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Tajikistan travel guide

About Tajikistan

Following in the footsteps of ancient Silk Road traders, modern travellers come to Tajikistan to experience a magical journey across the ‘Roof of the World,’ a land of soaring mountain ranges, deep ravines and high-altitude deserts.

Although Tajikistan is one of the most remote countries in the world, even its most inaccessible nooks host life; the mountains and deserts are home to Kyrgyz nomads, who eke out simple, self-sufficient lives as they have done for generations. Intrepid travellers will endure some of the coldest temperatures on the planet to visit them, but these chilly conditions are tempered by the Kyrgyz’s warm hospitality.

An independent state since 1991, Tajikistan spent much of the last two centuries under Tsarist and Soviet rule. Ethnic Tajiks form the majority of the population, but there are also minority ethnic groups of Russian, Uzbek and Kyrgyz origin – a mix brought about by Stalin’s “divide and conquer” strategy.

Tajikistan’s landscapes are just as dramatic as its political history. In the mountainous west, lofty peaks plunge into deep valleys where villages cling precariously to the cliffs-side above fast flowing rivers. In these settlements, where most of the population are subsidence farmers, any available patch of land is terraced and cultivated with potatoes, cabbage and wheat.

Over in the east, the mountains plateau into a vast, high-altitude desert that looks like the surface of the moon. This is a hostile part of the world, as Marco Polo noted when he travelled through the region. “No birds fly here because of the height and the cold,” he wrote.

Most arrive in Tajikistan via its capital, Dushanbe, one of the prettier cities in Central Asia with its gilded palaces, leafy parks and neoclassical facades. Emerging from the shadows of Soviet rule, Dushanbe is desperate to impress; it boasts the largest teahouse and tallest flagpole in the world, which are, aside from a few museums and markets, about the extent of its attractions.

But Tajikistan isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey; a journey through history and geography, where warm a welcome awaits those intrepid enough to visit.

Key facts


143,100 sq km (55,251 sq miles).


8,669,464 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

57.2 per sq km.





Head of state:

President Emomali Rahmon since 1994.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Qohir Rasulzoda since 2013.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and see support for British nationals abroad for information about specific travel topics.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Tajikistan set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Tajik Embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Tajikistan.

Passport validity requirements

If you’re visiting Tajikistan, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the date you arrive and have 2 blank pages.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You must have a visa to enter or travel through Tajikistan.

If you overstay your visa, you will not be allowed to leave Tajikistan until you get an exit visa. You can pay for an exit visa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular Office. You may also get a fine, depending on how long you have overstayed. Exit visas are not available at airports in Tajikistan.  

Applying for a visa

Apply online for an e-visa from the Tajikistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Make sure you get the correct type of visa.  Once you’re in Tajikistan, you can apply for a visa extension at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Travelling through Tajikistan

You must have a transit visa to travel through Tajikistan on your way to another country. These are usually valid for 3 days. If you need to stay longer, you must get a longer visa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs once you arrive.

Registering with the authorities

If you are staying in Tajikistan for longer than 10 days, you must register with the Office for Registration of Foreign Citizens (OVIR) located at 5 Mirzo Tursunzoda Street, Dushanbe. Hotels are no longer permitted to complete the registration on your behalf. If you later stay at different addresses, you must register again separately.

If you do not follow the registration procedure, you may not be allowed to leave Tajikistan until your registration process is resolved. This may result in fines or detention. There have been cases where lack of registration has resulted in detention at Dushanbe airport.

Travel permit for the Gorno-Badakhshan Region

You must get a permit, in addition to a Tajik visa, to travel to the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. If you’re in the UK, contact the Tajik Embassy to apply for a permit before you travel. If you’re in Tajikistan, contact the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

The Tajikistan government sometimes stops issuing permits to tourists at short notice due to security concerns. The Tajik Embassy can tell you whether the government is issuing permits for travel to the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region.

