The Complete Guide to Silk Road Visas

Nothing in life worth having comes easy.

Isn’t that just so true?

Although their number is dwindling, many governments in the region still display a keen understanding of this simple truth and keep their visa regimes restricted, unbending in the face of commercial pressures to open up their country. This way, travelers are able to appreciate their destination more.

Still, applying for these visas is time-consuming, frustrating, confusing and sometimes downright scary. We know, we’ve been there.

To help you on your way, we have compiled The Complete Guide to Silk Road 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.

Getting visa support

We have searched long and hard for local travel companies to offer visa support for those who need it. We think we have found the best ones, delivering quality service at a good price.

Getting visa support is now as easy as filling in a small form (and paying :-).

Uzbek letter of invitation application form

Iran authorisation code application form

Azeri letter of invitation or e-visa application form

Kazakh letter of invitation application form

For the Turkmen letter of invitation, you need to book a tour, or get a transit visa.

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 fixed date visas overlap a day or 2. You don’t want to add more stress to your border crossing.
  • Learn a bit of Russian.
  • Consuls love holidays.


  1. Laurent says

    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 ?

  2. Frank says

    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

  3. Lex Maxwell says

    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).

    • says

      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!

      • Lex Maxwell says

        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).

    • Lex Maxwell says

      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.

      • steven says

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

        • Lex Maxwell says

          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.

    • says

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