Here's all you need to know about visas and COVID entry restrictions.
Travelling in Central Asia is almost back to pre-COVID ease, with just a few things still in place.
Firstly, the big news - Turkmenistan has finally started resuming tourism!
As announced in 2020, they have opened the borders and are starting to accept LOI applications. None have yet been approved, but we are hoping to have our first group there in early April .
The visa process is the same as it was before COVID, and is the same for everyone. Everyone needs a Letter of Invitation, applied for by the tour company who you organise your tour with, and then with the approved LOI you can get the visa on arrival at the airport. Read more about the visa process here .
Everyone is required to submit a COVID vaccine certificate along with their LOI application, and on arrival at Ashgabat airport you'll be required to do a PCR test, at the cost of US$35. There is no indication as to how long these requirements will be in place.
There is still no news on when land borders will open.
Kazakhstan as of early June 2022 removed all COVID restrictions, so now you can enter via air, land or ship without the need for a PCR test or a vaccine certificate, so anyone can travel to Kazakhstan now from a COVID point of view.
Kazakhstan has also returned to their pre-COVID visa programme which allows visa free access to 74 countries. Not only is it as easy as ever to travel to Kazakhstan but they’ve also announced that they will expand the visa free list of nations to more than 100!
You can read the current visa restrictions here .
Kyrgyzstan was the outlier during COVID in that they continued to accept tourists as before, so long as they were either vaccinated or presented a negative PCR test. This was scrapped in 2022, so even unvaccinated tourists can travel to Kyrgyzstan and there is no need to complete a PCR test. The list of visa restrictions still remains the most liberal in Central Asia and can be found here .
The land border with Tajikistan remains closed but this is due to the current tensions between the two countries and is not COVID related.
Uzbekistan has now removed all COVID related entry requirements meaning you do not need to present a vaccine certificate or negative PCR test. Pre-COVID visa requirements are now in force, meaning many nationalities can enter visa free, while most others can easily obtain an e-visa. You can find out all of Uzbekistan’s visa requirements here .
Tajikistan still requires either proof of vaccine or a negative PCR test in order to enter the country. As of last year, nationals from 52 countries became visa free, while almost every other country in the world can easily obtain a Tajik e-visa which is relatively straight forward, quick and inexpensive. You can find out more information about it here .
The land border with Kyrgyzstan remains closed but this is due to the current tensions between the two countries and is not COVID related. It is also not likely to change any time soon unfortunately, so for anyone hoping to cross this border (especially common for those planning to travel the Pamir Highway), you'll need to re-plan your trip.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like further clarification.