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Uzbekistan travel guide

About Uzbekistan

Most people would struggle to find Uzbekistan on a map, let alone get around to visiting. But while this Central Asian nation remains a mystery to the masses, its obscurity makes it all the more appealing for more adventurous travellers.

Those who do make the trip are following in famous footprints: from Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan, some of the world’s most famous pioneers and conquerors have blazed a trail through this land.

Granted, Uzbekistan has its fair share of problems. It would be remiss not to mention the hard-line government, corrupt officials and Islamic militants that besmirch the reputation of the country. But they are the exception rather than the rule: most people in Uzbekistan extend legendary hospitality to visitors.

While the country is young, having gained independence in 1991 after the break-up of the Soviet Union, the roots of Uzbekistan are ancient.

The historic town of Samarkand, once a crossroads on the Silk Road, has long been known as the ‘Jewel of Islam’. One of the so-called Big Three (a term used to describe Uzbekistan’s three main Silk Road cities) its cityscape is dominated by sparkling turquoise domes and towering minarets adorned with intricate mosaics.

Stunning examples of this architecture can be found across Uzbekistan, most notably in Khiva, the best-preserved and most remote of the Big Three. It’s a living museum, home as it is to a vast collection of Islamic architecture, which remains frozen in time within the city walls. And then there’s Bukhara. The last one of the Big Three, it is also known as the ‘Pillar of Religion’ and is surely one of the most exquisite cities in the Islamic world.

It’s not all about manmade attractions, though. The Ferghana Valley is a place of unremitting natural beauty where fertile valleys give out to the snow-capped Tien Shan and Pamir mountains.

This also happens to be the country's most fertile region, its breadbasket, where visitors can enjoy stunning landscapes, local produce and friendly bazaars rarely seen by Western eyes.

Key facts


447,400 sq km (172,742 sq miles).


30,300,446 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

65.3 per sq km.





Head of state:

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev since 2016.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Abdulla Nigmatovich Aripov since 2016.

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.

Areas where FCDO advises against all but essential travel

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice. Consular support is also severely limited where FCDO advises against travel.

Termez region

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to within 5km of the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan border, except for the city of Termez and connecting roads from the North.

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes:

  • advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks
  • information for women, LGBT+ and disabled travellers

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 Uzbekistan set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Uzbek Embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

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

Passport validity requirements

If you’re visiting Uzbekistan, your passport should have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months from the day you arrive.

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

If you have a British citizen passport, you can enter Uzbekistan as a visitor for stays of up to 30 days without a visa.

If you’re travelling on a different type of British passport, travelling for a purpose other than tourism or business, or intend to stay longer than 30 days, you should check entry requirements with the Uzbek Embassy in the UK.

If you’re entering Uzbekistan on an Uzbek visa, check it and carefully note the date of expiry and the number of entries permitted.

Do not overstay your visa, or exceed your permitted duration of stay, even for a very short period. If you overstay, you could get a fine and possibly be deported. It is not always easy or possible to extend your stay or visa if you want to stay in the country for longer than planned. If you’re travelling overland, make sure you arrive at your intended border crossing in good time before your period of stay or visa expires.

For more information on visas, contact the Uzbek Embassy in the UK.

Make sure you get your passport stamped.   

Border guards check the stamp on exit to ensure that travellers do not exceed the 30-day period.

Registering with the Uzbek authorities

You must register with the local district OVIR (Department of Foreign Travel and Exit) within 3 days of your arrival. Saturdays and Sundays count as part of the 3-day period. If you’re staying in a hotel, you’ll be asked for your passport at check-in. Hotel staff will complete the registration paperwork and return your passport. If you do not register within 3 days of arrival in the country, you get fined for each day you are late.

If you’re staying in a private house, your host should register you directly with their local district OVIR or on the electronic registration system, Emehmon. If you travel to another city and plan to stay for longer than 3 days, you’ll need to register again. You must follow this procedure, as a full record of where you’ve been in Uzbekistan is required upon departure. If you are unable to account for your whereabouts, you could get a fined for each day you are late and possibly be deported.

