Gazeta Uzbekistan reports an announcement by Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on July 4, 2018 that a new e-visa and transit regime will take effect on July 15, 2018.
- The site will be e-visa.uz (not yet working)
- Don’t confuse it with evisa.mfa.uz, which is the old application form used for in-person visa applications
- 101 nationalities eligible, including US, see the full list
- Apply at least 3 business days prior to travel
- $20 application fee
- Single-entry visa valid for stays up to 30 days
- Visa valid for 90 days from date of issue, meaning you must enter the country within 90 days of issue and can stay up to 30 days from entry
- Can enter through land borders as well as airports, though check current conditions at specific land borders to see if they are open and that foreigners are allowed to cross, since the situation at certain borders can change suddenly
5-Day Visa-Free Transit:
- No advance application required
- No fee
- Must transit international airports, not land borders
- Must have confirmed onward travel to a third country, meaning not directly return to where you came from to enter Uzbekistan
The dreamy Silk Road oasis towns of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva are in Uzbekistan. Within Central Asia, history buffs and bazaar buffs will find the most to enjoy in Uzbekistan.
5 days is great for underrated Tashkent, Samarkand, and perhaps national hero Amir Timur’s (Tamerlane) hometown Shakhrisabz, or even the Buddhist sites of Termez with views of Afghanistan.
Bukhara has domestic flights and is possible, too. I’ll be in trouble with devout Uzbekistan fans by saying that of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva, choosing one or two will be sufficient. By the time I reached Khiva in July heat I was ground down.
I am interested in a return trip to the country’s east, the diverse and often troubled Fergana Valley.
Tashkent International Airport has major alliance services on Aeroflot, Asiana, China Southern, Korean Air, S7, and Turkish. Uzbekistan Airways serves a number of Asian and European destinations as well as New York JFK.
A Silk Road Visa?
The announcement suggests other types of visas under consideration for the future, including a ‘Silk Road Visa’: “for tourists traveling through the Silk Road countries with the possibility of recognizing visa marks of other countries.” Great if it happens!
I had to get a double-entry visa for my Uzbekistan trip so that I could dip into Tajikistan. Then, when I departed Uzbekistan the second time, crossing the ≈2-km no man’s land to Turkmenistan with nothing in hand except hope that my Turkmenistan guide would be on the other side with a letter of invitation and visa, I did have a thought to what would happen if I got stuck in the middle of these two countries.
Central Asia More Easily Accessible
Of the 5 ex-Soviet ‘stans, Uzbekistan joins Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan with improved e-visa/visa on arrival/visa-free tourist access for many nationalities.
This is a huge and recent improvement.
When I visited these countries in 2007 I needed visas for all, and each required various hoops to jump through. I was living in Beijing, and as an example, the Kazakh embassy would only process a visa in reasonable time (days instead of weeks) if flying the national carrier Air Astana which cost double the China Southern price.
Turkmenistan remains difficult for many to obtain visas. Most travelers need to work with a local tour agency for visa support, and still often have their visa application rejected.