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Uzbekistan Country Security Report

Travel Advisory

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Uzbekistan at Level 4, indicating that travelers should not travel to Uzbekistan. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.

The Institute for Economics & Peace Global Peace Index 2021 ranks Uzbekistan 90 out of 163 worldwide, rating the country as being at a Medium state of peace.

Crime Environment

​The U.S. Department of State has assessed Tashkent as being a MEDIUM-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The U.S. Department of State has not included a Crime “C” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Uzbekistan.

To reach police services in Uzbekistan, dial 102 on a local phone; to reach fire services dial 101. Dialing 1050 reaches the Ministry of Emergency Situations, where you can report all other critical incidents. Emergency dispatch services will likely speak only Russian or Uzbek, not English. Review the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.

Crime: General Threat

​The Government of Uzbekistan does not release accurate crime statistics; most data comes through informal sources. Nonetheless, according to a Prosecutor General report for 2020, overall crime increased by 34.7%, serious and particularly serious crimes by 49%, including intentional homicide (+3%,) grievous bodily harm (+13%), rape (+27.7%) and robbery (+18.5%). Because reporting has increased in recent years, these numbers may not necessarily correspond to an increase in actual crime. There are no official statistics reported for vehicle theft (including carjacking), but unofficial reports advise that it does occur.

Violent crimes against foreign victims are rare. In general, locals perceive foreigners to be wealthy, and target them for financially motivated crime. Crimes of opportunity (e.g. mugging, pickpocketing, snatch-and-grab robbery, theft of unattended bags, purse snatching) are common, especially in crowded places (e.g. bazaars, public transportation) and in more impoverished areas of Tashkent. Even in wealthier neighborhoods, home burglaries and break-ins occur. However, most expatriate houses in Uzbekistan have more substantial residential security features relative to homes in the United States.

Uzbekistan remains a predominately cash economy; U.S. travelers should prepare to pay for goods and services in Uzbek’s national currency, the soum. Establishments often do not accept credit cards or U.S. ATM cards, and ATMs regularly run out of cash. Vendors and banks frequently reject U.S. cash that is not “crispy” (clean, no wrinkles, no marks).

Corruption is endemic in the public and private sectors. There is a substantial risk of fraud outside of major establishments and banks. Anyone engaging in black market currency exchange risks receiving counterfeit bills, as well as detainment, interrogation, or arrest. For more information, review OSAC’s report, The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud.

Crime: Areas of Concern

​Unofficial news outlets and informal sources report violent crimes in some of the more impoverished areas of Tashkent, including some parts of Sergeli, Chilanzar, and Hamza districts, and around the Chorsu Market in the Old City. Unsolved property and violent crimes are more common in these areas.

Nightclubs frequented by foreign clientele are targets for illicit activity and have previously been the focus of law-enforcement operations. Simultaneous raids on these and similar establishments occurred frequently up until 2018. During such raids, authorities used a loosely enforced curfew to detain patrons for document verification and questioning, often taking several hours. In 2018, there were several violent incidents at nightclubs in Tashkent, including the murder of a patron beaten to death by security guards after having threatened them with a knife. The nightclub, located in the center of Tashkent, closed; the security guards face criminal charges.

Review OSAC’s reports, All That You Should Leave Behind, Hotels: The Inns and Outs and Considerations for Hotel Security, and Taking Credit.

Kidnapping Threat

The U.S. Department of State has not included a Kidnapping “K” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Uzbekistan. While kidnappings have occurred in Uzbekistan, the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any recent instances of kidnapping involving the expatriate community.

Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics and Active Shooter and Kidnapping Response Tips.

Drug Crime

​Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Uzbekistan are severe; convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Internal corruption within law enforcement agencies, on top of lack of training and equipment, hamper efforts to stem the flow of narcotics. Uzbekistan is located within a major corridor of trade and transport routes for heroin and opium coming from nearby Afghanistan. While this issue generally does not affect the expatriate community, there is a small risk of encountering violence and intimidation from narcotics traffickers or encountering corruption associated with drug trafficking.

Several times each year, Uzbek authorities announce the seizure of large drug shipments at border crossings, likely representing just a fraction of what actually transits the country. The drug trade that flows through Uzbekistan has increased the presence of illegal drugs within communities; the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates there are ten times as many drug addicts in Uzbekistan as officially acknowledged.

Consult with the CIA World Factbook’s section on Illicit Drugs for country-specific information.

Terrorism Environment

​The U.S. Department of State has assessed Tashkent as being a MEDIUM-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The U.S. Department of State has not included a Terrorism “T” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Uzbekistan. Review the latest State Department Country Report on Terrorism for Uzbekistan.

The Institute for Economics & Peace Global Terrorism Index 2020 ranks Uzbekistan 134 out of 163 worldwide, rating the country as having a Very Low impact from terrorism.

Terrorism: General Threat

No terror attacks have occurred in Uzbekistan since 2004. ​While the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) are established extremist organizations within Uzbekistan, the current level of extremist activity in Uzbekistan is low. In the past, these groups have conducted kidnappings, assassinations, and suicide bombings. In addition to al-Qa’ida (AQ) and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM/ETIP), such groups that were once active in the region were undermined by the international fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and the government of Uzbekistan’s aggressive efforts to stigmatize religious participation other than cultivated government-approved religious practices and symbols. As a result, few radical groups have the capacity to operate in Uzbekistan or along its border. Nonetheless, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries remain concerned about the possibility of spillover of radicalized individuals from neighboring Afghanistan. Uzbek security and law enforcement bodies proactively investigate individuals suspected of radicalization or terrorism support; human rights advocates and opposition activists may also be accused of suspected affiliation with radical groups.

Despite the Government of Uzbekistan’s efforts to extinguish extremism, Uzbekistan was a significant source of foreign fighters from Central Asia in the Syrian Civil War. There is concern about the consequences of these individuals attempting to return to Uzbekistan; so far, Uzbekistan has repatriated more than 300 of its citizens from Iraq and Syria—all women and children, an unknown number of whom face charges of religious extremism and international terrorism. In the past five years, radicalized Uzbeks have also participated in a handful of significant terror attacks worldwide, including the attacks in Istanbul (2016, 2017), St. Petersburg (2017), Stockholm (2017), and New York (2017).

Political Violence and Civil Unrest Environment

​The U.S. Department of State has assessed Tashkent as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

Elections/Political Stability

​Uzbekistan remains relatively stable politically. There are currently no strong opposition candidates indicating they will run against the incumbent President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, in the upcoming election in October 2021. Uzbekistan's political system is tightly controlled; Mirziyoyev is likely to be reelected.

Protest & Demonstration Activity

​While Uzbekistan’s constitutional provisions afford its citizens the right to hold rallies, meetings, and demonstrations, authorities can ban or suspend these rights on security grounds. While the potential for civil disturbance exists, demonstrations are rare. Authorities often shut down the occasional unapproved demonstration, typically consisting of less than a dozen people, in front of the General Prosecutor’s Office, Monument of Courage, the Supreme Court, and district courts in Tashkent. In regions outside Tashkent, larger demonstrations and road blockages occasionally occur against utility shortages or currency issues, with some attracting as many as 200 participants. Authorities usually disperse these quickly as well. Generally, civil unrest is uncommon due to the high degree of control held by the national and local governments.

Though demonstrations are rare and typically peaceful, travelers should avoid them. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn unpredictable and violent. There is a significant risk that security authorities will use force to control the demonstration, and possibly even conduct follow-on investigations and criminal proceedings against demonstrators.

For more information, review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest.

Law Enforcement Concerns: Security Agencies

While local police are available to respond to a call, there is little investigative ability to solve crimes primarily due to limited training, funding, and equipment. ​Police training and equipment is often below U.S. standards. Police reportedly will solicit bribes to supplement their salaries, or may readily accept bribes when offered. Very few local law enforcement officials speak English.

Tourist police are specially assigned to aid visitors and prevent offenses against them at sightseeing and cultural sites. You may see tourist police officers patrol areas by foot and in specially marked police vehicles. Tourist police units operate out of the regional police headquarters in Samarkand, Bukhara, Khorezm, and Kashkadarya.

In 2018, Uzbekistan reestablished the National Guard to ensure public order and security in cities nationwide. The National Guard patrols the streets in conjunction with local police forces.

Police Response

​Travelers to Uzbekistan are subject to frequent document inspections. Travelers should have proper identity documents or a copy of their passport with them and cooperate with police authorities if stopped for questioning.

The risk of abuse while in police custody is a potential danger. If police harass or detain a U.S. citizen, or if a U.S. citizen is the victim of a crime, immediately report the incident to the American Citizen Services Unit (ACS) at +998-78-120-5450.

Law Enforcement Concerns: Emergency Contact/Information

​To reach police services in Uzbekistan, dial 102 on a local phone; to reach fire services, dial 101. Dialing 1050 reaches the Ministry of Emergency Situations, where you can report all other critical incidents. Emergency dispatch services will likely speak only Russian or Uzbek, not English.  

Transportation Security

Road Safety

​Traffic safety is a major concern in Uzbekistan. Roads suffer from poor maintenance, and often have uneven surfaces and large potholes. Traffic lights malfunction frequently, and street lighting is poor to non-existent, particularly on secondary roads. Highways and roads outside of most major cities are serviceable; but travel is advisable only during daylight hours. It is common for local drivers to drive at night without headlights, especially outside of Tashkent. 

Local drivers generally do not obey traffic rules, including disregarding lane markings, driving on the opposite side of the street, and making sudden lane changes without signaling. Personal vehicles operating as ad hoc, informal cabs will pull over without warning to pick up passengers, and often make turns from any lane. Minor and moderate traffic accidents are frequent. Officially, parties involved in an accident must contact the police and exchange insurance information; in practice, cases often resolve on the street with a cash payment by the offending party. This is a normal—albeit illegal—practice, since formal investigations are time-consuming, bureaucratic, and cumbersome. There is rampant corruption with respect to traffic citations and accident investigations.

The government has been installing traffic radar and cameras capable of detecting speeding and traffic-light violations on roads and at intersections. The speed limit is generally 70km/hr in towns and 100 km/hr on highways outside towns. Uzbekistan also allows a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.3 for drivers; while there is technically a zero-tolerance policy for driving above this BAC, drunk drivers are a concern.

Pedestrians have the right of way. Vehicles will often stop abruptly to allow pedestrians to cross at designated areas. While crosswalks are common, pedestrians do not always use them. Pedestrians frequently stand in traffic to hail a taxi and attempt to cross the street where there is no pedestrian crossing. Many people walk in the street and may be difficult to see at night or in inclement weather. Some drivers are inattentive to the presence of pedestrians. This combination leads to frequent, serious pedestrian/vehicular accidents, especially at night.

Depending upon security conditions, authorities may restrict U.S. and other nationals from traveling to certain parts of the country. Roads may close temporarily. Travelers could experience frequent vehicle and personal identification checks in the vicinity.

For detailed, country-specific road and vehicle safety information, read the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety.

For more information, review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad, Driving Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety abroad.

Public Transportation Safety

Public transportation in Tashkent consists of an underground metro system, buses, and “microbuses” or Damas vans. The metro is fairly clean and affordable, and armed police are present. Authorities usually search personal items, and it is common for guards to review identification documents. Buses are generally crowded and offer pickpockets easy targets. Unlicensed buses and Damas vans come with increased safety and security risks.

The U.S. Embassy advises its employees to use radio-dispatched, app-dispatched, or well-marked taxicabs. Avoid unregistered cabs for crime and safety reasons. Taxis may try to pick up additional passengers, raising the risk of crime or scams. Police will not assist victims of price gouging or scamming by unregistered taxis. Very few taxis have or allow the use of seatbelts.

Travel by rail is popular, and high-speed rail lines provide an effective alternative form of transportation. Security measures at train stations are similar to those at airports.

For more information, review OSAC’s Report, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights and consider the European Union Air Safety List.

