COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Tajikistan is a small land-locked country that borders Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, China, and Afghanistan and is home to some of the highest mountains in the world. Tajikistan is the poorest of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia. It is a nominally constitutional, democratic, and secular republic, dominated by President Emomali Rahmon who has been in power since 1992. Tourist facilities are undeveloped and many goods and services usually available in other countries are unavailable. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Tajikistan for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Tajikistan, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here's the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
U.S. Embassy Dushanbe
109A Ismoili Somoni Avenue
Consular direct line: 992-37-229-2300
Emergency after hours: 992-98-580-1032
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: A valid passport and visa are required to enter and exit Tajikistan, as well as to register at hotels. Your visa should be valid for the entire period of stay in-country and ideally, you should request a visa that allows for changing travel dates. If you do not have a valid visa, you may be required to leave the country immediately.
If you travel to Tajikistan from countries that have Tajik embassies or consulates,you must obtain your visa abroad prior to your travel. Tajikistan is represented by embassies and consulates in the following countries: the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan (Kabul, Mazar-I-Sharif), Austria, Belarus, Belgium, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates (Dubai), and Uzbekistan.
If you travel to Tajikistan from countries in which there are no Tajik embassies or consulates,you may apply for a visa at the Dushanbe International Airport upon arrival.
To apply for a tourism (T) visayou need two visa application forms, your travel itinerary, two passport photos (3x4 cm), a U.S. passport with at least six months validity beyond the duration of your planned stay in Tajikistan, and two photocopies of the biographical page of your passport. Tourist visas are issued for a duration not exceeding 45 days and cannot be extended or replaced. If you are issued a tourist visa you should leave the country before the visa expiration date. All other types of visa applicants must have Tajik visa support in the form of a letter from the Tajik Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) confirming that a visa may be issued upon arrival at the Dushanbe airport. This “upon arrival” visa service does not apply to any other Tajik airports or land borders. Receiving a visa at the Dushanbe airport may also entail some waiting time at the airport's Consular Bureau, which in rare cases, may not be staffed.
To receive your visa support, the organization that invited you to Tajikistan must submit a request to the MFA at least two weeks in advance of your planned travel date. If you are invited by a private Tajik resident (e.g., a friend or relative), he or she first needs to obtain a notification letter from the Department of Visas and Registration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (OVIR). Obtaining the notification letter can take up to 45 days, after which the Tajik resident should request your visa support letter from the MFA. A copy of the MFA visa support letter should be sent to you. The original will be filed with the Consular Bureau at the Dushanbe airport.
If you plan to stay in Tajikistan three days or more, within three days of arrival, you must obtain a Tajik visa registration stamp in your passport. Official travelers, employees of international organizations, and journalists must register with the MFA. All other travelers must register with OVIR. Tourism (T) visa holders who plan to stay in Tajikistan less than 30 days are exempted from this rule. If you plan to stay for more than 30 days, you must register with OVIR prior to the 30 day limit. A few hotels in Dushanbe are also allowed to register foreign citizens staying at their hotels. If you fail to register your visa, airport immigration authorities may prohibit your exit from Tajikistan until you have paid a fine and obtained a registration stamp from the MFA or OVIR.
Entry into the Gorno-Badakhshan region, both from inside and from outside Tajikistan, requires a special permit in advance in addition to a valid Tajik visa. You can obtain this permit at Tajik embassies and consulates abroad, or by applying to the MFA or OVIR once in Tajikistan. Tajik authorities advise sponsoring organizations in Tajikistan to submit their authorization requests at least two weeks in advance of the planned travel. If your request is granted, the names of the settlements and cities you are authorized to visit are annotated in your passport. The permit is not listed on your visa.
Tajikistan Embassy location and contact information in the United States:
The Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan
1005 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C., 20037
Phone: 202-223-6090; Facsimile: 202-223-6091
email@example.com (Consular section)
Visit the Embassy of Tajikistan website for the most current visa information.
Transit Visas: If you transit through Russia en route to a third country you should consult the U.S. Embassy Moscow website for up-to-date information regarding transit visas for Russia. Even if you are simply changing planes in Russia for an onward destination you may be asked to present a transit visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. If you do not have a transit visa you may be required to immediately return to the point of embarkation at your own expense. Please note it is not possible to obtain a Russian visa at the airport. Arrival without an appropriate visa may result in additional restrictions on future travel to Russia.
Note: Departure options from Tajikistan may be limited in an emergency. You can maximize your departure options by obtaining extended visas for travel to countries with reliable connections to Tajikistan, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Russia. Other destinations, including Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Germany offer at least one flight a week and do not require U.S. citizens to obtain visas in advance. Please note, however, that in emergency situations, flights may be suspended.
Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Tajikistan. Visitors and foreign residents who will be in Tajikistan for more than 90 days must present a medical certificate showing that they are HIV-free, or to submit to an HIV test in Tajikistan. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Tajikistan before you travel.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), al-Qaida, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement as well as anti-Western, anti-Semitic extremist organizations such as Hizb’ut-Tahrir have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. government or private interests in the region, including in Tajikistan.
Terrorist attacks involving the use of suicide bombers have occurred in Tajikistan and in neighboring Uzbekistan. Minor explosions occasionally occur in Dushanbe and rarely cause serious injuries or damage. From time to time, the Tajik government conducts counter-terrorist operations in areas outside Dushanbe. In July 2012, Tajik military forces conducted operations in Khorog, the capital of the Gorno-Badakshan region in eastern Tajikistan, causing instability and disruptions for visitors and the local population. Although there have been rare instances of criminal or terrorist groups specifically targeting U.S. citizens or foreigners, you should take care to abide by government-imposed restricted areas. Additionally, insurgent activity in neighboring Afghanistan could also affect the security situation along the border and in Tajikistan. You should exercise extra caution if traveling in border provinces.
Because of increased security at official U.S. facilities, terrorists may seek softer civilian targets such as residential areas, clubs and restaurants, places of worship, hotels, outdoor recreation events, and other venues. The limited number of facilities catering to Westerners in Tajikistan presents a heightened risk. You should also avoid demonstrations and large crowds. Demonstrations and mobs are rare in Tajikistan since the 1992–1997 civil war, and police reaction to such behavior is unpredictable.
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CRIME: The level of criminal activity in Dushanbe is moderate to high. Of significant concern is the inability of Tajikistan’s law enforcement entities to provide adequate and immediate assistance. Lack of manpower, low salaries, and inadequate training all contribute to a lack of professionalism among law enforcement entities. Tajikistan’s struggling economy and high unemployment have resulted in incidents of street crime, including pick-pocketing, muggings, and armed robberies. Alcohol-related incidents such as drunk driving are common. Criminals are not deterred by the risk of confrontation and tend to operate in groups of two or more to decrease their chances of arrest. When crimes do occur, they can be violent in nature. Additionally, the lack of a free media and infrequent government outreach through the media do not provide the average citizen with current and accurate information to make informed decisions about safety. Government statistics are typically inaccurate because many crimes are not reported to law enforcement organizations. Often police refuse to open minor or routine cases that seem too difficult to resolve.
Crimes of opportunity can occur against anyone, and you are reminded to be careful and cautious in your own personal security, whether within the city limits of Dushanbe or in the more remote areas of the country. You should be aware that danger increases after dark, and to use caution when traveling alone or on foot after dark. The U.S. Embassy encourages visitors to travel in pairs and to notify colleagues of their whereabouts when not working, especially during evening hours. It is wise to refrain from wearing expensive jewelry or anything that may indicate that you have any amount of wealth. Travelers are also encouraged to carry a copy of their passport (separate from their wallets) to speed up issuance of a new passport in case of theft.
Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Tajikistan is:
01 - fire, 02 - police, 03 – ambulance
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Tajikistan, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don't have your passport with you. In some places it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Tajikistan, your passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It's very important to know what's legal and what's not in the countries where you are going.
Persons violating Tajik laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Tajikistan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
The Government of Tajikistan may enforce strict customs regulations. Customs authorities may subject all items, including travel souvenirs, imported into or exported from Tajikistan to a high level of scrutiny. The export of antiques, precious stones and metals, and cultural valuables requires special permission. The number of items that can be exported may be limited. It is illegal to export or possess unprocessed stones and metals and jewelry without a hallmark (mark of authenticity). Even if travelers have a receipt confirming legal purchase of such items at a store in Tajikistan, the items must be declared upon departure. Failure to abide by Tajik customs laws and regulations may result in heavy fines, arrest, or imprisonment.
There are also currency restrictions. You must fill out a Customs Declaration Form upon arrival in Tajikistan, have it stamped by Tajik customs officials at the port of entry and retain the form until your departure to demonstrate that you are not leaving Tajikistan with more money than you brought into the country. Please contact the Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in the United States for specific information about customs requirements.
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Tajikistan has a cash-only economy. International banking services are limited, but ATM machines have been installed in various locations. Cash is dispensed in both U.S. and local currency. Few establishments in the country accept credit cards and none accepts travelers’ checks. Tajikistan's national currency is the Somoni, which is convertible.
The Republic of Tajikistan does not recognize dual citizenship with most countries, including the United States. An exception is with Russia, where dual citizenship is regulated by a special interstate agreement). Dual nationals who attempt to leave Tajikistan on U.S. passports without valid Tajik visas in them are likely to have problems with immigration authorities upon departing Tajikistan.