Travel permit for the Khatlon Region

You must get a permit, in addition to a Tajik visa, to travel to the areas bordering Afghanistan in the Khatlon Region, including Panj and Kumsangir. Apply for a permit from the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dushanbe before you travel.

Vaccination requirements

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Tajikistan guide.

HIV screening

If you plan to stay for more than 90 days, you must show a medical certificate that you’re HIV-free or take a test. FCDO advises against taking the test in Tajikistan due to the poor quality of medical facilities.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Tajikistan. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.   

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Tajikistan

Terrorists are very likely to try and carry out attacks in Tajikistan.

Attacks could be indiscriminate and occur at any time, including in places frequented by foreign nationals, such as:  

  • transport hubs 
  • embassies 
  • religious sites and places of worship  
  • sporting and cultural events  
  • shopping centres and crowded places

Examples of previous significant attacks include:

  • In 2019, it was reported that 17 people were killed in an armed attack on a Tajik security checkpoint on the Tajikistan-Uzbekistan border. Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) claimed responsibility

  • There are infrequent incursions by armed criminal and terrorist groups across the Afghanistan Border into Tajikistan, mainly at night. In August 2023, 3 terrorists were reportedly killed by Tajik border forces

Political situation

Avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people and remain vigilant in public places. Be alert to any security announcements by the Tajik authorities.     


Protecting your belongings

Dushanbe is relatively safe, but there have been occasional muggings and petty crime against foreigners. Take the same precautions you would in the UK.

Rape and sexual assault

There have been cases of sexual assault, including rape, reported to the British Embassy. This includes suspected use of ‘date rape’ drugs targeting foreigners. Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. You should:

  • not leave drinks unattended
  • not accept drinks from strangers
  • be aware of how much you are drinking
  • not accept lifts from strangers or acquaintances at any time

Intimidation at Dushanbe International Airport

There have been cases of harassment by officials at Dushanbe International Airport. This includes requests for payment for allegedly incorrect documentation or other offences. Check with your hotel that your documentation and papers are in order before passing through border control at the airport. If you’re harassed or intimidated, report it to your travel agent or the consular bureau at the airport.

Laws and cultural differences

Tajikistan has a secular constitution. (A secular state claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion.) Most Tajik citizens are Muslims. Some, particularly in rural areas, may be conservative in outlook. Be aware of local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times.

Personal ID

Always carry a copy of your passport’s photo page, as officials often ask for ID. You can present a copy rather than an original passport if a police officer asks you on the street.

Smoking ban

Although rarely enforced, smoking while walking on the street is illegal and punishable by a fine.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Possession and use of drugs is illegal. If found guilty, you could get a lengthy prison sentence in very basic conditions.

Woman travelling alone

Women travelling alone in Tajikistan may receive unwanted attention, harassment or difficulties based on gender. Consider not going out alone at night. See advice for women travelling abroad.

Using cameras in secure areas

Taking photos of anything related to the military or security may get you into trouble with the authorities.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex sexual activity is not illegal under Tajik law. However, local attitudes are conservative and the levels of tolerance and acceptance in society may vary, particularly outside the main cities. Take care about showing affection in public. Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.


Tajikistan is mainly a cash-only economy. Very few businesses accept credit cards and none accept travellers cheques.

Only change money at officially authorised currency exchanges. US dollars are the most widely accepted foreign currency. Euros or Russian roubles are also easy to exchange. It may be difficult to exchange other currencies.

There is an increasing number of ATMs in Dushanbe and other larger towns, but none in rural areas. Most ATMs only accept Visa cards.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Tajikistan, see information on driving abroad.

You’ll need to have both the 1968 version of the international driving permit (IDP) and your UK driving licence with you in the car. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

Driving standards

Vehicles in Tajikistan are often poorly maintained and driving standards are basic. Petrol stations are rare outside towns and there are no breakdown companies. Make sure you take all you need for your journey and allow for delays. Consider bringing a satellite phone for travel outside towns to use in an emergency. Neighbouring countries may close borders temporarily.

