Uzbek Immigration Law: Uzbek immigration laws and regulations are complex and often enforced in a discretionary, arbitrary manner. In some cases, U.S. citizen travelers have received contradictory guidance from Uzbek officials. The Department of State strives to provide accurate information but has no authority over Uzbek entry and exit controls or visa requirements. For more information, contact the Uzbek Embassy in the United States, the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Uzbek Ministry of Interior (page in Russian and Uzbek only).
Visas: All U.S. citizen travelers must possess a valid Uzbek visa in a valid U.S. passport. Visitors may not enter Uzbekistan with a valid Uzbek visa in a canceled or expired U.S. passport, even if they present another valid U.S. passport at the port of entry. Visit the visa information page of the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C., for current visa information.
U.S. citizens should apply for visas well in advance of their travel. Visitors coming from countries in which Uzbekistan does not have diplomatic or consular representation should obtain visas in a third country. A list of Uzbekistan’s consular missions abroad is available on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Visas cannot be obtained upon arrival at Uzbek airports.
Visitors most often apply for three types of visas:
Tourist Visas (T):
Apply at an Uzbek embassy or consulate by filling out the required application form;
Provide any other requested information.
Visitors who will stay at hotels should apply for tourist (T) visas. Such visitors are required to stay at hotels and may not legally stay at private residences. Hotels are responsible for registering guests with T visas with the Office of Migration and Citizenship Issues of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, commonly known as OVIR, and will ask guests to turn over their passports so that hotel staff may perform this task. Tourist visas cannot be extended after arriving in Uzbekistan.
Private Visitor Visas (PV):
Apply at an Uzbek embassy or consulate by filling out the required application form;
Invitation Letter: The inviting party must file an official invitation letter in Uzbekistan with OVIR. The inviting party should obtain approval, which includes a “telex number,” and then send the approved invitation letter to the U.S. citizen. This approved letter with the “telex number” must then be included with the visa application.
Visitors who will stay at private residences (e.g., with friends or family) should apply for private visitor (PV) visas. Official invitation letters are required in order to apply for a PV visa. PV visa holders are responsible for registering at OVIR offices within three days of arrival in country. PV visa holders who stay at multiple residences are responsible for re-registering each time they move to another address and need to plan accordingly to provide for an uninterrupted registration between moves. If PV visa holders decide to stay at hotels, the hotel staff will then complete the guest’s registration with OVIR for the hotel stay.
Business Visas (B):
Apply at an Uzbek embassy or consulate by filling out the required application form.
The inviting party must file an official business invitation letter in Uzbekistan with OVIR. The inviting party should obtain approval, which includes a “telex number,” and then send the approved invitation letter to the U.S. citizen. This approved letter with the “telex number” must then be included with the visa application.
According to the current system, U.S. citizens may request business visas with validity of up to one year and allowing multiple entries. This should be noted both on the invitation letter and the visa application. That said, the Government of Uzbekistan recently announced that it is planning on “simplifying” the visa process effective July 1, 2018 for citizens of numerous countries, including citizens of the United States. While no indications have been given that invitations and other similar requirements will not be needed, this change may indeed be part of the “simplification” process.
The U.S. Embassy is committed to visa reciprocity for U.S. citizens and welcomes any feedback on the validity of the visas U.S. citizen business travelers are receiving.
Please visit the visa information page of the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C., for details about these visa categories.
Visa Validity and Duration of Stay: Uzbek visas not only indicate 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 must leave the country before passage of the number of days listed as the authorized duration of stay on the visa. Include precise dates for your planned period of stay on your Uzbek visa application.
Overstay Penalties: Overstaying your visa by any time at all may result in a USD 2,000 fine and a delay of a week or more before the Uzbek authorities allow you to exit the country. Travel agencies and tour companies may also be fined if customers overstay their visas or for visa application errors.
Exit Visa: Tourist visa holders who are unable to depart Uzbekistan by the visa expiration date or end date of their authorized period of stay must apply for an exit visa from the OVIR office at the Tashkent International Airport. The application must be submitted before the anticipated overstay. The service normally costs USD 160, and there is no guarantee OVIR will approve the request. Private visitor visa holders must apply for extensions at the district OVIR office at which they are registered. Again, the application must be filed before any overstay, the cost is normally USD 160, and there is no guarantee of approval.
Registering Your Temporary Residence in Uzbekistan: All travelers present in Uzbekistan for more than three business days must register with OVIR in the district or city in which they are staying. All foreign nationals are required to obtain valid registration by their third day in Uzbekistan (excluding Sundays and national holidays). From the date of the initial registration, travelers are responsible for maintaining uninterrupted registration, and the initial three-day grace period no longer applies for subsequent moves. This means travelers must apply for registration at the new residence in advance of their intended move. The three-day grace period does not apply to tourist visa holders, who must register at a hotel as soon as they arrive in Uzbekistan. Therefore, it is important to apply for this registration as soon as possible to avoid a fine and other penalties. Registration fees vary depending on length of stay, ranging from USD 20 for a one-month stay to USD 200 for a stay of up to a year. Visitors without proper registration are subject to fines and deportation; the fines range from USD 1,000 to USD 12,000.
