Permit duration is maximum 45 days. To find out where you can cross into the Pamirs, see border crossings of Tajikistan.
For people traveling to Afghanistan: if you exit Tajikistan and re-enter, you will need another GBAO permit.
Where to get a GBAO permit
A GBAO permit can be obtained
- online when applying for the e-visa (20$),
- at most embassies (see below), also when you do not need a Tajik visa (2$-60$ depending on embassy)
- in Dushanbe or Khujand at the Migration Police (OVIR) (180 somoni)
- in advance through a tour operator (we offer it for 35$ in 2 days or 45$ same-day – get in touch)
For the budget conscious, following the DIY procedure at the Dushanbe OVIR, rather than checking the box on the e-visa page, is a great money saver.
Address: Mirzo Turzunzade Street 5 (map) – N38.57126, E068.7972 or 38.571829, 68.796566. Tel. 227 67 22 (no English). Opening hours: 8am-5pm. Amonat Bank (Gmaps) is just round the corner on Bukhoro St, (GPS: 38.5739224, 68.7928644). Updates in the GBAO permit in Dushanbe OVIR forum topic.
- June 2022: easy, 50 somoni.
- October 2021: 24 hour turnaround, 20 somoni.
- July 2018: No bribes needed, quick and easy, 20 somoni.
- May 2017: 40 somonis, they refused to do it unless 10 somoni bribe was paid to the guy who filled out the form.
- September 2016: 20 somoni and 1 day turnaround. Bit messy but doable with help from locals.
Khorog OVIR is located at Lenin 115. Opening hours are 8 – 13 and 14 – 17 Monday – Friday, 8 – 12 Saturday. It’s in the GBAO area, so you shouldn’t be able to apply for the GBAO permit here. But you never know.
Should I enter on the day itself?
Some people got confused by the following sentence in the FAQ page of the e-visa website:
Do I need to enter to GBAO on the exact date specified on my e-Visa? Yes. You should enter to GBAO which is specified on your e-Visa.
Just to make it clear, this is not true. You can enter on the day the GBAO permit starts but also on a later day. You can leave on the day the GBAO permit ends but also on a day before that. You cannot enter before the entry date on the GBAO permit, and you cannot leave after the exit date.
Extending the GBAO permit
In case you got a GBAO permit for a limited time at the embassy, you can extend it at OVIR. There are OVIR offices in every city in Tajikistan, some more helpful than others (Khujand, Khorog, Murghab are recommended, Dushanbe is not). It seems impossible to extend a GBAO permit for more than 30 days though. You will need to get a new permit on a new visa page.
According to one traveller, extending is unnecessary:” I was traveling with a 7 days permit in gbao area for 15 days, there are many check points, but they only write down my Tajikistan visa number. I asked a few soldiers and policemen , they said they only care about visa, I even passed a checkpoint, I just handshake with the police, he didn’t want to check my passport. If I knew this before I will not to pay 100 som to get a ugly useless stamp to waste a whole visa page in my passports, I feel less risk traveling in gbao area without this expired permit.”
If you apply for the GBAO permit online, there is nothing to fill in, the GBAO permit will be valid for the whole GBAO area, with a few exceptions. At the embassy, you might still be asked to fill in a form.
To cover all possibilities, put the following on the form: Khorog, Murghab, Darwaz, Ishkashim, Vanj, Rushan. Once you are in possession of the complete GBAO permit, you can travel freely (except for Sarez and perhaps Zorkul – see below).
Lake Sarez and Zorkul permits
Apart from the GBAO permit, special permission is required for travel to Lake Sarez and Zorkul. All other areas should be covered by the GBAO permit.
Before traveling to Zorkul on the Afghan border, you need a permit. PECTA in Khorog can get it for you. The cost is 2$, it’s quick. In Murghab, the building is down near the hospital: your homestay provider should be able to point you to the right place. Alternatively ask at the tourist information office and they’ll point you in the right direction.
The Sarez permit can be obtained at the Committee for Emergency Situations at Lohuti Street in Duhanbe, opposite the Tajik Sodirot Bank, or through a tour operator. Cost is 50$ per day per person. This includes accommodation.
For some dark reason, not all embassies offer the GBAO permit.
To the best of our knowledge, the following embassies do offer the GBAO permit when you apply for a Tajik visa: Almaty, Ankara, Bishkek, Islamabad, Tokyo, London. Last we heard, no GBAO permit for now in Baku, Tashkent, Dubai, Istanbul, Moscow and Tehran.
This is mostly of importance for visa-free travelers, who still need to apply for the GBAO permit.
2018: 20$, 3 visits over 3 days needed because of arrogant and incompetent staff. 20 days is the maximum given. Some frequent travelers report being refused. Avoid if possible.