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Home / General Travel Tips /
XYZ Consular Info: Uzbekistan

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XYZ Consular Info: Uzbekistan

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
For recorded travel information, call 202-647-5225
Internet Address: http://travel.state.gov
For information by fax, call 202-647-3000 from your fax machine
Consular Information Sheet
UZBEKISTAN
April 18, 2002
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Uzbekistan is a newly independent nation in the midst of profound political and economic change. Tourist facilities are not highly developed, and many of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available. Internal travel and travel to other New Independent States (NIS), including both air and land routes, can be erratic and disrupted by fuel shortages, overcrowding and other problems. The capital is Tashkent.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required; official invitations from a sponsoring organization or individual are no longer required for American citizens. Visas are issued by Uzbek embassies and consulates abroad. Visitors coming from countries where Uzbekistan does not have diplomatic or consular representation should obtain visas in a third country. Visas are not available upon arrival at any Uzbek airport.
Importantly, Uzbek visas indicate not only the validity of the visa, but also the period of time a person is allowed to stay in Uzbekistan on a given trip. Although Uzbek visas given to private American citizens are generally valid for four years with multiple entries, a visitor will have to leave the country after the number of days indicated as the duration of stay on the visa. Therefore, it is important to indicate your intended period of stay when applying for your Uzbek visa.
Further visa information is available at the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, located a 1746 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone (202) 887-5300; http://www.uzbekistan.org; or the Uzbek Consulate in New York, located at 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 327A, New York, N.Y. 10017; telephone (212) 754-6178 or (212) 754-7403; http://www.uzbekconsul.org.
Note 1: All travelers, even those simply transiting Uzbekistan for less than 72 hours, must obtain an Uzbek visa before traveling to Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan has suspended the 72-hour transit rule that allowed travelers with visas from other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States to transit Uzbekistan without an Uzbek visa.
Note 2: On December 1, 2001, the Uzbek Government imposed travel restrictions on large parts of the Surkhandarya Oblast region bordering Afghanistan, including the border city of Termez. Foreign citizens intending to travel to this region must obtain a special permission card from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs or Uzbek embassies and consulates abroad.
Registration after Entry: All travelers present in Uzbekistan for more than three days must register with the Office of Entry, Exit, and Citizenship. Hotel guests are registered automatically, but all other travelers are responsible for registering themselves. Visitors without proper registration are subject to fines and possible harassment by local authorities. Uzbek law mandates that visitors carry a medical certificate attesting that they are not infected with HIV. However, this requirement is only sporadically enforced.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: On December 1, 2001, the Uzbek Government imposed travel restrictions on large parts of the Surkhandarya Oblast region bordering Afghanistan, including the border city of Termez. Please keep in mind that the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan remains closed to all but official traffic.
In August 2000, fighting broke out on the Tajikistan-Kyrgyz and Tajikistan-Uzbekistan borders in response to insurgency activity by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). As a result of operations by government security forces, portions of the Uzbek borders with Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan were subsequently closed to civilians and tourists; such closures can be expected if IMU activity recurs in the summer. Restricted personal movement, including the closing of roads to traffic, and frequent document, vehicle and personal identification checks should be anticipated. The IMU has been responsible for several hostage-taking incidents in the Kyrgyz Republic directly targeting foreign citizens, including Americans. U.S. citizens should remain vigilant about their personal safety.
Americans traveling to or residing in Uzbekistan are urged to contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent for up-to-date information on security developments.
Note: U.S. citizens should check the Consular Information Sheets and current Travel Warnings or Public Announcements for nearby countries, including Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan on a regular basis. The U.S. Embassy in each of those countries can provide up-to-date information about local crime and safety issues. Information about how to contact each Embassy directly is available on the Internet at the Consular Affairs home page, http://travel.state.gov, or by calling the U.S. Embassy, Tashkent.
CRIME: Uzbekistan has a relatively low rate of violent crime, but recent attacks against foreigners, including American citizens, indicate that it is increasing. Also, common street crime has increased, especially at night. In urban areas, travelers are urged to take the same precautions against crime that they would take in a large American city.
