Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Kyrgyzstan International Travel Information
The Kyrgyz Republic is a mountainous country of 6 million people. Tourism is not highly developed, despite spectacular natural beauty, and there is substantial rural poverty. Air and land travel, both international and domestic, can be subject to delays due to inadequate infrastructure, delays at border crossings, and winter weather. Rural and urban areas are subject to power, natural gas, and water outages. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet for information on U.S.-Kyrgyz relations.
Some HIV/AIDS restrictions exist for visitors and residents in the Kyrgyz Republic. An HIV test is required to apply for a work visa. Please verify current requirements with the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic 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.
Ethnic, political, and socio-economic tensions continue to simmer in the Kyrgyz Republic. The U.S. Embassy reviews travel of Embassy employees to Batken Oblast because ill-defined and porous borders allow for the relatively free movement of people and illicit goods, rendering the region vulnerable to transnational threats. Rugged terrain and a lack of resources prevent authorities from adequately controlling the borders.
On August 30, 2016 a vehicle-borne explosive device was detonated at the Chinese Embassy located less than 300 meters from the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek. Kyrgyz police located and detonated several explosive devices near downtown Bishkek in September 2016 and have since made several terrorism-related arrests throughout the Kyrgyz Republic.
Protests and demonstrations can break out without advance notice. During times of political unrest, demonstrators often gather in front of the Presidential Administration building (White House), the Parliament, and on Ala Too Square in Bishkek’s city center. Avoid the vicinity of any protests, because even protests that are intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate to violence.
Crime: The greatest threats to tourists and travelers in Bishkek are traffic accidents and street crime. There have been reports of muggings of foreigners in downtown Bishkek at night, as well as in more rural areas outside of Bishkek. Other common crimes include auto theft and pick-pocketing in crowded places such as markets, especially Bishkek’s Osh Bazaar, internet cafes, and on public transportation. U.S. citizens have been robbed by groups of young men who followed them back to their residences from hotels and bars. In addition, U.S. citizens have been victims of rape, assault, sexual harassment and kidnapping. Attackers do not always avoid violent confrontation with their victims.
Harassment and extortion by people who purport to be Kyrgyz police officers happen occasionally. These incidents tend to take place in local markets, especially in Osh Bazaar, and in areas frequented by Westerners. While you should always comply with the requests of legitimate police officers:
Victims of Crime: If you are the victim of rape or another crime, you should first contact the U.S. Embassy and then local police. The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in the Kyrgyz Republic is 102 for police, and 103 for emergency ambulance service. Operators and medical professionals have little to no English language ability and mostly speak Russian or Kyrgyz.
The U.S. Embassy can:
More info: See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
You must obey all laws in the Kyrgyz Republic. If you violate them, even without knowing you did, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
You must carry your passport or a certified copy with you at all times. If you are stopped by local officials, they may request proof of identity, citizenship, and permission to be in the Kyrgyz Republic (visa or entry stamp).
You may be taken in for questioning if you do not have your passport with you. The U.S. Embassy can provide you with a certified copy of your passport, which may be used in lieu of a physical passport if stopped by law enforcement or security officials. The cost of this service is $50.00. Appointments are scheduled online via the Embassy’s website.
Arrest: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.
Women Travelers: Please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Faith-Based Travelers: It is illegal to practice a religion in groups or to proselytize without being registered with the State Commission of Religious Affairs. See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.
Persons with Mobility Issues: Public transportation, sidewalks and road crossings, hotels, and restaurants are rarely wheelchair accessible.
Hunting and Trekking Issues:
Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan covers you when you are outside of the United States.
Medical Care: Health care resources are limited and often below US standards. U.S. citizens often travel outside of the Kyrgyz Republic for medical treatment, including many routine procedures. Doctors and medical/hospital staff rarely speak English, and prices for treatment are not fixed. It is advisable to utilize the services of a translator or Russian/Kyrgyz speaking friend or family member to assist with medical treatment.
Prescriptions: Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations, per CDC’s information.
Further Health Information:
Driving Hazards: Traffic accidents involving serious injury to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are common. Drunk driving and hit-and-run accidents are significant problems.
Traffic Laws: You must obey all local traffic laws.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in the Kyrgyz Republic, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of the Kyrgyz Republic’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.
However, ICAO inspectors have identified serious and persistent lapses in the safety oversight of commercial air service on some Kyrgyzstan-registered airlines. U.S. government personnel use only Air Manas for domestic flights within the Kyrgyz Republic. This policy will continue to be reevaluated as future technical reviews determine that other Kyrgyz carriers more substantially comply with acceptable international safety standards.