|Still current at: 07 July 2010
Updated: 24 June 2010
There has been ongoing unrest in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan since 6/7 April. On 12 June, the Kyrgyz Provisional Government declared a State of Emergency in the Oblasts of Osh and Jalal-Abad, which according to reports, will remain in place until at least 20 June. We understand the Tajik/Kyrgyz border is now open but may be closed again without notice and that security has been increased in border areas. If travelling overland, you should check in advance which border posts are currently open. We advise against crossing the border into the Oblasts of Osh and Jalal-Abad. For advice on travel within Kyrgyzstan, please refer to our travel advice @ www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/kyrgyzstan. Visitors should regularly check this Travel Advice for updates.
The overall security situation in Tajikistan is currently stable but tourism, health and transport infrastructure in country is poor and travel requires careful planning. You should avoid off-road areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, which may be mined. See the Local Travel section of this Travel Advice.
One British nationals required consular assistance in Tajikistan in the period 01 April 2008 – 31 March 2009 for the following types of incident: arrests, for a variety of offences (1 case).
There is a general threat from terrorism in Tajikistan. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
Recent incidents in Dushanbe include:
No one has claimed responsibility for the explosions and the Tajik authorities have made no initial identification of perpetrators.
There have been similar explosions in 2007 and 2009:
We believe there is a threat of kidnapping in Tajikistan. British nationals should be aware that the long-standing policy of the British Government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British Government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking.
For further information see Terrorism Abroad.
Armed incidents continue between border forces and drug traffickers along the Afghan border. There have been occasional muggings and petty crime against foreigners but Dushanbe is a relatively safe city. Throughout the country there is little evidence of criminality directed against foreigners. In rural areas, however, single women should avoid going out alone at night, and may suffer harassment even during the day. For more general information see Victims of Crime.
Tajikistan Country Profile.
It is now over ten years since the opposing parties signed the 1997 peace agreement that brought the Tajik civil war to an end and the political situation is currently stable. However, you should remain vigilant in public places, and be alert to any security related announcements by the Tajik authorities.
On 12 June, the Kyrgyz Provisional Government declared a State of Emergency in the Oblasts of Osh and Jalal-Abad, which according to reports, will remain in place until at least 20 June. We understand the Tajik/Kyrgyz border is now open but may be closed again without notice and that security has been increased in border areas. If travelling overland, you should check in advance which border posts are currently open. We advise against crossing the border into the Oblasts Provinces of Osh and Jalal-Abad.
You should not venture off-road in areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, as there are both marked and unmarked minefields. You should also take local advice in the Tavildara region of central Tajikistan as there are a few minefields dating from the civil war in the mountains. Medical and rescue facilities are unreliable where they exist at all. Tourist facilities are very underdeveloped, and goods and services taken for granted in the UK may not be available.
Roads outside the main towns are poorly maintained and often only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles. Conditions are particularly treacherous in spring due to the risk of avalanches and landslides. Many interior roads are only open in the summer months. It is possible to drive from Dushanbe to the North via a tunnel still under construction. This road is particularly dangerous in winter due to icy conditions and frequent avalanches and drivers can be trapped for a long time if caught in an avalanche because of the uninhabited mountain terrain. Rehabilitation of the Dushanbe to Khojand and Vahdat to Jirgital roads is causing lengthy delays to journeys. Certain sections of these roads are only open to traffic after working hours.
Local vehicles are poorly maintained and driving standards rudimentary. Petrol stations can be limited outside towns and there are no breakdown companies. Make sure you take all you need for your journey, allowing for delays. Emergency communications such as satellite phones are advisable for up-country travel. You should be aware that neighbouring countries might unilaterally close borders temporarily.
For more general information see Driving Abroad.
Most international flights to Dushanbe are by Tajik Air, the state airline. It is not known whether maintenance procedures on Tajik Air are always properly observed or whether passengers are covered by insurance. Tajik Air is not a member of IATA. Turkish Airlines flies to Dushanbe from Istanbul twice a week. Somon Air is now flying once a week to and from Dubai, and everyday to and from Moscow with a small modern fleet of Boeing 737-800 and 737-400 aircraft. On 2 June, air Baltic commenced twice-weekly flights to Dushanbe from Riga. Somon Air are IATA registered Flights in Tajikistan may be cancelled at short notice or substantially delayed. Overloading on local flights is not uncommon.
