All travelers to Tajikistan need a visa. An additional GBAO permit (Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast) is necessary for any travel to the Pamirs. A letter of invitation is no longer needed, except for some rare cases.
Beware: the Tajik visa is date-specific, meaning that entry and exit date are fixed and written on the visa and you cannot enter before the entry date or leave after the expiry date.
Visa-free travel for Tajikistan?
There is still no visa-free travel for Tajikistan for citizens of wealthy countries. The lower chamber of Tajikistan’s parliament approved a bill that would permit visa-free visits by U.S. and European Union citizens, as well as nationals of some countries in Southeast Asia. It did not, however, pass the Senate. According to the draft law, visitors from the chosen countries would be able to stay in Tajikistan without an entry visa for one month.
Tajikistan tourist visa
Most embassies give out visas for 30 and for 45 days (GBAO permit is for 30 days max). Single entry or double entry visa can be requested. A double entry visa is the same price as a single entry visa.
Tajikistan visa on arrival and LOI
It is possible to get a Tajikistan visa on arrival at Dushanbe airport and Khujand airport for citizens of certain countries (see “list of countries” paragraph). You need a letter of invitation, or as a Westerner, get OVIR registration.
January 2013, Dushanbe. A French traveller paid 58$ for a 1 month tourist visa, and he had an LOI. 45 day multiple entry visa would have cost 68$.
However, most Westerners can get a private visa on arrival without LOI, but that requires OVIR registration (expensive!). Latest success story: April 2013.
September 2014, Khujand: Nobody knew it existed, after a few hours someone came and gave us, 2 Brazilians, an express double-entry visa for 108$.
Tajikistan visa requirements
For your visa application you will need:
- 1 passport with minimum 6 months validity after expiry of the Tajik visa and 2 empty pages
- passport pictures (1, 2 or 3 depending on the embassy)
- 1 completed Tajikistan visa application form (available at the embassy, but you can download it in advance)
- a letter of invitation (depending, see above)
- photocopy of passport can sometimes be requested.
Registration in Tajikistan
Registration is not necessary for travelers on a tourist visa staying up to 30 days. All other visas have to register with the Migration Police (OVIR), as well as people on a Tajik tourist visa staying longer than 30 days.
There could be a law stating that you have to register with OVIR in the 3 days after you’ve stayed 30 days. Whether that is correct is hard to say but it seems like the police follows more or less this rule. Some officials (eg. embassy in Bishkek) will say it’s not necessary. You risk to pay a hefty fine or a bribe, or you can get away with it.
OVIR in Dushanbe is known to be difficult. Khorog, Khujand, Murghab are perhaps easier.
July 2014: Registered in Dushanbe for the regular 140 somoni. Heard that it costs only 20 somoni to do it in Murghab.
May 2014: 30 day registration in Khorog cost 140 somoni. Need 1 picture and photocopy of passport and visa. Collected the same day.
June 2013: the normal fee for this registration is 140 somoni per person (not 100$) and you can’t do it by yourself. You either need a hotel to do it for you or you need a Tajik citizen who can vouch for you (can be somebody from a tourist agency). This is what they told us at OVIR in Dushanbe so we suppose this is the rule nowadays.
OVIR Dushanbe: Mirzo Turzunzade Street 5 Tel. 227 67 22 (no English) Opening hours: 8am-5pm
Tajikistan visa extension
A 1-month Tajikistan tourist visa can be extended for 1 or 2 weeks.
January 2015: 15 extra days, 40$ for express procedure and 3 days turnaround. Not easy and a lot of confusion.
September 2014: Impossible to get a second entry (not simple extension). Also not possible to get a second GBAO permit on the same visa.
July 2014 report: Whole process took a week. You show up with a couple passport photos and copies of your Tajik visa and main passport page, fill out a form (you must fill out two), que up in a confusing line, and tell the guy you want an extension. 2 weeks is max. Note you can only get an extension if you have a 30 day tourist visa, not the 45 day visa. He will take your forms/copies, give you a little ticket and tell you to come back in 3 days. When you come back in 3 days then they will take your passport and ask you to pay US$20 and a few Somoni and will tell you to come back in two days. When you return you will see a pile of passports sitting on desk and you (or anyone else who wants a new passport) can just walk up and rifle through all the passports and walk off with it.
Here is the location of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where you have to go:
Go around to the left side of the building and there are some stairs going down into a basement, that is where you need to go.
