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Travel & living abroad

Asia and Oceania

Tajikistan

Flag of Tajikistan
Still current at: 07 January 2011
Updated: 02 December 2010

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Travel Summary and Safety and Security – Local Travel ). The overall level of the advice has changed; we advise against all travel to the Kamarob Gorge, in the Rasht region. 

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country

Travel Summary


  • Due to continuing security operations, we advise against all travel to the Kamarob Gorge. We understand that the overall situation in the Rasht region is now calm and that telephone and other forms of communication are now working.


  • There is a general threat from terrorism in Tajikistan. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travellers. See Safety and Security - Terrorism .

  • There has been unrest in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan since April. We understand the Tajik/Kyrgyz border is now open but may be closed again without notice. Check in advance which border posts are currently open. We advise against crossing the border into the Oblasts of Osh and Jalal-Abad. See FCO Travel Advice for Kyrgyzstan .

  • The overall security situation in Tajikistan is currently stable but tourism, health and transport infrastructure is poor and travel requires careful planning. Avoid off-road areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, which may be land-mined. See Safety and Security - Local Travel .

  • We are not aware of any British nationals requiring consular assistance in Tajikistan in the period 1 April 2009 – 31 March 2010. 

  • You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance including evacuation by air ambulance before travelling. See General - Insurance .

Safety and security

Safety and Security - Terrorism

There is a general threat from terrorism in Tajikistan. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Recent incidents in Tajikistan include:


  • 6 September 2010: A small bomb exploded in Dousti Nightclub, in the Abuali Ibni Sino area of Dushanbe.  A small number of casualties were reported.
  • 3 September 2010: A large explosion occurred in the compound of the regional Department for Organised Crime on Gargarin Street, Khujand. The explosion was caused by a car laden with explosives.
  • 23 August 2010: An unconfirmed number of prisoners escaped from Prison no. 3 on Mirzo Tursunzade St, Dushanbe, and there were reports of gunshots being exchanged at a police checkpoint in Rasht.
Earlier this year:
  • 24 June 2010: Two small explosions near Zamasi Market and in the Avtovaksal area.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosions and the Tajik authorities have made no initial identification of perpetrators.

There were similar explosions in 2009:

  • 30 July 2009: A small explosion near Korvon Market injured a police officer.
  • 26 July 2009: A small explosion near Hotel Tojikiston caused no injuries.
  • 25 July 2009: A small explosion near Dushanbe International Airport caused no injuries.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosions in 2009 and the Tajik authorities did not identify the perpetrators.

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. 

See our Terrorism Abroad page.

Safety and Security - Crime

Armed incidents continue between border forces and drug traffickers along the Afghan border. Dushanbe is relatively safe, but there have been occasional muggings and petty crime against foreigners. 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. See our Victims of Crime page.

Safety and Security - Local Travel
Due to continuing security operations, we advise against all travel to the Kamarob Gorge.  Since 19 September the Tajik Security services have been engaged in operations following an incident when a vehicle carrying Tajik military personnel was ambushed in the Kamarob Gorge, in the Rasht region. The incident resulted in the deaths of at least 23 soldiers.

You should not venture off-road in areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, as there are both marked and unmarked minefields. 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.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel

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 drivers can be trapped for a long time if caught in an avalanche because of the remoteness. Roadworks on the Dushanbe-Khojand and Vahdat-Jirgital roads are causing lengthy delays. Certain sections of these roads are only open to traffic after working hours.

Local vehicles are poorly-maintained and driving standards are basic. Petrol stations are rare 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 travel outside towns. Be aware that neighbouring countries may close borders temporarily.

See Driving Abroad.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Air Travel

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. Tajik Air is not a member of IATA. Turkish Airlines fly to Dushanbe from Istanbul twice a week. Somon Air are IATA-registered and fly once a week to and from Dubai, and daily to and from Moscow with a small modern fleet of Boeing 737-800 and 737-400 aircraft. On 2 June, air Baltic started twice-weekly flights to Dushanbe from Riga. Flights in Tajikistan may be cancelled at short notice or substantially delayed. Overloading on local flights is not uncommon.

Political Situation

Tajikistan Country Profile
 

It is now over ten years since the Tajik civil war ended and the political situation is currently stable. However, remain vigilant in public places, and be alert to any security related announcements by the Tajik authorities.

Local laws and customs

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. 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. 

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. 

See Your Trip.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements - Visas

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.

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.

Evidence of flight reservations/tickets or a travel itinerary is required for all tourist visa applications. Individuals applying for a private visitor visa must submit a letter of invitation. Further information of the visa application procedures can be found on the Embassy website. It is not possible to obtain a Tajik visa at a land border crossing.

Once you arrive in Tajikistan visa extensions can only be applied for at (and made by) Consular Department of the Tajik Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Entry Requirements - Visas - Multi-Entry and Transit Visas

Special permits are also required for any travel to areas/districts in the Khatlon Region that border Afghanistan (e.g. Panj, Kumsangir) - these permits should be obtained from the Consular Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dushanbe prior to travel.

If you are travelling back to Russia, Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan, get the relevant re-entry visa before entering Tajikistan. Transit visas for Tajikistan are usually valid for three days. If you wish to stay longer, you must get a longer-term visa through Intourist Tajikistan or at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after arrival. Special permits (available from both the Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in London and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dushanbe), are required if you wish to visit the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Region (Pamirs).

Entry Requirements - Travelling with Children


For information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the Tajikistan Embassy in London.

Health

Tajikistan has 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. 

See the NaTHNaC website or the WHO website.

You should not drink tap water and take particular care over food and drink preparation. Drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you suffer from diarrhoea during a visit to Tajikistan 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. Exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. See our HIV and AIDS page.

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 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.  

See our Travel Health page

Natural disasters


Tajikistan is located in an active seismic zone. Avalanches and landslides frequently block roads in the spring.

General

General - Insurance

Comprehensive travel and medical insurance, including evacuation by air ambulance, is essential. Check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See our Travel Insurance page.

If things do go wrong when you are overseas then see our When Things Go Wrong page.

General - Money

Tajikistan is a cash-only economy. 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 ATMs 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.

General - Registration
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.

General - Tourism

Tajikistan has not yet developed a tourist infrastructure. Ideally 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.

General - Consular Assistance - 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: dushanbe.reception@fco.gov.uk. The Embassy can offer consular advice and assistance, but is unable at present to issue passports.

Office hours are GMT: October - April: Mon-Fri: 04:00-08:00/ 09:00-12:00;  May - September: Mon-Thurs: 03:30-08:00/ 09:00-12:00, 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).

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Contacts

Tajikistan, Dushanbe, British Embassy

Address:

British Embassy
65 Mirzo Tursunzade Street
Dushanbe 734002, Tajikistan
Email: dushanbe.reception@fco.gov.uk

Telephone:

(992 37)2 24 22 21/24 14 77/51 01 92/51 01 87
(992 37)2 24 22 21/24 14 77
(00) 870 762 856 221 (Satellite number)

Fax:

(00 992 37) 227 1726

Office hours:

GMT:
Mon-Fri: 0400-0800 / 0900-1200

Local Time:
Mon-Fri: 0900-1300 / 1400-1700

Website: http://ukintajikistan.fco.gov.uk/en/

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