History enthusiasts who want to visit the ancient wonders of the Silk Road will soon be able to do so with much more ease. A new e-visa scheme is set to make it much simpler to visit Uzbekistan.

Starting 15 July 2018, visitors can apply for a single or double entry 30-day Uzbek visa from a new website. This change comes as part of a set of reforms introduced by new Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. They come after the departure of the old head of the National Security Service (SNB), Rustam Inoyatov. These changes to the visa policy were brought forward from their original dates in 2021.

The new e-visa scheme to visit Uzbekistan comes at a time when the formerly tightly controlled country seems to be opening up to tourists. It is also said to be one of the safest destinations in the world.

Kukeldash Madrasah, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Kukeldash Madrasah, a medieval madrasah close to Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

In December 2017, Uzbekistan extended its visas from 7 to 30 days. This February, the country also inaugurated a 30 days visa-free travel programme for citizens of seven countries; Israel, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, and Japan.

New Visa Schemes Make It Easier To Visit Uzbekistan

Previously, travellers from most countries also needed to have a letter of invitation from a tour company to apply for a visa. The changes this February mean that citizens of 51 countries no longer need this additional step. The price for the visa has also been reduced from US$60 to $40 for most nationalities.

Samarkand, The avenue of tombs-Shahr-I-Zindah, visit Uzbekistan
The Registan Shahr-i-Zindah (Avenue of Tombs) and the bazaar, Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

At the same time as the e-visa scheme takes effect this July, 101 nationalities will also be gain access to a new transit visa scheme. This will allow transit air passengers to stay in the country for up to five days.

However, those planning to visit Uzbekistan should keep in mind their strict customs regulations. Be especially careful when travelling with medication, as many common painkillers, sleeping drugs and anxiety blockers are illegal in Uzbekistan. Here’s a full list of banned medication in Uzbekistan. Don’t bring them along unless absolutely necessary, and remember to declare all your prescription medicines.

To apply for a visa and for more information on the new visa scheme, visit the official website.

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