June 2012 report: Get to Ministry of Foreign Affairs office early – opens 8.30am – at 8.30 I was already 18th in line. Need to put name on list. Was given application in Russian – there is a notice board at end of room with examples of completed forms, including an English example. Need to write letter to consular section detailing your request. Then need to go to the amanat bank on Ismail somoni to pay $1 processing fee. Photocopy of passport and visa page plus 2 passport photos. All needs to be done and handed in by 11am. Go back after a week to find out decision on your Tajikistan visa extension.
Went back after 1 week, at advised time / day – office closed. Back the following day- wednesday. Visa pick up from 2-5, arrive early (even at 1.30 was #47) put name on list. Visa extension granted so needed to visit bank (10-15min walk, taxis waiting out front of mofa office) to make 2 payments: $20 and 40 somoni. Back to mofa office, need to leave passport, pick up Monday… Explained needed to leave by Sunday, ok pick up 3pm Friday afternoon. Give you stamped letter saying they have your passport.
On Friday arrived at 1pm #19 on list (opens at 2pm, visa pick-up at 3pm). Press bottom button for ticket issue – others press top button. Pick up started 3.40. Visa extension was ready for pick up. Woohoo! However, another British tourist went for pick-up on Wednesday to be told it wasn’t ready and to come back on Friday.
Tajik visa by post
Not every country has a Tajik embassy. Where best to send your passport and application to by mail if your country is Tajik-embassy-less? All experience reports are welcome! If you are applying for a Tajik visa by post you may consider the Tajik consulate in Geneva or the embassy in London.
September 2014, London: Very quick turnaround, be sure to mention GBAO in your itinerary if you want the permit.
April 2014, Geneva: I sent in my (Italian) passport, together with a photocopy of the passport’s details page, visa application form (available on their website), a passport-size photo, and a visa request letter (an itinerary with the cities I am going to visit and a few hotels’ contacts – but no hotel reservations). They received the passport on a Thursday afternoon and sent it back to me one week later. A tourist visa valid for 45 days cost 25 EUR, plus 10 EUR for the GBAO permit. They do issue multiple-entry visas at 10 EUR per entry, but only on the basis of flight tickets. You most likely will need to arrange a pick-up service with a courier. The staff is kind and helpful, if a bit slow with emails. It is better to call them.
Ishkashim border market on Tajik visa
It is possible to visit the Saturday border market of Ishkashim on a Tajik visa. You leave your passport with the Tajik border guards, and walk across a little bridge to get to the market. When you are done, you walk back and pick up your passport. No Afghan visa is required (source).
Tajikistan visa application on the road
Opening hours: 9-12 and 14-17.
May 2015: UK passport. 45 day single entry visa and 45 day GBAO permit. Turnaround 2 days. Very easy process but cost 110 US altogether – more than previous reports. It’s possible the official overcharged me and took some extra. I was declined a double entry visa.
June 2014: The embassy is still in the same location and the easiest way to get there is Bus 63 in Almaty that picks up along Furmanov Street. $65 USD for a single entry & GBAO permit (Canadian). 1 day turnaround.
June 2013: Obtained a double entry Tajik visa for $70 (payable at the Embassy) and next day collection in Almaty, Kazakhstan. This included the GBAO (for all usual districts) which was marked as a “Double Entry” permit since I am heading for a week’s side trip into Afghanistan via Ishkashim. I’ve not heard of a double-entry GBAO before, but staff at the Embassy thought it better than giving me two separate GBAO permits. No LOI needed for an Australian Passport.
June 2012: 2 Swiss travelers paid 7500 tenge for 45-day tourist visa + GBAO for next-day service. They were told they do not need registration with OVIR.
October 2011: Australian passport, 1 day processing and 45$ for 45 days + GBAO permit.
August 2011: Japanese traveler got 30-day single entry Tajik tourist visa + GBAO permit without LOI for 100$. Processing time: 15 minutes.
Address: Ferit Recai Etrugrul Caddesi. Oran. (opposite Panora mall on the hill, you will see the grand embassies and their flags) N39.85207 E032.83115. Opening hours: 0900-1700 Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri.
Payment is made to the Ziraat Bank down the road at N39.84751 E032.82871
December 2015: Only possible to apply if the consul is in. Took 2 days and 4 trips to the embassy in total.
