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Travel & living abroad

Asia and Oceania

Uzbekistan

Flag of Uzbekistan
Still current at: 07 January 2011
Updated: 22 November 2010

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Travel Summary (removal of reference to explosion in khujand in neighbouring Tajikistan). The overall level of the advice has not changed; we advise against all but essential travel to specific regions of Uzbekistan.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country

Travel Summary


  • We advise against all but essential travel to areas of Uzbekistan bordering Afghanistan. You should also exercise caution in areas bordering Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan's borders are potential flashpoints and uncontrolled border areas may be land-mined. Borders are subject to closure without notice.

  • We advise against all but essential travel to the Oblasts (Provinces) of Osh and Jalal-Abad in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan where hundreds were killed in inter-ethnic violence. British nationals have been evacuated from Osh. See FCO Travel Advice for Kyrgyzstan.

  • There have been no reports of inter-ethnic violence in Uzbekistan. Nevertheless, given the potential for further unrest in regions of Kyrgyzstan closely bordering Uzbekistan, visitors to the Fergana Valley should be aware of the heightened tensions and exercise caution, especially in areas along the Uzbek/Kyrgyz border.

  • Relatively few British nationals visit Uzbekistan, and most visits are trouble free. See General - Consular Assistance.   

  • All visitors, even short-term ones, should register online with the FCO’s Locate service (see General - Registration).

  • There is a general threat from terrorism in Uzbekistan. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travellers. Visitors should be aware that terrorist incidents have occurred in Uzbekistan. In May 2009, armed attacks took place in the Andizhan region of the Fergana Valley. See Safety and Security - Terrorism.  

  • You should get comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Uzbekistan.  See General - Insurance.

Safety and security

Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is a general threat from terrorism in Uzbekistan. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travellers. You should be particularly vigilant in public places, and pay attention to any security announcements by the Uzbek authorities. Terrorist incidents have occurred in Uzbekistan in recent years. In May 2009, armed attacks, including a suicide bomb, took place in the towns of Andizhan and Khanabad in Ferghana Valley.

See our Terrorism Abroad page.

Safety and Security - Crime
There have been occasional muggings and petty crime against foreigners.  Policemen, or sometimes those pretending to be policemen may seek to impose an on-the-spot fine. If you are any doubt you should ask for an ID or pay any fines at the nearest police station. Keep valuables out of sight and avoid unlit or remote areas. Avoid obvious displays of wealth, especially in rural areas. You should avoid walking alone at night.

See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.

Safety and Security - Local Travel
We advise against all but essential travel to areas bordering Afghanistan.

Land borders between Uzbekistan and neighbouring states, particularly Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, are often closed at short or no notice. If travelling overland, you should check in advance which border posts are currently open.

You should exercise caution in areas bordering Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan's borders are potential flashpoints and there is a risk that uncontrolled border areas may be land-mined.

Tensions exist over recognition of the Uzbek/Kyrgyz borders. There have been a number of security incidents in this region and there have been several gunfire exchanges across the Uzbek/Kyrgyz border. We understand that the Uzbek/Kyrgyz border may close without notice, and that security has been increased in the border areas.

If you wish to travel to Termez and other areas of the Surkhandarya region you will need a permit. You can apply for the permit, which usually takes five days to process, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tashkent.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel
If you drive in Uzbekistan you must ensure that you have all registration papers, including motor insurance. You must carry your UK Driving Licence or an International Driving Permit at all times, and present it in the event of an accident.

There are security checkpoints at the city limits of Tashkent and other towns. You may experience delays if driving. In Tashkent it is safer to use official taxis rather than unlicensed ones. Take care if driving, as many roads are poorly-surfaced and badly-lit.

You drive on the right in Uzbekistan. Be aware that vehicles approaching a roundabout have the right of way over vehicles already on the roundabout.

Though widely ignored, seatbelts for drivers and passengers are compulsory and the use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited.

A bus exploded in Tashkent on 11 May, causing six fatalities. The accident was reportedly due to a fault with its Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel tank. Many buses and taxis in Uzbekistan run on CNG and safety regulations are often not followed. Where possible you should opt for modern vehicles when travelling by bus or taxi.