Travelling through Uzbekistan

If you’re travelling through Uzbekistan in a recreational vehicle or staying in tents and camping, you must register yourself. Register online through the electronic registration system, Emehmon, within 3 days of arrival. When you’re registering online, you’ll have to pay a tourist tax charge for each day of your stay. At the moment you can only pay the tourist tax online with an Uzbek debit card in local currency – seek assistance from hotels or local tour operators.  

Uzbek-British dual nationality

Uzbekistan does not recognise dual nationality. If you enter Uzbekistan on an Uzbek passport and are also a British national, the British Embassy can only provide very limited consular assistance. If you’re arrested or detained, consular access is unlikely to be granted.

Vaccination requirements

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

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Uzbekistan (in Uzbek, Russian and English). You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty, including large amounts of money and jewellery. Precious metals and gemstones, in quantities over 65 grams, must be declared.

You must fill out two copies of the customs declaration, and make sure customs officials sign and stamp both copies. You will need to show one copy at customs as you enter Uzbekistan and the other when you leave the country. If you have currency or valuables you did not declare, there is a risk that officials may confiscate them.

Taking money into and out of Uzbekistan

You’ll need to complete a foreign currency declaration form when you arrive and keep a copy.

There is a separate form for visitors carrying significant amounts of money: the threshold is 10,000 US dollars. Visitors cannot take more than 10,000 US dollars out of the country. The forms are available in the arrivals area of the airport.

You cannot leave Uzbekistan with more foreign currency than you brought with you.

Bring enough cash for your entire stay. Credit cards are not widely accepted outside Tashkent and the main tourist areas of Samarkand and Bukhara. Travellers cheques are not normally accepted. There are very few ATMs. US dollars are the most widely accepted foreign currency.

Only change money through official exchange booths. It is illegal to change money on the black market, and there are harsh penalties. Official exchange booths will not accept damaged or marked bank notes.


Before you travel to Uzbekistan with prescription or non- prescription medicines, you should check the State Customs Committee of Uzbekistan’s list of prohibited medicines and the amount of medication you’re allowed to import (in Uzbek and Russian).

You should carry a doctor’s prescription if you travel with prescription medicines and declare them on your customs declaration form. Some non-prescription medicines in the UK cause problems on entry into Uzbekistan, including codeine. Possession can lead to civil or criminal proceedings if you do not have a prescription, or if you’re carrying more than you need for the visit and do not declare them on arrival. Issues have most frequently been reported at land borders.


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. You should remain vigilant 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 Uzbekistan

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Uzbekistan.

Attacks could happen anywhere and could affect western interests and places visited by foreigners.

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

  • transport hubs  

  • embassies  

  • religious sites and places of worship   

  • sporting and cultural events   

  • shopping centres and crowded places

On 6 November 2019, it was reported that 17 people were killed in an armed attack on a Tajik security checkpoint on the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan border. Daesh/ISIS claimed responsibility. In light of this incident, you should exercise caution and vigilance, particularly if travelling near or across the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan border.

Political situation

The political situation in Uzbekistan is stable.

You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. Use caution and maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places.


Violent crimes against foreign nationals are rare. Reports of muggings, pickpocketing, snatch-and-grab robberies, theft of unattended bags and bag snatching are more common, especially in crowded places (bazaars and public transport). Home burglaries and break-ins happen, even in wealthier neighbourhoods.

You should use caution and take measures to protect your personal security as you would when visiting any European country.

Laws and cultural differences

Personal ID

You must carry your passport with you at all times. This is a legal requirement in Uzbekistan, and the police often carry out checks.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Possession of drugs is illegal. You can get a long prison sentence if convicted. 

Prison conditions

Prison sentences can be lengthy. While prison conditions have reportedly improved, reports of widespread hepatitis and tuberculosis and allegations of mistreatment of some prisoners by officials remain a concern.

