Category Archive: Tajikistan in & out

National Emblem of Tajikistan

State emblem of the Republic of Tajikistan was approved on December 28, 1993. This national symbol represents a stylized image of a crown and a semicircle of seven stars above it. Stars are surrounded by rays of the sun rising from behind the mountains, shrouded in snow and edged with a crown of wheat branches on the right, and cotton branches with opened bolls on the left. Atop, the crown is interwoven with a ribbon, and there is a book at the bottom of the emblem.

Three projections on the crown symbolize the country’s administrative division into three regions – Khatlon, Zarafshon, Badakhshan. Crown is also a symbol of the country because the word “Taj” is translated from the Tajik language as the “crown”.

Seven stars – traditionally the number “seven” is considered sacramental for the Tajik people, it was believed that it brings happiness and bestows virtue, as well as it is a symbol of perfection. The sun rising from behind the mountains is a sign of the start of a new life and light. Wheatears are the wealth of the country, symbolizing agriculture and settled life. Golden mountains with snowy peaks represent ridges of the Alai, the Transalai Mountains, and the Pamirs.

Tajikistan getting in and out

By air
The following airlines operate flights to/from Dushanbe (DYU)
AirBaltic (Riga)
Atlant-Soyuz Airlines (Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Samara)
Avia Traffic Company (Bishkek)
China Southern Airlines (Urumqi)
Kam Air (Kabul)
Kyrgyzstan Airlines (Bishkek)
Iran Aseman Airlines (Tehran-Imam Khomeini, Mashhad)
Rossiya (St Petersburg)
S7 Airlines (Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, Perm)
Scat Air (Almaty)
Somon Air (Almaty, Dubai, Frankfurt, Istanbul-Atatürk, Moscow-Domodedovo,Urumqi)
Tajik Air (Almaty, Bishkek, Garm, Istanbul, Khujand, Khorog, Kulyab, Kurgan Tyube, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Samara, Tehran, Yekaterinburg)
Tatarstan Airlines (Kazan)
Dushanbe International Airport (DYU) is located 4 km (2 miles) southeast of the city. Airport facilities include left luggage office, exchange office, duty-free shops, restaurants, bars and open 24 hours. There is bus line #8 and trolleybus line  #4 serve the airport as well as minibus shuttle service ##7, 8, 14, 16 to the city centre in daytime (travel time – 15 minutes). Taxis are readily available, travel time is 10-15 minutes.
By road
  Tajikistan borders with Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and China. All of the borders have at least several designated land border crossings. Land borders working hours vary from place to place, some works round the clock, the others are not. It is especially important to check working hours if you are travelling around national holidays or important events. Force majeure like mudslides, avalanches or floods on border crossings based in the mountains may also be a subject to close the border.
Please note visa service is not available at the land borders, which means your Tajikistan visa must be prearranged prior arrival. Please check visa section for details.
Travelling thru Central Asia you can choose to cross at one of the following official land border crossings:
Over Tajikistan/Uzbekistan border: Tajikistan registered vehicles are not allowed to enter Uzbekistan, and Uzbekistan registered vehicles entering Tajikistan are subject to tax. So if you hire a taxi or share a seat, it is likely that you will only be taken as far as the border. You will have to cross the border on foot, pass thru formalities and get another vehicle on the other side. Taxis are readily available on both sides. Also “porterage” service available on both sides of the border. Paying little fee you can get your luggage loaded onto the curt or wheelbarrow and delivered straight to another taxi’s trunk.