Although using private cars as taxicabs is a common practice in Uzbekistan, Americans should not consider this a safe practice, especially women and those traveling alone. Americans are encouraged to use clearly marked taxicabs, such as those at hotels.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care in Uzbekistan is below Western standards, with severe shortages of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics. Elderly travelers and those with pre-existing health problems may be at particular risk due to inadequate medical facilities. Most resident Americans travel to North America or Western Europe for their medical needs.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties.
The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad", available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Travelers are advised to drink only boiled water, peel all fruits and vegetables, and avoid undercooked meat. Due to inadequate sanitation conditions, travelers should avoid eating dairy products and most food sold in the streets. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC- FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Uzbekistan is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Uzbekistan has a developed but deteriorating traffic infrastructure. Although roads in Tashkent are relatively well-maintained, many roads outside Tashkent, and particularly those in the Tien Shan and Fan Mountains, are in poor condition and may be passable only by four-wheel-drive vehicles. Driving at night can be quite dangerous because only the main roads in Tashkent have streetlights; rural roads and highways generally are not lit. Visitors are strongly urged to avoid driving at night outside Tashkent.
Livestock, farm equipment and carts drawn by animals are found on both urban and rural roads at any hour. Local drivers are not familiar with safe driving techniques. Pedestrians in cities and rural areas cross streets unexpectedly and often without looking for oncoming traffic. Uzbekistan has a large road police force, which frequently stops drivers for minor infractions or simple document checks. There have been reports of harassment of foreign drivers by the road police, with reported minor police corruption in the form of solicitation of bribes.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Uzbekistan driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please fax your question to the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C. at (202) 293-9633 or the Consulate General in New York at (212) 838-9812.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Uzbekistan's Civil Aviation Authority as Category One -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Uzbekistan's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone (800) 322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Uzbek customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import or export from Uzbekistan of items such as armaments and ammunition, space technology, encryption devices, X-ray and isotope equipment, nuclear materials, poisons, drugs, precious and semi-precious metals, nullified securities, pieces of art and antiques of historical value. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Washington, D.C. or the Consulate of Uzbekistan in New York for specific information regarding customs requirements.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Uzbek laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs in Uzbekistan are strict, and offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
CONSULAR ACCESS: Travelers to Uzbekistan are subject to frequent document inspections. Therefore, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passport and their Uzbek visa with them at all times so that they may more readily prove that they are U.S. citizens. In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and certain bilateral agreements, local authorities must grant a United States consular officer access to any U.S. citizen who is arrested. U.S. citizens who are arrested or detained should ask to contact the U.S. Embassy immediately.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Most transactions are conducted on a cash-only, local currency (som) basis. Credit cards are accepted only at the main hotels and a few shops and restaurants; traveler's checks can be cashed into dollars at the National Bank of Uzbekistan. The commission fee is two percent. Importation of currency exceeding $10,000 (US) is subject to a one percent duty.
Foreigners must complete a customs declaration upon entering Uzbekistan and may face fines upon departure if unable to produce certificates verifying legal conversion of foreign currency. Old U.S. dollar bills (prior to 1990) and/or those in poor condition (with tears, writing or stamps) are not acceptable forms of currency in Uzbekistan. Although payment in U.S. dollars is required for certain hotel charges, plane tickets, and visa fees, other dollar transactions, as well as black market currency exchanges, are prohibited.
DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Uzbekistan is an earthquake-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security in Uzbekistan. The U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, is located at Ulitsa Chilanzarskaya, 82. The main Embassy telephone number is (998 71) 120-5450, fax (998 71) 120-6335; the Consular Section's direct line is (998 71) 120-5444, e-mail address: consular@usembassy.us. Current information may also be obtained from the Embassy web site at http://www.usembassy.uz.
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This publication replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated January 4, 2001 to update the sections on Entry Requirements, Crime, Safety and Security, Medical Insurance and Registration/Embassy Location.