Visa Guide to Central Asia

Central Asia
Posted on: 21 January 2020

Visa Guide to central asia

What visas do I need for Central Asia and how do I get them?

Citizens of western countries do not need a visa to travel to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan (exception: US citizens need an electronic visa). For Tajikistan, there is an electronic visa and for Turkmenistan, you can get the visa directly at the border with a pre-approved letter of invitation. That means you can easily enter all five countries without ever having to contact or visit an Embassy.

Let’s look at each country one by one…

visa information to Central Asia

Kazakhstan – Visa-free for citizens of western countries

Visa-free regime

For stays of up to 30 days, citizens of the following countries need no visa to enter Kazakhstan: All European Union countries, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates,  United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Vietnam.

For stays up to 90 days, citizens of these countries need no visa to enter Kazakhstan: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine. Hong Kong passport holders will not require a visa for a stay of up to 14 days.

Covid-19 Update: The visa-free regime has been suspended until 1 November 2020. 

For those who need a visa:

Citizens of all other countries need to get a visa from the Kazakh diplomatic mission in their country. As visa requirements vary from country to country, we’d advise contacting the nearest embassy directly to confirm what you’ll need to do.

Visa on arrival at the Airport:

If you don’t have a Kazakh diplomatic mission in your country and you are not from a country with a visa-free regime, then you can obtain your visa on arrival.  This can only be done at the airport in Aktau, Almaty, Astana, Atyrau or Oral Ak Zhol.  However, to get such a visa you must hold an invitation letter that has been approved by the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How to get your letter of invitation

Any travel agency, like us, will apply for a letter of invitation on your behalf if you book a tour or other services from them.  Please allow 2 to 3 weeks for the entire process of getting the invitation letter issued and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please note: No travel agency can guarantee that the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs will approve your letter of invitation.  If the Ministry rejects it, they are not required to inform you of the reason for such rejection.

Kyrgyzstan – visa-free for citizens of western countries

Visa-free regime

Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to visit Kyrgyzstan for up to 60 days (longer for some nationalities):

European Union citizens (except Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania), Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Georgia, Iceland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Russia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vatican City. Citizens of Malaysia and Turkey can also visit Kyrgyzstan visa-free for up to 30 days.

E-Visa

Citizens of all other countries can apply for an electronic visa through the official website. You can enter Kyrgyzstan with an E-visa through the following international checkpoints:

1. Manas-airport (Bishkek)
2. “Osh-airport”
3. “Chon-Kapka-avtodorozhnyi”
4. “Chaldybar- avtodorozhnyi”
5. “Ak-Jol- avtodorozhnyi”
6. “Ak-Tilek- avtodorozhnyi”
7. “Dostuk- avtodorozhnyi”
8. “Kyzyl-Bel- avtodorozhnyi”
9. “Kulundu- avtodorozhnyi”
10. “Bor-Dobo- avtodorozhnyi”
11. “Irkeshtam- avtodorozhnyi”
12. “Torugart-avtodorozhnyi”.

Visa upon arrival at Manas Airport (Bishkek) 

You can also get a visa on arrival at the Manas International Airport. This option applies to citizens of the following countries: Albania, Argentina, Cyprus, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Israel, the Philippines, Macedonia, Chile, Montenegro, Oman, Serbia, Venezuela, Thailand, Romania, Mexico, San Marino and the Republic of South Africa.

List of Kyrgyz diplomatic missions abroad

 

Tajikistan – Electronic Visa (EVisa) by Email Within a few days

Visa-free regime

The visa-free regime for Tajikistan applies only to citizens of ten, mostly CIS, countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Ukraine.

Electronic visa (Evisa)

Citizens of 121 countries (most countries of the world, incl. all western countries) are able to apply online for an electronic visa for stays with a duration of up to 60 days (within 90 days period).  It is a very straightforward process.  All you need to do is to visit the website www.evisa.tj. There, enter all your personal information, upload a copy of your passport, and pay a fee of $50 by credit card via the website. Where you are asked to provide an address in Tajikistan, just enter the address of a hotel you have booked or that you expect to stay at.

Please note:  You have the option to select whether you would like a GBAO (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province) permit for $20.  If you intend to visit the Pamir Mountains you will need this, so make sure you have ticked the box.  On your electronic visa, it will then mention that you have this permit as well.

Once you have paid for the visa and if applicable the GBAO permit, you will receive an electronic visa by email within two days.  You will need to print out that electronic visa and bring it with you to Tajikistan.  At the border, you need to show it together with your passport.

Please note: The electronic visa is single-entry only. If you require a multi-entry visa, you need to get several electronic visas.