Travelers to Tajikistan are subject to frequent document inspections by local police. You are strongly encouraged to carry copies of your U.S. passport, Tajik visa, and visa registration at all times (including while traveling within Tajikistan) so that proof of identity, U.S. citizenship, and valid visa status in Tajikistan are readily available. Always check your visa and registration validity dates so that these documents can be renewed if necessary before they expire.
Travelers to Tajikistan should keep in mind that the rationing of electricity is an ongoing practice in Tajikistan - especially during the colder seasons of the year (i.e., from September to March). During the winter, it is not unusual for Dushanbe to be without electricity at night and sometimes even during the daytime. Wintertime brings even more severe limitations of electricity outside Dushanbe.
Tajikistan is an earthquake-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Accessibility: When in Tajikistan, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Tajikistan has no laws regarding discrimination against persons with disabilities. Buildings, public transportation, communication, and road crossings are inaccessible.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: The quality of Tajikistan’s medical infrastructure is significantly below Western standards, with severe shortages of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, prescription drugs, and antibiotics. Many trained medical personnel left the country during or after the civil war. Elderly travelers and those with pre-existing health problems may be at particular risk due to inadequate medical facilities.
Significant disease outbreaks are possible due to population shifts and a decline in some immunization coverage among the general population. There have been outbreaks of polio in the southwest areas of the country near the borders with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, including the capital city Dushanbe; typhoid outbreaks in the Dushanbe area and in the south of the country; an outbreak of Congo Crimea hemorrhagic fever to the west of Dushanbe; and the risk of contracting malaria, cholera, and water-borne illnesses is high. Throughout Central Asia, infection rates of various forms of hepatitis and tuberculosis (including drug-resistant strains) are on the rise. Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Tajikistan. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
It is advisable to drink only bottled or thoroughly boiled water while in Tajikistan.
The government of Tajikistan requires all foreign citizens who remain in the country for more than 90 days to present a medical certificate from a medical facility or to submit to an HIV test in Tajikistan if they are already in Tajikistan without such a certificate (with the exception of persons applying for diplomatic, official, investor, and humanitarian types of visas).
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can't assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It's very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn't go with you when you travel, it's a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Tajikistan, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Tajikistan is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in any particular location or circumstance.
Travel to, from, and within Tajikistan is difficult and unreliable. Neighboring countries may unilaterally close borders and some borders are poorly delineated. Armed police or military checkpoints can make road travel outside Dushanbe more difficult. Crossing the Tajik-Uzbek border, in particular, has been known to present difficulties for drivers operating vehicles with non-Tajik government-issued plates. Road travel should be undertaken only in daylight hours and on routes known to the traveler or a reliable escort. Those traveling to Gorno-Badakhshan by car should do so only during daylight hours. The roads traverse mountainous terrain along the Afghan border that is difficult to navigate, even in daylight hours. If you are driving, be vigilant because pedestrians often tend to cross the street at inappropriate places or walk along the highway without paying attention to vehicular traffic. Also, erratic driving and car accidents are common. Traffic police are posted at stationary positions and checkpoints and along major roads. They are notorious for paying little if any attention to traffic safety issues, but rather for randomly pulling over cars and exacting bribes. In Dushanbe, expensive cars and those with government license plates routinely speed past police, sometimes on the wrong side of the road and through stoplights, while other cars are flagged down for “document checks.”
Public transportation vehicles in the city are often overcrowded and not always safe. Bus services between major cities have been severely disrupted by border closures and should not be relied upon. The State Traffic Inspectorate (GAI, or in Tajiki, BDA), which has checkpoints in many cities and at regular intervals along all highways outside the city, frequently stops vehicles for inspection of both the vehicle and the driver’s documents. The government will not register vehicles with darkly tinted windows. During the winter months, the potential dangers when traveling outside Dushanbe in the mountainous areas of the country are heightened. Every year, accidents and casualties occur on Tajikistan’s mountain roads and passes, often when drivers ignore warnings not to travel over a closed mountain pass. Avalanches are a common occurrence in Tajikistan’s mountains during the winter months. The tunnel bypassing the Anzob Pass is still not complete and you should try to obtain information regarding tunnel conditions before traveling via this route. The alternate Anzob Pass road is not maintained. Please exercise caution and limit winter travel to Tajikistan’s mountain regions.
In certain parts of the country, including the Vakhsh and Rasht valleys and along the Afghan-Tajik border, land mines and cluster munitions form an additional hazard. If an area has land mine warning signs, or is marked off with red and white plastic tape, heed the warning and do not venture off the road. In all cases, do not pick up or handle anything that looks like unexploded munitions.
Emergency phone numbers in Tajikistan include: fire – 01, police – 02, ambulance – 03, state traffic control (GAI) duty officer – 235-4545.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Tajikistan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Tajikistan’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Tajikistan dated March 29, 2012 to update the section on Threats to Safety and Security.