkek, the flight will arrive at Tashkent at 4.00 AM and continue to Bishkek at 8.00 AM

    My question,if I use the same UZ airways flight :
    1.Will they transfer my baggage to Tashkent-Bishkek directly or I should pick up and check in again at Tashkent ?
    2.Do I need Uzbekistan transit visa to transfer the flight ?

    • Best to ask Uz Airways, I think. But I would say 1. yes 2. no.

  2. Hi! Thanks so much for all those information, the best I’ve read! I have an open question about visas. I’m planning a trip to those countries soon, but my passport is getting full. I have only a few double pages left. Most of the countries request an empty double page to apply for visa. Does it really happen like that or is it possible to paste visas close to each other?
    By experience, some coutries in South East Asia request an empty double page too, but for real some of them doesn’t care and I ended up with visas from Myanmar, Laos and VIetnam pasted close to each other.So, Any chance they can pill on the visas? Otherwise, I would have to apply for a new passport in one of the French embassies (takes at least 4 weeks and creates more problems…).
    Thanks if you can help me with that :)
    Cheers and thank you again so much for this mine of information

    • No, second page not needed in my experience.

  3. Hi Steven

    Our latest information on visa and border crossings in the region is available here! http://cyclingabout.com/index.php/2013/03/obtaining-visas-for-the-silk-road-2013/

    Regards
    Alex

    • Thanks I will have a look and update soon if I find out anything new on there!

  4. Best information I have found. Please add information about “visas on the road” from neighboring countries people pass through on their way to Central Asia (like Turkey).

    • Thanks Lex. Other countries are in the works.Need to get some employees :-) . It’s a lot of work to keep up-to-date with 6 countries, let alone 10, but I know especially the Iranian visa is sought after. I’m hoping to get there this year. Let’s see!

      • oh, I wasn’t suggesting you cover more countries, just more options for getting the Visas for central asia while on the road but not yet in central asia (arriving from Iran seems to be a popular option).

    • Last night I got a 45 day, “Private” (not tourist), double entry Visa on arrival at Dushanbe airport without LOI for $78 with USA passport. He said the double entry accounted for $10 of that. The consular on duty was asleep (it was 1:30am) but after he woke up he was friendly and spoke Tajik, Russian, English, and German. He said he could not give me a double entry tourist visa and offered me private visa instead.

      • Hi Lex, just be sure to register with a private visa! Sadly, quite an expensive affair!

        • It ended up costing me $50. At least $3 of this was bribes that I willingly paid to a private citizen to register me. The real price may be much closer to $30 but I was getting desperate on the 3rd day and happy to have a local with connections in OVIR “help” me.

  5. Legendary information! A true service to travellers!
    We owe you!

    • Thanks Neil, glad you like our efforts! We got lots more legendary stuff coming up that you will never find elsewhere, so stay tuned!