Until the mid of the first millennium B.C., the territory of modern Tajikistan in the areas of Amudarya and Sirdarya were settled by Eastern Iranian tribes. Bactria and Sogdiana were the most ancient states, lying along the banks of the upper and middle Amudarya. In the 6th – 4th century B.C. these states were part of the Akhamenids Empire established by Persians. The agricultural area of Sogdiana, that included Fergana and Zerafshan valleys and reaching in the west the area of Bukhara, played an important role in international trade, as it was on trade routes that linked China and Central Asia. The Akhamenid State collapsed in 330 B.C. under pressure from Greek-Macedonian forces. Bactrians, Sogdians and other people of Central Asia were conquered, in spite of their heroic resistance to the army of Alexander the Great. About 200 years later, the population of Bactria and Sogdiana together with massage nomad tribes overthrew the Greek-Macedonian sway. A state was established in Bactria – Tokharistan, which later together with Sogdiana became part of the big Kushan kingdom. The Silk Road crossed via Tokharistan and silk was bought at the markets near the river Tarima and was delivered to the countries of Greek-Roman Empires of the west. In the reverse direction from Rome and Byzantine to China, glass products (such as crystal and thin multi-coloured glassware) were imported, from Central Asia – items such as adornments, gems and from India – paper, woollen fabrics and spices. In the 5th century, Tokharistan, Sogdiana and other areas of Central Asia were under the rule of Ephtalits, and later in the 6th century – nomad Turkic speaking tribes occupied the same region. Sogdians had a great influence on the nomads, who while settling mixed with the local population. During the 6th and 7th centuries in Tokharistan and Sogdiana there were many slaves and at the same time, the formation of a feudal system had already started. As a result, the economy and culture developed quickly. Iron, copper, lazurite and rubies were extracted at mines, irrigation channels were constructed, and arid places were irrigated. The importance of feudal cities started to grow, as well as craft and trade were developing. The main languages were Bactrian and Sogdian – which are Eastern Iranian languages. Numerous independent principalities emerged with the development of feudal relationships. But they were weak and could not resist the Arabs, who in the 7th & 8th centuries invaded Central Asia.

The population of Sogdiana and Tokharistan tirelessly struggled for their liberation. Because of continuous revolts it became difficult for the Arabs to keep control of Central Asia with the help of their governor-generals; therefore they more often resorted to the help of the service of their feudal partners. Their participation prepared the ground for releasing Central Asia from Arab rule. Hence, at the end of the 9th century independent from the Bagdad caliphate (successor of Muhammed), the Tajik state of Samanid formed. In the period of its most extensive growth Samanid stretched from the deserts of Central Asia to the Gulf and from the borders of India to Bagdad. During the Samanids Empire Tajik people and culture became widespread and Tajik language became dominant. The Samanids state lived in peace for more than 100 years which fostered the growth of cities , craft, development of farming and trade and mining. This was truly the era of Renaissance that produced some of the world’s greatest humanitarians such as the founder of the Persian-Tajik poetry – Rudaki, creator of the immortal poem – ‘Shahname’ Firdawsi, and world renown scientist-Encyclopaedis Abu Ali ibn Sina (Avicenna). However internal conflicts and frequent raids of nomads undermined and weakened the Samanid state, which in 999 collapsed under the strike of the Turkic speaking tribes. The dynasties of Karakhanids (in the North) and Gaznavids (in the South) founded their power on the ruins of the Samanids state. In the beginning of the 13th century (1219-1221) Central Asia was invaded by Mongols, under the command of Chingizkhan. The country was completely devastated, cities destroyed, gardens and vineyards turned into pastures for horses of the invaders. Not long before his death Chingizkhan he divided the invaded lands between his sons. The main cultural areas of Central Asia went to ulus (independent principalities) of his second son Chagatai. People showed resistance. The biggest revolt broke out in 1238 in Bukhara, which was led by a craftsman Mahmud Tarabi. Another revolt in Samarkand was led by “sarbadars” – hanged men, who defeated the Mongol army in Bukhara, which brought to power a new ruler – Tamerlan. Timur’s ascent to power in 1370 temporarily put an end to feudal factions. Timur, as a result of his numerous campaigns to conquer Eastern countries and unheard cruelty and genocide especially towards the Persian speaking population, built an enormous empire with its capital in Samarkand. The majority of today’s Tajikistan was part of Timur’s empire. During the reign of his son and especially his grandson Ulugbek– prominent scientist, astronomer and loyal ruler – the widely abandoned oasis of Central Asia was restored with the flourishing of astronomy, math, history, literature and art. But the inter-dynasty struggle and raids of nomads undermined this empire too. The leader of Uzbek nomad tribes Muhammad Shaibani khan, who lived in Ural, using hostility between the descendents of Timur, invaded Central Asia in 1500-1507. During his rule the state consisted of independent principalities with the biggest ones being Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, and Balkh.

From 1557 to 1598 Central Asia was ruled by Shaibanid Abdulla Khan, founding Bukhara kingdom. In 1598 Abdulla Khan was killed and the power moved to the dynasty of Ashtarkhanids, being the rulers from a dynasty of Mongols. In this period downstream of Amudarya Khivin a principality was formed. Due to continuous wars and excessive taxes, the economy of this area declined. All the following enturies of this principality remained backwards and politically disconnected. What is known today in modern Tajikistan as Kulyab, Gissar, Karategin, Darvaz, Vakhan, and Shugnan principalities already existed. The majority of Tajiks of Central Asia lived in Bukhara and Kokand principalities, and minority in independent principalities. During the second half of the 14th century, areas of Central Asia were conquered by Russia and Turkestan and a general government was formed on its territory. The Northern areas of Tajikistan and the Pamirs were part of this new territory, and the central and Southern areas (called Eastern Bukhara) were left in the ownership of vassal of the Russian tsar – emir of Bukhara. At the end of the 14th century the tsarist government implemented agrarian reforms which meant that the settled population received irrigated lands, however, the majority of lands was withheld for the benefit of the government funds. Increases in taxes, numerous duties and illegality provoked in those areas of the emirate frequent disorders. Especially one of the biggest revolts was in 1888 in Baljuvanbekstvo, which was ruled by chum maker Vose. In 1900 peasants of Kelif bekstvo staged a rebellion, in 1901 – in Denau, in 1902 –in Kurgan Tube. All these outbursts of the peasant farmers were cruelly suppressed. World War I particularly intensified opposition and disintegration of society. In summer 1906 the biggest revolution broke out which was suppressed by the army of Emir. On 31 March 1917 the administrative centre of Russia influenced Central Asia and caused the Turkestan general government to be abolished. On October 6, 1920, the first all Bukhara national assembly was proclaimed and the Bukhara People Soviet Republic was established. Farmers were exempted from taxes, households that were affected by war were given loans, seeds and agricultural instruments. In 1924 a new state emerged in Central Asia: the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, which also included the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1929 the Tajik ASSR was reformed into independent Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic. As a member of USSR, the Tajik Republic transformed into an agrarian-industrial country for a short period of time. Tajikistan became the main source of fine-fibre cotton for the USSR. A working class formed in the republic, as well as a national intelligentsia, and the first higher education institutions came into existence. It is also worth noting that Tajikistan’s contribution in the fight against fascism in World War II was of some importance. More than 190,000 envoys fought in battlefronts of the war and more than 60,000 worked at military plants of Siberia and other cities of Russia. Fifty-four envoys of the republic were awarded the highest military award as Heros of the Soviet Union. After the war ended the economy of Tajikistan grew to a new level. Production of row cotton continued to increase. Tajikistan as part of USSR took the first place on the productivity of cotton and third on gross yield. The industry was well developed due to the construction of some big hydro-power stations among one of which was Nurek, which is the biggest in Central Asia. In September 1991 with the break-up of the Soviet Union, a new state emerged on the world map – the independent Republic of Tajikistan. In 1992 critical political conflict on the ground of regional-clan conflicts burst out which led to civil war. Protracted negotiations between Tajiks under the aegis of UN starting in April 1994 concluded by signing the Treaty for Peace and Reconciliation in Tajikistan on June 27, 1997, by the President of Tajikistan E.Rahmon and A. Nuri, the leader of the United Tajik Opposition in Moscow. Today Tajikistan is an independent state which is recognized by 117 countries worldwide. The country is a full member of the UN and other world international organizations.




You can make calls from hotels where you accommodate, the restaurants of big cities where have lunch. If you are travelling to remote regions you need to buy a SIM-card with balance and megabytes, to get in touch with friends or use the internet.

Emergency phone numbers

01     -Fire Department

02     -Police

03     -Ambulance

04     -Gas Department

07     -Operator assisted long-distance calls

09     -Information Department

235-45-45  -State traffic control (GAI) duty officer

Mobile Telephone

There are 4 major mobile operators in Tajikistan: Tcell, Megafon, Beeline, and Babilon. Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies but check this with your domestic operator before arrival. If you plan extensive stay in the country it might be wise to purchase a SIM card from one of eight local operators to access local tariffs rather than use your phone in roaming. Coverage is limited to the main cities and its suburbs but this improving every year. In Gorny Badakhshan coverage is getting better and most of the main roads and villages are covered.


There are internet cafes in the main cities of Tajikistan. You can buy megabytes with the SIM-card and make a wide use while travelling in remote regions.

Getting around

Tajikistan getting around

By Air

Tajik Air operates internal flights from Dushanbe to
Khorog – Travel time 1 hr
Khujand -Travel time 1hr
Kulob – Travel time 30 minutes
A flight to Khorog is one of the most technically demanding regularly scheduled flights in the world and is a subject to weather conditions of the region, therefore tickets cannot be reserved or purchased in advance and only sold on first come – first served basis an evening before the flight. Flight to be reconfirmed on the morning of departure day.
Internal flights are subject to frequent cancellations, delays, and overloading of passengers.

By Rail

Tajikistan railroad network is limited by 480 km and does not cover Gorno Badakhshan which makes travel by train in Tajikistan it rather useless as you miss Pamirs – one of the most important country’s highlights. Rail travel in Tajikistan is limited to only 3 directions:
Northern Tajikistan Line
Connecting to Tashkent and the Ferghana Valley
Nau – Proletarsk – Khujand – Kairakkum – Kairakchikum – Mahram – Madaniat- Kanibodom
Central Tajikistan Line
Dushanbe – Hanaka – Cheptura – Regar – Pakhtaabad
Southern Tajikistan Line
Connecting to Termez for international destinations and also connections to Dushanbe and north Tajikistan.
Khoshady – Shaartuz – Qurghonteppa – Dangara- Kulob
Long-distance carriages are usually offered private 4 berth compartments separated by sliding door from the corridor. You can lock the compartment from the inside though train conductors have their own key. Luggage trunks located under bed/seats and extra shelves placed over higher beds. Do not leave your luggage and compartment unattended.

By Road

In Tajikistan, traffic drives on the right. The road network is wide and covers almost every corner of  Tajikistan, though some parts may be seasonally impassable. Please note cars with driving wheel on the right side are forbidden and though it does not cover non-Tajikistan registered vehicles may be a subject for all sort of bribes and traffic police stops. Also, tinted windows are strictly forbidden.
Foreign drivers need the international driving license to drive in Tajikistan. Restricted areas or areas requiring additional permits are listed in Visa&Formalities section.
Traffic Police or The State Traffic Inspectorate (BDA), has checkpoints on the borders of city limits as well as in many cities and at regular intervals along highways outside the cities. Be ready for frequent stops for inspection of the vehicle and the driver’s documents.
Bus: There are minibus services between the major towns when. In the south, buses go to Kurgan-Tyube and Kulyab and as far down as Pyanj and Ayvadaz. Buses to the east reach only around 100km (60 miles), as far as Komsomolabad. Information on timetables and fares can be found at the bus stations.
Taxi: Can be found in all major and minor towns. Many of them would be unlicensed and travelers should agree on a fare in advance. Officially marked taxis are safe, but sharing with strangers should be avoided.

