Road Conditions and Safety: Uzbekistan has a developed but inconsistently maintained traffic infrastructure. Although main roads in central Tashkent are relatively well maintained, many secondary roads inside and outside Tashkent, and particularly those in the Tien Shan Mountains, are in poor condition and may be passable only by four-wheel-drive vehicles. Driving at night can be dangerous because only the main roads in Tashkent and a few other major cities have streetlights; rural roads and highways generally are not lit. Visitors are urged to avoid driving at night outside Tashkent. The fuel supply can be sporadic; therefore, travelers should expect occasional difficulty finding gasoline particularly outside Tashkent.
Livestock, as well as farm equipment and animal-drawn carts that lack lights or reflectors, are found on both urban and rural roads at any hour. Local drivers are unfamiliar with safe driving techniques. Pedestrians cross streets unexpectedly and often without looking for oncoming traffic.
Traffic Laws: Uzbekistan has a large traffic police force, which frequently stops drivers for minor infractions or simple document checks. There have been reports of traffic police harassing foreign drivers and asking them for bribes.
As of December 15, 2018, Uzbekistan started allowing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.3 for drivers.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Uzbekistan?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Uzbekistan?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Medical Care: Medical care in Uzbekistan is below Western standards, with shortages of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics. A large percentage of medication sold in local pharmacies is known to be counterfeit. Elderly travelers and those with pre-existing health problems may be at particular risk due to inadequate medical facilities. Most resident U.S. citizens travel to North America or Western Europe for their medical needs. U.S. Embassy Tashkent?s Consular Section maintains a list of medical contacts on the Embassy website.
Avoiding Traveler?s Diarrhea: Drink only boiled or bottled water, peel fruits and vegetables, and avoid undercooked meat. Avoid eating unpasteurized dairy products and most food sold in the street.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further Health Information:
Trauma care in Uzbekistan is far below Western trauma care standards, and therefore emergency medical conditions and issues often require medical evacuation. Aeromedical evacuation can take days and is very expensive. Travelers are urged to purchase medical evacuation insurance before traveling to Uzbekistan.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare and Medicaid do not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Illicit Narcotics and Alcohol: Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Uzbekistan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. As of December 15, 2018, Uzbekistan started allowing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.3 for drivers.
Photography and Drones: Taking photographs of military or security installations or other locations of strategic significance (ministries, border and other checkpoints, bridges, tunnels, reservoirs, mountain passes, , etc.) is generally prohibited in Uzbekistan, although these regulations have been somewhat relaxed since 2018. Obey all signs restricting photography and remember that the absence of such a sign does not mean you may take a picture. The personal use of drones in Uzbekistan is generally prohibited by the Government of Uzbekistan?s Ministerial Cabinet Decree #287 (Dated 31 August, 2016).
Financial Transactions: Most transactions are conducted on a cash-only, local-currency (soum) basis. Credit cards are accepted only at the main hotels and a few shops and restaurants, and traveler?s checks can be cashed into dollars at the National Bank of Uzbekistan. The commission fee is two percent. Old U.S. bills (prior to 1997) and/or those in poor condition (with tears, writing, or stamps) will not be accepted.
In September 2017, the Government of Uzbekistan cancelled the requirement that all foreigners pay hotel charges, airline tickets, and train tickets in foreign currency. The aforementioned payments are now only accepted in local currency (soum) or by credit cards. Black market currency exchanges are prohibited. In late 2017 Uzbekistan abolished strict limitations on legal foreign currency exchanges and allowed banks to buy foreign currency at a market rate. This reform practically wiped out the black currency exchange market. All banks now have exchange offices. On weekends, major hotels have currency exchange offices operating until late hours. However, local citizens in Uzbekistan still have restrictions on the amount of foreign currency cash they can purchase and this means that a part of the black market for foreign currency still operates to sell foreign currency to the local population. U.S. citizens are advised that the Government of Uzbekistan strictly enforces laws against black market foreign currency trade. U.S. citizens must only use legal bank foreign currency exchange offices for their exchange needs while in Uzbekistan.