August 2014: Absolutely unhelpful and had to apply 2 times over the course of 2 weeks, still got asked for a bribe. Istanbul was much friendlier.
May 2013: Friendly and helpful. Filled out application form, 2 photos, and wrote letter of petition for double-entry 45 day visa. Applied Tuesday, was told it would be ready Monday, but received call on Thursday saying it was ready. $27, no visa support for American passport.
March 2013: $54 USD for 1 month or 45 days with single or double entry for British passport. No LOI required. Visa turned around in less than 24 hours. Spoke excellent English. We requested the double entry but where asked on collection if we would like 45 days instead of our requested 30 days to which we said yes as we had all ready paid. Friends we met here (British Nationals) applied in the morning and picked up visa in the afternoon for the same price.
July 2012: Collected next day, was originally told 3 days but somehow during the course of the conversation the guy said ok come back tomorrow at 3, nice! 45 day visa but no GBAO permit issued here anymore, border or Dushanbe for that. 65$ paid direct, passport kept by embassy. No LOI
June 2012: GBAO permit is no longer issued in Ankara due to ‘problem with Australian man.’ Visa is apparently no problem.
Address: Badamdar Str.,Baglar street, 2nd Baglar alley, 20 Tel / Fax: (+994 12) 502-14-32 Web: www.tajembaz.tj
Get there by bus number 3 (AZN0.20), which departs from opposite Bank Standard on Azerbaijan St which is just behind Nizami’s statue outside the old city. Get off the bus at Galin Gaya in Badamdar, and follow the sign to AEF hotel. But before arriving there, there is an alleyway to the right, and the emb is 30m on the left.
Opening hours 15:00 – 17:00 Tuesday to Friday.
February 2014: 2 business days processing time.
September 2013: UK citizen paid 50$ – no GBAO here. 4 business day processing time.
April 2013: No GBAO permit is issued as they do not have the stamp! The consul is friendly, and speaks English well. He’ll tell you to write a letter to the ambassador, and will tell you what to write. TWO app forms, TWO photos, the said letter to ambassador, copy of passport and AZ visa. LOI apparently not needed though “helpful” the consul said. “Processing” is 4 days (drop off Tue, pick up Fri), and USD35 to be paid at time of collection. Express processing is probably available but not enquired.
No. 1-4, Section A, Liangmagiao Diplomatic Compound
May 2014: Today I went to apply for Tajik visa in Beijing and it was very smooth. I am Slovak citizen and applied for 30 days tourist visa + GBAO permit. Documents required:- 1 application form (only in Russian and Chinese, although I guess using English one is also ok)- 1 photo- passport + 1 copy of passport (main page + Chinese visa)- travel itinerary- hand-written letter requesting visit to GBAO. Processing time 1 week (although they state 2 weeks on the web) and price 410 RMB (48 EUR) which is normal price for 30 days visa. GBAO comes for no extra cost. Nice staff speaking Chinese, Russian and English (!).
April 2013: Strange experience but nonetheless managed to get my visa with GBAO permit in 5 days for US$70. Strange because despite calling to check they were open and issuing visas, when I turned up at the embassy I was told the Consular General was away for a week and therefore they were not issuing. They also said I required a letter stating my itinerary. I went back the next day to negotiate and they accepted my application and said I should call in 5 days to check if my visa was ready. That I did and they said it would be a further 3 days. I got my chinese friend to call them and then picked up my visa an hour later. Like many things in China, if you want something done you need to get a local on the case (despite being able to speak passable chinese myself).
Address: GPS location 42.847567, 74.629698
Opening hours : Mon – Fri , 9.00-11.00, 13.00-14.00
April 2015: double entry, 45 day visa, same day, 75$ (no extra for double entry) plus the 100Som for the permit
March 2015: visa on the spot + 30 day GBAO permit 75$. 8 days processing 45$.
September 2014: Chinese passport, 1 photo, form, pick up on second day, 75usd for 30days visa, 100som for 7 days GBAO permit;
September 2014: GBAO permit maximum for 6 days, visa maximum 30 days single entry. Now takes 3 days.
August 2014: Now takes 5 days to issue the visa.
2013-2014: visa on the spot (10min-1h waiting). 75 usd + 100 som for 45day visa and GBAO permit. Single entry ( double was 10 usd extra). 10$ less for 1 week processing.
