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Travel Security Advice for Uzbekistan

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Uzbekistan_mapUzbekistan_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Uzbekistan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. While the country has undergone significant change since then, its progress towards democratic and economic reform has been halting and uneven. Much of the country, particularly areas outside of Tashkent and the major tourist destinations of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, is remote and difficult to access. Tourist facilities in these areas are typically below Western standards, and many goods and services remain difficult to find on a regular basis. Read the Department of State’s Background Notes on Uzbekistan for additional information.



REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION:  

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Uzbekistan are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.

Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates .

The U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan


#3, Moyqorghon Street
5th Block, Yunusobod District
Tashkent- 700093
Republic of Uzbekistan
Telephone: 998-71-120-5450
Facsimile: 998-71-120-5448



ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: 

A passport and visa are required. Although official invitation letters are not required for American citizens applying for tourist visas, they are required for those planning to visit an individual who resides in Uzbekistan. Tourist visas cannot be extended in Uzbekistan. 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 Uzbek airports. Americans seeking visas are encouraged to apply for their visas well in advance of their travel.

It is important to note that 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. A visitor will have to leave the country before the number of days indicated as the duration of stay on the visa expires. Therefore, it is important to indicate your intended period of stay when applying for your Uzbek visa. All travelers, even those simply transiting Uzbekistan for fewer than 72 hours, must obtain an Uzbek visa before traveling to Uzbekistan.

Foreigners must complete a customs declaration upon entering Uzbekistan. The amount of cash taken out of Uzbekistan should not exceed the amount indicated on the customs declaration. In order to export more cash than was imported, one must have special permission from the National Bank of Uzbekistan. Those who understate the amount of currency on their declaration form upon departure from Uzbekistan face fines and confiscation of their unreported money.

The Uzbek Government tightly controls all official border crossings. Travel within Uzbekistan by rail or land sometimes requires brief exit into neighboring countries. Travelers should have multiple-entry Uzbek visas and a proper visa for the neighboring country in order to avoid delays in travel.

Uzbek Visa Registration after entry: All travelers present in Uzbekistan for more than three business days must register with the Office of Entry, Exit, and Citizenship, commonly known as “OVIR,” of the district or city in which they are staying. Hotel guests are registered automatically, but all other travelers are responsible for registering themselves. Registration fees vary depending on length of stay. Visitors without proper registration are subject to fines, imprisonment, and deportation. The fines range from $1,000 to $12,000.

Transit Visas:  Travelers intending to transit through Russia en route to a third country must have a Russian transit visa. Even travelers who are simply changing planes in Moscow or another international airport in Russia for an onward destination will be asked to present a transit visa issued by a Russian Embassy or Consulate. Russian authorities may refuse to allow a U.S. citizen who does not have a transit visa to continue with his or her travel, obliging the person to immediately return to the point of embarkation at the traveler’s own expense.

The Consular Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan is located at 1746 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036; telephone: (202) 530-7291; fax: (202) 293-9633; and the Consulate General of Uzbekistan in New York City is located at 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 327A, New York, NY 10017; telephone: (212) 754-7403; fax: (212) 838-9812.

Visit the Embassy of Uzbekistan website for the most current visa information.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Uzbekistan. Uzbek law mandates that visitors carry a medical certificate attesting that they are not infected with HIV and that visitors staying more than 15 days be tested. However, this requirement is rarely enforced except in cases of long-term visitors on work permits. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Uzbekistan before you travel.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.



THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: 

A Travel Warning remains in effect for Uzbekistan. The Department of State reminds U.S. citizens of the potential for terrorist attacks in Uzbekistan. There have been terrorist attacks as recently as May 2009 in eastern Uzbekistan in the Ferghana Valley, and Americans visiting or living in Uzbekistan are urged to exercise caution. The U.S. Government continues to receive information that indicates terrorist groups may be planning attacks, possibly against U.S. interests, in Uzbekistan. Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement are active in the region. Members of these groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and have attacked U.S. Government interests in the past, including the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, and may attempt to target U.S. Government or private American interests in Uzbekistan. In the past, these groups have conducted kidnappings, assassinations, and suicide bombings.

