Tajikistan

Tajikistan is a safe country, though some factional fighting spilling over from nearby Afghanistan as well as local warlordism still occurs in Tajikistan. Visitors should keep abreast of the security situation and not take any unnecessary risks.After sunset, it is not advisable to walk around outside alone; and generally do not travel unaccompanied to rural areas. Any concern you should have during your stay in Tajikistan, please write about as soon as possible it to your embassy or the European Commission – External Relations Directorate General in B-1049 Brussels [roselyne.mancheron@cec.eu.int].

Of significant concern is the inability of Tajikistan’s law enforcement entities to provide adequate and immediate assistance. Lack of manpower, low salaries, and inadequate training all contribute to a lack of professionalism among law enforcement entities. If you are the victim of a crime, consult to your embassy. Your embassy may be able to help you locate stolen items or to renew your passport.

Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal, but you may be breaking local law too.

In some places it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Tajikistan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

The number of items that can be exported may be limited. It is illegal to export or possess unprocessed stones and metals and jewelry without a hallmark mark of authenticity. Even if travelers have a receipt confirming legal purchase of such items at a store in Tajikistan, the items must be declared upon departure.

The health care system in Tajikistan is significantly underdeveloped below western standards, with severe shortages of basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics. Elderly people are at great risk. Most medical personnel are not qualified, adding on a significant concern.

DO NOT drink tap water. There is no working purification system, and outbreaks of typhoid and cholera rarely are common. Other preventable endemic illnesses are hepatitis A, rabies, poliomyelitis and tick-borne encephalitis. The occasional anthrax case comes in, but it's rare nowadays. There are, during the hot season, a few pockets where malaria can occur. HIV is a growing health threat in Tajikistan. There is now an English-speaking comprehensive primary care clinic in operation by the name of Prospekt Medical (http://prospektclinic.com), right behind the Embassy of China. In the Pamir mountains, the risk of altitude sickness is substantial - one may read up on this here: (http://princeton.edu/~oa/...) in English or (http://auswaertiges-amt.d...) in German. In case of ANY accident, call your embassy. Health insurance and medical evacuation insurance are recommended.

Longer stays may consider the hiring of private drivers and home security guards. Rent out secure known owners places. (http://tajikistanservices.com)

Nationals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia and Ukraine do not need a visa for visits up to 90 days.

Following the trends of other Central Asian countries, visas are increasingly easy to obtain, particularly for nationals of wealthy countries. This policy is designed to stimulate tourist activity in Tajikistan. The big change has been the abolition of OVIR registration for tourist visits under 30 days. Letters of invitation are no longer needed on arrival at Dushanbe airport, but are needed to prearrange a visa from the UK and US embassies.

Visas have to have applied for in advance at Tajik embassies or may be purchased upon arrival at Dushanbe airport. However due to a recent change in the law, these visas are now only available to citizens from countries with no Tajik embassy. To save time you can complete and print a form before arrival (http://www.mfa.tj/index.p...). It is best to use the Tajik form, bring two passport photos, a handful of photocopies of your passport and cash. The process takes around 10 minutes. Tourist visa in Tajikistan costs $US25 in Dushanbe International Airport and in consular representatives abroad. A separate permit is required if you wish to travel to the GBAO region; it costs $US50 and is easily obtained when applying for a visa or in Dushanbe.

If crossing a land border then get a visa prior to arrival. The embassies in Vienna and London are the more professional. You may struggle to get a visa at some consulates who will simply say 'get it at the airport' e.g. Kabul, which isn't useful if you want to arrive by land.

talk

Tajik, mutually intelligible with Persian and often considered a dialect of it, is the primary and historical language of Tajikistan. However, due to Soviet promotion of Russian, almost all Tajiks also speak Russian, including most younger people, and in the cities people tend to be fluent. There are also ethnic Russians with Russian as their native language. Russian is widely used in government, which makes it widely spoken by government officials such as policemen. English, however is hardly spoken, and the only people likely to speak a word are youths, especially in the capital, but even to them Russian is often a stronger language since it is widely taught to them by their parents.

respect

Tajikistan is a somewhat conservative society. Women should be fairly modest in public, but head coverings and burkahs are exceptions and not the norm. Although some Tajiks can be extremely friendly, it is not uncommon for people to be equally rude. While this is a Persian-speaking country, do not expect the red carpet treatment that tourists receive in Iran and Afghanistan.

embassies
United States

109A Ismoili Somoni Avenue, Zarafshon, Dushanbe 734019, tel: +992-37-229-23-00, fax: +992-37-229-2309. The consular section is open from 8AM to 5PM Monday through Friday and closed on U.S. and Tajik holidays.

contact

Note that Tajik telecom companies charge for internet usage by the amount downloaded. This is especially important to note for persons planing on living in Tajikistan and paying directly for the service, for example $US50 per month for up to 1GB of downloads.