Most 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.
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. It is not a problem to enter after the entry date or to leave before the expiry date.
Former Soviet Union countries
Citizens of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine (90 days) do not need a visa to visit Tajikistan.
Countries with high GDP
There is no visa-free travel for Tajikistan for citizens of countries with high GDP per capita. 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.
Diplomatic, official, service passports
Holders of diplomatic or official/service passports of Brunei, China, Hungary, Iran, North Korea, Romania, South Korea and holders of diplomatic passports only of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan do not require a visa for Tajikistan. Nationals of China holding normal passports endorsed for public affairs do not require a visa for a maximum stay of 30 days.
Since June 3, 2016, anyone can apply for an e-visa to Tajikistan. The e-visa is valid at international airports and at land borders.
Price is 50$ for the visa, 20$ for a GBAO permit.
The visa is valid for 45 days within a 90-day period from the entry date you fill in, and is single entry, just like the visa on arrival.
If you want a double-entry visa, you will still need to visit an embassy. It is easier to just buy 2 e-visas (you can buy a second one in advance if you are going to Afghanistan and will be without internet).
The teething issues seem to have mostly been ironed out: the site is working, and you get your e-visa e-mailed to you the next day. Make sure your details are correct when submitting, you cannot submit again without paying first. At land borders and checkpoints, guards now know what an e-visa or e-gbao permit is. A black and white printout of the e-visa is fine, although it does not look very official and guards have no computers to check the validity of your document. If you have problems with the system not working, send an e-mail message to both [email protected] and [email protected] and send with high priority.
On entry, border guards may or may not stamp your passport. In any case they stamp your entry card. Keep that close to you at all times, the same for your e-visa.
So far, no one has been refused entry into Tajikistan or the GBAO area using the e-visa. On the other hand, we have had at least one report of a Chinese traveler being rejected for the e-visa after paying. All experiences and questions are welcome in this forum post.
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.
Since end of 2016, a new website has been launched where you can apply before picking up your visa at the embassy. This is not for the e-visa, but rather an electronic application for visas that still need to be picked up at the embassy (tourist, business, private, …). We welcome your feedback on this novelty.
Tajikistan visa on arrival and LOI
It is possible to get a Tajikistan visa on arrival at Tajikistan’s international airports for citizens of the following countries: EU/EFTA region, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, New Zealand, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE, United States, Vatican, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen.
Another list also adds Bolivia, Pakistan (only diplomatic and service visa), India, (only diplomatic and service visa) and Uzbekistan (only diplomatic, service, sportsman, artist visa). Check with your embassy to find out.
A visa on arrival is available for 30 or 45 days and costs 35$ (not sure how much for 45 days) and is issued at the airport in about 10 minutes. Although a visa on arrival is cheaper than the e-visa, you cannot get the GBAO permit on arrival. Seeing the added time/expense of getting the GBAO makes the e-visa a better deal.
Like the e-visa, a visa on arrival is single-entry only. Before the introduction of the e-visa, you could get a double-entry visa on arrival. Not anymore. You can no longer get a double entry visa on arrival.
Before, we said you needed a letter of invitation, or, if you did not have one, you would get a private visa and would need expensive OVIR registration. This seems to be a thing of the past, luckily.
Tajik visa for Chinese
It is not easy. Chinese travelers get rejected for the e-visa, but we have also heard of Chinese passport holders being rejected at the embassy in Beijing. Which leaves only 1 option open: visa on arrival at the airport. Which is where big bribes are asked. We have heard of 500$. If you have a Chinese passport and have gone through the process, please let us know what happened, we are collecting experiences.
Tajikistan visa requirements
For your visa application you will need:
- 1 passport with minimum 6 months validity after expiry of the Tajik visa and 2 empty pages
- passport pictures (1, 2 or 3 depending on the embassy)
- 1 completed Tajikistan visa application form (available at the embassy, but you can download it in advance)
- photocopy of passport can sometimes be requested.
Registration in Tajikistan
Registration is not necessary for travelers on a tourist visa staying up to 30 days. All other visas have to register with the Migration Police (OVIR), as well as people on a Tajik tourist visa staying longer than 30 days. The same rule goes for the e-visa.
There could be a law stating that you have to register with OVIR in the 3 days after you’ve stayed 30 days. Whether that is correct is hard to say but it seems like the police follows more or less this rule. Some officials (eg. embassy in Bishkek) will say it’s not necessary. You risk to pay a hefty fine or a bribe, or you can get away with it.
April 2017: Was told registration is not necessary for a stay of up to 45 days.
July 2016: OVIR Dushanbe said I needed to register within 3 days after arrival. US embassy said it was a scam (editor’s note: equally likely they didn’t know the rule) and I shouldn’t register until after 30 days of stay.
October 2015: Did not register, not a problem at the border.
September 2014: OVIR in Dushanbe did not understand what registration is. Tour operator asked 120$. Didn’t register in the end, got away with it.
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$) and you can’t do it by yourself. You either need a hotel to do it for you or you need a Tajik citizen who can vouch for you (can be somebody from a tourist agency). This is what they told us at OVIR in Dushanbe so we suppose this is the rule nowadays.
OVIR Dushanbe: Mirzo Turzunzade Street 5 Tel. 227 67 22 (no English) Opening hours: 8am-5pm
OVIR in Dushanbe is known to be difficult. Khorog, Khujand, Murghab are perhaps easier.
Tajikistan visa extension
A 1-month Tajikistan tourist visa can be extended for 1 or 2 weeks.
January 2015: 15 extra days, 40$ 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.
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 and you cannot apply for the e-visa? All experience reports are welcome! If you are applying for a Tajik visa by post you may consider the Tajik consulate in Geneva (updates here) or the embassy in London.
September 2014, London: Very quick turnaround, be sure to mention GBAO in your itinerary if you want the permit.
June/July 2016, Geneva: The embassy in Geneva was both incredibly easy and cheap to get both the tourist visa and GBAO permit. I applied for a tourist visa and GBAO permits for myself and two mates to this embassy by post from Australia.
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 (if it’s open) 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).
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