Tajikistan has a secular constitution. Most Tajik citizens are Muslims. Some, particularly in rural areas, may be conservative in outlook.
Women travelling alone may not be accorded respect.
Homosexuality is not illegal under Tajik law but local attitudes are conservative, particularly outside the main cities, where certain strands of Muslim belief foster little tolerance for homosexuality. You should take care over public displays of affection.
Possession and use of drugs is illegal and, if found guilty, you could face a lengthy prison sentence in very basic conditions.
You should carry a copy of your passport and Tajik visa with you at all times, as there are frequent document inspections by the police.
Taking photos of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities.
For more general information for different types of travellers see Your Trip.
British nationals require a visa to enter Tajikistan, which you should get before you travel. The Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in London offer a visa service issuing the following types of multiple entry visas:
Tourist visas are valid for a period of up to two months; and Private visitor visas for up to three months.
Please check your visa carefully. If you have been issued any visa other than a “Tourist” visa, you will be required to register at the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in London also processes applications for travel permits to the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan.
Tajikistan is a very poor country, with poor medical facilities and a shortage of basic medical supplies. Brand name drugs may not be genuine.
TB, typhoid and cholera occur in Tajikistan. There are occasional cases of malaria in summer in the Khatlon region and in the south of Gorno-Badakhshan.
There has been a recent outbreak of Polio Type 1 non sabin-like virus in Tajikistan, which has been verified by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan is working with the WHO on an immunisation programme, focused on children under six years old.
Further information can be found on the NaTHNaC website or the WHO website.
You should not drink tap water and you should also particular care over food and drink preparation. You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you suffer from diarrhoea during a visit to Tajikistan you should seek medical attention immediately. If you plan to stay for more than 90 days you must present a medical certificate that you are HIV-free, or take a test. We advise against taking the test in Tajikistan, due to the poor quality of medical facilities. In the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 10,000 adults aged 15 or over in Tajikistan were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 0.3% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.
You should seek medical advice before travelling to Tajikistan and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
For more general information see Travel Health.
Tajikistan is located in an active seismic zone. Avalanches and landslides frequently block roads in the spring.
Comprehensive travel and medical insurance, including evacuation by air ambulance, is essential. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. For more general information see Travel Insurance.
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is When Things Go Wrong.
Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency. More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.
Tajikistan has not yet developed a tourist infrastructure. You should preferably arrange to be met on arrival and guided by a responsible local business, NGO, tourist or other organisation. Few people speak English, but most speak Russian as well as Tajik.
The electricity supply is nominally 220v. Appliances use two-pin round plugs.
British Embassy in Tajikistan
The British Embassy in Tajikistan is at 65 Mirzo Tirsunzade Street, Dushanbe;
Tel: (+992 37) 2 24 22 21
Fax: (+992 37) 2 27 17 26
E-mail: email@example.com. The Embassy can offer consular advice and assistance, but is unable at present to issue passports.
Office hours are GMT: October - April: Mon-Fri: 0400-0800/ 0900-1200; May - September: Mon-Thurs: 03.30-0800/ 0900-1200, Fri: 03.30-08.30
Local Time: October - April: Mon-Fri: 09.00-13.00/ 14.00-17.00; May-September: Mon-Thurs: 08.30-13.00/ 14.00-17.00, Fri: 08.30-13.30
The nearest passport issuing office is at the British Embassy in Moscow, Russia (tel: +7 095 956 7200; fax: +7 095 956 7201)
Tajikistan is a cash-only economy. You should only change money at officially authorised currency exchanges. Very few establishments accept credit cards and none accept travellers’ cheques. There is a small, but increasing, number of ATM machines in Dushanbe and other larger towns, but none in rural areas. US dollars are the most widely accepted foreign currency; others, apart from Euros or Russian roubles, may be difficult to exchange.