As per February 10th 2018 Uzbekistan has changed its visa rules so people from a number of nations will no longer need an invitation letter nor need to hang around for a long time waiting at the embassy.
This change came very convenient for us, as this made it much easier for us to get to Uzbekistan from Kazakhstan — however, it also meant that there were not much information out there on how it works.
The new rules mean that people from a number of nations can get their 30 day single entry visa for Uzbekistan without an invitation letter within two working days plus the day you hand in your application. You can see the rules on the Ministry of Foreign Afairs website.
You will still need to go for an Uzbek embassy — and we only have experience with the one in Almaty, Kazakhstan (36, Baribayev St.). However, rumours go that they will introduce an e-visa option during summer 2018, so you may want to check up on this and see if you can avoid spending your precious time in line at the embassy 🙂
Below is a description of how it works at the Uzbek embassy in Almaty and how much time we spent on it.
Filling in the application
This step took us ages. Make sure to use a PC (not a phone/tablet) and it should take you only 15-20 minutes.
Before you go to the embassy you need to fill in the visa application form online and print it. To finalize your application you need:
- A digital passport photo.
- Your passport information.
- An overall travel plan. You need to indicate what cities you will visit. However, it is not stated anywhere on your visa in the end. You also need to state for how long you want a visa (7 days, 15 days, 30 days) and the starting date. We applied for 15 days, but got 30 days starting a few days before requested.
- An address of a hostel or similar in Uzbekistan. This is not stated anywhere on your visa either.
We could open the application form on both our phones and our tablet, but we could not complete it, as the site kept failing in the end when we tried to download the generated PDF by pressing “print form”.
In the end we had to go to an internet cafe, borrow a PC, use Google Chrome (it also failed with Internet Explorer 8 on the PC), and then we could complete it.
Remember that you need to hand in two copies of the application form to the embassy, so make sure to print enough. Also, make sure to sign both and attach your pictures.
Applying for a visa at the Uzbek embassy in Almaty
First of all you should be aware of the opening hours of the embassy: It is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 15.00-18.00. It seems that people are lining up in front of the embassy from like 14.30 or even earlier. We showed up about 15 minutes before it opened and it was fine. The embassy is located at 36, Baribayev St.
You need to go to the embassy twice – one time to hand in your application, and again to get the actual visa sticker in your passport and pay.
Our experience is that a lot of people are waiting outside, but many of them are Uzbek. Both times ‘foreigners’ applying for a visa was let in first. You should head for the small gate with an A4 paper above saying “Visa Section”. Do not get too worried if they are not opening until 15.05 or so.
First visit – handing in your documents
This step took us about 45 minutes including arriving a little early.
Before you go make sure that you bring:
- Two signed copies of the filled-in visa application form.
- Two passport photos, preferably attached to the application forms.
- A copy of your passport.
- Your actual passport.
When the gate opens follow the crowd to the small office in the backyard. Go for the line in the left side of the room where there is a door. Expect to wait 15-20 minutes without anything happening. At some point the door will be opened a bit and you can hand in your documents, together with the two passport photos and a copy of your passport. Make sure to have your passport handy in case they want to see it.
When handing over the documents they will tell you when you can come back and get your visa (2 working days later not counting the day of your first visit). Remember that they are closed on Wednesdays.
Second visit – getting the sticker and payment
This visit took in total 1.5 hours including arriving a little early.
When the gate opens, follow the crowd once again and head for the left line. It seems important that you are there at 15.00. Again expect nothing to happen the first 15-20 minutes. At some point the door opens and you hand over your passport, and will then have to wait. We were asked to wait outside.
After about 10-15 minutes an employee comes out with a pile of small paper slips. These state your name and the amount you need to pay. You are now expected to go to the bank “AO CenterCredit” around the corner (15, Gogol St.).
Here you show your slip to the employee helping people getting in the right queue. Wait for your turn and pay. Expect to pay cash in Kazakhstani Tenge. As Danish (European) citizens we paid per person 40 USD for the visa, 15 USD for the embassy services, and another 250 KZT in bank commission (in total 18,400 KZT).
Now you can go to the copy shop (look for Фотосалон) just across the street from the embassy and make a copy of your receipt if you like one.
Go back to the embassy and line up at the left side again. At some point the door opens and you hand over your receipt (or a copy of it), and you will have to wait again.
After another 10-15 minutes the door opens and an employee comes out with the passports now including Uzbek visa stickers in them, and hands them over to their correct owners.
Et voilà – Uzbek visa! We hope you will have a great time in Uzbekistan 🙂