The truth is that at the beginning of the year, when thinking that sooner or later we would end up getting to the stans, we were glad to know that the visas of that area were becoming more flexible, in particular the one of Uzbekistan, which was supposed to go from being one of the relatively difficult ones to give away 30 days of free visa for many countries, as was stated in a law at the end of 2016. However, a few months ago that proposal was postponed until 2021! So yes, in the end we have had to end up doing the visa in one of their embassies and although it has not been especially difficult, it has ended up giving us a couple of headaches. Here we explain it to for you.
Do you need a Letter Of Invitation (LOI)?
To start, you should know that although all the countries can apply for a visa at any of their embassies, depending on your nationality, they will ask you for a letter of invitation.
If you are from Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, UK or USA, you will not need this invitation letter.
If you do not have a passport from any of these countries do not worry, since it is not at all difficult to get one of these. You can contact many tourism agencies, hotels or hostels, and they will do it for you. As we were told by people we met at the embassy, it usually costs about 75-100 USD but if you do it from a lodging in which you are going to stay or with an agency that you are going to hire, they will give you a good discount. Usually, they take a week or two to do it and send it to you.
Once you have the letter, the procedure will be exactly the same.
Documentation to be submitted
To obtain the visa, you must show up at the embassy of Uzbekistan with the following documentation:
- Your passport (valid for the next 6 months and with at least two blank pages)
- A photocopy of the passport
- A photocopy of the visa or entry stamp to the country in which you are
- An application form that you must fill out and carry it printed
- A passport photo
- The letter of invitation (in case you need it)
Finally, if you want to get a transit visa, you must also bring a photocopy of the visa of the country that you want to cross to from Uzbekistan.
In any case and unlike other countries do, your passport will be returned so you can continue traveling while they prepare your visa.
Embassy of Bishkek
You can do all this process from any of the embassies that Uzbekistan has in the countries of the region, and in our case, we did it in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Although the embassy has changed several times of location, Google Maps already has its last one updated. To get there you can take the marshrutka nr. 132, which leaves you about ten minutes walking from there. You will know that you are really close to the embassy because you will pass by the huge embassy of Kazakhstan.
The embassy is open for visa applications only from Tuesday to Friday from 10 AM to 1 PM. In principle, you should call and have an appointment to be received, but if you go there without a date, which is what everyone does, they will attend you anyway.
One tip I can give you is to you go early, very early, because it gets easily full with people and sometimes you will have to wait an hour or two to be attended.
When they do it, you must give all the documentation and they will give you a paper with an address of a bank where you must go to pay the visa fee the same day and return to the embassy before they close.
The cost of the visa will depend on your nationality, but in our case, which was the same, it was 75 USD per person.
The bank in question is the headquarters of KICB, which is located at the intersection of Jukeev-Pudovkin and Aaly Tokombaev streets. It is about 3 kilometers from the embassy and there is no public transport that covers this route, so you will have either to walk it or take a taxi.
The payment must be made only in US dollars and you will have to make a bank deposit that will cost you about 20 SOM (0.25 €). Once you have the deposit, you must return to the embassy to deliver it and in one week you will have your visa ready. You can also do the express visa paying more and you will have it faster, although I do not know exactly how long they take. In case you bring an LOI, you can pick up the visa the same day.
Picking up your visa later
So far so good, right? I started the article saying that it ended up being a little difficult but from what I have explained so far it seems that I complained for no apparent reason.
The problem came when, thinking that we did not want to spend a week in the capital or around waiting, we asked if there would be any problem to pick it up later, when we calmly returned from the east of the country. The girl who worked there told us there wouldn’t be, but in that case she would not enter the visa application until we knew what day we would pick it up. We agreed that the following Monday we would call her first thing in the morning, and we would tell her when we wanted to pick up the visas. And there the problem began.
That next Monday, when we were already in Karakol, we called at 8 AM and they did not pick up the phone. We thought maybe they had not started working yet and waited until 9 AM to call back. Again no answer. We tried a few more times during the morning, thinking that they would be busy with the visas they had to deliver that week and the answer was still the same: none. We called a few more times in the afternoon and the next day and nothing at all. That night, we sent an e-mail to the two e-mail addresses that we found of that embassy and even today we expect an answer.
Finally, after several days calling and assuming already that we would only have an answer when we got back to the embassy, they picked up the phone. At first, they did not know who we were or what we wanted at all but a few minutes later, they found our application forms in some corner of the embassy.
The rest is history since the visa was issued, the following week we were able to pick them up without any problem and to this day I am writing this from Uzbekistan :)
Where to sleep?
If you will be passing by the city just to get the visa or you want to sleep as close as possible to the embassy, you should check this out.
➡ The area of the embassy is full of apartments, like and for only 30 USD / night you will be able to rent it with all its commodities (AC, TV, Wi-Fi and kitchen). This apartment in particular is located 1.5 kilometers away from the embassy.
➡ If you want to go for the cheapest option, take a look at . For 6 USD / night you will have a bed in a mixed room, with shared bathroom and Wi-Fi. The problem here is that is almost 3 kilometers away from the embassy, so you will end up walking a little anyway.