The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
The following information is subject to change. You should consult the Turkmen Embassy in London well in advance of your intended travel date. All visa applications made at Turkmen Embassies in the UK and overseas are referred to Ashgabat for a decision. This can take 20 days or more. There is an accelerated 24 hour service, but a supplementary fee of approximately US$150 will be charged.
British nationals need a visa to enter Turkmenistan. You will need a letter of invitation, certified by the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan, from a private individual or company to support your application. For tourists, these can be obtained from authorised travel agents. A list is available from the British Embassy in Ashgabat. Those travelling on business for the first time must obtain letters from relevant ministries, departments or companies they wish to co-operate with, unless the visit is made to attend an exhibition or other event, in which case the organiser normally provides visa support.
Without prior approval from the Turkmen authorities, it is not possible to enter Turkmenistan. It is possible to buy a visa on arrival at either Ashgabat airport or the ferry port at Turkmenbashi but only if you have approval from the Turkmenistan Migration Service before arrival. If you break your journey or try to enter Turkmenistan without the right visa you will face a long and uncomfortable wait in the offices of the Immigration Service at the airport or ferry port.
In addition to a visa fee, there are charges of up to US$150 for vehicles entering Turkmenistan by either land or sea. These can include elements for disinfection, an entry permit, insurance and a compensatory amount for fuel subsidies operating in Turkmenistan. The rate is changeable and varies depending on the entry point, the type of vehicle, its engine capacity and distance you intend to travel. All are payable in cash in US Dollars on entry.
If you are staying for more than 3 days you should register with the State Service of Turkmenistan for the Registration of Foreign Nationals.
Don’t overstay your visa.
All foreign nationals need a visa to transit Turkmenistan. You can be registered at entry and exit points if your stay is not longer than five days and you hold a valid transit visa. But you won’t be able to change your transit visa in-country, and you must notify the authorities if you intend to vary your route through the country.
If you intend to travel from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan across the Caspian Sea you should be aware that it is not possible to buy a visa on arrival at Baku seaport. Make sure you have a valid visa to enter Azerbaijan if you take the ferry.
Dual nationality isn’t recognised in Turkmenistan. If you enter Turkmenistan on a Turkmen passport and also hold British nationality the British Embassy can only provide very limited consular assistance. In cases of arrest or detention, consular access is unlikely to be granted.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months after the expiry date of your visa.
On arrival, you must pay a US$14 migration fee ($10 fee plus $4 Admin charge).
You must register within three days of arrival with the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan at their office at 57 Azadi Street, Ashgabat. Registration is for the period of the visa and may be carried out on your behalf. If you are not staying in Ashgabat, you should register at the local department of Migration Service instead. You should bring two passport size photos. The State Migration Service of Turkmenistan will need a letter confirming your departure from Turkmenistan. A de-registration stamp in your passport is no longer required.
Non-compliance with these requirements could lead to prosecution and possible detention.
Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should contact the Turkmen Embassy in London for advice about the documents that will be required at immigration.
Travelling with medication
If you intend to enter Turkmenistan with medicines, whether prescription or non-prescription, you should check in advance the list of prohibited medicines and the legal quantities of medicines that are allowed into the country. If you’re in any doubt, check this with the Turkmen Embassy in London before you travel (telephone 020 7610 5239).
Substances of concern to the Turkmen authorities include but are not limited to tramadol, morphine, opiates or any other constituent competent that may be considered as a narcotic drug or psychotropic agent. Possession of these items can lead to administrative or criminal proceedings if you don’t have a prescription, or if you’re carrying more than you need for your visit and don’t declare them on arrival.
If you’re travelling with prescription medicines, you should carry a doctor’s prescription and declare the items on your customs declaration form. Some medicines that are non-prescription in the UK, including codeine, can cause problems on entry into Turkmenistan. Issues have been reported at both the international airport and land borders.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
You won’t be able to enter or transit Turkmenistan using a UK Emergency Travel Document (ETD). If your ETD has been issued in Turkmenistan, you will need an exit visa from the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan or Department of Visa and Registration before you can travel out of Turkmenistan. This process can take up to 5 working days.
Turkmen border crossings can be subject to occasional and unannounced closures.