Security Alert
May 17, 2024

Worldwide Caution

International Travel


Learn About Your Destination


Exercise normal precautions in Turkmenistan.

Updated to reflect new Travel Advisory level and “if you decide to travel” section.

Exercise normal precautions in Turkmenistan.

Please read the country information page for additional information on travel to Turkmenistan.

If you decide to travel to Turkmenistan:


Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


6 months


One page per entry stamp









Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Ashgabat

9 1984 Street (formerly Pushkin Street)
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 744000
Telephone:  +(993)(12) 94 0045
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  Local calls: 940045;
When calling from the U.S.: +(993)(12)94 0045
Fax: +(993)(12) 94-26-14

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

See the Embassy of Turkmenistan’s website for visa information.     

All arriving passengers must take a COVID-19 test when they arrive at the airport. The cost of the test is $31.   

Turkmenistan’s Law on Citizenship does not allow its citizens to have dual citizenship. As a result, the country often stops U.S.-Turkmen dual citizens from leaving until they give up their Turkmen citizenship. This process can take several months. The ability of the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat to assist such dual citizens is very limited. We strongly urge all dual U.S.-Turkmen citizens to contact the Embassy for more information before traveling to Turkmenistan. 

Please see the Embassy's page on dual citizenship for additional information. 

A letter of invitation is required for entry into Turkmenistan. The person or organization inviting you must submit a request to the State Migration Service (SMS) along with a copy of your passport ID page. After receiving the letter of invitation, apply for a visa at the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Washington, D.C. or at the airport in Ashgabat upon arrival. The cost of the visa application varies depending on the length of validity. A $29 registration fee is also required upon arrival. 

We cannot help private citizens obtain letters of invitation. 

If you arrive without a visa or certified letter of invitation, officials may hold you at the airport. They will keep you until you arrange a way out of Turkmenistan. 

Register yourself and apply for visa extensions with the SMS in Ashgabat. You must register with SMS within 3 working days of your arrival. You must do this if you plan to stay in Turkmenistan more than 3 working days. You must also register your departure with SMS one day prior to your departure.  

Foreigners are forbidden to travel to “restricted zones” without special permission from the SMS. Restricted zones include border areas and along the Caspian coast. 

Failure to register properly or to update your visa with SMS can result in fines, arrest, and/or deportation. Visit a local SMS office to learn about additional requirements. 

If you are deported for these violations, authorities will bar your return to Turkmenistan for up to five years. 

HIV/AIDS Information: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Turkmenistan. Foreign workers may be required to undergo HIV testing for business visas. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Turkmenistan before you travel. 

Find information on dual nationality, the prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on  

Safety and Security

Crime: Crime is limited. There are few reports of violent crime in Turkmenistan. Take normal safety precautions, such as avoiding travel after dark or in deserted/unfamiliar areas.

Prostitution is illegal. The definition of a prostitute is subjective. Police are known to raid local establishments for prostitution. 

Police and military are present in all regions of Turkmenistan. Security personnel maintain checkpoints on major roads and may place visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, e-mail, and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. 

Always carry your passport; otherwise, you may be detained. Police asking to see identity papers can be aggressive and have been known to solicit bribes. Ask for identification if you are unsure the person requesting to see your documents is an official. 

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information. 

Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 02 and contact the U.S. Embassy at the following numbers:

  • Local calls: 940045; 
  • When calling from the U.S.: +(993)(12)94 0045

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime. 

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas

We can: 

  • Help you find appropriate medical care 
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police 
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent 
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion 
  • Provide a list of local attorneys 
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan to return to the United States. Also, provide limited medical aid in cases of destitution.
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home 
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport 

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. Tourists participate in activities at their own risk. Emergency response capabilities are limited, or unreliable, and urgent medical treatment can be inappropriate or not available in-country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad. Also, see the Department of Justice website.

It is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. Ask before taking pictures of anything of possible military or security interest, including government buildings and food markets. 

If you stay overnight in a location other than the one where you are registered with the SMS, you may be arrested.

Local law criminalizes the knowing exposure or transmission of HIV to another person and carries a sentence of up to 5 years. The law also stipulates sentences of up to 20 years for the spread of HIV or other sexually transmitted infections through same-sex contact. 