Border Crossings: Travel within Uzbekistan by rail or land sometimes requires brief entries into neighboring countries. Travelers should obtain multiple-entry Uzbek visas as well as proper visas for the relevant neighboring countries if needed.
Many of Uzbekistan’s land border crossings are restricted to use by Uzbek citizens and nationals of the country sharing that particular border. For more information on bordering countries see the Travel Advisories for Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Land crossings by U.S. citizens and other third country nationals are often restricted to specific border posts. U.S. citizen travelers planning an overland border crossing should ensure they will cross at an authorized point.
In certain areas of Fergana Valley, many direct routes are along roads that may temporarily cross poorly demarcated or disputed borders. These so-called transit roads are used daily by locals without incident. U.S. citizens traveling in the region, however, are advised that crossing the border in this manner, even inadvertently, may be considered an immigration violation. Taking photos or filming in border areas is prohibited and doing so may result in detainment and questioning by border guards. Please contact the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C., for the most up-to-date information.
Customs Restrictions: Uzbekistan introduced new rules on import and export of foreign currency cash to the country starting January 1, 2018. Private individuals are no longer required to declare foreign currency cash up to the equivalent of USD2000 when entering and exiting Uzbekistan. Foreigners can take out foreign currency cash in excess of USD2000 only if they declared a higher amount when they entered the country and can prove it with a customs declaration from their original entry. Therefore, it is important to retain the customs declaration form, if it was completed upon entry, until the day of departure from Uzbekistan.
Private individuals who are not importing foreign currency cash exceeding USD2000 and don’t have other items to declare to customs are free to use the newly established “green” line at international airports in Uzbekistan. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency to be imported into Uzbekistan as long as any foreign currency cash with a value in excess of USD2000 is declared on a customs declaration form. Those who understate the amount of currency on the declaration form upon departure from Uzbekistan face fines and confiscation of their unreported money.
Uzbek customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning the 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, cancelled securities, pieces of art, and antiques of historical value.
Uzbek customs authorities also strictly control the importation of controlled pharmaceuticals and psychotropic medicine, e.g. antianxiety and antidepressant medicine, for personal use while in or transiting through the territory of Uzbekistan. Customs authorities routinely analyze the length of stay of all visitors and ensure that the amount of controlled narcotics and psychotropic prescription pharmaceuticals does not exceed a quantity which they consider within lawful guidelines. Under Uzbek law, for foreign citizens transiting Uzbekistan, the amount of prescription narcotics may not exceed the dose required for seven days, and the amount of psychotropic substances may not exceed the dose required for a fifteen-day period (please note that Lorazepam-based medicine, regardless of the brand name, is considered a controlled substance by Uzbek law).
All visitors who expect to visit or transit through Uzbekistan with restricted types of prescription medicines should declare their prescription medicines in item 6 of the customs declaration form and present all medicines to a customs official, in addition to a letter from their physician (preferably translated into Russian and/or Uzbek) which declares the diagnosis of the traveler, the name(s) of the prescription(s), dosage, and the duration of consumption and a copy of the actual prescription/script for each medicine.
Finally, travelers are advised that Uzbek customs laws and regulations are complex and often enforced in a discretionary, arbitrary manner. Regardless of compliance with the aforementioned procedures, the importation of any quantity of prescription medication may result in fines, arrest, and/or detention by the Uzbek authorities. Visit the U.S. Embassy’s website for specific information and the text of the actual legislation.
HIV/AIDS: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Uzbekistan. Long-term visitors may be required to submit HIV test results along with their visa application. For more information, contact the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C., before you travel.
Dual Nationals: Please note that Uzbekistan does not recognize dual nationality. If the holder of an Uzbek passport enters the country, they must use that passport, regardless of any other citizenships held, including U.S citizenship. Once the holder of an Uzbek passport enters Uzbekistan, their U.S. citizenship will not be recognized by local authorities, which severely limits the assistance permitted by the U.S. Embassy. Holders of Uzbek passports, regardless of other citizenships held, including U.S. citizenship, are subject to all local laws pertaining to exit permits.
Biometric Passport Requirement: Obtaining a biometric Uzbek passport and a new exit permit in that passport takes several months and may significantly delay dual nationals’ departure from Uzbekistan. Please see the website of the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, D.C. for more information.
Travel on a Biometric Passport:
Uzbek citizens, including dual nationals, departing the Republic of Uzbekistan must exit using a biometric passport and a valid Uzbek exit permit, regardless of age.
To depart for the United States, dual nationals should be prepared to present a valid U.S. passport in addition to an Uzbek biometric passport with a valid exit permit.
Travel on a Non-Biometric Passport: Uzbek citizens may use their non-biometric Uzbek passport as a travel document solely to re-enter Uzbekistan, and to transit through the territory of third countries, if the validity period specified therein has not expired. This provision is valid until July 1, 2018.