According to various lists, around 7,000 to 9,000 visitors receive visas for Turkmenistan each year. This includes transit travelers and business tourists. This makes the country one of the least visited states in the world.
The few visitors basically have three visa options to choose from. In any case, and even after all formal requirements have been met, it is absolutely sensible to commission a professional visa agency that is familiar with the rules of the Turkmenistan consular departments to obtain the visas. Specific references to companies cannot and should not be given here due to the dynamic market. In any case, individual applications will always be rejected even if the formal requirements are met.
Information on applying for visas for Turkmenistan and the necessary forms can be found on the website of the Turkmenistan Embassy:
Embassy of Turkmenistan in the Federal Republic of Germany (Berlin).
Embassy of Turkmenistan in Switzerland (Bern).
Embassy of Turkmenistan in Austria (Vienna).
Please also note the instructions from the British Foreign Office and the Foreign Office.
In May 2019, the Federal Republic of Germany terminated the consular agreement with Turkmenistan. The treaty was signed with the former Soviet Union in 1953 and has remained unchanged since then. Nothing has yet been announced about the effects of the termination. A successor contract has not yet been announced.
According to picktrue, this visa allows free stay in Ashgabat and other regions of the country according to the respective business relationships and the approved length of stay.
If border regions, national parks or nature reserves are to be visited during the stay, the business partner must be informed so that they can be noted in the invitation letter. The approved regions are noted on the visa under point 16 “Comments” (see illustration). The approval is checked at the checkpoints installed for this purpose when entering the special regions. Since the regulations regarding the border regions and national parks that are subject to notification are subject to frequent changes, consultation with the consular department of the responsible embassy is urgently recommended.
If you plan to stay longer than three months, you must also present confirmation of a negative HIV test when you apply for a visa.
A requirement for the business visa is the invitation confirmed by the Turkmenistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs by a Turkmenistan business partner including the border regions and nature reserves to be visited on site.
On entry, registration is carried out by the border units. The fee is payable in US dollars. All receipts and documents received during registration must be carried along with the passport at all times until departure and presented upon request at controls, checkpoints and when leaving the country. If a stay of more than 72 hours is planned, a second registration with the state migration service in Asady Street in Ashgabat (phone +993 39 13 37) or the respective branch offices must be made within this time! The business partner will usually be there to help. Make sure that the page next to your Turkmenistan visa leaves space for the stamp you entered during registration.
This visa allows you to stay in Turkmenistan accompanied by an employee of a licensed state or semi-state tourism agency and – outside of Ashgabat – additionally accompanied by a driver from the same agency.
Outside of Ashgabat, all places may be visited that were explicitly requested when applying for a visa and that have been agreed accordingly with the agency. If you want to visit border regions, national parks or nature reserves during your stay, the tourism agency must be informed so that they can be noted in the invitation letter. The approved regions are noted on the visa under point 16 “Comments” (see illustration). The approval is checked at the relevant checkpoints. Visiting these regions is not possible without the entry in the visa. Since the regulations regarding the border regions and national parks that require notification are subject to frequent changes, it is advisable to consult the consular department of the responsible embassy.
Your travel route should definitely be clarified with the agency. If the entry takes place, for example, via the border crossing Serahs (also Serakhs, border with Iran, northeast of Maschhad) and the exit in the direction of Khiva (border crossing Shavat, Uzbekistan) is planned, the border regions Serahs and Dashoguz must be noted in the visa and the border crossings with the Be coordinated with the migration authorities. The tourism agency will register your arrival with the border units and is obliged to pick you up at the border. You will receive the first registration when you cross the border. All receipts and confirmations received here must be kept until you leave the country and shown at controls, checkpoints and when leaving the country. If a stay of more than 72 hours is planned, A second registration with the state migration service in Asady Street in Ashgabat (phone +993 39 13 37) or the respective branch offices must be made within this period. The tourism agency will usually do this for you, so you have to hand in your passport for half a day. It is advisable to have a copy of your passport with you during this time. Make sure that the page next to your Turkmenistan visa leaves space for the stamp you entered during registration. Carry a copy of your passport with you during this time. Make sure that the page next to your Turkmenistan visa leaves space for the stamp you entered during registration. Carry a copy of your passport with you during this time. Make sure that the page next to your Turkmenistan visa leaves space for the stamp you entered during registration.
With this visa, a spontaneous deviation from the agreed route is only possible to a very limited extent. For example, you can forego a visit to a designated museum and instead go to another or spend a longer time in a bazaar. Fundamental deviations, e.g. regarding the places visited or the roads traveled, are excluded. One or two employees of the tourism organization accompany the visitor from arrival at the border crossing to departure. Both the driver and the personal companion must be paid according to the specified daily rates. You will stay overnight in the designated state hotels throughout your stay.
