Sunday, 22 March 2015

Visas: Tajikistan

Next visa: Tajikistan (plus the hallowed GBAO permit). I'll be honest at the start, I messed this one up. If you're trying to go for the full 45 days then I strongly recommend you lie a fair bit on the itinerary and make it look like you're staying for a good chunk of time. I put our itinerary down as an honest 7 days, and in return I got issued with a 30 day visa that starts two weeks before we plan to get there, go figure! Anyway I digress, it's not the end of the world, just always nice to have significant overlap of various visas. Some quick facts:
  • Cost: £77 per person (including signed for postage and consular fee)
  • Visa Duration: 30 days
  • Number of Entries: Double
  • Visa Processing Time: 1 Week
  • Place of Application and Nationalities: London and UK Citizens
  • Application Date: 6th March 2015 (almost 5 months in advance)

So how did we do it? Firstly here is our little check list of things you will need per person:
  • Passport Photo 35 mm x 45 mm (x1)
  • Printed Application Form (x1)
  • Cover Letter (x1)
  • B&W Photocopy of Main Passport Page (x1)
  • Copy of Mongol Rally Entry Confirmation (x1)
  • Copy of Hostel/Hotel Booking Confirmation (x1)

Step 1 - The Hotel Booking

Having to book a hotel is a pain, especially when you are unsure about dates. Luckily there is a neat little trick that bypasses some of the uncertainty and costs you a mere 2 pounds (far less than a pint nowadays). A few hostel websites allow you to make a booking and only pay a deposit (typically 10-15 percent). Therefore, you need to find the cheapest hostel in the place you wish to stay, and actually book it for at least 1 night (this seemingly is enough to satisfy the visa application). 

We chose the 'Green House Hostel Dushanbe', slapped down our deposit for two people and one night, the added 'flexible deposit protection'. This is the clever bit, for your two pounds you can cancel your booking and get your deposit back (you lose the two pound protection money though). So this only makes sense to do if your deposit costs more than two pounds (particularly important for large group bookings).

So we parted with our £5.55 to get a legitimate hostel booking, then once we had our visa stamp we cancelled it and clawed back £3.55. Got it?

Edit/Update: it's better to use, they allow cancellations for free, without you even putting down a deposit!!! So it's completely free!

Above is a copy of our web booking, simply print it out and place it with all the other application documents.

Step 2 - The Application Form

The first step is to head on over to the Tajikistan Embassy website and download the application form. This gives you a word document that you can fill in. I'm sure you can fill it in digitally, but I hand wrote mine to avoid messing up the formatting.

Above is my completed application form (with all my personal stuff crossed out).

Step 3 - The Cover Letter

Now where do you begin with one of these? Well hopefully you've written a letter before and know the layout, so I won't patronise you with that bit. Remember, I messed this up a little bit, so I would definitely add on lots of dates. However, the main points you need to cover are:
  • Why you are travelling to Tajikistan.
  • Your itinerary for Tajikistan (we did this day-by-day and specifically mentioned the GBAO).
  • The name and address of a hostel or hotel you will stay at (we booked this one).
Again, below is the letter we sent (with various personal stuff removed).

Step 4 - Sundries

Make sure you have a passport sized photo (45x35 mm) available and paper clip this to the application form. Make sure you have photocopied the main page of your passport. For this visa it is recommended that you also send a copy of your Mongol Rally registration.

We used the confirmation email that we received when we signed up. If you are applying for several people at once then it is a good idea to place the application forms and photocopies for each person in a separate plastic wallet.

Step 5 - Payment and Postage

You need to send a special delivery self addressed envelope with the application (so they can send your passports back) and bank transfer the amount needed to pay (in our case, 2x tourist visas at £20  per visa plus 2x GBAO permits at £50 each, ie £140 in total). The embassy fee is paid through a bank transfer, we used our online banking and transferred the money using the following details (these could change, so please check that these are up-to-date here):
  • Name of bank: TSB
  • Account Name: Embassy of Tajikistan
  • Sort Code: 30-99-10
  • Account Number: 17479568
  • Reference: Your Surname
Place all these items in a large envelope and post it off down to the embassy in London (we sent it special delivery). In total, for two visas, it cost us £154.30 (which is half of the cost that a well known visa service would charge you). Below is the full breakdown of costs:
  • £140 transferred to the embassy bank account (for 2 tourist visas and 2 GBAO permits).
  • £7.15 special delivery to send your passports and documents.
  • £7.15 special delivery to have your passports sent back.

Step 6 - Sit Back and Wait

One week later we got our passports back with our shiny new visa sticker and GBAO permit. 

If this guide has been helpful (and saved you many many pounds compared with using a visa service), and you would like to say thank you then feel free to like our Facebook Page and find out what adventures we are currently embarking on.


  1. As of January 20, 2017, this can be done online.

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