Currency exchange ATMs have been installed around Tashkent city. The exchange rate at these ATMs is slightly lower than the rate inside the bank. However, the convenience of having access to currency exchange even after working hours outweighs the insignificant difference in the rate.
Religious Activities: 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.
Public Speeches: Foreign citizens should not give public speeches or engage in other public events, regardless of size, unless their participation in the event has been authorized by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan or its branch that covers the region where the event is being held. The Uzbek government is strict about public events, especially when a foreigner is present.
Earthquakes: Uzbekistan is an earthquake-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Visitors to Uzbekistan should evaluate their own emergency preparedness and plan accordingly.
Women Travelers: Please review our travel tips for women travelers.
LGBTI: Sexual relations between men are against Uzbek law and punishable by up to three years? imprisonment. The law does not specifically address same-sex sexual activity between women. Same-sex sexual activity is generally a taboo subject in Uzbek society, and there are no registered LGBTI organizations. For further information, see our LGBTI Travel Information page and section six of our Human Rights report.
Accessibility: Local public transportation and the majority of buildings in Uzbekistan are not easily accessible for disabled individuals.
Special Circumstances: 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.
Safety and Security
The Department of State advises U.S. citizens that the potential for a terrorist attack or localized civil disturbance still exists in Uzbekistan. Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qai?da, ISIS, and the Islamic Jihad Union are active in the Central Asian region. Members of these groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and have attacked U.S. government interests in the past. They may attempt to target U.S. government or private U.S. citizen interests in Uzbekistan. In the past, these groups have conducted kidnappings, killings, and suicide bombings in the broader region. In recent years, Uzbek nationals abroad have allegedly been linked to terrorist or extremist groups, and more recently, participated in terrorist attacks against the Istanbul airport and a nightclub. An Uzbek national was also arrested as the main suspect in the terrorist attack in New York City on October 31, 2017 that claimed the lives of eight people.
Uzbek authorities maintain a high level of alert and aggressive security measures to thwart terrorist attacks. High security at official facilities may lead terrorists and their sympathizers to seek softer targets. These may include facilities where U.S. citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation events, and resorts. U.S. Embassy Tashkent continues to employ heightened security precautions. U.S. citizens should report any unusual activity to local authorities and then inform the Embassy.
Depending upon security conditions, travelers may experience restricted personal movement, including the closing of roads to traffic in addition to frequent document, vehicle, and personal identification checks. The Uzbek government has intermittently restricted travel to certain parts of the country in response to security concerns.
Crime: The rate of violent crime in Uzbekistan, including violent crime against foreigners, has increased in recent years, although official numbers are low. In urban areas, travelers are urged to take the same precautions they would take in any large U.S. city. If traveling at night, stay in well-lit areas, travel in groups, maintain a low profile, and do not display large amounts of cash. Beware of pickpockets in public places, such as tourist destinations, train stations, and local markets. Although using private cars as taxis is common in Uzbekistan, U.S. citizens, especially women, should not consider this a safe practice. U.S. citizens are encouraged to use clearly marked taxis, such as those at hotels, and should avoid riding in unmarked (i.e. gypsy) taxis, especially by themselves.
Counterfeit Goods: It is recommended that travelers not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are they illegal in the United States, you may also be breaking local law if you purchase them.
Victims of Crime: Contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and, if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent of the 911 emergency line in most areas of Uzbekistan is 01 for fire, 02 for police, 03 for an ambulance, and 050 for the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Please note that in Tashkent city these numbers are 101, 102, 103, and 1050, respectively.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Uzbek Immigration Law: Uzbek immigration laws and regulations are complex and often enforced in a discretionary, arbitrary manner. In some cases, U.S. citizen travelers have received contradictory guidance from Uzbek officials. The Department of State strives to provide accurate information but has no authority over Uzbek entry and exit controls or visa requirements. For more information, contact the Uzbek Embassy in the United States, the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Uzbek Ministry of Interior (page in Russian and Uzbek only).
