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Travel Advice : Uzbekistan

British ConsulateStay away from the borders with Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan when in Uzbekistan. Most British nationals who do enter Uzbekistan have trouble free arrivals and stays. Certain medicines may be a problem when you arrive so ensure you have a prescription for them when you arrive. If you have any problems or concerns then contact the British Embassy in Uzbekistan for assistance.

Money

Travellers’ cheques are not widely accepted in Uzbekistan so bring enough cash with you when you come on holiday. There are very few ATM machines and when you arrive you need to complete a foreign currency form. When you leave you need to show this form again. Note that you cannot leave with more money than you arrived with. Use on the official currency exchange booths as black-market currency exchanges are illegal.

Natural disasters

Uzbekistan is in an active seismic zone. The country does get regular tremors,

Health

The healthcare system is not very good in the country. Many of the hospitals are badly-equipped and unhygienic and also short critical drugs. Ensure that you have medical travel insurance with a medical evacuation option as anything serious would be transferred to New Dehli or to hospitals in Europe. You need to dial 03 (non-English speaking) and ask for an ambulance.

Visas

You need to have a tourist visa to enter the country. If it is for anything other than tourism you need to have a letter of invite from a local company or a local national. Much like in Vietnam you need to register within three days of arrival in the country with Saturdays and Sundays counting as part of the 3 day period. If you are staying in a hotel, you will be asked for your passport at check-in and it will be retained for a short period. Hotel staff will complete the registration paperwork and return your passport to you. If staying in a private house, your host should register you with their local district OVIR (Department of Foreign Travel & Exit (they also deal with the registration of Foreign Citizens)).

Local laws and customs

Like any other country you need to respect the local laws. Uzbekistan is a Muslim country so do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs especially during Ramadan. You must have your passport on you at all times as police do run regular checks. Note that there is a ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco to those under 20. Note also that homosexuality is illegal under Uzbek law and is still very much frowned upon socially.

Safety and security

There is petty crime in the country and many times there are also fake policemen and who want to extract a spot-fine. Always ask for identification when you are not certain. Keep your valuables out of sight and stay in-doors after dark. There has been restaurant raids by unknown people and foreigners have been caught in these upheavals.  If you drive a car while in Uzbekistan always ensure that you have all registration papers, including motor insurance on your person including your passport. Roads are not very good and land borders close on short notice. Always use only official taxis and not the black-market ones as there has been a crackdown on illegal taxi operators.

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