Roads outside the main towns are poorly maintained and often only accessible by 4-wheel-drive vehicles. Conditions are particularly dangerous in spring due to the risk of avalanches and landslides.

Many interior roads are only open in the summer months. It is possible to drive from Dushanbe to the north and Tajikistan’s second city, Khujand, using a tunnel. This road is particularly dangerous in winter due to icy conditions. Drivers can be trapped for a long time if caught in an avalanche due to the remote location.

Flooding in the spring and winter often damages and closes roads in areas of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region and other parts of the country. Many roads, including the Pamir Highway, are open but not fully repaired.

Air travel

In 2022, the UK sanctioned Aeroflot, Rossiya Airlines and Ural Airlines. It is now illegal under UK law for any British national or British company to do business with these airlines. This includes the purchasing of flight tickets.

Extreme weather and natural disasters


Earthquakes are a risk in Tajikistan. Most are small and affect remote areas of the country, particularly the east in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. Avalanches and landslides often block roads in the spring and early summer. Learn earthquake safety procedures and follow the advice of the local authorities. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.


In late spring and summer, there can be seasonal flooding and mudslides caused by melting glaciers. Take care, follow local advice and be aware that conditions can change suddenly.


Heavy snowfall in winter can cause delays and cancellations at airports and disrupt travel, particularly in mountainous regions where there’s an increased risk of avalanches. Take local advice on road conditions during or following severe weather.

This section has safety advice for regions of Tajikistan. It only covers regions where FCDO has specific advice.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.  

Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan border

The land border with Kyrgyzstan remains officially closed.

There is a risk of conflict over recognition of Tajikistan’s border with Kyrgyzstan. There are regular security incidents along the border with exchanges of gunfire.

In September 2022, armed conflict between the Kyrgyz and Tajik militaries resulted in over 100 deaths, including civilians. There was significant destruction of civilian property and infrastructure. Around 140,000 civilians were displaced. There is a risk of further violence and border closures at any time. Do not walk off-road – there are both marked and unmarked minefields.

Tajikistan-Afghanistan border

The land border with Afghanistan is closed. Armed clashes may occur without notice near the border with Afghanistan. Stay alert and be cautious in these areas. Do not walk off-road – there are both marked and unmarked minefields.

Tajikistan-Uzbekistan border

Some border crossings with Uzbekistan are open.  

Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region

There is a risk of civil unrest in Khorog and other towns in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. There were serious disturbances in 2021 and there have been violent clashes in and around Khorog since 2022 with casualties. There is an increased security presence. Some roads in Khorog, Rushan and other parts of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region are temporarily closed. The security situation can change at short notice, with the possibility of further unrest.

If you’re travelling in the region, be alert in public places and check for security announcements by the local authorities.

Border crossings

Tajikistan’s borders with neighbouring countries can close without notice. Land border crossings between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, China and Afghanistan are closed to foreign travellers.

Check with the Tajikistan authorities or the British Embassy before you travel to see which crossings are open.

Tavildara Region

Take local advice in the Tavildara Region of central Tajikistan, as there are minefields dating from the civil war in the mountains.

Medical and rescue facilities are unreliable where they exist at all.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 03 (non-English speaking) and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip check:


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Brand name drugs in Tajikistan may be counterfeit.

Healthcare facilities in Tajikistan

Tajikistan has poor medical facilities and a shortage of basic medical supplies. Medical facilities outside Dushanbe are quite basic and in some locations almost non-existent.

Tajikistan has a limited mountain rescue capability. This will be further limited in cases where individuals need rescue in high altitude or where weather conditions do not allow. Weather conditions can change rapidly at short notice, particularly in mountainous and high altitude locations.

FCDO has a list of English-speaking doctors in Tajikistan.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Tajikistan

Emergency services do not speak English.

Ambulance: 03 (103 from mobile phone)

Fire: 01 (101 from mobile phone)

Police: 02 (102 from mobile phone)

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Tajikistan and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Dushanbe.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

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