The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including evacuation by air ambulance, before travelling to Uzbekistan. You should check any exclusions and ensure that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Travellers should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains or for expenses incurred by Irish citizens as a result of a personal emergency while travelling.
Safety and Security
There is a threat from terrorism in Uzbekistan. Attacks could be indiscriminate and directed against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners. You should be particularly vigilant in public places. Pay attention to any security announcements by the Uzbek authorities. The Uzbek government has intermittently restricted travel to certain parts of the country in response to security concerns. Security has been increased following the bombing at Moscow’s Domodedevo airport in January 2011, with an increased security presence and the introduction of checks using metal detecting devices.
In May 2009, armed attacks and a bomb explosion occurred in the towns of Andizhan and Khanabad in the Fergana Valley.Visitors to the Fergana Valley should be aware of increased tensions and are advised to exercise caution.
In September 2009, there was a shoot-out in Tashkent between government authorities and suspected operatives of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, resulting in a number of fatalities. On 26 May 2009, a suicide bombing resulted in the death of at least one police officer and injuries to a number of other people. A series of incidents in March/April 2004, including shootings and bombings, left over 40 people dead. Suicide bombings near the US and Israeli Embassies and at the Uzbek Prosecutor’s Office on 30 July 2004 also resulted in a number of fatalities and injured.
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. Tensions exist over the recognition of the Uzbekistan/Kyrgyzstan border and security incidents have been reported from border areas.
Those wishing to travel to Termez and other parts of the Surkhandarya region will need to apply for a permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tashkent.
Visitors should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings.
There have been occasional muggings and petty crime against foreigners, sometimes by off-duty policemen or those pretending to be policemen. 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.
Avoid travelling in unofficial taxis, particularly at night and alone, or if there is another passenger already in the car. The Embassy does not encourage the hiring of private gypsy cabs instead of licensed taxicabs in Uzbekistan.
Local regulations require you to carry photo ID at all times. You should ensure that you have entered your next of kin details into the back of your passport. If you lose your passport you must report this immediately to the police and get confirmation of the loss in writing. This report will be necessary when applying for an emergency passport from the Irish Embassy in Moscow.
Please note that the Embassy is able to accept applications for new passports, which may take between four and six weeks to be processed in Dublin, but is not able to issue new full passports in Moscow.
The possession of drugs is illegal and prison sentences can be lengthy. You should bring a doctor’s prescription with you if you intend to travel with prescription medicine and declare the items on your Customs Declaration Form. Possession of such items, even with a doctor’s prescription, could, if not declared, or if the quantity exceeds legal limits, lead to administrative or even criminal proceedings. There have been cases of foreign nationals being detained at the Khusaily border crossing point near Nukus for possession of medication that would ordinarily not cause concern in other countries.
There is a zero tolerance policy towards those driving under the influence of alcohol in Uzbekistan.
International driving licences are valid in Uzbekistan. There
are security checkpoints at the city limits of Tashkent and other
towns throughout the country. Travellers may experience
delays in reaching their destination if travelling by car. In
Tashkent it is safer to use official taxis and to travel in modern
vehicles. Take care if driving, as many roads are poor and
You drive on the right in Uzbekistan and vehicles approaching a roundabout have a right of way over those already on a roundabout.
Many buses and taxis in Uzbekistan run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and safety regulations are not always followed. A bus exploded in Tashkent on 11 May 2010, causing six fatalities. Where possible, you should choose modern vehicles when travelling by bus or taxi.
Those intending to travel to, from or within Uzbekistan should avoid flying on airlines listed under the EU operating ban. Further information about this ban is available on the European Commission website at http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air-ban/list_en.htm
It is not known if 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.
Outbreaks of Hepatitis A, Meningitis and Diphtheria have occurred in Uzbekistan. You are advised to drink only bottled water, avoid ice in drinks, peel fruit and vegetables, avoid undercooked meat, un-pasteurised dairy products and most of the food sold on the streets. You should seek medical advice before travelling and to ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. Cases of malaria and polio have been reported in border areas. Tuberculosis is also a concern.
There have been confirmed cases of malaria contracted in the southern Sukhandarya province. You should consult your doctor about anti-malarial drugs before travelling to this area. Comprehensive medical and travel insurance, including evacuation by air ambulance, is essential. The quality of medical care is poor and you should avoid all but basic treatment or essential treatment in the event of an emergency.
Local Laws and Customs
For entry requirements for Uzbekistan, please contact the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in London:
It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport and visa with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times, as local police frequently request proof of identity. Genuine police officials should always present their own credentials when asking someone for proof of their identity. If doubt persists, pay the fine at the nearest police station.
Foreigners must complete a Customs Declaration in duplicate on
entering Uzbekistan. Customs officials will review and stamp both
copies. One will be retained by the Customs Authority, the
other is to be kept by the traveller and presented at the time of
departure from Uzbekistan.
Photographing apparently innocent subjects can upset the authorities and you should check before using a camera, especially near airports, military barracks and police stations.
Homosexuality is illegal under Uzbek law and is still very much frowned upon socially. Care should be taken over public displays of affection.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Uzbekistan is located in an active seismic zone and earth tremors do occur. On 20 July 2011, an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale struck the Batken region of south-western Kyrgystan and tremors were felt in Tashkent. A number of deaths and injuries were reported in the aftermath.
Additional Country Information
You should bring enough money for the duration of your stay. Only change money through official exchange booths. You will need to complete a foreign currency declaration form when you arrive, and keep a copy yourself. You cannot leave with more foreign currency that the amount with which you arrive. Cash dispensers are uncommon.
The Embassy of Ireland accredited to Uzbekistan is located in Moscow in the Russian Federation. Its contact details are available here.Top