How to get a Turkmenistan visa
Getting a Turkmenistan visa is not that straightforward. UK, EU, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and especially US citizens can all have problems with acquiring one. To get into the country, you have two options: acquire a transit visa or a tourist visa.
While a tourist visa can be acquired on the Turkmenistan border in return for a letter of invitation, a transit visa must be sourced from your local Turkmenistan embassy. If you find yourself getting frustrated with the application process, it’s worth remembering that this is the least visited country in Central Asia. In 2018, less than 10,00 visas were issued. That’s less than the amount of people who – on average – visit Istanbul’s spice bazaar every hour.
1. How to apply for a Tourist Visa
To acquire a tourist visa, you will need a letter of invitation from the Turkmenistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You’ll also need to be travelling with a government-registered tour company. On our tours, we request information from our guests that allows us to apply on your behalf.
Once you’re at the border, you should expect to wait for at least two hours before you can enter Turkmenistan. Your departure should, for obvious reasons, be far less demanding.
2. How to apply for a Transit Visa
A Turkmenistan transit visa (maximum duration is 5 days) can be granted if you are travelling across the country to one of its neighbours. You would be able to apply for one if, for instance, you were travelling from Iran to Uzbekistan via Turkmenistan.
To obtain one, you will need to apply at your local Turkmenistan embassy. They will ask you for proof of inbound and outbound travel from Turkmenistan, as well as visas for the countries that you will enter on departure.
However, there is no guarantee that your application will be accepted. The country has recently taken a slightly more permissable approach to tourism, but Turkmenistan’s visa policy remains arbitrary.
How much does a Turkmenistan visa cost?
This can depend on anything from your nationality to the mood of the border guard that handles your crossing. Generally, Turkmenistan tourist visas fluctuate around the $85 mark – but Russian visitors (for instance) have been known to be charged significantly more.
Turkmenistan visa-free countries
It has been claimed that Georgians can visit Turkmenistan visa-free. This is the only nationality that we are aware of; all others have to follow the standard visa application process.
Our Turkmenistan Tours
- 26 days
Follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo, Alexander the Great, Amir Timur and more as you track the course of the mighty Amu Darya river from the Aral Sea to the High Pamirs.