Boulevard General Jacques 16, 1050 Brussels, tel. ++32 2 6406933. Consulate open Mon/Wed/Fri from 9 to 12 am
April 2015: Excellent experience, submitted all documentation as per Embassy website (Dutch national, I don’t need LOI) – including proof of bank payment, otherwise they will not accept your application – in person, received visa and GBAO permit one week later, no hassle. Very friendly people, all speak good English. Paid €85 pp for 1 month visa + GBAO permit.
NB by email ([email protected]) they maintained that visa was valid from day of issue, but in fact it is date specific (and you specify the dates). Not sure, but they hinted that they only deal with visa requests from people living in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Al Safa 2, Zone 357, street 4c, house 5. Open Sun – Thurs 9-3.
February 2015: Showed up at 11am with a completed form which I had obtained via google, & 1 passport pic, got passport back with 30 day visa by 11.35! 200 dirhams (US $54). Irish passport, no LoI needed.
July 2012: Australian passport paid USD45 all up and took under 2 hours including writing a letter of intentions.
“When I asked about the GBAO permit he first said no he couldn’t do it as he didnt have the forms. When I got my passport back he had handwritten “Entry to GBAO permitted” in English as well as the local lingo, plus his signature and stamp. That’s when he told me it cost 25 for the visa plus 20 for the GBAO permit (although when I first asked about the visa cost he had said USD50, before I had mentioned the GBAO permit).”
Newest address:14 Halkalı Caddesi, Şevketpaşa konağı, Yeşilköy, Bakırköy/İstanbul. Coordinates: 40.962383, 28.823519, phone: +90 212 426 50 54. Take bus 72T running eg. from Taksim to get there.
Old new address: şenlikköy Mah. Konakli Sokak 43/1 Florya – tel: 0531 378 39 61
Older address: Yeni Baglar cad, Billur sok. No: 16, Senlikkoy may, Florya, Istanbul
Open Mon-Fri 10-12 and 2-5 for visas. They will return documents on weekends if there are travel arrangements that mean you can’t wait. Payment at Yapikredit 30 min walk away (closed 12.30-1.30).
May 2015: Swiss passport holder, 45 days double entry visa, 1 passport copy, 1 passport photo and a letter of intent. $ 50 payable at Yapikredit, 15 minutes walk away. Processing time 1 hour incl. walk to the bank and back. No GBAO permit obtained. They do not issue the GBAO permit in Istanbul anymore. They told me, I have to get it in Dushanbe.
November 2014: 30 minutes turnaround, 25$ for American.
August 2014: 3 days, 25$.
May 2014: Double entry visa in 1h inc GBAO permit. Required: 1 passport photo, 1 passport photocopy, 1 handwritten letter as previously described, $50 cash (told banks closed)
Arrived at 1150 just before closed. Told to come back at 2pm, but then was let on anyway. Sat in room with somebody who told me requirements and helped complete form/draft letter. Consul arrived after 30mins and issued visa on spot plus gave GBAO stamp.
July 2013: 2 Australians: 25$ for visa + GBAO permit, issued in half hour.
June 2013: 2 Romanians: visa + GBAO on the spot for 80$ (no supporting papers just a hand written cover letter)
June 2013: 2 Brits applied and got a single entry 45 day visa for $25 each plus GBAO permit for $25 each. Had read that same day service is normal. Note that this is NOT the case. They will do same day as the two guys before us got theirs the same day but we were told three days is normal. It is no longer the consul himself with whom you deal and although we don’t know why, we suspect that as the consul has to sign every visa and permit, it is luck of the draw if he will sign many in one day.
Also, if the consul is absent, it is impossible to get GBAO permit unless you can leave your passport with them which we could not (Uzbek visa collection). The visa he can sign in advance but the GBAO permit is a stamp that goes direct in your passport and then is signed and stamped again. If he is not there, it cannot be stamped and signed. We ended up going back 4 times and waiting for 5 hours the last time to get his signature. Do not bank on getting your visa and permit the same day. I think we were just very unlucky and they were very apologetic.
April 2013: I can vouch for the Istanbul consulate report, just picked up a 45 day visa today (British national) including GBAO permit for $60 (including $10 for double entry), also payable in €/£, took about 20 minutes. Filled in the English language form I’d printed off the London embassy website and hand wrote my own letter of intent as dictated by the consul who speaks good English as well as Russian of course and apparently Hindi and Japanese!
