Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
A passport and visa are required. Although official invitation letters are not required for U.S. citizens applying for tourist visas, they are required for those planning to visit an individual residing in Uzbekistan. Tourist visas cannot be extended in Uzbekistan and require the holders to reside at hotels rather than private residences during their stay in the country. Visas are issued by Uzbek embassies and consulates abroad. Visitors coming from countries where Uzbekistan does not have diplomatic or consular representation should obtain visas in a third country. Visas are not available upon arrival at Uzbek airports. U.S. citizens seeking visas are encouraged to apply for their visas well in advance of their travel. The application process differs for tourist and private visitor visas. To obtain a private visitor visa, the applicant must arrange for an inviting party to file an official invitation letter in Uzbekistan via Office of Entry, Exit and Citizenship under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, obtain approval, and then send the approved letter to the U.S. Citizen. This approved invitation letter then must be included with the application for a visa to Uzbekistan to indicate the applicant’s intent to travel as a private visitor, rather than as a tourist. See the webpage of the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the United States for more information.
It is important to note that Uzbek visas not only indicate the validity of the visa, but also the period of time a person is allowed to stay in Uzbekistan on a given trip. A visitor will have to leave the country before the number of days indicated as the duration of stay on the visa expires. Therefore, it is important to indicate your intended period of stay when applying for your Uzbek visa. All travelers, even those simply transiting Uzbekistan, must obtain an Uzbek visa before traveling to Uzbekistan.
Many of Uzbekistan’s land border crossings are restricted to use by nationals of the two bordering states. Land crossings by U.S. citizens and other third country nationals are often restricted to specific border posts. U.S. citizen travelers planning an overland border crossing are advised to ensure that they will be crossing at an authorized point. Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan for the most updated information.
Foreigners must complete a customs declaration in duplicate upon entering Uzbekistan through an airport or overland crossing. Customs officials will review and stamp both copies. One will be retained by the Customs Authority; the other is to be kept by the traveler and presented at the time of departure from Uzbekistan. The amount of cash taken out of Uzbekistan should not exceed the amount indicated on the customs declaration as having been brought in. In order to export more cash than was imported, one must obtain special permission from the National Bank of Uzbekistan. Those who understate the amount of currency on their declaration form upon departure from Uzbekistan face fines and confiscation of their unreported money.
The Uzbek government tightly controls all official border crossings. Travel within Uzbekistan by rail or land sometimes requires brief exit into neighboring countries. Travelers therefore should consider obtaining multiple-entry Uzbek visas as well as proper visas for the neighboring countries.
All travelers present in Uzbekistan for more than three business days must register with the Office of Entry, Exit, and Citizenship, commonly known as “OVIR,” of the district or city in which they are staying. All foreigners are required to obtain valid registration by their third day in Uzbekistan (excluding Sundays and national holidays). Therefore, it is important to apply for this registration as early as possible upon arrival in the country. Registration fees vary depending on length of stay, ranging from $20 for a one month stay to $200 for a stay of up to a year. Visitors without proper registration are subject to fines, imprisonment, and deportation. The fines range from US $1,000 to $12,000.
Visitors may apply for two types of visa:
Tourists: Visitors who intend to stay at hotels should apply for Tourist (“T”) visas. Such visitors are required to stay at hotels and may not legally stay at private residences. Hotels are responsible for registering their “T” guests with OVIR and will ask guests to turn over their passports, often until checkout, so hotel staff can perform this task.
Private Visitors: Visitors who intend to stay at private residences (e.g. with friends) should apply for Private Visitor (“PV”) visas. Such visitors are responsible for registering themselves at OVIR offices, as noted above, within three days of arrival in country. “PV” visa holders who stay at multiple residences are responsible for re-registering each time they move to another private residence. “PV” visa holders, once initially registered with OVIR, are permitted also to stay at hotels, which will complete registration for the hotel stay as described above. This typically occurs if a foreign visitor wishes to combine a homestay with friends or relatives with excursions to tourist destinations.
Visit the Embassy of Uzbekistan website for the most current visa information.