Trans Eurasia travel

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Embassy report

Transit visa, express applicaton: 55$, 1 week to process, have a copy of your outward country visa. Normal processing: 2 weeks for 35$. You can submit your docs in one embassy, travel further and pick-up you application at Turkmen embassy in another country. Stiil, be prepared to having to do with turkmen bureaucracy which is definitely a hassle.

Azerbaijan (Baku)

Keep in mind that having a ready LOI from Turkmen Ministry of Foreign Affairs and having plans of obtaining visa upon arrival in Turkmenbashi port will not work as Azeri border control is no longer allowing passengers to board the the ferry without having the actual visa in their passport, be it a transit or a tourist visa.

If you are coming on a regular transit visa on the ferry, and you happen to arrive early, you can avoid trouble two ways: either a bribe to put the date stamp a day forward or, you will be let to linger in the terminal before customs. Similarly, if your visa is running out in Turkmenbashi and the ferry has not arrived yet, customs might stamp you out earlier and leave you to hang out in the terminal past customs until the boat shows up. If you want to pick up your Turkmen visa from the same embassy where you applied, take the following into account: From the north: Dushanbe issues transit visas in 5 business days, while Tashkent now takes two weeks minimum.

Embassy of Turkmenistan in Baku open only Monday and Friday 9-12am. Also, in 2012 Turkmenistan embassy has moved to another location in Baku. It is now close to the Europa hotel. You would need to take a bus N65 if you are coming from Old Town (Icheri Sheher). You can search for the Kazakh embassy as both embassies are in the same area. There is another way to reach it: taking Metro to “20 Janvar”( 20 January) station. There you would need to take an extra bus (or taxi) for a short ride. The following buses go: 69, 83 and 128, only thing is that you must make sure to get right direction (crossing street when exiting metro). Also, very important, you need to be there early in the morning as after you submit your documents (printed letter of invitation, photos and photocopy of passport) you will need to pay visa fee. Bank used to be next to the Embassy's previous location and they didn’t change the bank so… you need to take the bus back to where the metro “20 Janvar” and ask for the bank, it’s close to it. Once you get the paper of the payment the consul will stick in your visa to the passport. The process can be done in one day, but you must arrive early and hurry up or you’ll have to wait until next time the embassy opens (Friday and Monday only). If you are coming with the big group and it is vital for your travel plans to get visa on the other days (and if you arraged visas through us) we can facilitate to obtain your Turkmen visas within other days as well, though advance notice is needed to confirm that with the consul.

China (Beijing)

July 2012: Tourist visa cost for Americans: 10 day single entry is $35 for normal service (one week) or $55 for express (3 day/weekend) service in USD only. They will keep your passport the entire time (so have a copy for yourself as that is against Chinese law). There is a Bank of China down the road on Tian Ze Lu that can exchange RMB for USD. Keep in mind the consulate is closed on Wednesdays (and at 12:00 (at least on the door), not 13:00 as listed on the website). We went with the express option and dropped ours off Friday morning at 11:30am and it was ready Monday at 15:00.

Iran (Tehran, Mashad)

Turkmen consulate in Mashhad. Opening hours of the consulate are 8:30 – 12:00. Open every day except Friday. Tourists can only apply Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Address: Do Shahid St. off Dah-e-Dey Sq (next to Afghan Embassy)
May 2012: You can use services of local man that runs homestay. His name is Vali. Cost was 10$ + 55$ visa fee. Emailing the documents 3 weeks in advance, on arrival in Mashad Valid can go to the embassy and get you the visa same day. email: [email protected]    
Turkmen embassy in Tehran. The address is Barati street, off Vatanpour, off Lavasani street (map). Opening hours: Sunday from 09:30-11:00 and Mon-Thu from 09:00-11:00. Tel: 222 06 731 Fax: 222 06 732
If you want to start and finish the application process in Tehran, count on 10 days.

Kazakhstan (Almaty)

New address: Furmanova, 137, corner of Kalinina & Furmanova. New tel: (727) 272-69-44, 272-69-92 (no English spoken). Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:00 – 13:00.

Consulate staff speak some English, though are not very helpful. It’s around 10 working days to process a Turkmen transit visa. They will not take your passport, and you can pick up in another embassy, eg. Tashkent.

Tajikistan (Dushanbe)

Opening hours: 9.30-12.30 and 14.00-17.00 Address: just around the corner of the Swiss Foundation on google maps, the address given by google maps by default is wrong. The consul is very helpful and friendly though according to tourist reports the whole organisation of the consulate is not customer oriented. Sometimes they send people away after waiting for hours for the reason of “no electricity”, or “today it’s too late”, when its actual opening hours, and the bank to pay for the visa is on the other edge of town.

Turkey (Ankara)

Embassy of Turkmenistan in Ankara Address: No. 28, Koza Sokak, Chankaya, Ankara (how to get there). Opening hours: 9am-12am, closed on Wednesday.

May 2013: Applied from Ankara, requesting to pick up in Baku (no “buts” and they agreed). They seem to speak no english. They request a letter explaining why you need the visa but the format must be done the way they specify there (on a noteboard) so you need to go once first to check there. In the letter you MUST say which day you enter and it can NOT be moved in any way. We received the letter one week later. With the printed letter you can go to whichever Embassy you request to pick it up (in our case Baku) and only then you have to pay.
July 2012: Lodged application in Ankara for collection in Mashhad. 10 days later they sent us an email with letter and authorisation code which we gave to embassy in Mashhad. Filled in the form again, one photo, copy of uzbek visa and photopage of passport and 85US paid directly to the embassy, took only 20 minutes.
Feb 2012: A British traveler applied in London and picked up a 5-day transit visa in Ankara  after 1 day waiting for 55$.

Uzbekistan (Tashkent)

Address: Afrosiab street 19 Phone: +998-71-2569406 Opening hours: 10.00-13.00 (play safe, come very early to put your name on the waiting list! 6am is already late in peak season!) Visa pick-up at 4pm.

Very busy embassy, with long waiting times and frustration build-up, but staff is correct and even quite lenient. Important to have 2 colour copies of your passport and Uzbek visa, they don’t keep your passport. Processing time from 7 to 20 days, depends on how busy they are and your charms to plead.

October 2012: applied in Almaty. There was a list before 10oclock which was administrated by the policeman in front of the embassy. At 10, the assistant appeared from inside and copied this list. If you arrive after this, you’ll have to tell him your name and he’ll put you on his new list. Old list is then obsolete. On the first day we arrived, the visa wasn’t ready yet, but the day after it was ok. They kept the passport in the morning and we could pick up the visa at 4pm. There were around 20-30 people waiting, but there was no need to be there before 10, waiting time around 1 hour. This is probably different during high season… 55$/Person, we got only 3 days (applied for 5) and not the exit point we applied for (Sarahs instead of Gaudan, they don’t want people to go to Ashgabat).
June 2012: Arrived 10.30am. There was a list but it was redundant as a new list was being used. People are let in 5(ish) at a time, man with list accompanies them inside office. Wait until he comes back outside then go up to him and explain that you want a transit visa. He will get a form for you to fill in, check you have an onward visa, photocopy of passport and onward visa plus 1x photo. If you don’t have onward visa you won’t even make it inside (they don’t accept a photocopy of your passport stamped by onward consulate saying they are issuing you a visa). Need to/ from entry points and exact days. At present they are advising everyone (Iranian, Italian, Japanese, British, Australian) to come back in 20 days (maybe you can check after 18 days but apparently forms are sent to Turkmenistan for processing). No option for express. Friendly enough but very little english spoken.  Arrived at 10.30, in and out by 11.00.