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Uzbekistan

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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Uzbekistan due to the threat of terrorism and the possibility of violent crime.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to regions bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic, including Andijan and the eastern region of the Ferghana Valley. The security situation in these areas can be volatile, and there is a risk from unmarked landmines.
  • Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media about possible new security risks. See Safety and security.
  • Terrorist attacks have occurred in Uzbekistan. Further attacks are possible. Targets could include locations popular with foreigners. See Safety and security.
  • Some medications containing narcotic and/or psychotropic substances are prohibited or limited in Uzbekistan. Medications must be declared at customs. See Entry and exit.
  • Dual Citizenship is not recognised in Uzbekistan. If you have acquired Australian citizenship you must notify the Ministry of Interior or an Uzbek Embassy or Consulate within 30 days. See Laws.
  • Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Uzbekistan. The Australian Embassy in Russia provides consular assistance to Australians in Uzbekistan.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Visas

From 1 February 2019, Australians can enter Uzbekistan under a new visa-free arrangement for single-entry stays of up to 30 days.

You will still need a visa to enter Uzbekistan if you are staying for more than 30 days, if you require multiple entries or if you are visiting before 1 February 2019. More information is available from the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Uzbekistan for up-to-date information. The Embassy of Uzbekistan in Singapore has accreditation for Australia and can be contacted on (+65) 6734 3942 or by email at info@uzbekistan.org.sg.

Uzbek visas specify validity, number of entries allowed, and the duration of stay. Check your visa details once issued. The duration of stay on your visa may differ from the duration of stay requested in your visa application. Do not arrive in the country before the validity period or overstay your visa as this might result in fines, detention and deportation.

Other formalities

Uzbekistan strictly controls the import of certain pharmaceuticals and psychotropic medicines, including if they are for personal use. Restrictions apply to visitors and passengers transiting through Uzbekistan. Some medications available over-the-counter or by prescription in Australia, such as sleeping tablets or medication containing codeine, may be illegal or restricted in Uzbekistan. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Uzbekistan well before you travel to check whether your medicines are legal in Uzbekistan and whether any quantity or other restrictions apply.

Take legal prescription medicines with you so you stay in good health. For each medicine you take to Uzbekistan, carry copies of your prescription and a letter from your doctor (translated into Russian and/or Uzbek), which declares your diagnosis, the name(s) of the prescription(s), the dosage and the duration of consumption. Declare all medications and other restricted items on arrival.

If you don't declare a medicine, or if the quantity exceeds legal limits, you could face fines or criminal charges, even if you have a prescription and/or explanatory letter from your doctor.

More information:

If your stay is for three or more days, you'll need to register with local authorities. If you're staying in a hotel, hotel staff may register you on your behalf. Check whether this will be done when you check-in and follow up later to make sure it is done in a timely manner. You are responsible for making sure you comply with this requirement. If you are staying in private accommodation, or if your hotel doesn't offer this service, you'll need to register at the local Uzbek Visa and Registration Office (OVIR). Register in each city in which you intend to stay three days or longer.

Border crossings

Uzbekistan's borders with neighbouring countries can close without notice. Some border crossings may only be open to local residents. Check with local authorities in advance which border crossings are open and if they are available for you to pass through.

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact an Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

If you get a new passport, it is your responsibility to ensure your Uzbek visa is transferred into your new passport. If you have a valid Uzbek visa in a cancelled or expired passport, you may not be able to exit or enter the country.  

More information:

  • Embassy or Consulate of Uzbekistan, if you're outside Uzbekistan
  • your local Uzbek Visa and Registration Office, if you're in Uzbekistan

Money

The currency of Uzbekistan is the Som (UZS). Rules apply to the import and export of foreign currency. Complete two customs declaration forms on arrival. Customs authorities will keep one form. Keep the other form because you'll need to present it to customs officers on departure. 

More information:

Use only banks and legal foreign currency exchange offices and keep your receipts. Black market exchanges are prohibited.

