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Uzbekistan

If you’re travelling to Uzbekistan, 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 non-essential travel to areas bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan other than via authorised crossing points.

Emergency Assistance     

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

Other EU embassies

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

Avoid all but essential travel to areas bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan other than via authorised crossing points. Uzbekistan’s borders are potential flashpoints and tensions exist over the recognition of the Uzbekistan/Kyrgyzstan border. Security incidents have been reported from border areas and some areas are mined.

If you want to travel to Termez and other parts of the Surkhandarya region, you’ll need to apply for a permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tashkent.

Demonstrations

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

Terrorism

There is a threat from terrorism in Uzbekistan. Over the last number of years there have been a number of indiscriminate attacks some of which have been directed against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners. You should be particularly vigilant in public places and pay attention to any security announcements by the Uzbek authorities. The Uzbek government has occasionally restricted travel to certain parts of the country in response to security concerns.

Tension is high in Fergana Valley and you should exercise caution.

Crime

Crime is not a serious problem in Uzbekistan. However, there have been occasional muggings and petty crime against foreigners so you should take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
  • Avoid obvious displays of wealth, especially in rural areas
  • You should carry your passport with you at all times as this is a legal requirement in Uzbekistan. The police often carry out checks.
  • Avoid travelling in unofficial taxis, particularly at night and alone, or if there is another passenger already in the car

Police officers

There have been allegations of crimes by off-duty policemen or those pretending to be policemen. Genuine police officials should always present their own credentials when asking someone for proof of their identity. If you’re in doubt, go to the nearest police station.

Lost or stolen passports

If you lose your passport, report it immediately to the police and get confirmation of the loss in writing. You’ll need this when applying for an emergency passport from the Irish Embassy in Moscow. The Embassy can accept applications for new passports, which may take between four and six weeks to be processed in Dublin, but new full passports cannot be issued in Moscow.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Uzbekistan, 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 Uzbekistan, take care – many roads are poor and badly lit. 

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
  • There is a zero tolerance policy towards those driving under the influence of alcohol
  • You drive on the right in Uzbekistan and vehicles approaching a roundabout have a right of way over those already on it

Road safety

There are security checkpoints at the city limits of Tashkent and other towns throughout the country so you may experience delays if you travel by car. 

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).

Public transport

In Tashkent it is safer to use official taxis and to travel in modern vehicles. We don’t encourage the hiring of private gypsy cabs instead of licensed taxis.

Many buses and taxis run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and safety regulations are not always followed. A bus exploded in Tashkent in 2010, causing six deaths. Where possible, you should choose modern vehicles when travelling by bus or taxi.

Air safety

If you intend to travel to, from or within Uzbekistan, avoid flying on airlines listed under the EU operating ban. It is not known if maintenance regulations are properly observed with aircraft used for internal flights. 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.

Personal identification

You should carry your passport with you at all times as this is a legal requirement in Uzbekistan. The police often carry out checks.

Illegal drugs

The possession of certain drugs is illegal and prison sentences can be lengthy.

Prescribed medication

Bring a doctor’s prescription with you if you intend to travel with prescription medicine and declare the items on your Customs Declaration Form. If you don’t declare these items or if you’re carrying more than the legal limit, you could face administrative or even criminal proceedings, even if you have a doctor’s prescription. There have been cases of foreign nationals being detained at the Khusaily border crossing point near Nukus for possession of medication that would ordinarily not cause concern in other countries. 

Homosexuality

Homosexuality is illegal under Uzbek law. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.

Photography

Taking pictures of apparently innocent subjects can upset the authorities and you should check before using a camera, especially near airports, military barracks and police stations.

Natural disasters and climate

Earthquakes

Uzbekistan is located in an active seismic zone and earth tremors do occur. In 2011, an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale struck the Batken region of southwestern Kyrgystan and tremors were felt in Tashkent. A number of deaths and injuries were reported.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

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

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

If you want to travel to Termez and other parts of the Surkhandarya region, you’ll need to apply for a permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tashkent.

Passports

You should carry your passport with you at all times as this is a legal requirement in Uzbekistan. The police often carry out checks. Make sure you fill in the next of kin details in the back pages.

Customs

Foreigners must complete a Customs Declaration in duplicate on entering Uzbekistan. Customs officials will review and stamp both copies. One will be retained by the Customs Authority, you keep the other and present it when you leave the country.

Health

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

Medical facilities

The quality of medical care is poor and you should avoid all but basic treatment or essential treatment in the event of an emergency. Comprehensive medical insurance, including evacuation by air ambulance, is essential.

Malaria

There have been confirmed cases of malaria contracted in the southern Sukhandarya province and in border areas. Before travelling, get up-to-date medical advice as to whether you will need anti-malarial medication. When you arrive, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by using bed nets and repellents, and wearing closed shoes, long sleeves and trousers.

Other illnesses

Outbreaks of hepatitis A, meningitis and diphtheria have occurred in Uzbekistan. Cases of polio have been reported in border areas and tuberculosis is also a concern.

Food hygiene

Peel fruit and vegetables, avoid undercooked meat, unpasteurised dairy products and most of the food sold on the streets.

Water

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

Money

Bring enough money for the duration of your stay and only change money through official exchange booths. You will need to complete a foreign-currency declaration form when you arrive, and keep a copy yourself. You cannot leave with more foreign currency than you arrived with. ATMs are uncommon in Uzbekistan.

More travel advice

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