See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Uzbekistan for additional information on U.S.-Uzbekistan relations.
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 in 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.
Visitors most often apply for three types of visas:
Tourist Visas (T):
Visitors who will stay at hotels should apply for tourist (T) visas. Such visitors are required to stay at hotels and may not legally stay at private residences. Hotels are responsible for registering guests with T visas with the Office of Migration and Citizenship Issues of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, commonly known as OVIR, and will ask guests to turn over their passports so that hotel staff may perform this task. Tourist visas cannot be extended after arriving in Uzbekistan.
Private Visitor Visas (PV):
Visitors who will stay at private residences (e.g., with friends or family) should apply for private visitor (PV) visas. 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.
Business Visas (B):
According to the current system, 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. That said, the Government of Uzbekistan recently announced that it is planning on “simplifying” the visa process effective July 1, 2018 for citizens of numerous countries, including citizens of the United States. While no indications have been given that invitations and other similar requirements will not be needed, this change may indeed be part of the “simplification” process.
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.
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 USD 160, and there is no guarantee OVIR will approve the request. Private visitor 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. The three-day grace period does not apply to tourist visa holders, who must register at a hotel as soon as they arrive in Uzbekistan. Therefore, 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 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 for Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, 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.
Customs Restrictions: 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 USD2000 when entering and exiting Uzbekistan. Foreigners can take out foreign currency cash in excess of USD2000 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 USD2000 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 USD2000 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.
Dual Nationals: Please note that Uzbekistan does not recognize dual nationality. If the holder of an Uzbek passport enters the country, they must use that passport, regardless of any other citizenships held, including U.S citizenship. Once the holder of an Uzbek passport enters Uzbekistan, their U.S. citizenship will not be recognized by local authorities, which severely limits the assistance permitted by the U.S. Embassy. Holders of Uzbek passports, regardless of other citizenships held, including U.S. citizenship, are subject to all local laws pertaining to exit permits.
Biometric Passport Requirement: Obtaining a biometric Uzbek passport and a new exit permit in that passport takes several months and may significantly delay dual nationals’ departure from Uzbekistan. Please see the website of the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C. for more information.
Travel on a Biometric Passport:
Travel on a Non-Biometric Passport: Uzbek citizens may use their non-biometric Uzbek passport as a travel document solely to re-enter Uzbekistan, and to transit through the territory of third countries, if the validity period specified therein has not expired. This provision is valid until July 1, 2018.
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. 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.
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, assassinations, 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.
To Stay Connected:
Crime: The rate of violent crime in Uzbekistan, including violent crime against foreigners, has increased in recent years. 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 taxis alone.
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.
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.
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. Uzbekistan has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Photography: Taking photographs of military or security installations or other locations of strategic significance (ministries, border and other checkpoints, bridges, tunnels, reservoirs, mountain passes, the subway system, etc.) was forbidden up until January 2018. The Government of Uzbekistan’s announcement that these restrictions would be lifted might take time to come into effect, so travelers should be cautious when taking photos of any government officials or structures. Obey all signs restricting photography and remember that the absence of such a sign does not mean you may take a picture.
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 and train tickets in foreign currency. The mentioned 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 limitation of 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 most of which work until 10 pm on weekdays. 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.
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 known 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.
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.
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.
Uzbekistan has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol.
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.