Uzbekistan Basics

Print this Guide Print this Guide | Email this Guide Email this Guide

The Basics


Time: Local time is GMT +5.

Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round, two-pin plugs, as well as oblique flat-blade plugs with ground are in use.

Money: The official currency is the Sum (UZS), which is divided into 100 tiyins. Foreign currencies (US dollars, Euros) can readily be exchanged at banks, exchange offices, hotels and shops in the cities, but many hotels and transport providers will require payment in hard currency, like US dollars. Credit cards are accepted in major hotels located in the tourist centres. Travellers cheques have limited acceptance.

Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: Uzbek is the official state language, but Russian is used in much day-to-day official and international communication.

Entry requirements for Americans: US nationals require a visa and a passport valid for duration of stay for entry to Uzbekistan.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK nationals do not require a visa for up to 30 days. They require a passport valid for the duration of their stay to enter Uzbekistan.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians do not require a visa for up to 30 days. They require a passport valid for the duration of their stay to enter Uzbekistan.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australians do not require a visa for up to 30 days. They require a passport valid for the duration of their stay to enter Uzbekistan.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans require a visa and a passport valid for duration of stay for entry to Uzbekistan.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals do not require a visa for up to 30 days. They require a passport valid for the duration of their stay to enter Uzbekistan.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals do not require a visa for up to 30 days. They require a passport valid for the duration of their stay to enter Uzbekistan.

Passport/Visa Note: Passports of all visitors should be valid for the period of intended stay. All visitors staying longer than three days are required to register with the local police on arrival, which should be entered on their visa; this will be checked on departure from the country. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Travel Health: No vaccinations are required by visitors to Uzbekistan. However, outbreaks of Hepatitis A, Hepatitus B and Tetanus are possible, and there is a risk of malaria in the south. Visitors should only drink bottled water. Hospitals offer adequate basic medical care, but serious cases will usually be treated outside of the country. Visitors should ensure that they have comprehensive medical insurance.

Tipping: Tipping is common in restaurants and bars, and is usually 5-10 percent. Some tourist hotels and restaurants, and upmarket institutions will usually include service charge in the bill.

Safety Information: Travel to Uzbekistan is generally problem-free, but foreigners should avoid unnecessary displays of wealth and walking alone after dark, as occasional muggings do occur. A general threat of terrorism exists particularly in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Planned demonstrations should be avoided as they have become violent in the past.

Local Customs: Elderly people are greatly respected and should be treated with deference by foreigners. Most Uzbek people are Muslim and visitors should dress modestly and be sensitive to religious customs, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking in public is forbidden by the Muslim culture. Homosexuality is illegal and public displays of affection are frowned upon. Police will often ask to see proof of identity, and foreigners are recommended to carry a photocopy of their passport with them at all times.

Business: Office hours are generally Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. Men greet each other with handshakes. Women are not traditionally involved in business.

Communications: The international dialling code for Uzbekistan is +998. City codes are in use, e.g. 8(71) for Tashkent and 8(66) for Samarkand. International taxophones, using phone cards, are the cheapest way to make calls. A GSM mobile network covers the cities, and Internet usage is growing in the major cities, despite the tight controls enforced by the government.

Duty Free: Travellers to Uzbekhistan 16 years and older can bring in goods to the value of US$1,000 without incurring customs duty. They are also entitled to import 200 cigarettes; 2 litres of beer and 2 litres of other alcohol beverages, plus 2 bottles of perfume. The export of antiques or antiquities requires a special permit. It is forbidden to import narcotics, pornography, explosives and any materials that incite violence or direct hatred toward the country, or any religion practiced within it.