Visas: All U.S. citizen travelers must possess a valid Uzbek visa and a valid U.S. passport. Visitors may not enter Uzbekistan with a valid Uzbek visa in a canceled or expired U.S. passport, even if they present another valid U.S. passport at the port of entry. Visit the visa information page of the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C., for current visa information.
U.S. citizens should apply for visas well in advance of their travel. Visitors coming from countries in which Uzbekistan does not have diplomatic or consular representation should obtain visas in a third country. A list of Uzbekistan?s consular missions abroad is available on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Visas CANNOT be obtained upon arrival at Uzbek airports.
U.S. citizens can apply for electronic visas to Uzbekistan at www.e-visa.gov.uz. Please note that electronic visas allow stays of up to 30 days in Uzbekistan. As of March 15, 2019, these visas may have 2 or more entries allowed for additional fees. Electronic visas are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance (not to be confused with the allowed stay of 30 days). More detailed information about this type of visa is available on the website of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in the United States. Electronic visas cannot be extended within Uzbekistan.
Tourist Visas (T) (non-electronic):
- Apply at an Uzbek embassy or consulate by filling out the required application form.
- Provide any other requested information.
Travelers whose travel plans do not fit the limitations of the electronic visas may still apply for a regular physical tourist visa through Uzbekistan?s consular missions abroad. List of these missions is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Tourist visas cannot be extended after arriving in Uzbekistan.
Private Visitor Visas (PV Visas):
- Invitation Letter: The inviting party must file an official invitation letter in Uzbekistan with Adminstration for Migration and Citizenship Issues (no longer officially known by but still constantly referred to as the Russian acronym OVIR). The inviting party should obtain approval, which includes a ?telex number,? and then send the approved invitation letter to the U.S. citizen. This approved letter with the ?telex number? must then be included with the visa application.
- Apply at an Uzbek embassy or consulate by filling out the required application form.
Official invitation letters are required in order to apply for a PV visa. PV visa holders are responsible for registering at OVIR offices 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 address and need to plan accordingly to provide for an uninterrupted registration between moves. If PV visa holders decide to stay at hotels, the hotel staff will then complete the guest?s registration with OVIR for the hotel stay. Travelers who are considering registering marriage with a citizen of Uzbekistan while in this country may apply for this visa. Uzbekistan introduced an online registration platform for foreigners, emehmon.uz. However, it is best to have the hosting party to register the foreign guest in this platform.
U.S. citizens may transit through Uzbekistan visa-free if the following conditions are met:
- Travelers must have an air ticket for the country they are traveling after arriving in Uzbekistan. This cannot be the country they arrived from.
- The departure date must be within 5 days of arrival in Uzbekistan.
- Important! The airline bringing visa-free transit passengers to Uzbekistan informs the border authorities of Uzbekistan about such passengers in advance. Absent such notification, travelers are stopped at airports, deported back to the country where they arrived from or forced to buy new tickets. Uzbekistan Airways is the only airline which shares visa-free transit passenger information in advance by default. Please check with your airline before your travel under this option.
Visa-free Entry for Foreign Citizens under 16:
U.S. citizens, who are under 16 are eligible for a visa-free regime. They should provide a valid U.S. citizenship passport and have to be accompanied by their legal guardians. They may enter and stay in Uzbekistan for the validity period of the entry visa of the accompanying person, but no longer than 90 days from the date of entry into Uzbekistan. In case a U.S. citizen reaches the age of 16 during stay in Uzbekistan, an exit visa is issued by OVIR. Minor U.S. citizens traveling with their Uzbek citizen parents may stay in Uzbekistan visa-free for not longer than 90 days. Parents should ensure that Uzbekistan does not consider their U.S. citizen children citizens of Uzbekistan. Please see the information on dual nationality on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan for more information.
Business Visas (B):
- Apply at an Uzbek embassy or consulate by filling out the required application form.