No LOI required, just passport with photocopy and 2 photos. Well worth the trek to the suburbs and beats £150 for the equivalent at the London embassy open 4 hours a week!
March 2013: I just walked in and got a visa for 45 days and the GBAO at the same time. $25 each so a total of $50. Filled in the paperwork when I got there. It’s the Consul himself who issues the visa, speaks fluent english and the process was completely straightforward.
March 2012: A Dutch traveler was refused a visa at the Tajik embassy in Kabul. Advice of the consul: try in Mazar or Kunduz. Only after correspondence with the embassy in Brussels did he get his visa.
March 2015: Very expensive at 140 pounds but quick, same-day turnaround.
The embassy is at 13 granatny pereulok but the visa section is about a 10 minute walk away. Everything is possible. 3 months, multiple entry,… A helpful forum post from February 2011 explains how it works in Moscow.
Opening hours: 9 – 12
July 2013: We did an express request of Tajik visa (54dollars) and got it 3 hours later.
May 2013: Swedish passport holders applied on Friday for a 30-day tourist visa. Pick up on Tuesday, 3 working days later. Huge crowd outside, but just make sure to greet the guards with a smile and let them know that you are there for a tourist visa and they will let you in. Cost $ 55 each, they did not issue GBAO permits.
September 2012: as before: lots of people – 1 week processing 55$.
July 2012: we applied for a 45 days visa. we got 45 days plus double entry without asking for it for 55$. without LOI. Make sure that you bring your passports in the morning to get them back at 5 o’clock in the evening.
July 2012: The Tajikistan visa in Tashkent was pretty straightforward and a few tips from other travelers saved us loads of time. Bring a filled out application form from online and there are loads of locals out front in a huge crowd. Just weasel your way to the front of the crushing mass of humanity and say “tourist visa” to the security guard. There’s a second crowd of people you have to shimmy through once inside the embassy and the same trick works. It seems dirty, but it gets the job done. Cost is $55 and takes 1 week to process. No LOI needed.
June 2012: $55 for a 1-month visa (with LOI). Get there early (it opens at 8am) and just sort of edge your way to the front of the crowd. Don’t argue with the guy behind the desk too much cause he’s unlikely to change his mind just because you make sense. Do however turn up a day early if you need your visa before you’ve be told to get it.
March 2012: very crowded, 55$ with 10 working days processing time. Express fee: 200$! Tour firms can no longer help. Summer 2011: only GBAO permit – 20$. visa and permit – 60 to 70$. April 2010: 1 month double entry Tajik visa (no GBAO permit) with same-day processing: 50$. Tour firms can help you for a fee of around 35$.
Opening hours: 9-12. Not very busy. You need the application form printed twice , 2 photos, photocopy of passport and letter of introduction from your embassy.
May 2012: Australian traveler paid 25$ with 5 day processing time. GBAO permit was not issued in Tehran. The Tajiks require a letter from your embassy, which is free or expensive depending on your nationality. Passport is not kept during processing.
July 2012: The GBAO permit cost is included in the base visa cost, but you MUST ask for it separately (in person and in your processing cover letter). If you don’t have a cover letter they will give you one to copy for the request at the consulate. Make sure you come with TWO copies of your visa paperwork (and associated photos). When picking up the visa they will make you sign that the visa is correct. NOTE: the actual dates, etc are handwritten so be sure to triple check!
Cost for Americans: ¥9000 JPY (8000 for the visa + 1000 processing fee) for a 30 day single entry visa. This is paid via wire transfer (ATM) with receipt DUE AT APPLICATION TIME.
Washington, D.C. embassy
April 2015: Not a good place to get the visa. 2 separate reports confirm the consul asks for a LOI and tells you to get the visa on arrival in Dushanbe.
List of countries
Countries whose citizens can get the visa on arrival in Dushanbe or Khujand airport: Austria, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Hungary, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Cyprus, Estonia, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Great Britain, Germany, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Andorra, Vatican, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, South Africa, Senegal, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, USA, Brazil, Bolivia, Cuba, Chile, Vietnam, Brunei, Israel, China, Iran, Qatar, Japan, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Philippines, Pakistan (only diplomatic and service visa), India, (only diplomatic and service visa), Yemen, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan (only diplomatic, service, investment, free zone, transport, sportsman, artist visa), Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand, Stateless persons who are former citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan.