Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Learn About Your Destination > Turkmenistan International Travel Information
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
See the Embassy of Turkmenistan’s website for visa information.
There is still a requirement for all incoming foreigners to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of antibodies from a test taken within 48 hours. All arriving passengers are required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the airport. The cost of the test is $45.
Turkmenistan’s Law on Citizenship does not recognize dual citizenship for its citizens. Consequently, U.S.-Turkmen dual citizens are often denied departure from the country until they renounce their Turkmen citizenship, a process that 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. 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, authorities may hold you at the airport until you arrange transportation out of Turkmenistan.
Register yourself and apply for visa extensions with the SMS in Ashgabat. You are required to register with SMS if you plan to remain in Turkmenistan more than three 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 Travel.State.gov.
Crime: There are limited 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 and law enforcement entities are known to conduct prostitution raids at local establishments.
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.
Carry your passport at all times; 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:
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
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.
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 and 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.
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: Customs regulations are strict, particularly regarding carpets, jewelry, musical instruments, art, archaeological 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: Same-sex sexual contact between men is illegal and carries criminal penalties. Social norms in Turkmenistan are extremely conservative, and 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 Travelers.
The Government of Turkmenistan requires all visitors ages 18 and over entering the country to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Turkmenistan.
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 for more information on the type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover 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, including 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.
Prescriptions: If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Turkmenistan to ensure that the medication is legal in Turkmenistan. 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:
In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.
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 not regulated and 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 also 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.