Traveling Luck for Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia, north of Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan has borders with Afghanistan for 137km, Kyrgyzstan for 1099km, Kazakhstan for 2203km, Tajikistan for 1161km and Turkmenistan for 1621km.

Land in Uzbekistan is mostly flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes; broad, flat intensely irrigated river valleys along course of Amu Darya, Syr Darya (Sirdaryo), and Zarafshon; Fergana Valley in east surrounded by mountainous Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; shrinking Aral Sea in west.

Uzbekistani land covers an area of 447400 square kilometers which is slightly larger than California

As for the Uzbekistani climate; mostly midlatitude desert, long, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid grassland in east.

Uzbekistani speak Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%.

Uzbekistani National Map

Uzbekistani Map

Regions of Uzbekistan

Russia conquered Uzbekistan in the late 19th century. Stiff resistance to the Red Army after World War I was eventually suppressed and a socialist republic set up in 1924. During the Soviet era, intensive production of "white gold" (cotton) and grain led to overuse of agrochemicals and the depletion of water supplies, which have left the land poisoned and the Aral Sea and certain rivers half dry. Independent since 1991, the country seeks to gradually lessen its dependence on agriculture while developing its mineral and petroleum reserves. Current concerns include terrorism by Islamic militants, economic stagnation, and the curtailment of human rights and democratization.


Uzbekistan Country Profile

Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country of which 11% consists of intensely cultivated, irrigated river valleys. More than 60% of its population lives in densely populated rural communities. Uzbekistan is now the world's second-largest cotton exporter and fifth largest producer; it relies heavily on cotton production as the major source of export earnings. Other major export earners include gold, natural gas, and oil. Following independence in September 1991, the government sought to prop up its Soviet-style command economy with subsidies and tight controls on production and prices. While aware of the need to improve the investment climate, the government still sponsors measures that often increase, not decrease, its control over business decisions. A sharp increase in the inequality of income distribution has hurt the lower ranks of society since independence. In 2003, the government accepted the obligations of Article VIII under the International Monetary Fund (IMF), providing for full currency convertibility. However, strict currency controls and tightening of borders have lessened the effects of convertibility and have also led to some shortages that have further stifled economic activity. The Central Bank often delays or restricts convertibility, especially for consumer goods. Potential investment by Russia and China in Uzbekistan's gas and oil industry would increase economic growth prospects. In November 2005, Russian President Vladimir PUTIN and Uzbekistan President KARIMOV signed an "alliance" treaty, which included provisions for economic and business cooperation. Russian businesses have shown increased interest in Uzbekistan, especially in mining, telecom, and oil and gas. In December 2005, the Russians opened a "Trade House" to support and develop Russian-Uzbek business and economic ties.

Uzbekistani natural resources include natural gas, petroleum, coal, gold, uranium, silver, copper, lead and zinc, tungsten, molybdenum

along with Liechtenstein, one of the only two doubly landlocked countries in the world

Uzbekistani religion is Muslim 88% (mostly Sunnis), Eastern Orthodox 9%, other 3%.

Natural hazards in Uzbekistan include NA.

Travel Advice on Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary and General section (marrying in Uzbekistan).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • You should avoid all but essential travel to areas bordering Afghanistan, Tajikstan and Kyrgyzstan other than via authorised crossing points. Uzbekistan’s borders are potential flashpoints and some are mined.

  • Following the death of the President of Turkmenistan, the land border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan is currently closed.

  • There is a threat from terrorism in Uzbekistan.  Attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets (see Terrorism section). You should be particularly vigilant in public places. Pay attention to any security announcements by the Uzbek authorities.

  • We advise the local British community to be vigilant and stay in touch with the Embassy. We also advise visitors, even short-term ones, to register with the Embassy.

  • Very few British nationals visit Uzbekistan every year.  Most visits are trouble-free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Uzbekistan is for replacing lost passports and expired visas.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Uzbekistan.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime

There have been occasional muggings and petty crime against foreigners.  Sometimes policemen, or those pretending to be policemen will seek to impose an on-the-spot fine. If you are any doubt you should ask for ID or pay any fines at the nearest police station.  You should keep valuables out of sight and avoid unlit or remote areas. You should avoid obvious displays of wealth, especially in rural areas. You should avoid walking alone at night.

Political Situation

An armed gang attacked a police station and military unit in Andizhan in eastern Uzbekistan on 12 May 2005, releasing a number of prisoners.  Around 2,000 protesters gathered in Andizhan town square on 13 May 2005, with some occupying the Mayor’s office. Government troops are reported to have fired on protestors with eyewitnesses putting the figure of dead in the hundreds. The government said that - 187 had been killed in the violence. There were also several protests in the Uzbek border town of Kara-Su (Ilychevsk) in May 2004, which led to a number of arrests.
Parliamentary elections passed off peacefully in December 2004. Opposition parties were refused registration to field candidates.
Uzbekistan Country Profile

Local Travel

Uzbekistan’s borders are potential flashpoints and some are mined. You should avoid all but essential travel to areas bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan other than via authorised crossing points.
If you wish to travel to Termez and other areas of the Surkhandarya region you will need a permit. You can apply for the permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tashkent: they usually take five days to process.

Road Safety

There are security checkpoints at the city limits of Tashkent and other towns throughout the country. You may experience delays in reaching your destination if travelling by car. In Tashkent it is safer to use official taxis. Take care if driving, as many roads are poor and badly lit.
Uzbeks drive on the right.  You should be aware that vehicles approaching a roundabout have the right of way
If you drive in Uzbekistan you must ensure that you have all registration papers, including motor insurance.  You should carry your UK/International driving licence at all times as this must be presented should there be an accident.

Rail Safety

Be careful when travelling long distances by train. If you have to travel overnight, store valuables in a safe place. Do not leave the compartment unattended, and secure the door from the inside. You need to present your passport when booking train tickets.

Air Safety

We do not know whether maintenance procedures on aircraft used for internal flights are properly observed.  For safety, you should where possible use a direct flight originating outside Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

On 13 January 2004, an Uzbekistan Airways internal flight crashed in Tashkent.  Some foreigners were among those killed.  An investigation to establish the cause of the crash has not yet reported.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

We recommend that you carry a photocopy of your passport at all times. Requests to produce proof of identity, for example by the police, are frequent.
You should be aware that any form of photography can upset the authorities.  You should check before using a camera, especially near airports, military barracks and police stations.
Possession and use of drugs is illegal. Prison sentences can be lengthy and conditions basic.
Uzbekistan has a secular constitution. Most Uzbek people are Muslims.
Homosexuality is illegal under Uzbek law and is still very much frowned upon socially. You should take care over public displays of affection.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

British nationals need a visa to enter Uzbekistan, which you should get before you travel.   If you plan to travel to neighbouring countries from Uzbekistan, you should also get your visa in advance, rather than trying to obtain it at the border.  http://www.uzbekembassy.org/

You should obtain a visa to cover your entire stay before you arrive. You will need to provide a letter of invitation with your application. Business visitors must get one from an Uzbek business partner whilst tourists must get it from the tour company arranging the visit. Do not try to cross the border illegally as the absence of entry/exit stamps will cause problems (e.g. possible detention, fines) when you try to leave or re-enter. Do not overstay your visa and ensure you have onward visas for other countries if travelling elsewhere. It is not always easy or possible to extend your visa if you wish to remain in the country for longer than you had originally intended.
You should register within three days of arrival.  If you are staying in a hotel, they will ask you for your passport at check in and retain it for a short period, they will complete the registration paperwork and return your passport to you. If you are staying in a private house, your host should register you with their local district OVIR (Department of Foreign Travel & Exit (they also deal with the registration of Foreign Citizens)).  If you travel to another city and plan to stay for longer than three days, you will need to register again.
Travelling to other countries from Uzbekistan:
You should ensure that you have a valid visa for the next country you intend to visitor transit.  We are aware of a number of people have been sent back to Uzbekistan for failing to do this. Please note that if you intend to travel to Kazakhstan you also need to have a valid visa to visit, or transit, Kyrgyzstan.

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact http://www.uzbekembassy.org/


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Uzbekistan.   You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.
Hospitals look basic by UK standards, however basic healthcare is adequate.  Medical insurance companies usually refer complaints of a more serious nature to hospitals in Europe or New Delhi.
Outbreaks of Hepatitis A, Meningitis and Diphtheria have occurred in Uzbekistan. There have also been confirmed cases of malaria contracted in the southern Sukhandarya province.   More than three-quarters of British travellers who contracted malaria in 2005 did not take preventive measures, such as malaria prevention tablets. However, malaria can occur despite appropriate prevention, and therefore you should promptly seek medical care in the event of a fever or flu-like illness in the first year following your return from travelling to a malaria risk country.  Before travelling you should seek medical advice about the malaria risk in Uzbekistan.
You should drink only bottled water.

You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at:  www.dh.gov.uk.

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

There have been no reported cases of avian influenza (bird flu) in Uzbekistan during the current series of outbreaks.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, however confirmed cases elsewhere in the region.  You should read this advice in conjunction with the Avian and Pandemic Influenza Factsheet.

NATURAL DISASTERS

Uzbekistan is located in an active seismic zone.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas please see:  What We Can Do To Help.

You should ensure that your next of kin details are entered into the back of your passport.  Make a copy of your passport and driving licence and store these separately from the originals.

You should register with the Embassy even if you are only a short-term visitor and inform the Embassy of any changes to your itinerary.

It is advisable to carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.  Requests to produce proof of identity, for example by the police, are frequent.
Marrying in Uzbekistan

Anyone hoping to be married in Uzbekistan should note that Certificates of No Impediments (CNIs) produced by the British Embassy in Tashkent are not currently being accepted by the Legalisation Section of the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  As long as this continues to be the situation, British nationals hoping to be married in Uzbekistan will experience difficulties.  Prospective couples should check with the British Embassy before travelling to Uzbekistan for the purpose of marriage.

Money


You should bring enough money for the duration of your stay. Only change money through official exchange booths.