How to Enter Uzbekistan

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.

Special Travel Circumstances in Uzbekistan

Travelers to Uzbekistan are subject to frequent document inspections. Therefore, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to carry their U.S. passports with their Uzbek visas, or certified copies, with them at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available.

Dual nationality: Diplomatic missions of Uzbekistan refuse to issue visas to U.S. citizen children if at least one of the U.S. citizen’s parents is a citizen of Uzbekistan. In these cases, the Embassy of Uzbekistan or the Consulate General of Uzbekistan will either issue an Uzbek birth certificate or enroll the child in the Uzbek citizen parent’s passport. To travel back to the United States such a dual national child must obtain Uzbek travel documents, either by enrolling in the parent’s exit permit or by obtaining a new biometric passport. The U.S. Embassy’s experience indicates that the border authorities of Uzbekistan will allow the child to depart Uzbekistan for the United States if the child possesses an Uzbek biometric passport (or is enrolled in the parent’s exit permit) and a U.S. passport.

The most direct routes in certain areas of the Fergana Valley are along roads that may temporarily cross poorly demarcated/ not yet agreed upon borders. These so-called transit roads are used daily by locals without incident. However, U.S. citizens traveling in the region are advised that crossing the border in such a manner, even inadvertently, may be considered an immigration violation. Pay careful attention when planning overland routes, and obtain proper visas if a border will be crossed. In addition, all travelers are reminded that taking photos or filming in border areas is prohibited and doing so may result in detainment and questioning by border guards.

Uzbek customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import to or export from Uzbekistan of items such as armaments and ammunition, space technology, encryption devices, x-ray and isotope equipment, nuclear materials, poisons, drugs, precious and semi-precious metals, nullified securities, pieces of art, and antiques of historical value. Contact the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Washington, D.C., or the Consulate of Uzbekistan in New York for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Most transactions are conducted on a cash-only, local currency (soum) basis. Many merchants will accept dollars for larger tourist handicraft purchases. Credit cards are accepted only at the main hotels and a few shops and restaurants; travelers’ checks can be cashed into dollars at the National Bank of Uzbekistan. The commission fee is two percent. Old U.S. dollar bills (prior to 1990) and/or those in poor condition (with tears, writing, or stamps) are not acceptable forms of currency in Uzbekistan. Although payment in U.S. dollars is required for certain hotel charges, airline tickets, and visa fees, other dollar transactions, as well as black market currency exchanges, are prohibited.

In Uzbekistan, religious congregation is only allowed by registered religious communities. The registration process for religious organizations and groups is strict and complex. Activities such as proselytizing, importing and disseminating religious literature and offering private religious instruction are subject to criminal penalties and/or deportation.

Uzbekistan is an earthquake-prone country.

Disclaimer

You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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