- The inviting party must file an official business invitation letter in Uzbekistan with OVIR. The inviting party should obtain approval, which includes a ?telex number,? and then send the approved invitation letter to the U.S. citizen. This approved letter with the ?telex number? must then be included with the visa application.
Please note, that U.S. citizens may request business visas with validity of up to one year and allowing multiple entries. This should be noted both on the invitation letter and the visa application. The U.S. Embassy is committed to visa reciprocity for U.S. citizens and welcomes any feedback on the validity of the visas U.S. citizen business travelers are receiving.
Please visit the visa information page of the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C., for details about these visa categories.
Visa Validity and Duration of Stay: 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 must leave the country before passage of the number of days listed as the authorized duration of stay on the visa. Include precise dates for your planned period of stay on your Uzbek visa application. Please note that the electronic visa may be valid for 90 days from the date of issuance but the allowed period of stay in Uzbekistan with this visa is only 30 days from the date of arrival. The bearer of the electronic visa must depart Uzbekistan either at the completion of the 30 days of authorized stay or by the expiration date of the validity of the electronic visa, whichever comes first.
Overstay Penalties: Overstaying your visa by any time at all may result in a USD 2,000 fine and a delay of a week or more before the Uzbek authorities allow you to exit the country. Travel agencies and tour companies may also be fined if customers overstay their visas or for visa application errors.
Exit Visa: Tourist visa holders who are unable to depart Uzbekistan by the visa expiration date or end date of their authorized period of stay must apply for an exit visa from the OVIR office at the Tashkent International Airport. The application must be submitted before the anticipated overstay. The service normally costs USD160, and there is no guarantee OVIR will approve the request. PV visa holders must apply for extensions at the district OVIR office at which they are registered. Again, the application must be filed before any overstay, the cost is normally USD 160, and there is no guarantee of approval.
Registering Your Temporary Residence in Uzbekistan: All travelers present in Uzbekistan for more than three business days must register with OVIR in the district or city in which they are staying. All foreign nationals are required to obtain valid registration by their third day in Uzbekistan (excluding Sundays and national holidays). From the date of the initial registration, travelers are responsible for maintaining uninterrupted registration, and the initial three-day grace period no longer applies for subsequent moves. This means travelers must apply for registration at the new residence in advance of their intended move. It is important to apply for this registration as soon as possible to avoid a fine and other penalties. Registration fees vary depending on length of stay, ranging from USD 20 for a one-month stay to USD 200 for a stay of up to a year. Visitors without proper registration are subject to fines, imprisonment, and deportation; the fines range from USD 1,000 to USD 12,000.
Border Crossings: Travel within Uzbekistan by rail or land sometimes requires brief entries into neighboring countries. Travelers should obtain multiple-entry Uzbek visas as well as proper visas for the relevant neighboring countries if needed.
Many of Uzbekistan?s land border crossings are restricted to use by Uzbek citizens and nationals of the country sharing that particular border. For more information on bordering countries, see the Travel Advisories and Country Information pages for Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. 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 should ensure they will cross at an authorized point.
In certain areas of Fergana Valley, many direct routes are along roads that may temporarily cross poorly demarcated or disputed borders. These so-called transit roads are used daily by locals without incident. U.S. citizens traveling in the region, however, are advised that crossing the border in this manner, even inadvertently, may be considered an immigration violation. Taking photos or filming in border areas is prohibited and doing so may result in detainment and questioning by border guards. Please contact the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C. for the most up-to-date information.
Uzbekistan introduced new rules on import and export of foreign currency cash to the country starting January 1, 2018. Private individuals are no longer required to declare foreign currency cash up to the equivalent of USD 2000 when entering and exiting Uzbekistan. Foreigners can take out foreign currency cash in excess of USD 2000 only if they declared a higher amount when they entered the country and can prove it with a customs declaration from their original entry. Therefore, it is important to retain the customs declaration form, if it was completed upon entry, until the day of departure from Uzbekistan.
