Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
Before you leave for Turkmenistan, you will need to obtain a letter of invitation approved by the Government of Turkmenistan. This letter of invitation allows you to apply for a visa, either at the Embassy of Turkmenistan or upon arrival at the airport in Ashgabat. The U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat cannot assist private citizens with letters of invitation to Turkmenistan. You will also need a valid passport.
Before visiting Turkmenistan: Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months at the time of applying for a letter of invitation.
Have an individual or organization in Turkmenistan submit a letter of invitation application along with a copy of your passport ID page on your behalf to the State Migration Service (SMS). The SMS requires at least 15 working days for approval.
After you receive the approved letter of invitation, apply for a visa at the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Washington, D.C. or at the Ashgabat International Airport upon arrival in Turkmenistan. The price of the visa will depend on your length of stay in Turkmenistan. You may wish to consult the visa checklist on the Embassy of Turkmenistan website prior to submitting your application.
To avoid possible problems with airlines not boarding passengers without visas, as well as visa lines at the Ashgabat International Airport, it is advisable to obtain a visa and not just a letter of invitation before traveling. Without one or the other, you won’t be allowed into the country, and you may be held at the airport or on the border until you have secured transportation out of Turkmenistan. You should not use a transit visa instead of a tourist visa since transit visas are issued for a very short duration and are very difficult to extend. If you plan to travel to areas of the country that have been restricted by the Government of Turkmenistan, which includes almost all border areas, you will not be able to do so until you obtain special permission from the SMS.
Once you arrive at the airport or border entry point, you will be charged approximately $12 for an immigration card issued by Turkmen authorities, which you will have to carry for the duration of your stay in Turkmenistan. When you leave the country, you will turn in this card to the authorities at the airport. If you are departing from the Ashgabat airport and using a non-Turkmen flagged carrier, you will need to pay a departure fee of $25.
If you extend your stay in Turkmenistan, you will need to apply with the SMS in Ashgabat for a visa extension. If you attempt to depart Turkmenistan with an expired visa, you will be denied exit until you extend your visa through the departure date.
Registering with the State Migration Service: if your trip to Turkmenistan is longer than three working days, you will have to:
Register with one of the SMS offices, depending on the location of your sponsoring organization. SMS offices are located in Ashgabat, Dashoguz, Mary, Turkmenabat, and Turkmenbashy;
Inform the SMS in advance if you plan to travel outside the city in which you are registered. Failure to do so may result in fines and deportation. Return to the SMS to register your departure from the country one day in advance. Both registration and de-registration have to be done at the same SMS office.
If you do not register your departure, the immigration authorities might not allow you to leave the country until you fulfill this requirement. If you fail to register properly or have an expired visa, you will have to pay a fine. You may also be arrested and/or deported. If you are deported for these violations, you will not be able to return to Turkmenistan for up to five years.
Dual Nationality: The State Migration Service has started strictly enforcing the country’s prohibition on dual citizenship. Upon departure, SMS requires that citizens of Turkmenistan have a visa for their country of destination in their Turkmen passport, regardless of any other passports that they may hold. Absent a visa in the Turkmen passport, dual citizens have been denied departure. U.S. law prohibits issuance of U.S. visas to citizens of the United States. If you hold both a U.S. and a Turkmen passport, you should consider renouncing your Turkmenistan citizenship prior to travel and entering the country on a visa. Please consult the Embassy's page on dual citizenship issues for the most up-to-date information.