UZS is not freely convertible. Exchange any unspent local currency before you leave Uzbekistan. Exchanging UZS back into foreign currency can be difficult, particularly if you do not retain receipts from the initial exchange into UZD. There is no currency exchange office at the international airport.

Uzbekistan is predominantly a cash economy but credit cards, debit cards and travellers cheques are accepted in some places.  Australian dollar travellers cheques are not accepted. Consult with your bank to find out whether your ATM card will work in Uzbekistan.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat in Uzbekistan. An attack could occur at any time. Targets could include locations popular with foreigners. Terrorist attacks have occurred in Uzbekistan.

Possible targets for future attacks include hotels, clubs, restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, embassies, schools, markets, shopping centres, places of worship, public transport, outdoor recreation events, tourist areas, large public gatherings, Uzbek government buildings and western government and commercial interests.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
  • Exercise particular caution around locations known to be possible terrorist targets.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Monitor the media for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so. 

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Civil unrest and political tension

Regional political tensions and conflict contribute to security threats in Uzbekistan's border regions.

  • Ongoing conflict makes the security situation in Afghanistan extremely dangerous. Incursions of terrorist elements from Afghanistan into Uzbekistan have been reported.
  • The security situation in the regions bordering Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic is volatile. There has been sporadic armed conflict in rural areas in the east of Uzbekistan between extremist or criminal groups and government forces.
  • Tensions over the recognition of Uzbekistan's border with the Kyrgyz Republic have resulted in clashes between security forces. In March 2016, Uzbek border guards temporarily blocked an unmarked section of the border with the Kyrgyz Republic, located in the Ala-Buka district.
  • There are unmarked landmines in regions of Uzbekistan bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic.

Demonstrations occur throughout the country and can turn violent, particularly in Andijan and the eastern region of the Ferghana Valley.

  • Exercise a high degree of caution throughout Uzbekistan.
  • Avoid large gatherings, protests and demonstrations – they could turn violent.
  • Monitor the media for reports of planned or possible unrest. Avoid affected areas.
  • Follow instructions from local authorities.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to regions bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic, including Andijan and the eastern region of the Ferghana Valley.
  • If you travel to these regions despite the risks, closely monitor developments as the security situation may deteriorate without notice. Make contingency plans.

Crime

You could encounter criminal activity in Uzbekistan. Foreigners are often targeted for pickpocketing and other petty crimes. Robberies occur, especially on trains and in unofficial taxis. Some criminals pose as police officers then rob victims. Crime levels are higher at night, including on trains.

There have been reports of harassment, mistreatment and extortion by police and other local officials.

  • Exercise a high degree of caution throughout Uzbekistan.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables, including your passport, in a secure location.
  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid displaying expensive watches, jewellery, phones and cameras, particularly in rural areas.
  • Avoid walking alone.
  • Monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.

Local travel

Landmines

Unmarked landmines are a threat in regions bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic. See Safety and security.

Road travel

You're twice as likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Uzbekistan as in Australia. Hazards include poor road conditions and driving standards, inadequate street lighting, livestock and animal drawn carts on roads and pedestrians unexpectedly crossing roads.

Rural roads are particularly treacherous, including in the Tian Shan and Fan Mountains.

Drivers are charged a fee to bring motor vehicles into Uzbekistan. Payment is collected at border crossings and varies according to the length of stay. You need to get an official permit for any travel to Termez on the Afghan border and areas of Surkhandarya in the south-east.

Security checkpoints are common. Access to service stations can be limited in rural areas.

  • Check you have adequate insurance cover before driving.
  • Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.
  • Get up-to-date local advice on road conditions before travel in rural areas.
  • If travelling by road to border regions despite the risks, check in advance whether the borders are open.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Avoid travel at night.
  • Be alert to possible hazards, especially if you need to travel at night.
  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Obey police signals to stop, including at checkpoints.