OVIR registration

Tajikistan OVIR registration
Travellers staying in Tajikistan for the period of three days and longer are required to obtain OVIR registration stamps at the nearest Department of Visas and Registration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (OVIR).
The holders of tourist visas are NO longer required to register with OVIR unless the entire stay in Tajikistan is over 30 days, in which case they should register with OVIR prior to the 30 day period.
Holders of all other visa categories are required to register with OVIR within three days of arrival in Tajikistan. Some hotels, however, are also allowed to register their guests on behalf of the visitor.
  Please note: OVIR registration will be normally checked at departure by border control services, however, police can also check it any time. Lack of OVIR registration is a subject for at least 300 USD/person fine and several days of the proceeding. The departure of travellers failed to show OVIR registration stamp might be denied until after penalized travellers have paid a fine and obtained the registration stamps at OVIR.

Customs & Border Control

Tajikistan customs and border control

Arriving in Tajikistan whether over a land border or at the airport, you will be required to go thru customs control as well as the border guard.  At customs fill out 2 customs declaration forms. Leave one with customs officer and get stamped another copy for yourself. Retain the declaration until your departure to prove that you are not leaving Tajikistan with more money than you actually brought into the country, otherwise, you may find yourselves answering questions on the course of the money. Forms are available in English and Russian. Make sure that you declare the full amount as well as other valuables on your customs form. The export of antiques and cultural valuables requires special permission.  There are also currency restrictions. Please contact your nearest Tajikistan embassy for specific information on customs requirements.

Immigration cards

  Before border control, you will be required to fill out immigration card, which will contain your personal information, arrival stamp and what’s more important tourism as a reason for the visit. Travelling as a tourist you no longer required to register with local police within 30 days. Hence if you travel with the private visa you must register in nearest OVIR station within 3 days excluding Sunday and official holidays.

OVIR registration

  For longer stays exceeding 30 days travel visa period or travelling in Tajikistan with other than tourist types of visa, you must register with OVIR department of local police stations within 3 days following your arrival date. Not every police station has OVIR department but Murghob, Khorog, Kulob, Dushanbe, and Khujand. The serious penalty of minimum 300 USD per person follows failure on showing a registration ticket at the time of departure. This might result in your flight cancellation and unpleasant procedures which might take up to several days. For registration please provide 2 passport size photos, scans of your passport: photo page and Tajikistan entry stamp page, registration fee receipt paid in the local bank. The procedure might take up to 2 days but negotiate. Some small banknotes above the fee may seriously speed up the procedure.

Import regulations

Amounts not exceeding of 5000 USD do not need to be declared. Goods for personal use may be imported in reasonable quantities by persons of 18 years of age or older without incurring customs duty.

Allowed imports without incurring customs duty:

-Tobacco: 200 Cigarettes or 100 Cigars or 500g of Tobacco
-Alcohol: 2 litres of spirits
-Perfume:  for personal use

Exports which requires additional permits from respective authorities:

-Firearms and weapons
-Psychotropic drugs
-Live animals
-Radioactive substances

Invitation letter

Invitation letter also known as visa support is given out by Tajik MFA by request of inviting party: a company or an individual. In order to receive visa support, an inviting party submits a request with Tajik MFA in advance of the desired travel date to Tajikistan.

Individuals travelling to Tajikistan by the invitation of a private Tajik resident (a friend or relative in Tajikistan) will be required to obtain a notification letter from OVIR before applying for visa support. Please plan it in advance as it might take something between 14 days to 45 days. Then Tajik MFA will issue Tajik visa support on the basis of the OVIR notification letter.

Applying for visa support letter you will be asked about the way of obtaining your visa: either thru the embassy abroad or on arrival to Dushanbe International Airport. State the embassy or consulate where you plan to obtain your Tajik visa as this is very important and normally will not be changed under any circumstance as visa support is finally will be sent to the embassy you have stated in your application.

Visa support letter usually contains the details of inviting party, traveller tails, the period of stay, reference number.

Please note the invitation letter would not work if you apply for your Tajikistan visa in other country or other Tajikistan embassy than stated in your Tajikistan visa support letter.