The requirement for this visa is an invitation from the Turkmenistan tourism agency. The desired special regions are noted in the invitation and will be transferred to the visa accordingly (at the discretion of the consular council) (see figure below).
This visa allows you to cross Turkmenistan on a specified route within a specified period.
The specified route must not be left. For example, a visit to the city of Mary is not possible on the transit from Azerbaijan (border crossing port Turkmenbaschi) to the border crossing Shavat (Uzbekistan, crossing for the subsequent visit to the city of Khiva). A transit leading through Turkmenistan between neighboring countries is also not possible (e.g. from Uzbekistan via Turkmenistan to Kazakhstan). Only the land crossings come into question as borders. Ashgabat Airport can neither be the start nor the destination of a transit.
The prerequisite for the application is the availability of visas from two eligible Turkmenistan neighboring countries (e.g. Iran and Kazakhstan or Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan). The visa is issued for three to five (very rarely seven) days and is only valid for the distance between the border crossings noted in the visa. In principle, up to seven days can be requested, but a higher number of requested days seems to increase the risk of the visa being rejected. The number of days allowed is calculated based on the transit time estimated by the consulate. A transit from Turkmenbashi (coming from Azerbaijan) to Turkmenabad (traveling to Uzbekistan) tends to allow one or two more days than a transit from Iran to Uzbekistan.
Detours and detours are impossible and can lead to considerable problems at the checkpoints. Transit visas are usually only possible with the support of an agency commissioned for this purpose. Individual applications are often rejected.
On entry, registration is carried out by the border units. The registration fee must be paid in dollars. All documents and receipts received during currency exchange and registration must be carried along with the passport at all times until departure and must be presented upon request at controls, checkpoints and when leaving the country. If a transit of more than 72 hours is planned, a second registration with the state migration service in Asady Street in Ashgabat (phone +993 39 13 37) or the respective branch offices must be made within this time. This registration is mandatory and must be done by the visitor himself in the case of a transit visa. Registration can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. You have to factor this time into your planning. The registration is checked at controls and checkpoints as well as on departure. Exceeding the time window for registration will be punished according to Turkmenistan law. Make sure that the page next to your Turkmenistan visa leaves space for the stamp you entered during registration. Every started day in Turkmenistan counts as a full day, regardless of the time of the border crossing. The first day of a three-day transit visa therefore also expires on the day of entry if you cross the border late in the evening. that the page next to your Turkmenistan visa leaves space for the stamp placed upon registration.
Entry with your own means of transport
The formal requirements required for entry with your own vehicle (motorcycle, car, mobile home, etc.) should be discussed with the relevant Turkmenistan embassy or the commissioned tourism agency. This also applies to a transit! Occasionally, entering the country by bike can also cause problems. Here, too, consultation with the Turkmenistan embassy should be held. It is advisable to obtain the confirmations (including, for example, that entry is possible without problems) in writing. Care should be taken to ensure that these confirmations are in Turkmenistan or Russian, as the border guards usually speak neither English nor German. In addition, information about the often limited opening times of the border crossings should be obtained before entering the country. When entering or leaving Uzbekistan, it should also be noted that the border can be closed at short notice depending on the political situation between the countries. The necessary detours and complications should be planned in the time budget. This applies especially when traveling through with the transit visa.
Foreigners are only allowed to enter protected areas if they are accompanied by authorized Turkmens and also require written permission from the Ministry of Environment and Nature Conservation. The protected areas are monitored accordingly, and severe penalties are imminent if they are not observed. To enter the protected areas near the border, additional permits are required to enter the respective border region, which must also be submitted with the visa application (see above). Information on the current border regulations can be obtained from the Turkmenistan embassy in Berlin.
Due to the regularly changing regulations, this information is only intended as a guide and is in no way intended to replace advice from a professional agency, the, without exception, the state Turkmenistan tourism organizations and the Turkmenistan consulate. No responsibility can be assumed for the correctness of the information. In addition, the institutions mentioned provide further information on the bureaucratic and formal requirements for visa applications and on-site registration not mentioned here.
A detailed description of the requirements for obtaining a Turkmenistan visa and the bureaucratic regulations to be observed after entering the country can also be found in:
Brummel, P. (2006): Turkmenistan. Bradt Travel Guides.
Although partly out of date (especially in terms of prices), this travel guide is still the most competent and of the highest quality in terms of content.