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Tajikistan

If you’re travelling to Tajikistan, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution.

We advise against all travel to the Gorno-Badakhshan region, including the city of Khorog, and the Kamarob Gorge in the Rasht region.

Emergency assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Tajikistan, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Moscow.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Tajikistan before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Tajikistan, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services in Tajikistan by dialling:
Fire: 01
Police: 02
Ambulance: 03

Other EU embassies

You can contact the Embassies and Consulates of other EU countries represented in Tajikistan for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates  
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

 

Safety and security

Social unrest

The overall security situation in Tajikistan is currently stable.  However, you should remain vigilant in public places and be alert to any security-related announcements by the police.

We strongly advise against all travel to the Gorno-Badakhshan region, including the city of Khorog. The Gorno-Badakhshan region is located about 500km south-east of Dunshanbe, the capital of Tajikisan. There are ongoing clashes between the security forces and militants in this area, and the security of foreign nationals cannot be guaranteed.

We also strongly advise against all travel to the Kamarob Gorge in the Rasht region.

Armed incidents continue between border forces and drug traffickers along the Afghan border. Neighbouring countries may unilaterally close borders temporarily. 

Demonstrations

You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. If you become aware of any nearby violence, leave the area immediately. Keep yourself informed of developments by monitoring the local media, and stay alert.

Terrorism

Tajikistan shares a continuing threat from terrorism with other countries in Central Asia. Be vigilant in public places and look out for any security-related announcements by the police. Attacks in recent years have been indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Kidnapping

Foreign nationals could be potential targets for kidnapping in Tajikistan so follow these basic precautions:

  • Get advice from your local contacts about staying safe
  • Avoid travelling at night, particularly inter-city
  • Avoid travelling alone
  • When driving, ensure all car doors are locked
  • Vary your routes and departure times – avoid patterns which could be tracked

Pay careful attention to local media for reports of kidnapping activities

Landmines

Don’t venture off-road in areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, as there are both marked and unmarked minefields. Get local advice in the Tavildara region of central Tajikistan as there are a few minefields dating from the civil war in the mountains.

Local liaison

Tajikistan has not yet developed a tourist infrastructure so you should arrange to be met on arrival and guided by a responsible local business, NGO, tourist or other organisation.

Crime

There have been occasional muggings and petty crime against foreigners but Tajikistan’s capital city Dushanbe is relatively safe and there’s little evidence of criminality directed against foreigners throughout the country. However, you should always take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Never leave drinks unattended in local bars and restaurants or accepted from strangers
  • Lone visitors, in particular, should never accept lifts from strangers
  • In rural areas, single women should avoid going out alone at night, and may suffer harassment even during the day.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Tajikistan, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Moscow if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Tajikistan, you should be extremely careful. Roads outside the main towns are poorly maintained and often only accessible by 4WD. Local vehicles are poorly maintained and driving standards are basic. Petrol stations can be limited outside towns and there are no breakdown companies.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Make sure you take all you need for your journey and allow for delays
  • Emergency communications such as satellite phones are advisable for up-country travel
  • Road travel should only be undertaken in daylight hours

Roads

Conditions are particularly treacherous in spring due to the risk of avalanches and landslides. Many interior roads, including the main road from Dushanbe to Khojand, are only open in the summer months.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Air safety

If you’re planning to travel to, from and/or within Tajikistan, avoid flying on airlines listed under the EU operating ban. No Western airlines fly to Tajikistan and most international flights to Dushanbe are by the state airline Tajik Air. It is not known whether maintenance procedures are always properly observed or whether passengers are covered by insurance. Tajik Air is not a member of IATA. Only two of their current aircraft (Tupolevs) are allowed to fly into EU airspace (Munich). Flights in Tajikistan may be cancelled at short notice or substantially delayed. Overloading on local flights is not uncommon.

 

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Personal identification

You must have a form of photographic identification to hand at all times and you should also carry a copy of your Tajik visa at all times, as there are frequent document checks by the local authorities.  We advise you to carry a photocopy of the relevant page of your passport and keep the original in a safe place.

Dual nationality

The Republic of Tajikistan does not recognise dual nationality and visitors are expected to have only one passport.

Illegal drugs

Lengthy prison sentences are imposed on those found guilty of drug possession and/or drug use. 

Smoking

It is illegal to smoke in many public establishments.

Photography

Avoid taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest as this could result in problems with the authorities.

LGBT

Homosexuality is not illegal under Tajik law but is still very much frowned upon socially. Be discreet and avoid public displays of affection.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

For entry requirements for Tajikstan, please contact the Embassy of Tajikistan in London. You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Visas

Always check your visa and visa registration validity dates so that these documents can be renewed in good time if necessary. Always carry a copy of your Tajik visa, as there are frequent document checks by the local authorities. 

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Tajikistan and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay as you must have a form of photographic identification to hand at all times.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see what vaccinations you need for Tajikistan.

Medical facilities

Tajikistan is a very poor country, with poor medical facilities and a shortage of basic medical supplies. Brand name drugs may not be genuine. Medical and rescue facilities are unreliable where they exist at all. Tourist facilities are very underdeveloped, and goods and services taken for granted in Ireland may not be available. You should also take particular care over food and drink preparation.

Diseases

Tuberculosis is widespread in Tajikistan. An outbreak of polio has been reported and there is a threat of typhoid, cholera and other diseases, including malaria, in summer in the Khatlon region and in the south of Gorno-Badakhshan.

Water

We recommend that you drink only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks during your stay.

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 are only a handful of ATM machines, and none in rural areas. US dollars are the most widely accepted foreign currency; others may be difficult to exchange.

Currency

You must fill in a Customs Declaration Form when you arrive in Tajikistan, have it stamped by Tajik officials at the port of entry and keep it until your departure so you can show that you’re not leaving Tajikistan with more money than you arrived with.

Electricity

Please note that electricity is sometimes rationed, especially during the colder months.

More travel advice

Because we don’t have an Embassy or Consulate in Tajikistan, we can’t give you up-to-date travel advice. But you can visit these foreign ministries for more detailed information: