Asia and Oceania

Tajikistan Flag of Tajikistan

Still current at: 10 June 2008
Updated: 15 May 2008

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary, Road Travel, Entry Requirements, General (Electricity supply) and Health sections. The overall level of the advice has not changed. 

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)


Travel advice for this country


Travel Summary

 

  • There is a general threat from terrorism in Tajikistan.  Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See the Terrorism section of this advice for more details.

  • 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 advice for more details. 

  • Few British nationals visit Tajikistan.  We are not aware of any British nationals who required consular assistance in Tajikistan in 2007.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance including evacuation by air ambulance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.  See the General (Insurance) section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is a general threat from terrorism in Tajikistan.  Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
 
Until 2001, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) used remote parts of Tajikistan as a base for armed incursions into Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
 
However, there have been no significant violent incidents of a political or terrorist nature targeting foreigners since 2001.
 
On 14 November 2007 there was a small explosion at the Kohi Vahdat conference centre in Dushanbe, killing one person.  This is still under investigation by the Tajik authorities.  There were further small blasts in central Dushanbe on 19 January and 1 February.  No-one was injured and there were no obvious targets.
 
For further information see Terrorism Abroad.
 
Crime
 
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.
 
Political Situation
 
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.  Presidential elections, which were held on 6 November 2006, passed peacefully.
 
Local Travel
 
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.
 
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. The Anzob Pass is still closed but it is possible to drive from Dushanbe to the North via a tunnel still under construction. Embassy staff are prohibited from using this tunnel when driving on official business. 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.  Rehabilitatioin 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 may unilaterally close borders temporarily.
 
For more general information see Driving Abroad
 
Air Travel
 
Most international flights to Dushanbe are by Tajik Air, the state airline. Turkish Airlines flies to Dushanbe from Istanbul twice a week.  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. Flights in Tajikistan may be cancelled at short notice or substantially delayed.   Overloading on local flights is not uncommon.

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 is still very much frowned upon socially.  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 Travel Advice Relevant to You

Entry requirements

Visas

Since 1 October 2007 British nationals have not been able to obtain Tajik visas on arrival at Dushanbe Airport (with the exception of certain categories of diplomats and government officials).  It is also not possible to obtain a Tajik visa at a land border crossing.  You will need a letter of invitation from an organisation registered in Tajikistan (eg tourist agency, NGO, business) and may need to attend a Tajik Embassy in person to apply for a visa in advance of your travel.  The visa situation is currently in transitioni and you should check with the Tajik Embassy in London on the latest requirements.
 
Your initial visa will be valid for one month only.  If you require a visa for a longer period you should mention this in your visa application form as visa extensions can only be made by the Tajik Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

Multi-entry and transit visas
 
If you are travelling back to Russia, Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan, you should 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 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are required if you wish to visit the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Region (Pamirs).
 
Travelling with children
 
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.

Health

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, cholera are common to Tajikstan.  There are occasional cases of malaria in summer in the Khatlon region and in the south of Gorno-Badakhshan.
 
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 Takikistan 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 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UN AIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 4,900 adults aged 15 or over in Tajikistan were living with HIV, the prevalence rate was estimated at around 0.1% of the adult population.  This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%.  You shoudl exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.  For more general informatkon 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 NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. 
 
For more general information see Travel Health.

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

There have been no reported cases of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Tajikistan during the current series of outbreaks.  But the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed cases elsewhere in the region.
 
For further information and advice see Avian and Pandemic Influenza.

Natural Disasters

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

General

Insurance

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 How We Can Help.
 
Registration
 
Register with 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 informatioin about registering with LOCATE can be found here.

Tourist infrastructure

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.

Electricity Supply

Tajikistan suffered a major shortage of electric power in early 2008 as a result of an unusually severe winter.  Power supplies have now returned to normal in Dushanbe, but there are still lengthy power cutrs in the Khatlon region. 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:  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: 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)

Money

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.

Travel advice for this country

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contacts

Tajikstan, Dushanbe, British Embassy

Address:

British Embassy
65 Mirzo Tursunzade Street
Dushanbe 734002, Tajikistan

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://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/tajikistan