See Driving Abroad.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Rail Travel
Take care when travelling long distances by train. If you have to travel overnight, store valuables in a safe place. Do not leave the compartment unattended, and secure the door from the inside. You must present your passport when booking train tickets.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Air Travel
Evidence suggests that some airlines serving Uzbekistan do not always comply with international safety standards in respect of maintenance procedures.

Uzbekistan Airways operate regular services to a number of European destinations. Uzbekistan is also served by Turkish Airlines, Czech Air, and Lufthansa, which all meet current European Union safety standards.  

Safety and Security - Political Situation
Uzbekistan Country Profile

The political situation in Uzbekistan is stable.

You should monitor local media and avoid any planned demonstrations or public gatherings. In the past, these have sometimes turned violent.

Local laws and customs

Uzbekistan has a secular constitution. Most Uzbek people are Muslims. See Travelling During Ramadan.

We recommend that you carry a photocopy of your passport at all times. Requests to produce ID, for example by the police, are frequent.

Possession of drugs is illegal. You should carry a doctor's prescription if you intend to travel with prescription medicine (see section below on Health). Prison sentences can be lengthy. While prison conditions have reportedly improved, reports of widespread hepatitis and tuberculosis and allegations of mistreatment of some prisoners by officials remain a source of concern.

Homosexuality is illegal under Uzbek law and is still very much frowned upon socially. You should take care over public displays of affection.

You should be aware that any form of photography can upset the authorities. You should check before using a camera, especially near airports, border checkpoints, military barracks, police stations and metro stations.

See our Your Trip page.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements - Visas
British nationals need a visa to enter Uzbekistan, which you should get before you arrive and which should cover your entire stay. You will need to provide a letter of invitation with your application. Business visitors must get a letter from an Uzbek business partner whilst tourists must get one from their tour company.

Check your Uzbek visa once issued and carefully note the date of expiry and the number of entries permitted.  

Do not overstay your visa. Ensure you have onward visas for other countries if travelling elsewhere. Any traveller found to have overstayed will face a considerable fine and possibly deportation. It is not always easy or possible to extend your visa if you wish to remain in the country for longer than you had originally intended.  If travelling overland you should ensure you arrive at your intended border crossing in good time before expiry of your Uzbek visa.

For further advice contact the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in London.

Entry Requirements - Visas - Registering your presence
You must register within three days of arrival. If you are staying in a hotel, you will be asked for your passport at check-in and it will be retained for a short period. Hotel staff will complete the registration paperwork and return your passport to you.

If staying in a private house, your host should register you with their local district OVIR (Department of Foreign Travel & Exit (they also deal with the registration of Foreign Citizens)). If you travel to another city and plan to stay for longer than three days, you will need to register again. You must follow this procedure, as a full record of your whereabouts whilst in Uzbekistan is required upon departure. Visitors who are unable to account for their whereabouts could be fined and possibly deported.

Entry Requirements - Visas - Travelling to other countries from Uzbekistan
You should ensure that you have a valid visa for the next country you intend to visit or transit. A number of people have been sent back to Uzbekistan for failing to do this. Please note that if you intend to travel by road to Kazakhstan from eastern Uzbekistan via Kyrgyzstan you also need to have a valid visa to visit or transit Kyrgyzstan. You will need the appropriate double- or multiple-entry visa for Uzbekistan if you plan to return to Uzbekistan following your trip to a neighbouring country.

If you plan to travel to neighbouring countries from Uzbekistan, you should also get your visa in advance, rather than trying to do so at the border. Do not cross the border illegally as the absence of entry/exit stamps may lead to detention or a fine when you try to leave or re-enter.  

Entry Requirements - Visas - Travelling with children
For information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in London.

Entry Requirements - Visas - Customs Declarations
Ensure that you fill out two copies of a Customs Declaration form on arrival. You will need to present one to Customs as you enter the country and produce the other on departure, so keep it in a safe place. Any currency or valuables found in your possession and not declared on your Customs Declaration form may be confiscated by Customs officials.