Uzbekistan has experienced terrorist violence in the past, including a suicide bombing outside the U.S. Embassy in 2004. Increased security at official U.S. facilities may lead terrorists and their sympathizers to seek softer targets. These may include facilities where Americans and other foreigners congregate or visit, such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation events, and resorts. The U.S. Embassy in Tashkent continues to employ heightened security precautions. U.S. citizens should report any unusual activity to local authorities and then inform the Embassy.

Depending upon security conditions, travelers may experience restricted personal movement, including the closing of roads to traffic in addition to frequent document, vehicle, and personal identification checks. The Uzbek Government has intermittently restricted travel to certain parts of the country in response to security concerns.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs' website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Travel Warning for Uzbekistan, as well as the Worldwide Caution.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada or, by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.



CRIME:  

Uzbekistan’s rate of violent crime, including against foreigners, has increased slightly in recent years. In urban areas, travelers are urged to take the same precautions against crime that they would take in a large American city. If you are traveling at night, please travel in groups, maintain a low profile, and do not display large amounts of cash. Beware of pickpockets in public places, such as tourist destinations and local markets.

Although using private cars as taxicabs is a common practice in Uzbekistan, Americans, especially women, should not consider this a safe practice. Americans are encouraged to use clearly marked taxicabs, such as those at hotels. Also, Americans should avoid riding in taxis alone

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.



VICTIMS OF CRIME: 

If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates ). This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Uzbekistan are: 01 for fire; 02 for police; 03 for an ambulance; and 050 for the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Please see our information on victims of crime , including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.



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. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States .



SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: 

Travelers to Uzbekistan are subject to frequent document inspections. Therefore, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to carry a certified copy of their U.S. passport and their Uzbek visa with them at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. 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.

Uzbek customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import to 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. Contact the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Washington, D.C. or the Consulate of Uzbekistan in New York for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Most transactions are conducted on a cash-only, local currency (soum) basis. Many merchants will accept dollars for larger tourist handicraft purchases. Credit cards are accepted only at the main hotels and a few shops and restaurants; travelers’ checks can be cashed into dollars at the National Bank of Uzbekistan. The commission fee is two percent. 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, airline tickets, and visa fees, other dollar transactions, as well as black market currency exchanges, are prohibited.

Uzbekistan restricts religious activities only to registered religious groups and has strict registration requirements. Violators of the law’s prohibitions on activities such as proselytizing, importing and disseminating religious literature, and offering private religious instruction are subject to criminal penalties including deportation.

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).



MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: 

Medical care in Uzbekistan is below Western standards, with severe shortages of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics. A large percentage of medication sold in local pharmacies is known to be counterfeit. 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. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy maintains a Medical Contacts List on its website 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 unpasteurized dairy products and most food sold in the streets.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information .

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Uzbekistan. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB .



MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to determine whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page .



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. Uzbekistan has a developed but inconsistently maintained traffic infrastructure. Although main roads in central Tashkent are relatively well maintained, many secondary roads inside and 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 and a few other major cities have streetlights; rural roads and highways generally are not lit. Visitors are strongly urged to avoid driving at night outside Tashkent. The gasoline supply can be sporadic; therefore, travelers should expect occasional difficulty finding gasoline, particularly outside of Tashkent.

Livestock, as well as farm equipment and carts drawn by animals that lack lights or reflectors, 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.

Uzbekistan has a “zero tolerance” policy for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the Uzbekistan’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.



AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: 

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Uzbekistan’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Uzbekistan’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page .



CHILDREN'S ISSUES: 

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Uzbekistan dated January 23, 2009, to update the sections on Entry/Exit Requirements, Threats to Safety and Security, and Special Circumstances.


The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office also has information regarding travel to Uzbekistan HERE....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)......

There is also a Malaria Warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Uzbekistan HERE......

Be advised as to the Travel Warning for Uzbekistan HERE........

Regards

The SW Team.........

 

Direct Gov Travel News and Alerts