Tajikistan Consular Information Sheet - Tips

Tajikistan Consular Information Sheet

August 02, 2007COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Tajikistan remains the poorest of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia. It is a nominally constitutional, democratic, and secular republic, dominated by President Emomali Rahmon who has been in power since 1992. Tourist facilities are undeveloped and many goods and services usually available in other countries are unavailable. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Tajikistan for additional information.

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required to enter Tajikistan, as well as for registration at hotels. Failure to produce a valid visa will require the traveler to leave the country immediately. Travelers planning to arrive in Tajikistan from countries that have Tajik embassies or consulates must obtain Tajik visas abroad prior to their travel. Tajikistan is represented by embassies and consulates in the following countries: United States of America, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, China, Afghanistan (Kabul, Mazori Sharif), Iran, Pakistan, India, Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and United Arab Emirates (Dubai). Travelers arriving in Tajikistan from countries in which there are no Tajik embassies or consulates must have Tajik visa support, a letter confirming that a visa may be issued, from the Tajik Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in order to receive a Tajik visa at the Dushanbe International Airport upon arrival. Travelers need to have two passport-size photos and a passport valid for at least six month longer than the duration of the planned stay in Tajikistan. Visas issued at the Dushanbe airport are normally valid for only 45 days. This “upon arrival” visa service does not apply to any other Tajik airports or land borders.

Travelers staying in Tajikistan three days or longer must, within three days of arrival in Tajikistan, obtain registration stamps at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) or the Ministry of Internal Affairs (OVIR), depending on whether the purpose of the visit to Tajikistan is for official or personal travel. Immigration authorities may deny the departure of travelers who failed to register their visas until they pay a fine and obtain the registration stamps at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or OVIR.

In order to receive visa support, an organization inviting a traveler to Tajikistan must submit a request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at least two weeks in advance of the planned travel date to Tajikistan. Persons planning to arrive in Tajikistan at the invitation of a private Tajik resident (e.g., a friend or relative in Tajikistan) need to obtain a notification letter from the Tajik Department of Visas and Registration under the Ministry of Internal Affairs (OVIR). The MFA will issue Tajik visa support on the basis of the OVIR notification letter. The inviting party will send a copy of visa support to the traveler. The original MFA visa support will be sent to the Consular bureau at Dushanbe airport. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, travelers applying for visas at Tajik embassies or consulates abroad will be able to obtain single entry Tajik visas valid for 45 days upon direct submission of their visa request to the Tajik embassy or consulate (without a visa support letter).

Travelers who would like their visas extended need to apply for extension in advance through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (official travelers) or OVIR (tourist or commercial travelers).

Furthermore, entry into the Gorno-Badakhshan region, both from inside and outside of Tajikistan, requires special authorization in advance in addition to a valid Tajik visa. Tajik authorities advise that sponsoring organizations in Tajikistan submit requests for travel authorization for the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Department of Visas and Registration (OVIR) at least two weeks in advance of the planned travel. The Tajik MFA or OVIR will list the names of settlements and cities in Gorno-Badakhshan, which the traveler plans on visiting, in the travel authorization stamp and stamp it. The Gorno-Badakhshan travel authorization is not written on a Tajik visa sticker. It is a separate note put in a passport.

The government of Tajikistan requires visitors who remain in country for more than 90 days to present a medical certificate showing that they are HIV-free, or to submit to an HIV test in Tajikistan. HIV is a growing health threat in Tajikistan.

Visit the Embassy of Tajikistan web site at http://www.tjus.org for the most current visa information.

Note: Departure options from Tajikistan may be limited in an emergency. U.S. citizens, their family members, and their dependents can maximize departure options by obtaining extended visas for travel to countries with reliable connections to Tajikistan, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Russia. Other destinations, notably Turkey, offer several flights a week and do not require American citizens to obtain visas in advance. Please note, however, that in emergency situations, flights may be suspended.

See our information about dual nationality, the prevention of international child abduction and Customs Information.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Supporters of extremist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), al-Qaida, Hizb ut-Tahrir, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement remain active in Central Asia. These groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. Government or private interests in the region, including in Tajikistan. Terrorist attacks involving the use of suicide bombers have previously taken place in neighboring Uzbekistan. Taliban resurgence and successful operations in Afghanistan, including attacks in the north, could also affect the security situation in southern Tajikistan.

In January 2005, a car bomb exploded outside a Tajik Government facility in Dushanbe, killing one person. In June 2007, another explosion occurred outside the same facility, this time with no fatalities reported. Though these incidents were not directed against U.S. interests, they highlight the importance of paying careful attention to surroundings. The Tajik Government claimed the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was responsible for both explosions.

Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Because of increased security at official U.S. facilities, terrorists are seeking softer civilian targets such as residential areas, clubs and restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools, outdoor recreation events, resorts, beaches, maritime facilities, airports and aircraft. The Embassy continues to monitor such events closely and may impose travel restrictions should this situation deteriorate.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Bureau of Consular Affairs' web site where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement and the Public Announcement for Central Asia, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. 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 pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

CRIME: Tajikistan is a country with a struggling economy and widespread unemployment. People perceived to have money, including foreigners, may be targeted for common street crime, such as pick-pocketing and mugging, as well as for more violent incidents such as armed robbery, residential break-ins, and sexual assault.The high level of corruption among law enforcement officials dissuades many victims from reporting crimes. A common occurrence of police corruption involves the guise of exacting “fines” for alleged illegal conduct. Those who refuse to pay may be detained for long periods, and for those outside of Dushanbe, especially in smaller villages, access to a telephone or other resources may be difficult to obtain.

