Getting Turkmenistan tourist visa
Turkmenistan visa requirements
In general all foreign nationals are required to have visas to enter the Republic of Turkmenistan. To obtain the tourist visa, all foreign nationals need a visa support from a licensed travel agency in Turkmenistan. Getting Turkmen tourist visa is perceived as a very costly process, due to the fact that you need to book a tour with travel company in Turkmenistan.
Visa support application is submitted by the travel agency to the Immigration Service of the Republic of Turkmenistan. The approval period is about 3 weeks. The Immigration Service reserves the right to deny any application for visa support without providing further explanations. Approved visa support is faxed directly to the embassy or consulate of the Republic of Turkmenistan in the country where the traveler is receiving visa.
Travelers from countries, which have a Turkmenistan embassy, consulate or diplomatic representative, must purchase their visa in their home country or in any Turkmen embassies located close to your home country/location before departing for Turkmenistan. Otherwise, they will be sent back on the next available flight.
All other visitors can purchase a visa from the local authorities on arrival. Again, however, a letter of invitation from a company registered in Turkmenistan, endorsed in writing by the Turkmen Immigration Office, is required and must be presented to the immigration officers on arrival.
You will need to inform the agency of your chosen dates and places of entry and departure into/from Turkmenistan, and agree your route within the country. The agency will then draw up an LOI, and submit this to the State Service for the Registration of Foreign Citizens, together with a scanned or faxed copy of the photo page of your passport. If your plans involve visits to any designated restricted areas, the agency will need to specify these in the LOI, as these require special permission. The LOI requires the usual 2-3 weeks for processing by the State Service.
Once the LOI is through, the travel agency will send it to you by fax or email, and you can apply for your Turkmen visa at the nearest embassy or consulate. Since approval has already been given by the Turkmen authorities in Ashgabat, this should be straightforward (though make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the proposed date of departure from Turkmenistan). Nonetheless, Turkmenistan's embassies usually claim to require a further processing time of a week or so, while offering a 'fast-track' service, for an additional fee, for those who need their passports back more quickly.
With an approved LOI, you can also apply for your visa direct at the Turkmen border rather than having to do so through a Turkmen embassy or consulate overseas. Keep in mind, that you will not be allowed to board ferry in Baku by Azeri side unless you have Turkmen visa in your passport (even though if you have LOI at your hands). One further drawback in obtaining your visa on arrival is that this will be issued for no more than ten days. If your approved LOI gives permission for a longer stay, however, a visa extension can be purchased from the State Service in Ashgabat.
The main problem with your tourist visa is that the rules require a representative of your travel agency to accompany you almost everywhere during your stay in Turkmenistan. In practice, the agencies are still generally willing to leave tourists to wander freely in Ashgabat and the main provincial capitals, but will accompany their charges on all journeys between the main towns and into rural areas. Prices for tours & guide services range from 120 to 250 USD per day per person, including guide, driver, accommodation and food. However, you can cut your costs considerably in Ashgabat, and explore it on your own without a guide, and only use the tour company for visits outside of the capital.
The only alternative for independent travel is a transit visa which is usually for 4-5 days but sometimes granted for a maximum of 5..7. Keep in mind that transit visas are with fixed dates and are issued on the grounds of the Iran / Azeri and Uzbek visa. Transit visa processing at the embassy takes 10-14 days and there is no guarantee of approval.
Visa requirements for visa application:
- 1 filled out Turkmenistan visa application form (obtainable at the embassy of application)
- 1 passport-sized photo
- 1 passport with minimum 6 months validity after the expiry of the Turkmen visa and 2 empty pages
- 1 letter from yourself stating your purpose of transit and route (for transit visa application)
- photocopies of your main passport page and of visas of the two countries to be travelled to/from (for transit visa application)
- photocopies of your airline ticket, if applicable (for transit visa application)
APPLYING FOR TURKMEN VISA SUPPORT
Obtaining official government approval for the invitation letter takes from 10 to 20 calendar days. In order to receive a letter of invitation confirmed by the State Immigration Service of Turkmenistan, you are required to provide us with the following personal details, by downloading and filling the form. The following will need to be sent us as well:
- Good quality high resolution copy of passport's photopage only in color (Jpeg format)
- Good quality high resolution digital passport-style photo (head & shoulders against white backround) of applicant only in color (Jpeg format). Photo guidelince.
- Filled in application form. Information for all fields is required, including the clients’ educational level (name of the institution/school accomplished and the degree awarded for the graduates OR name and city/state of the high school), as well as current employment details (full name of the company and position unless retired).
- Payment of 150$ for visa support through this link: http://eurasia.travel/payments/
The State Migration Service are very particular about the above requirements and applications that do not meet these requirements are returned and processing is suspended until all documents meeting these requirements are supplied. To avoid unwanted delays make sure to provide all of the above in time for the application.
IMPORTANT: Turkmenistan is holding major celebrations of Independence Day every year on October 26-28. 99% of visa applications with travel dates falling within period from 20 to 30 October would be rejected for this reason. So plan your travel itinerary accordingly by leaving the country before 20th October or entering after 30th of October.
Citizens of CIS countries most likely would would be refused tourist visa without further explanation.