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Turkmenistan

If you’re travelling to Turkmenistan, 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 Turkmenistan/Afghanistan border area.

Latest travel alert

Certain parts of Turkmenistan have been designated as ‘restricted’ and special permits are required from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to travel there. Check the situation with your local guide before travelling outside the capital.

Emergency Assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Turkmenistan, 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 Turkmenistan 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 Turkmenistan, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services in Turkmenistan by dialling 03.

Other EU embassies

You can contact the Embassies and Consulates of other EU countries represented in Turkmenistan 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

Unrest

Certain parts of Turkmenistan have been designated as ‘restricted’ and special permits are required from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to travel there. Check the situation with your local guide before travelling outside the capital.

We advise you to avoid the Turkmenistan/Afghanistan border area.

Avoid any demonstrations and public gatherings. Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Turkmenistan is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. You should be particularly vigilant in public places and pay attention to any security announcements by the Turkmen authorities.

Crime

Crime in Turkmenistan is comparatively low, but 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
  • Keep valuables out of sight and avoid obvious displays of wealth, especially in rural areas
  • Keep away from unlit or remote areas


Women travellers

Women should take basic personal safety precautions such as avoiding going out alone late at night.

Reporting crime

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

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Turkmenistan, you should take care. Many roads are poor and badly lit. Driving at night is not advisable.  If you want to drive, bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance

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).

Taxis

Don’t travel in unofficial taxis, particularly at night and alone, or if there is another passenger already in the car. We advise you to hire a private car and driver or an officially licensed taxi through your hotel or travel agency. 

Air safety

We can’t be sure that maintenance procedures on aircraft used for internal flights are properly observed so if possible don’t fly on airlines listed under the EU operating ban. Where possible, use a direct flight originating from outside Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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.

Illegal drugs

The possession and use of drugs is illegal. 

LGBT

Homosexuality is illegal under Turkmen law and is still very much frowned upon socially. 

The issue of relationships between foreign men and local women is also sensitive. We advise caution and discretion at all times and you should avoid public displays of affection.

Photography

Photographing many of the official buildings is prohibited (including the Presidential Palace) and it is best to check with a local police officer first.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure about the entry requirements for Turkmenistan, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the Embassy of Turkmenistan in London.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Turkmenistan and you should carry a photocopy of your passport and visa at all times during your stay because local police often request proof of identity.

Dual nationality

Turkmenistan does not recognise dual nationality and you are expected to have only one passport with you. You are not allowed to enter Turkmenistan without the prior approval of the Turkmen authorities.

Health

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

Medical facilities

The quality of medical care in Turkmenistan is poor and anything other than basic or emergency treatment, particularly outside the capital, is best avoided.

Illnesses

Typhoid and hepatitis A have occurred in Turkmenistan. The World Health Organisation declared the country malaria-free in 2010.

Water

We recommend that you drink only boiled or bottled water during your stay.

Mobile phones

There is no roaming service within Turkmenistan which means that foreign mobile phones do not work there.

Money

You should bring enough money for the duration of your stay and only change money through official exchange booths.

More travel advice

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