Rishi Sankar: Ah Trini Travelogue

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How to enter Uzbekistan as a Trini or Canadian (Step by Step Uzbek LOI/VISA Process)

Posted by Rishiray on April 3, 2013


From the last couple posts, the most asked question I’ve gotten so far, was “How to get an Uzbekistan visa” or “How to do I get a visa to Uzbekistan as a Trini or Canadian?”. Here is my comprehensive primer on how to get your visa as a Canadian or Trinidadian.

  1. Budget enough USD for your trip. Here is a sample budget I did for my trip.
  2. Book your accommodations in advance. You can do this yourself, but you will find that using a tour operator like Stantours will get you a better rate. My 7 day trip cost me 250$USD – I travelled with another person, hence total cost was $500USD. That’s pretty great!
  3. Start the visa application/Letter of Invitation (LOI) process for Uzbekistan 21 days before your flight (anything else and you’re cutting it close – but I’m sure that with 7 days notice, you can get it done – but I’m not ever recommending this)
    1. You can get a LOI from many tour agencies there. I recommend Stantours – my experience was smooth and seamless.
    2. In order to proceed: Send them your personal data via email (I dealt with David : stantours@gmx.net) and arrange for prepayment according to their instructions AND send them a copy of the main page of your passport by e-mail attachment or fax, additional documents may be requested. You can see the results in the pictures below :
      1. Full Name (incl. name at birth or previous names if applicable):
      2. Date of Birth :
      3. City and Country of Birth :
      4. Citizenship (also previous citizenship if changed) :
      5. Passport Number :
      6. Date of the passport issue and expiration :
      7. Issuing authority :
      8. Gender :
      9. Marital Status:
        1. 9a if married: spouse’s full name
      10. Occupation, Place of Employment and type of business :
      11. Address and phone number of place of work :
      12. Accompanying children travelling on applicant’s passport :
      13. Previous visits (date, purpose and inviting party if applicable):
      14. Port of Entry :
      15. Date(s) of Entry and Departure :
      16. Cities and Sites you wish to visit :
      17. City/country where you will obtain visa :
      18. Home Address and Phone number:
    3. Cost of LOI service : $40. You can arrange with them via Western Union or wire transfer
    4. Cost of Visa at Tashkent Airport : $50 USD. Get a receipt. Don’t take a picture at the Airport!
    5. Trinidadians and Canadians can absolutely apply for a visa at Tashkent Airport. There is a specific counter for this. It might not be staffed when you get there, but once you indicate that you need one, the officers will send someone over. The whole visa application and passport stamping process took 15 minutes from start to finish. Have your cash in hand … they’re not the friendliest, but they’re efficient.
      1. Airport arrival visa are possible for Canadians and Trinidadians, since there is no Uzbek Embassy in either country.

You’ll need to fill out the following form

Visa Application Form

Here is what your LOI will look like – from CrossTravel/Stantours. (This will look different depending on the agency that you use)

Letter of Invitation

Here is what your Uzbek passport stamp will look like

Canadian Passport with Uzbek Visa

Questions :

  1. I am uncomfortable arriving in a country without a visa attached to my passport.
    Don’t be … it is a seamless and easy process to apply for the passport in Tashkent Airport
  2. Has any Canadian recently successfully obtained a visa for Uzbekistan? Cost, etc.
    Yes … as recently as three weeks ago.
    LOI : $40 USD
    Visa at Tashkent Airport : $50USD (The price seems to differ based on the officer you get … the girl in front me paid $60USD)
  3. Has anyone obtained a visa at the airport in Tashkent, with only a letter of invitation?
    Yes, see above.
  4. Is the Visa Counter open 24/7
    Yes. If there is no one there, the officers will find someone for you
  5. Do I have to speak Russian or will English be enough?
    Russian always helps but if you only speak English, it will be enough.
  6. Is one copy of my letter enough?
    Always take two printed copies and email a scanned copy to yourself in case you need to access it quickly in an emergency. This is Uzbekistan, don’t give the authorities any excuse to screw around with you.
  7. Do I need to send pictures along with my visa/LOI application?
    Nope … I didn’t send any, and I was perfectly fine.
  8. Did you bribe anyone? Were your documents checked everywhere?
    Nope … in fact, because I was brown skinned, the police seemed to stay even further away from me – since I was obviously a tourist. I had ZERO + ZERO incidents with the police.
  9. Do they always check passports in the Subway?
    Yes. If you take the subway, be prepared to show your documents.

My personal experience:

I had prepped for two weeks in gathering all the information for the LOI and the Visa. I did my checklist for the hotel, double checked reservations and paperwork. I was ready for them … getting off the plane, I was psyched up for my battle with the authorities, especially as a brown guy. It didn’t materialize … it was kinda anti-climactic, actually it was an f’n non-event. The visa guy looked at my LOI, looked at my passport, asked me for my money, stamped the passport, put the sticker in and sent me on my way. MEH!

The customs guys was a bit more suspicious, especially because my passport was so worn out (they spent 5 minutes looking at all the passport stamps from other countries!) but with my Russian buddy to translate, all was good. In fact, they give him a lot harder time than me.  He made a mistake on his entry form, and implied that he was entering Azerbaijan.

The customs guy shot him the following statement : “Do I look like a fucking Azerbaijani?“. I think we were all shocked, but this is Uzbekistan … no one is going to argue with the police/customs. Moral of the story … don’t make a mistake on that entry form and put “Azerbaijan”. In the end, I’m glad I “overprepped” rather than ‘underprepped” – I would offer the same advice to you.

All in all … I hope this answers the question : “How to get an Uzbekistan visa”

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