Health

The quality of medical care in Uzbekistan is generally poor. Most hospitals are badly-equipped and unhygienic, with a limited supply of drugs. There is no guarantee that equipment will have been properly sterilised, especially in rural hospitals. You should avoid all but basic treatment or essential treatment in the event of an emergency. Medical insurance companies usually refer complaints of a more serious nature to hospitals in Europe or New Delhi.

You should carry a doctor’s prescription if you intend to travel with prescription medicine and declare the items on your Customs Declaration Form. Possession of such items, even with a doctor's prescription could, if not declared, or if the quantity held exceeds legal limits, lead to administrative or even criminal proceedings. A British national was recently detained the country for four weeks for carrying prescription drugs slightly over the legal limit. You should check legal quantities with your nearest Uzbek Embassy or with Customs officials on arrival if you intend to bring prescription drugs into Uzbekistan.

There have been outbreaks of Hepatitis A, Meningitis and Diphtheria in Uzbekistan.  

Malaria is uncommon in Uzbekistan, but cases have been confirmed along the Kyrgyz/Afghan and Kyrgyz/Tajik borders.

An outbreak of polio is currently ongoing in neighbouring Tajikistan. Uzbekistan has also reported several cases of polio near the Tajikistan border.

You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you suffer from diarrhoea during a visit to Uzbekistan and your condition does not respond quickly to medicines you may have brought with you, seek immediate medical attention.

You should seek medical advice before travelling to Uzbekistan 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.

See our Travel Health page.

Natural disasters

Uzbekistan is located in an active seismic zone. The last significant earthquake to cause major damage in Uzbekistan was in 1966. There are regular earth tremors. Registering with the Embassy on arrival (online via LOCATE) would ensure your presence in the country was known in the event of a significant seismic incident.

General

General - Insurance
You should get comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Uzbekistan. Check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See Travel Insurance.

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

General - Money
You should bring enough cash for the duration of your stay. Travellers’ cheques are not normally accepted. Cash dispensers are uncommon. Some of the larger hotels have them but they are not always in service. US dollars are the most widely accepted foreign currency. Only change money through official exchange booths. Damaged or marked bank notes will not be accepted at official exchange locations. You will need to complete a foreign currency declaration form when you arrive, and keep a copy yourself. You cannot leave with more foreign currency than you arrive with.

General - Registration
Register with the FCO's 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 - Consular Assistance - Replacing a lost or stolen passport
If you lose your passport you must report this immediately to the police and get a police report.

The British Embassy in Tashkent does not issue full passports and, before travel, you should ensure that your passport has sufficient validity and a good number of unused pages. The Embassy is able to accept applications for new passports, which will be forwarded to the Regional Passport Processing Centre in Dussordorf for processing. Please be aware that this may take up to four weeks. Emergency passports, valid for a single journey, are available in Tashkent.

You should ensure that you have entered your next of kin details into the back of your passport.

Make a copy of your passport and driving licence and store these separately from the originals.

General - Consular Assistance - Contact Details
British Embassy Tashkent - 67 Gulyamov St, Tashkent, Uzbekistan (Tel: 00998 71 120 1500 Fax: 00998 71 120 1520).
Office hours: GMT: Mon-Fri 04:00-07:30 / 08:30-12:00
Local Time: Mon-Fri 09:00-12:30 / 13:30-17:00

General - Consular Assistance - Statistics
Two British nationals required consular assistance in Uzbekistan in the period 1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010 for the following types of incident: one death; one hospitalisation. During this period one British national required a replacement for a lost or stolen passport.

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Contacts

Uzbekistan, Tashkent, British Embassy

Address:

British Embassy
67, Gulyamov Street
Tashkent 100 000
Email: brit@emb.uz

Telephone:

(99871) 1201500 (Switchboard)

Fax:

(99871) 1201520 (Switchboard)
(99871) 1201506 (Consular/Visa)

Office hours:

GMT:
Mon-Fri: 0400-0730 / 0830-1200

Local Time:
Mon-Fri: 0900-1230 / 1330-1700

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

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