You normally should receive a copy of visa support from inviting party so you can provide it at the embassy or consulate in case they experience communication problems with their head office or claim they didn’t get one for your name.

GBAO Permit

A trip to Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region of Tajikistan requires a special permit in addition to Tajikistan visa. GBAO permit can be obtained at Tajik embassies and consulates abroad at the time of applying for Tajikistan visa, or by applying to MFA or OVIR in Dushanbe. We can also pre-arrange it pre-arrange
GBAO permit may list the names of the settlements and cities as well as regions in Gorno-Badakhshan allowed you to visit: Kara-Kul, Murghab, Ishkashim, Vanj, Rushan, Darvaz, Khorog and Kalaikhum. But these days very often contains short “Allowed to entry and reside in GBAO”.
Other permits
There are some certain areas that require additional permits in addition to GBAO permit, they are Lake Sarez which requires additional permit from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Lake Zorkul and some regions along Chinese or Afghan borders which requires additional permit from border guard authorities.

Tajikistan visa in passport 

According to Tajikistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs the following nations can apply for a single-entry tourist visa valid for up to 45 days at Tajik embassies or consulates abroad on the basis of personal application without visa support letter: Australia, Austria, Algeria, Egypt, Argentina, Bulgaria, Luxemburg, Hungary, Vietnam, Brunei-Darussalam, Israel, Greece, China, India, Ireland, Iran, Pakistan, Iceland, Italy, Canada, Qatar, Cyprus, Bahrain, Belgium, Jordan, Denmark, Spain, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Lebanon, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, UAE, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Korea, Indonesia, Croatia, Romania, Singapore, Syria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Great Britain, USA, Thailand, Turkey, Tunis, Brazil, Germany, Philippines, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Estonia, SAR, Japan.
  Travellers requiring the longer period of stay or several entries would need to arrange a visa support letter before applying for Tajik visa. Providing a visa support, travellers will be able to obtain multiple-entry visas valid for a longer time. Visa validity may also depend on the visa type: tourist visa -30 days, private visa -90 days, work or business visa -up to 1 year, student visa -up to 9 months extend your stay within Tajikistan you would need to apply for extension far in advance through Tajikistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (work visa) or OVIR (tourist, work and business visa).
Please note: The government of Tajikistan requires all visitors who remain in the country for more than 90 days to submit to an HIV test or to present a medical certificate showing that they are HIV-free.
Entry /Exit
  A valid passport and visa are required to enter and exit Tajikistan. Your Tajik visa should be valid for the entire period of your stay in Tajikistan. If the purpose of your stay is other than travel we strongly encourage you to request visa that allows for changing travel dates as it might be complicated to do within Tajikistan. Failed on the show a valid visa is subject to the penalty and immediate departure.
Obtaining Tajik Visa abroad
Travellers arriving in Tajikistan from countries where Tajikistan is represented by embassy or consulate must obtain Tajik visa abroad prior to their travel. Visa application forms (filled out in 2 copies) can be obtained in the embassy or downloaded here.
  Please note your passport must be valid for at least six months following the duration of your planned stay in Tajikistan.
  Please refer to the list of Tajikistan embassies abroad to locate nearest to you.
Obtaining Tajik Visa on arrival
  This option is suitable for travellers arriving in Tajikistan from countries where no Tajik embassies or consulates represented. Please note you must obtain a visa support, in the form of a registered letter from the Tajik Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirming that request for the visa is approved and a visa may be issued at the consulate based in arrival lounge of Dushanbe International Airport on arrival.
  At this moment visas on arrival could only be obtained arriving at Dushanbe International Airport and does not apply to any other Tajik airports or land borders.
  Visa application forms (fill out 2 copies) can be obtained from the consulate at the arrival lounge of Dushanbe International Airport or downloaded here.
  Please note your passport must be valid for at least six months following the duration of your planned stay in Tajikistan.
  Travellers are also required to provide two passport-size photos.
  Visas issued on arrival at Dushanbe International Airport are by default valid for 45 days.
  Receiving a visa at the airport may also entail some waiting.