This Survival Guide Will explain exactly how to get an Uzbekistan visa in Baku, Azerbaijan!
Uzbekistan! The Central Asian country where the ancient Silk Road meets the Soviet Union! There’s deserts, stunning mosques, dried up seas, delicious Plov to eat and hospitable locals to meet.
If you really want to understand the history of Central Asia, then Uzbekistan is an integral stop on any itinerary.
The only problem is getting a visa. But don’t fear, if you are in Baku, Azerbaijan, then it’s not so difficult to arrange these days!
Here’s how to get an Uzbekistan Visa in Baku!
The Tourist Visa
The visa is date specific, so there are set entrance and exit dates. The visa you apply for can be 7, 15 or 30 days in length- there’s no sense not applying for the longer 30 day visa- and you can ask for multiple entries. I asked for 30 days, double entrance, and this was no problem.
What documents do I need?
This is the easy part of the process of applying for an Uzbekistan Visa in Baku. You don’t actually need that many documents. I am a British Citizen and I do not require a Letter of Invitation (LOI), however for some nationalities it is compulsory and for others it can speed things along if you get hold of one in advance!
1 x Colour Passport Photo
1 x Completed Visa Application Form
Letter of Invitation (LOI)
It used to be the case that a complicated, expensive LOI was required by basically everyone to visit Uzbekistan. Luckily, things are starting to change!
According to Caravanistan, the following nationalities are entitled to visa free travel to Uzbekistan: “Citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine”.
And the following nationalities do not require a Letter of Invitation to apply for a visa: “Citizens of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, UK and USA do not need a letter of invitation to apply for their Uzbekistan tourist visa”.
The LOI can speed things up though. If you have the required Letter of Invitation, you should be able to get the visa processed the same day you apply. Travel agents can sort the LOI out, as can Caravanistan, but it can take up to 2 weeks to come through, so you need to apply well in advance for this to be of help to you. I was in Baku already when I decided to visit Uzbekistan, so I applied without an LOI and the whole process took 7 working days to complete- if I’d waited for an LOI I could have got the visa sorted in a day, but I would have been waiting 2 weeks for the LOI! See what I mean?
The LOI is quite pricey if you aren’t booked onto a tour. Caravanistan charge upwards of 70 USD and on top of this you pay the visa fees to the embassy.
Where is the Uzbekistan Embassy in Baku?
Badamdar, 1st highway, 9th lane, 437, 1000 Baku, Azerbaijan
A lot of internet reports on forums such as Caravanistan mention that the embassy is rather difficult to find. If you have a smart phone with any kind of map app then it most certainly is not hard to find. I can guarantee this, just save the right point on the map.
The Uzbekistan Embassy in Baku is located at the following co-ordinates: 40.3513°N / 49.80493°E
On Google Maps this corresponds to this point, which I can verify is true:
There is a bus from just outside Fountain Square near the Old Town which will drop you off on Badamdar Highway, by an old Citi Mart Supermarket (which is actually now closed). From here you walk down the alley on the map above to the embassy. It costs 20 Qebits for a one way ride, which you pay to the driver when you get off. Busses run every 10 minutes or so and the whole journey will take no longer than half an hour. You can’t use the Baku City Card on this bus currently. On the way back just catch it from the other side of the road where you got off originally.
The bus you need is Number 31. By Fountain Square, it departs from the point I’ve labelled on the map below, which is a little around the corner from the obvious bus stop you will see, which you would imagine is where it stops!
The Uzbekistan Embassy in Baku is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 10.00 to 12.00 and then from 15.00 to 17.30. These are the official times, however if you call the embassy before, you may be asked to come at a different time or even on a day when they are officially closed! Applications can be submitted in the morning or evening.
Into The Embassy!
Check in with the security guards, and then they will let you upstairs to the consulate itself. There was a lovely consul named Hussein who arranged everything pleasantly for me, with no fuss and bundles of happiness! I submitted my application form and a passport photo, and then he took down my email address and emailed me when the visa was ready for collection.
To The Bank!
Hussein told me to only pay the visa fee once he’d actually processed the visa, just in case anything went wrong. He sent me an email when it was ready, so I went to the bank, paid the money and returned with the receipt to collect the visa itself. He even let me do this on a Tuesday, when they were supposed to be closed.
The bank is located at 67 Nizami Street, Baku. It’s the International Bank of Azerbaijan. There’s actually two large offices next to each other, go to the new looking building on the left, through the fancy glass doors and to the cash desks. Hand over your payment slip from the embassy and the cash and get all the receipts and stamps you need!
I paid 85 USD for a 30 day, double entrance visa. A single entrance visa would have been 75 USD. Payment was in USD only, not in local currency.
You will find the bank just behind Fountain Square:
How long does the visa application process take?
It took me 7 working days. I submitted everything on a Monday afternoon and by Tuesday afternoon the following week I had everything in order and the visa in my passport! With an LOI this can be shortened to 1 day processing time.
So that’s how to get an Uzbekistan Visa in Baku!
**** All information in this article is based on my own experiences, from June 2016. If you have more recent updates, then PLEASE, comment below ****