More information: Road travel

Driver's licence

You can drive in Uzbekistan with a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must obtain your IDP before departing Australia.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. It may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

Use only registered taxis and limousines, preferably those arranged through your hotel.

Public transport 

If travelling by bus or rail, check your itinerary carefully as some domestic routes transit through bordering countries. If so, make sure you hold an Uzbek multi-entry visa and where relevant, visas for the transit countries. Rail travel can be unreliable and dangerous due to criminal activity.

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Uzbekistan. More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy prison sentences served in local jails. More information: Drugs

Other laws

Requests from police to produce proof of identity are frequent. Carry your passport and visa at all times.

Activities that are illegal in Uzbekistan include:

  • sexual relationships outside of marriage
  • same-sex relationships - more information: LGBTI travellers
  • photographing government or military buildings
  • photographing public transport infrastructure, including metro stations
  • failing to declare medications you're carrying on entry to Uzbekistan - see Entry and exit.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationality

Uzbekistan doesn't recognise dual nationality. This may limit our ability to provide you with consular assistance if you're an Australian-Uzbek dual national and you're arrested or detained. Travel on your Australian passport at all times.

Under Uzbek law, an Uzbek citizen loses their Uzbek citizenship upon acquiring the citizenship of another country. If you are an Uzbek citizen and you become an Australian citizen, under Uzbekistan law you must notify the Uzbek Ministry of Interior or the nearest Uzbek Embassy or Consulate within 30 days. More information: Embassy or Consulate of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has national service obligations. If you retain Uzbek citizenship, you could be required to complete service obligations if you visit Uzbekistan. Local law provides for penalties for citizens of Uzbekistan who serve in the military or security forces of another country.

Dual-nationals travelling on Uzbek passports in Russia or neighbouring CIS countries may face difficulties at border control stations if a 'permit to depart Uzbekistan' is not attached to the Uzbek passport or if it has expired. Our ability to assist you may be very limited in these circumstances. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Uzbekistan for additional information on how to get or renew this permit prior to entering any of the CIS countries or Russia on an Uzbek passport.

More information: Dual nationals

Local customs

Standards of dress and behaviour are conservative in Uzbekistan. Take care not to offend. If in doubt, dress conservatively and seek local advice.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to occur between mid-May and mid-June 2018.

More information: Ramadan

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. 

Regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy.
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.
  • More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Some medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia, such as sleeping tablets, may be illegal or restricted in Uzbekistan. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel. You may be detained if you do not declare restricted medications. See Entry and exit.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

HIV/AIDS

The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Uzbekistan is high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Insect-borne diseases

Malaria occurs in Uzunskiy, Sariassiskiy and Shurchinskiy districts (Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya provinces). Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases. Ticks are very common in country areas and are most active from spring to autumn.

Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consider taking malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, brucellosis, hepatitis and rabies) are prevalent. More serious outbreaks occur from time to time.

  • Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water in rural areas.
  • Avoid ice cubes in rural areas.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are limited in Uzbekistan. Medicines and equipment are often in short supply.

You'll often need to pay in cash up-front before doctors or hospitals will treat you, including for emergency care.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to another destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.  

Natural disasters

Uzbekistan is located in an active earthquake zone.

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
  • closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

More information: Earthquakes

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

In Tashkent:

  • Fire: 101
  • Police: 102
  • Medical emergencies: 103 
  • Ministry of Emergency Situations: 1050

In all other regions:

  • Fire: 01 
  • Police: 02
  • Medical emergencies: 03 
  • Ministry of Emergency Situations: 050

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia does not have an embassy in Uzbekistan. You can get consular assistance from the nearest Australian Embassy, which is in Russia.

Australian Embassy, Moscow  

Podkolokolny Pereulok 10a/2,
Moscow, Russia   
Phone: +7 (495) 956-6070
Fax: +7 (495) 956-6170
Website: russia.embassy.gov.au
Twitter: @PosolAustralia

Check the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

​If you're unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources