Asia and Oceania

Uzbekistan Flag of Uzbekistan

Still current at: 11 June 2008
Updated: 15 April 2008

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Terrorism and Political Situation sections. The overall level of the advice has not changed. 

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country


Travel Summary

  • We advise against all but essential travel to areas bordering Afghanistan, Tajikstan and Kyrgyzstan other than via authorised crossing points.  Uzbekistan’s borders are potential flashpoints and there is a risk that uncontrolled border areas may be land-mined.

  • There is a general threat from terrorism in Uzbekistan including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.  You should be particularly vigilant in public places.  Pay attention to any security announcements by the Uzbek authorities.  See the Terrorism section of this travel advice for more details.

  • Very few British nationals visit Uzbekistan every year.  Most visits are trouble-free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Uzbekistan in 2007 was for replacing lost passports and expired visas.  All visitors, even short-term ones, should register with the British Embassy on arrival.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Uzbekistan. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. 

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is a general threat from terrorism in Uzbekistan, including in places frequented by foreign travellers. You should be particularly vigilant in public places. Pay attention to any security announcements by the Uzbek authorities.

Visitors should be aware that terrorist incidents have occurred in Uzbekistan, the last reported one being in 2004.

Crime

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

Political Situation

Uzbekistan Country Profile

Presidential Elections were held peacefully on 23 December 2007.  The political situation continues to be stable.

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

Sporadic unrest occasionally occur in areas outside Tashkent. Visitors should not get involved in any demonstrations and avoid any locations that a demonstration might be occurring.
 
LOCAL TRAVEL

We advise against all but essential travel to areas bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan other than via authorised crossing points.  Uzbekistan’s borders are potential flashpoints and some are mined.
 
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 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tashkent: they usually take five days to process.

Road Travel

If you drive in Uzbekistan you must ensure that you have all registration papers, including motor insurance.  You should carry your UK/International driving licence at all times as this must be presented should there be an accident.

There are security checkpoints at the city limits of Tashkent and other towns throughout the country. You may experience delays in reaching your destination if travelling by car. In Tashkent it is safer to use official taxis. Take care if driving, as many roads are poor and badly lit.
 
Uzbeks drive on the right.  You should be aware that vehicles approaching a roundabout have the right of way
 
The use of seatbelts by drivers and passengers is compulsory. The use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited.
 
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 need to present your passport when booking train tickets.

Air Travel

We do not know whether maintenance procedures on aircraft used for internal flights are properly observed.  For safety, you should where possible use a direct flight originating outside Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

On 13 January 2004, an Uzbekistan Airways internal flight crashed in Tashkent.  Some foreigners were among those killed.  An investigation to establish the cause of the crash has not yet reported.

Local laws and customs

We recommend that you carry a photocopy of your passport at all times. Requests to produce proof of identity, for example by the police, are frequent.
 
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 and police stations.
 
Possession and use of drugs is illegal. Prison sentences can be lengthy and conditions basic.
 
Uzbekistan has a secular constitution. Most Uzbek people are Muslims.
 
Homosexuality is illegal under Uzbek law and is still very much frowned upon socially. You should take care over public displays of affection. 

Entry requirements

Visas
British nationals need a visa to enter Uzbekistan, which you should get before you travel.   If you plan to travel to neighbouring countries from Uzbekistan, you should also get your visa in advance, rather than trying to obtain it at the border.  http://www.uzbekembassy.org/

You should obtain a visa to cover your entire stay before you arrive. You will need to provide a letter of invitation with your application. Business visitors must get one from an Uzbek business partner whilst tourists must get it from the tour company arranging the visit. Do not try to cross the border illegally as the absence of entry/exit stamps will cause problems (e.g. possible detention, fines) when you try to leave or re-enter. Do not overstay your visa and ensure you have onward visas for other countries if travelling elsewhere. 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.
 
Registering your presence

You should register within three days of arrival.  If you are staying in a hotel, they will ask you for your passport at check in and retain it for a short period, they will complete the registration paperwork and return your passport to you. If you are 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.
 
Travelling to other countries from Uzbekistan
 
You should ensure that you have a valid visa for the next country you intend to visitor transit.  We are aware of a number of people have been sent back to Uzbekistan for failing to do this. Please note that if you intend to travel to Kazakhstan you also need to have a valid visa to visit, or transit, Kyrgyzstan.
 
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.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact http://www.uzbekembassy.org/

Health

Hospitals look basic by UK standards, however basic healthcare is adequate.  Medical insurance companies usually refer complaints of a more serious nature to hospitals in Europe or New Delhi.
 
Outbreaks of Hepatitis A, Meningitis and Diphtheria have occurred in Uzbekistan.  There have also been confirmed cases of malaria contracted in the southern Sukhandarya province.
 
You should drink only bottled water.
 
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. NHS Direct (0845 46 47) can provide you with advice on the vaccination requirements for Uzbekistan.
 
For further information on endemic diseases, like malaria, health outbreaks and vaccination requirements for Uzbekistan you should check the websites of NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel.

NATURAL DISASTERS
 
Uzbekistan is located in an active seismic zone. The last significant earthquake to cause major damage in Uzbekistan was in 1966.

General

Insurance
 
We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Uzbekistan.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. 

Next of kin details

You should ensure that your next of kin details are entered into the back of your passport.  Make a copy of your passport and driving licence and store these separately from the originals.

Registration

You should register with the Embassy even if you are only a short term visitor and inform the Embassy of any changes to your itinerary. You could register online at www.britain.uz

ID

It is advisable to carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.  Requests to produce proof of identity, for example by the police, are frequent.
 
Marrying in Uzbekistan

Anyone hoping to be married in Uzbekistan should note that Certificates of No Impediments (CNIs) produced by the British Embassy in Tashkent are not currently being accepted by the Legalisation Section of the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  As long as this continues to be the situation, British nationals hoping to be married in Uzbekistan will experience difficulties.  Prospective couples should check with the British Embassy before travelling to Uzbekistan for the purpose of marriage.

Money
 
You should bring enough money for the duration of your stay. Only change money through official exchange booths. Damaged or marked foreign currency may not be accepted at official exchange locations.

Travel advice for this country

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contacts

Uzbekistan, Tashkent, British Embassy

Address:

British Embassy
U1. Gulymova 67 Street
Tashkent 700 000

Telephone:

(99871) 1207852
(99871) 1206451
(99871) 1206288
(99871) 1207852
(99871) 1207853
(99871) 1207854

Fax:

(99871) 1206549 (General)
(99871) 1206430 (Consular Visa)

Office hours:

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

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

Website: http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/uzbekistan