Turkmenistan - Consular Information Sheet
September 24, 2001
TRAVEL WARNING (Issued September 19, 2001): The Department
of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Turkmenistan.
While the Government of Turkmenistan has taken steps to increase
security around the country, the September 11 terrorist attacks
in the United States and the proximity of Turkmenistan to Afghanistan
have raised additional security concerns for Americans there.
Afghanistan, which borders the southern part of Turkmenistan,
continues to harbor international terrorist Usama bin Laden.
As a result of these concerns, the Department has approved the
authorized (voluntary) departure of non-emergency personnel and
family members of U.S. Embassy personnel in Turkmenistan. All
American citizens in Turkmenistan are urged to review their personal
security situations and to take those measures they deem appropriate
to ensure their well-being, including consideration of departure
from the country. The U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat remains available
for emergency American citizen services assistance.
Americans who decide to remain in or visit Turkmenistan should
exercise maximum caution and take prudent measures. This includes
maintaining a strong security posture by being aware of their
surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low
profile, varying times and routes and notifying the U.S. Embassy
in case of any change in the local security situation as well
as if there are changes in their contact information.
U.S. citizens in Turkmenistan are strongly urged to register
and obtain updated security information at the American Embassy
in Ashgabat. The U.S. Embassy is located at 9 Pushkin Street,
off Maqtymquly Street. The telephone number is 993-12-35-00-45,
fax number 993-12-51-13-05. Americans are encouraged to call the
Consular Section of the Embassy. Emergency services for American
citizens are available 24 hours per day through the same telephone
For further general information regarding travel to Turkmenistan,
U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State's Consular
Information Sheet for Turkmenistan, available via the Internet
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Turkmenistan is the least populated
of the New Independent States, and in many ways it remains unchanged
from the old regime. Tourist facilities are not highly developed,
and many of the goods and services taken for granted in European
countries are not yet available. The capital city is Ashgabat.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required.
Visas for Turkmenistan are issued at the
Embassy of Turkmenistan, 2207 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington
D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 588-1500, Internet address: http://turkmenistanembassy.org.
A valid letter of invitation stamped by the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs is required at the time of application. The stamp must
be obtained in Ashgabat by the issuers of the invitation. Travelers
may also obtain 10-day visas at the airport if they have with
them the stamped letter of invitation. Any traveler arriving without
a visa or without the needed documents to obtain a visa at the
airport may be sent back immediately to the point from which he/she
embarked for Turkmenistan. American citizens who arrive in Turkmenistan
by car or train without visas should obtain visas at the Velayat
Hakimliks (Regional Mayor’s Offices) closest to their point of
entry upon presentation of a letter of invitation. Americans arriving
in Turkmenistan by ferry from Azerbaijan are required to present
entry documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative
at the post of Turkmenbashi. Visa extensions may be obtained by
applying at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and paying an additional
fee. Because of frequent changes in visa policy, the Embassy of
Turkmenistan should be contacted prior to travel for the most
CRIME INFORMATION: Turkmenistan has a low rate of violent
crime, but common street crime has increased, especially at night.
The U.S. Embassy recommends that Westerners, especially women,
not walk or take public transportation or taxis alone, especially
after dark. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should
be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S.
embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department
of State’s pamphlet, A
Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to ensure a more trouble-free
journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care in Turkmenistan is limited.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of public and private hospitals
and English-speaking physicians in the country. Due to the privatization
of pharmacies, availability of non-prescription drugs has increased,
but there is still a shortage of some medicines. Two clinics can
conduct consultations and/or operations performed by foreign (German
and Turkish) specialists.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether
your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical
evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you
incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: The U.S. Embassy recommends
that travelers ensure that their hepatitis and typhoid fever vaccinations
are current. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions
may be obtained from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Turkmenistan is provided for general reference
only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location
Condition of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Since independence in 1991, Turkmenistan has seen an increase
in the number of cars, leading to heavy congestion on major routes
in Ashgabat during rush hour. Drivers can be undisciplined and
aggressive. Primary roads in Ashgabat are of high quality, well
maintained and lit, but side streets are often in disrepair and
poorly lit. Drivers should exercise extreme caution on intercity
roads. Although paved, rural roads are narrow, often in a state
of disrepair, and not lit. Livestock and large agricultural vehicles
in the road also present hazards.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
service at present between the United States and Turkmenistan,
nor economic authority to operate such service, the U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Turkmenistan
Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation
safety standards for oversight of Turkmenistan air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit
Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S.
Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Turkmenistan customs authorities
may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation
into or export from Turkmenistan of items such as carpets, jewelry,
musical instruments, pieces of art, archaeological artifacts,
antiques, etc. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Turkmenistan
in Washington, D.C. for specific information regarding customs
requirements. Travelers who want to take carpets out of Turkmenistan
must obtain a certificate from the Carpet Museum in central Ashgabat
indicating that the carpet is not of historical value. In addition,
buyers may have to pay a tax calculated on the size of the carpet.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Turkmenistan’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested
or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in
illegal drugs in Turkmenistan are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
CONSULAR ACCESS: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry
a copy of their U.S. passports and Turkmeni visas with them at
all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of
identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Turkmenistan is a cash-only economy.
However, several new hotels accept credit cards. Only Vnesheconombank
cashes traveler’s checks or accepts Visa, Master Card and Eurocards
for cash advances. Vnesheconombak charges 5% of the amount for
this service. Commercial and other checks require up to one month
to clear. Travelers are advised to take only new, clean U.S. dollar
bills (1990 and newer) with them. Banks frequently do not have
small bills for change. More detailed information is available
at the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Turkmenistan is an earthquake-prone
country. General information about natural disaster preparedness
is available via the Internet from the
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov.
CHILDREN’S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction issues, please refer to our Internet
site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or
visiting Turkmenistan are encouraged to register at the Consular
Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat and obtain updated information on
travel and security within Turkmenistan. The U.S. Embassy is located
in Ashgabat at 9 Pushkin Street, tel. (993-12) 51-13-06 or 35-00-45;
fax (993-12) 51-13-05. the Embassy’s Internet address is http://www.usemb-ashgabat.usia.co.at/
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September
13, 2000 to incorporate information about the current Travel Warning