Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Kyrgyzstan International Travel Information
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on the Kyrgyz Republic here for information on U.S.-Kyrgyz relations.
Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on entry/exit requirements related to COVID-19 in the Kyrgyz Republic.
See the government of the Kyrgyz Republic’s website for visa information.
Travelers who overstay the 60-day visa-free period may be required to pay an administrative fine of 10,000 Kyrgyz som (KGS) to receive an exit visa prior to departure. This process is time consuming and cannot be completed at the airport at the time of departure. The U.S. Embassy is aware of occasional amnesty periods to these regulations. However, travelers are cautioned not to rely on the possibility that amnesty from these requirements will be available if they overstay in the future.
If you will spend more than 60 days in the Kyrgyz Republic, obtain a visa from the Kyrgyz Embassy to the United States before you travel or on arrival at the airport in Bishkek.
It is not possible to get a visa if you originally entered the country without one.
Ensure your passport is stamped when you enter the country. There have been reports of officials intentionally not stamping passports of visitors entering the country. When this occurs, visitors are unable to prove they legally entered.
The Kyrgyz Republic now requires all visitors staying longer than 60 days to register with the State Registration Service. Additional information on the registration process can be found on the website for the Kyrgyz State Registration Service.
A five-year, multi-entry visa is available at any Kyrgyz embassy abroad. Details can be found at https://www.evisa.e-gov.kg/. For the most up-to-date visa information and information regarding entry/exit requirements, contact the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic.
If you travel to the Kyrgyz Republic in any religious capacity, you must register with the State Commission on Religious Affairs.
Journalists traveling to the Kyrgyz Republic for work should obtain the appropriate visa at the nearest Kyrgyz Embassy prior to their arrival. In addition to visas, journalists are also required to register their stay and receive Ministry of Foreign Affairs approval to conduct press activities in country.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS restrictions exist for visitors and foreign residents in the Kyrgyz Republic. An HIV test is required to apply for a work visa. Please verify this information with the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic before you travel.
Crime: The greatest threat to travelers is street crime. There have been reports of muggings of foreigners in downtown Bishkek at night and areas outside of Bishkek. U.S. citizens should limit travel to the Batken province (Oblast). Other common crimes include auto theft and pickpocketing in crowded places such as markets, especially Bishkek’s Osh Bazaar, large department stores, 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.
The police are generally responsive to reports of crimes.
Harassment and extortion by imposters, genuine law enforcement, and other officials does occur. Never voluntarily give your wallet to anybody. If pressured by a police officer, tell the officer that you will report his behavior to the U.S. Embassy and to the officer’s supervisors. Try to obtain the officer's name, badge number, and license plate number, and note where the incident happened.
Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +996 (312) 597 000. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance. Crisis centers exist across Kyrgyzstan, but English-language assistance may be limited.
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 (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/health/insurance-providers.html).
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
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. For a fee and with a scheduled appointment, 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 local officials.
It is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. Ask before taking pictures of anything of possible military or security interest, including government buildings, people in police or military uniforms, and food markets.
The legal blood alcohol level for driving in the Kyrgyz Republic is zero. Driving under the influence may land you immediately in jail, no matter how little you consumed.
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the Kyrgyz Republic are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
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.
Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.
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. See the following webpages for additional information:
LGBTQI+ Travelers: The Kyrgyz Republic does not recognize sexual orientation as a protected category within the context of discrimination and there are no laws that define hate crimes in the Kyrgyz Republic to include LGBTQI+ individuals.
LGBTQI+ individuals may be subject to discrimination in the application of current laws and many LGBTQI+ individuals report that they are often threatened and harassed by law enforcement officials.
Travelers with Disabilities: The law in the Kyrgyz Republic prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual and mental disabilities, but the law is not enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. Access to sidewalks and public buildings may be limited due to a lack of ramps or access points. Public infrastructure is limited and may be in poor condition. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure. Conditions in rural or outlying areas are substantially worse than in developed areas.
Limited possibilities exist for repair or replacement of personal aids/equipment/devices. Sign language interpretation options are limited. Personal assistants are available but may not have comparable training or experience to personal assistants in the United States.
Women Travelers: Forced marriage, bridal kidnapping, and high rates of domestic violence are known trends in the Kyrgyz Republic. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Hunting and Trekking Issues: It is illegal to hunt without a proper license. You must get a permit from the Kyrgyz government prior to arrival in country to import or own firearms in the country.
Foreigners who do not have official permission to hunt or take animals out of the country may face criminal and/or civil charges.
Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.
Hospitals and doctors often require payment “up front” prior to service or admission. Credit card payment is not always available. Most hospitals and medical professionals require cash payment.
U.S. citizens often travel outside of the Kyrgyz Republic for medical treatment, including many routine procedures. Medical staff rarely speak English, and prices for treatment are not fixed.
Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions.
For emergency services in the Kyrgyz Republic, dial 112.
Ambulance services are not widely available, and the training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Emergency responders may not be present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas except Bishkek, Osh, and other large cities. Ambulances are not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment and are typically not staffed with trained paramedics. Injured or seriously ill travelers, particularly outside of metropolitan areas, may prefer to take a taxi, private ambulance, or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
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. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
Always carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Prescription must be translated into Russian. Check with the Ministry of Health’s register of medications to ensure that your medication is legal in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further Health Information:
Tuberculosis is prevalent in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in the Kyrgyz Republic. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.
The air quality varies considerably and fluctuates with the seasons. It is typically at its worst in the winter. People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals here. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Road Conditions and Safety: Traffic accidents involving serious injury to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are common.
Many city roads are hazardous due to potholes, uncovered manholes, poor lighting, and pedestrians ignoring oncoming traffic.
There is no roadside assistance infrastructure. Outside of metropolitan areas, roads are generally poor.
Mountain roads in the Kyrgyz Republic are often narrow and treacherous, and may close without notice due to snow, ice, or rockslides. Guardrails and barriers are often missing.
Traffic Laws: You must obey all local traffic laws. Passengers must wear seat belts and motorcycle riders must wear helmets.
Drunk driving and hit-and-run accidents are significant problems.
Drivers often speed on the newly upgraded roads that connect main cities and towns.
Many local drivers do not stop at red lights, pass vehicles when it is dangerous or prohibited to do so, drive into oncoming traffic, and do not stop for pedestrians.
Traffic police have been known to demand payment of arbitrary "fines" for purported infractions. Payment of traffic fines should be made at local banks. Some police vehicles now offer terminals for individuals with bank cards to pay their fines immediately.
International driving permits are recognized in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Buses tend to be very crowded and can be unsafe and unreliable.
U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted from utilizing public transportation due to the potential for crime, sexual harassment and assault.
Avoid using "private taxis" and unmarked taxis or entering a cab that already contains passengers.
Taxis ordered by telephone typically charge based on set rates; the driver’s cellular phone operates as the meter.
If hailing a taxi on the street, negotiate a fare prior to entering a cab. Cab drivers often try to charge foreigners a higher fare. Many taxi services now have cabs equipped with meters, but passengers should confirm that they are functional before entering the cab.
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.
Due to persistent concerns about the safety of some Kyrgyz air carriers, U.S. Embassy Bishkek currently requires personnel to use Air Manas for any domestic air travel.