Turkmenistan visa information
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.