Ordinary visa process

If your country is not on this list you will need to apply for a visa at the nearest Tajik Diplomatic Mission.  Please check the precise requirements on their website.

Turkmenistan – VISA ON ARRIVAL WITH AN INVITATION LETTER

Transit visa from an embassy without a letter of invitation

Citizens of all countries need a visa for Turkmenistan.  For a transit visa (valid for between 3 and 7 days) you do not need an invitation letter.  However, regardless of your nationality or the place where you apply for it, getting the transit visa is a lottery. Many people get rejected for no obvious reasons. You need to apply for a transit visa at a Turkmen consulate and in most cases, you are required to show up in person.  Please note: The approval process for a transit visa takes typically between two to four weeks.  Find your nearest Diplomatic Mission of Turkmenistan and plan your visa application process. You should also be aware that a transit visa can be issued only for a proper transit, i.e. entering the country from Iran and departing to Uzbekistan for example. All the places that you are planning in Turkmenistan should be located on the direct transit route from country A to country B through Turkmenistan. Flying to Turkmenistan or out of Turkmenistan is not possible on a transit visa.

Tourist Visa upon arrival with letter of invitation

Even if your stay in Turkmenistan is short enough to qualify for a transit visa and your route qualifies as well, it is safer to apply for a tourist visa because chances for approval are much higher.  However, you should be aware that although such visas are more likely to be approved than a transit visa, rejections are still quite common especially for applicants from “non-western” countries.

You can only apply for a tourist visa if you have booked a guided tour in Turkmenistan. The travel agency will ask you to provide personal information including your nationality, age, gender, marital status plus your field of study and/or occupation. With this information, the travel agency will apply on your behalf for an invitation letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.  The ministry takes the decision to issue a letter (or not) based on the information that you provide.  Three months before you plan to leave Turkmenistan you may start the application process for your invitation letter.  It then takes the ministry another three to four weeks to approve the letter.  The good thing is, you do not need to apply for a visa at the embassy.  If your invitation letter is approved you can just take it with you and get your visa upon arrival at Ashgabat Airport or at an international land border.  So you only need to provide the required information to the travel agency, they will issue the invitation letter, which they will then send to you as a PDF document. You then print out the letter, carry it with you to Turkmenistan, and at the border, you can get the actual sticker visa in your passport. You will have to pay approximately 60-100 USD per person (depending on duration, nationality, etc.) in cash at the border to get your visa issued.

The risk of rejection concerns only the invitation letter. If the invitation letter gets approved, you are 100% sure to get your visa issued on the border.

Please check with your travel agency prior to booking flights

Your travel agency can tell you based on the information you provide, how high your chances are to get the invitation letter for Turkmenistan visa approved, and whether you can proceed and book flights already or better wait for the letter first. If you book a multi-country tour with us that includes Turkmenistan we will always provide an alternative route without Turkmenistan for those whose visa applications are rejected. If you prefer, you may also decide to cancel the tour altogether. If the reason for cancellation is a rejected visa application, we will refund your deposit payment in full. However, for our travelers from western countries rejection rates have been very low (less than 1%). So far, based on the information the people provided, in every single case of rejection we were able to “warn” these individuals in advance that there is a high chance of rejection for them.

Uzbekistan – visa-free for most countries – E-visa for us citizens

Visa-free regime

Citizens of eight CIS countries do not need a visa to visit Uzbekistan for up to 90 days: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. Citizens of Kyrgyzstan do not need a visa for Uzbekistan for up to 60 days.

Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa for up to 30 days: All European Union citizens, Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vatican.

Citizens of China and Hong Kong can stay visa-free in Uzbekistan for 7 days, but only if they arrive via air.

E-Visa for other countries – for example, the United States or India

Citizens of other countries that cannot travel to Uzbekistan visa-free can easily get a single entry or multi-entry electronic visa for a stay of up to 30 days for just 20 USD. You can apply for an e-visa at least three days before your planned trip. The visa is valid for 30 days within 90 days period from the day you submitted the form. Just follow the instructions on the official electronic visa portal of Uzbekistan. You can pay by credit card on the website. You will get notified by email, when the visa is ready for download. Just print out the visa and carry it with you on your trip to Uzbekistan.

Please note: if you book a trip with us, you don’t need to worry about the visa – we will get it for you.

List of Uzbek Diplomatic Missions abroad

Here you can find a list of all Uzbek Diplomatic Missions abroad including contact information

visa central asia

For more info – contact us

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us.

We hope this information was useful and wish you a fantastic trip to Central Asia!

How about exploring the natural and cultural highlights of all five Central Asian countries on one epic tour of 22 days? Or check out all our scheduled group tours to Central Asia. All departures are guaranteed and the maximum group size is 12 people.

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Turkmenistan Visa Information

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