The overall security situation in Dushanbe has been relatively calm for the past few years. In general, most locations throughout the city are safe to visit during daylight hours but caution must be used during evening hours. Outside Dushanbe, travelers should be aware that local security, law enforcement, first responder, and medical personnel may not be immediately available in case of need.

The Embassy reminds visitors to be careful and cautious in their own personal security, whether within the city limits of Dushanbe or in the more remote areas of the country. Americans should be aware that danger increases after dark, and they are advised to use caution when traveling alone or on foot after dark. The U.S. Embassy encourages visitors to travel in pairs and to notify colleagues of their whereabouts when not working, especially during evening hours. Travelers are also encouraged to carry a copy of their passport (separate from your wallet) to speed up issuance of a new passport in case of theft.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. More information on this serious problem is available at http://www.cybercrime.gov/18usc2320.htm .

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is 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.

See our information on Victims of Crime.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: The quality of Tajikistan’s medical infrastructure is significantly below Western standards, with severe shortages of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics. Many trained medical personnel left the country during and following the civil war. Elderly travelers and those with pre-existing health problems may be at particular risk due to inadequate medical facilities.

Significant disease outbreaks are possible due to population shifts and a decline in some immunization coverage among the general population. There have been outbreaks of typhoid in the Dushanbe area and in the south, and the risk of contracting malaria, cholera, and water-borne illnesses is high. Throughout Central Asia, rates of infection of various forms of hepatitis and tuberculosis (including drug-resistant strains) are on the rise. It is advised to drink only bottled or thoroughly boiled water while in Tajikistan.

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 hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith. Pandemic and avian flu information is available at http://www.pandemicflu.gov.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.

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. The information below concerning Tajikistan is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Travel to, from, and within Tajikistan is difficult and unreliable. Neighboring countries may unilaterally close borders and some borders are poorly delineated. Armed police or military checkpoints can make road travel outside of Dushanbe more difficult. Crossing the Tajik-Uzbek border, in particular, has been known to present difficulties for drivers operating vehicles with non-Tajik government-issued plates. Road travel should be undertaken only in daylight hours and on routes known to the traveler or a reliable escort. Those traveling to Gorno-Badakhshan by car should do so only during daylight hours. The roads traverse mountainous terrain along the Afghan border that is difficult to navigate, even in daylight hours. Public transportation vehicles in the city are often overcrowded and not always safe. If you are driving, be vigilant because pedestrians often tend to cross the street at inappropriate places or walk along the highway without paying attention to vehicular traffic. Bus services between major cities have been severely disrupted by border closures and should not be relied upon. The State Traffic Inspectorate (GAI, or in Tajiki, BDA), which has checkpoints in many cities and at regular intervals along all highways outside the city, frequently stops vehicles for inspection of the vehicle and the driver’s documents.

During the winter months, the potential dangers when traveling outside of Dushanbe in the mountainous areas of the country are heightened. Every year, accidents and casualties occur on Tajikistan’s mountain roads and passes, often when drivers ignore warnings not to travel over a closed mountain pass. Avalanches are a common occurrence in Tajikistan’s mountains during the winter months. The tunnel bypassing the Anzob Pass is still not complete and travel via this construction project is not advised in any season. Please exercise caution and limit winter travel to Tajikistan’s mountain regions.

Emergency phone numbers: police – 02, ambulance – 03, state traffic control (GAI) duty officer – 35-45-45.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Tajikistan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Tajikistan’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Tajikistan has a cash-only economy. International banking services are limited, but ATM machines have been installed in several locations. Cash is dispensed in both U.S. and local currency. Few establishments in the country accept credit cards and none accepts traveler's checks. Tajikistan's national currency is the Somoni, which is convertible.

Tajik customs authorities may subject all items that are imported into or exported from Tajikistan to a high level of scrutiny. The Government of Tajikistan may enforce strict customs regulations against those who import and export goods. The export of antiques and cultural valuables requires special permission. There are also currency restrictions. Travelers must fill out a Customs Declaration Form upon arrival in Tajikistan, have it stamped by Tajik customs officials at the port of entry and retain the form until departure to demonstrate that the travelers are not leaving Tajikistan with more money than they brought into the country. Please contact the Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in the United States, 1005 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20037; telephone (202) 223-6090, fax: (202) 223-6091, e-mail: tajikistan@verizon.net, web site: http://www.tjus.org for specific information about customs requirements.

The Republic of Tajikistan does not recognize dual citizenship with most countries, including the United States (one exception is with Russia, where dual citizenship is regulated by a special interstate agreement). Dual nationals who attempt to leave Tajikistan on U.S. passports without valid Tajik visas in them are likely to have problems with immigration authorities upon departing Tajikistan.

Travelers to Tajikistan are subject to frequent document inspections by local police. U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to carry copies of their U.S. passports and Tajik visas at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest, including many government buildings, may result in problems with the authorities. In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and certain bilateral agreements, local authorities must grant a U.S. 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.

Tajikistan 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) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Please see our Customs Information.

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. Persons violating Tajik laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Tajikistan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living or traveling in Tajikistan are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration web site and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Tajikistan. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at 109A Ismoili Somoni Avenue, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Main Phone: 992-37-229-2000, Consular Direct Line: 992-37-229-23-00, consular fax: 992-37-229-23-09, embassy fax: 992-37-2050, Duty Officer: 992-90-770-10-32, web site: http://dushanbe.usembassy.gov.

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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated December 6, 2006, to update sections on Entry/Exit Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Special Circumstances, Children’s Issues and Registration/Embassy Location. *********************************************************** See http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html for State Department Travel Warnings ******************************************************************************** To change your subscription, go to http://www.state.gov/misc/echannels/66822.htm Tajikistan Consular Information Sheet

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