Alcohol laws

It is illegal to sell alcohol and tobacco to someone aged 19 or under.    

Using cameras in secure areas

Any form of photography can upset the authorities, particularly photographs of government buildings. This includes the Palace of Forums in Tashkent and sometimes local bazaars not normally visited by tourists. While restrictions have been relaxed recently, you should check before using a camera, especially near airports, border checkpoints, military barracks, bridges, police stations and metro stations.


You must get a licence to import drones before you arrive in Uzbekistan. If you import or use drones without permission, you can get a fine or be detained. The authorities can also confiscate your equipment.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex relationships are illegal, not recognised and still frowned upon socially. You should take care over showing affection in public.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Transport risks

Road travel

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

You’ll need to have both the correct 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.  

You can drive in Uzbekistan with a valid UK driving licence for 30 days. You should get your licence translated into either Russian or Uzbek to make interaction with local authorities and traffic police easier. This is not a legal requirement.

Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience, minimum age and holding an IDP.

Take care as many roads have poor surfaces and bad lighting.

In Uzbekistan:

  • drive on the right
  • vehicles approaching a roundabout have the right of way over vehicles already in the roundabout
  • seatbelts are compulsory for drivers and passengers
  • it is illegal to drive while using a mobile phone

Taxis and buses

You should use licensed taxis whenever possible, this includes:

  • official taxis at the airport
  • taxis hailed using apps like Yandex or My Taxi

Unlicensed taxis are still common, despite licensing laws. Many taxis do not have seatbelts in the rear seat, so you may want to request a taxi that has them.

Many buses and taxis in Uzbekistan run on compressed natural gas and safety regulations are often not followed. Where possible opt for modern vehicles.

Air travel

Check whether your tour operator has concerns about airlines in Uzbekistan.

On 19 May 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.

Rail travel

Take care when travelling long distances by train. If you must travel overnight, keep valuables in a safe place. Do not leave your belongings in the compartment unattended. Lock the door from the inside. You’ll need to show your passport with a valid visa when booking train tickets.

Extreme weather and natural disasters


Uzbekistan is in an active seismic zone. There are regular tremors.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

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

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

Termez region

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to within 5km of the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan border, except for the city of Termez and connecting roads from the North.

Uzbekistan-Tajikistan border

On 6 November 2019, it was reported that 17 people were killed in an armed attack on a Tajik security checkpoint on the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan border. Daesh/ISIS claimed responsibility. You should exercise caution and vigilance, particularly if travelling near or across the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan border. See Terrorism.

Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan border

Tensions exist over recognition of the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan border. There have been a number of security incidents in this region, including several gunfire exchanges.

Fergana Valley

Take care if you travel to the Fergana Valley and avoid any political or public demonstrations.

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

Dial 103 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:

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Uzbekistan. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro.  

Air quality

Air quality in the Karakalpakstan and Khorezm regions has deteriorated because of storms over the Aral Sea bringing salt, dust and pollutants into the air. You should minimise your exposure to outside air by staying in an air-conditioned indoor place as much as possible, with windows and doors closed and well sealed. Wash all fruit, vegetables and other foods, which might have been exposed. Regularly damp-dust all indoor surfaces, washing your hands afterwards. It is unclear when the air quality will improve. Monitor local reports and weather forecasts for the latest information and advice.


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

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

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

Healthcare facilities in Uzbekistan

The quality of medical care in Uzbekistan is generally poor. Most hospitals are badly equipped and unhygienic, with a limited supply of drugs. There is no guarantee that equipment will have been properly sterilised, especially in rural hospitals. You should avoid all but basic or essential treatment in the event of an emergency. Medical insurance companies usually refer complaints of a more serious nature to hospitals in Europe or New Delhi.

There is no reciprocal healthcare agreement between the UK and Uzbekistan.

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

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 Uzbekistan

Ambulance: 103

Fire: 101

Police: 102

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 Uzbekistan and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Tashkent.

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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