Private individuals who are not importing foreign currency cash exceeding USD 2000 and don?t have other items to declare to customs are free to use the newly established ?green? line at international airports in Uzbekistan. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency to be imported into Uzbekistan as long as any foreign currency cash with a value in excess of USD 2000 is declared on a customs declaration form. Those who understate the amount of currency on the declaration form upon departure from Uzbekistan face fines and confiscation of their unreported money.
Uzbek customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning the 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, cancelled securities, pieces of art, and antiques of historical value.
Uzbek customs authorities also strictly control the importation of controlled pharmaceuticals and psychotropic medicine, e.g. antianxiety and antidepressant medicine, for personal use while in or transiting through the territory of Uzbekistan. Customs authorities routinely analyze the length of stay of all visitors and ensure that the amount of controlled narcotics and psychotropic prescription pharmaceuticals does not exceed a quantity which they consider within lawful guidelines. Under Uzbek law, for foreign citizens transiting Uzbekistan, the amount of prescription narcotics may not exceed the dose required for seven days, and the amount of psychotropic substances may not exceed the dose required for a fifteen-day period (please note that Lorazepam-based medicine, regardless of the brand name, is considered a controlled substance by Uzbek law).
All visitors who expect to visit or transit through Uzbekistan with restricted types of prescription medicines should declare their prescription medicines in item 6 of the customs declaration form and present all medicines to a customs official, in addition to a letter from their physician (preferably translated into Russian and/or Uzbek) which declares the diagnosis of the traveler, the name(s) of the prescription(s), dosage, and the duration of consumption and a copy of the actual prescription/script for each medicine.
Finally, travelers are advised that Uzbek customs laws and regulations are complex and often enforced in a discretionary, arbitrary manner. Regardless of compliance with the aforementioned procedures, the importation of any quantity of prescription medication may result in fines, arrest, and/or detention by the Uzbek authorities. Visit the U.S. Embassy’s website for specific information and the text of the actual legislation.
HIV/AIDS: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Uzbekistan. Long-term visitors may be required to submit HIV test results along with their visa application. For more information, contact the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C., before you travel.
Biometric Passport Requirement: In January 2019, Uzbekistan introduced a new type of passport for travel abroad. The permit to travel abroad, also known as an exit permit sticker, has been abolished. However, currently valid exit permits in green biometric passports of Uzbek citizens remain valid until their respective expiration dates.
Obtaining a foreign-travel passport takes at least 15 business days and possibly longer for those who have been away from Uzbekistan for extended periods of time. Travelers should plan their travels accordingly if they have to obtain this new type of passport before being able to depart Uzbekistan. Please see the website of the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C. for more information. Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan cannot assist dual nationals with obtaining their Uzbek travel passports.
Travel on a Biometric Passport:
- Uzbek citizens, including dual nationals, departing the Republic of Uzbekistan must exit using a biometric passport and a valid Uzbek exit permit, OR a valid biometric passport for foreign travel, regardless of age.
- To depart for the United States, dual nationals should be prepared to present a valid U.S. passport in addition to an Uzbek foreign travel passport (or the green passport with a valid exit permit)
Restrictions on Travel of a Minor of an Uzbek Citizen Parent:
Uzbek diplomatic missions will refuse to issue a visa to a U.S. citizen minor if at least one of the minor?s parents is an Uzbek citizen who has registered a permanent residence (?propiska?) in Uzbekistan. In these cases, the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C., or the Consulate General in New York will either issue an Uzbek birth certificate or a certificate for return to Uzbekistan. Uzbek citizen parents of minor U.S. citizens planning to make use of Uzbekistan?s new rules for visa-free stay for minors should first check with Uzbek consular missions abroad and confirm that their children will not be considered Uzbek citizens.
More information on dual nationality as well as the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. U.S. Embassy Tashkent also has a webpage dedicated to issues faced by dual nationals.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Uzbekistan for additional information on U.S.-Uzbekistan relations.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
3 Moyqorghon Street, 5th block
Yunusobod District, 100093
Telephone: +(998) (78) 120-5450
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(998) (78) 120-5450
Fax: +(998) (71) 120-5448