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Money: Turkmenistan has a cash economy. Most businesses, including airlines and hotels, do not accept credit cards. While there are some ATMs in Ashgabat, getting personal checks cashed can take up to two months. 

The official currency in Turkmenistan is the Turkmen Manat. It is illegal to use foreign currencies and to exchange money on the black market. You can obtain Manat in ATM machines. 

Customs rules are strict. This is especially true for carpets, jewelry, music instruments, art, ancient artifacts, antiques, and protected animals. Before purchasing such items for export, see the Embassy of Turkmenistan website for their customs information. 

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details: 

LGBTQI+ Travelers: Sexual contact between men is illegal and carries criminal penalties. The law does not mention same-sex sexual contact between women, but social norms in the country are very conservative. Enforcement of the law is often selective. Harassment, detention, and prison sentences are possible.

The Embassy cautions all travelers against displays of affection in public. 

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details. 

Travelers with Disabilities: Public transportation, sidewalks, many buildings, and public areas are not wheelchair accessible. 

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women.


For emergency services in Turkmenistan, dial 03. Ambulance services are not staffed with trained paramedics and often have little or no medical equipment. 

The U.S. Embassy does not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They have more information on the insurance you should consider before you travel abroad. 

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance. It covers medical evacuation. 

Medical care is limited and well below U.S. standards. U.S. citizens in Turkmenistan often travel to other countries for medical treatment. This includes many routine procedures. 

Basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics, are often in short supply. The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that U.S. citizens not undergo invasive procedures in Turkmenistan. Undergoing any such procedure may place you at risk of serious illness. If you have a serious medical condition, check with your physician before planning travel to Turkmenistan. 

If you have prescription medication, check with the Government of Turkmenistan. Make sure the medication is legal there. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. 

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. 

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information: 

Water Quality: In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and drinks are safe. Many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless you ask for bottled. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.  

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Traffic accidents involving serious injury to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are common. Many city roads are hazardous because of potholes, uncovered manholes, poor lighting, and pedestrians ignoring oncoming traffic. Most roads outside of major cities are narrow, not lighted, and lacking road signs. Avoid driving at night on rural roads. 

Drive defensively and use an abundance of caution. Driving practices differ from those in the United States, and can include drivers going down the wrong way on one-way streets or divided highways, sudden lane changes, left-hand turns from the right lane, etc. 

There is no roadside assistance in Turkmenistan. 

Traffic Laws: If you drive while intoxicated, you may be fined, imprisoned, and have your license revoked. You may be fined if you don’t use seat belts or if you drive while using a cell phone. Police at checkpoints (where cars are required to stop and register) may arbitrarily fine motorists.

Driving Requirements: You must have a valid international driving permit. Foreigners residing in Turkmenistan must apply for a local driver’s license with the Road Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan. For more specific information about driving in Turkmenistan, contact the Embassy of Turkmenistan at 202-588-1500. 

See our Road Safety page for more information. 

Public Transportation: Most taxis are unregulated. They lack basic safety features. Always negotiate fares in advance with unregulated taxi drivers.

Avoid taking taxis after dark or sharing a taxi with other passengers. When traveling at night, hire a driver through your travel agency or hotel. 

The only government-owned/government-regulated taxi company operates in Ashgabat (telephone 993-12-760501) 

Travel by Ferry: “Ferries” crossing the Caspian Sea are cargo ships that also take on passengers as space permits. Food and water are not typically provided, and sleeping and sanitary facilities are basic. Ships arriving in Turkmenbashy may take a week to find a vacant dock. 

Airlines: Regular international commercial flights have resumed, but demand for available seats remains high. Tickets for Turkmenistan Airlines flights may only be purchased in-person in Turkmenistan. Travelers should also note that delayed flight times are common when entering or exiting Turkmenistan. 

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Turkmenistan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Turkmenistan’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Turkmenistan should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website (click “Broadcast Warnings”). In general, there is very little information available about maritime travel to Turkmenistan. Caspian ferry services are considered unreliable and generally inadvisable. 

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Turkmenistan. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: April 30, 2024

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Ashgabat
9 1984 Street (formerly Pushkin Street)
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 744000
+(993)(12)94 0045
Local calls: 940045;
When calling from the U.S.: +(993)(12)94 0045
+(993)(12) 94-26-14

Turkmenistan Map