Aviation Concerns

​Islam Karimov Tashkent International Airport (TAS) maintains relatively robust security. Travelers should prepare for long lines, line jumpers, and a crowded baggage retrieval area. However, the airport is implementing customer service improvements.

When possible, arrange transportation in advance. While taxis are abundant, language barriers and subsequent negotiations over fares can lead to problems or exorbitant charges. The exit area of the arrival terminal is crowded, with a large number of taxi drivers harassing travelers with offers of overpriced transport. There are marked taxicabs in the parking lot near the terminal for those needing transport; they will provide an official receipt, but the fares are unreasonably high.  

Regional airports maintain similarly robust security, although amenities are substandard or non-existent. Domestic air travel has improved, with multiple flights available to many larger regional cities.

Maritime Security

​Uzbekistan is one of only two double-landlocked countries, and does not have any maritime transportation.

Personal Identity & Human Rights Concerns

The Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights noted that recent elections did not demonstrate genuine competition and full respect for election-day procedures. Civilian authorities generally maintain effective control over the security forces, but security services permeate civilian structures. Authorities occasionally detain bloggers and activists arbitrarily. Other human rights concerns include reports of physical and psychological abuse of detainees by security forces; arbitrary arrest; political imprisonment; restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, and the internet, including censorship and intentional slowing of social media digital platforms; and restrictions on civil society, with activists, journalists, and others who criticize the government subject to harassment, prosecution, and detention.

The Uzbek government is strict about public events, especially when a foreigner is present. Foreign nationals should not give public speeches or engage in other public events, regardless of size, unless the Justice Ministry or a relevant government agency has authorized their participation in the event.

For further information, please see the Country Report on Human Rights.

Safety Concerns for Women Travelers

Cultural norms and sometimes government pressure discourage women and their families from speaking openly regarding domestic violence and rape within Uzbek society. The COVID-19 lockdown likely increased the number of complaints of domestic violence.

In 2019, President Mirziyoyev signed a domestic violence law that provides a legal definition of sexual, physical, economic, and psychological violence against women, and defines the rights of victims of harassment and violence. Nonetheless, the criminal and administrative codes did not include provisions regarding punishment. Protection orders can be issued, but activists report they will be of little use to victims. In 2019, the president also signed a law on gender equality, a first for the country.

There are government-run and some NGO-run shelters for victims of domestic abuse and telephone hotlines for victims seeking assistance. Victims of domestic violence may be sheltered in Centers for Rehabilitation and Adaptation.

The law does not explicitly prohibit sexual harassment, but it is illegal for a male supervisor to coerce a woman who has a business or financial dependency into a sexual relationship. Social norms, lack of reporting, and lack of legal recourse make it difficult to assess the scope of the problem.

Polygamy is unofficially practiced in some parts of the country. The law punishes men found guilty of the practice with up to three years of imprisonment and fines, but does not penalize the women in such cases. The law does not confer the same property rights to women in unregistered polygamous marriages as it does the men.

Consider composite scores given to Uzbekistan by the UN Development Program (UNDP) in its Gender Development Index, measuring the difference between average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development, and Gender Inequality Index, measuring inequality in achievement in reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market. For more information on gender statistics in Uzbekistan, see the World Bank's Gender Data Portal.

Review the State Department’s webpage for female travelers.

Safety Concerns for LGBTI+ Travelers

​LGBTI+ rights are non-existent, with sexual relations between men punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment. The law does not specifically address same-sex sexual activity between women. Same-sex sexual activity is generally a taboo subject in Uzbek society, and there are no registered LGBTI+ organizations. Same-sex couples may experience discrimination by the local population. Review OSAC’s report, Supporting LGBT+ Employee Security Abroad, and the State Department’s webpages on security for LGBTI+ travelers and for female travelers.

Safety Concerns for Travelers with Disabilities

​Local public transportation and most buildings in Uzbekistan are not easily accessible for disabled individuals. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers with disabilities.

Safety Concerns for Travelers Based on Race, Religion, & Ethnicity

​Authorities only allow religious congregation within registered religious communities. The registration process is strict and complex. Proselytizing, importing and disseminating religious literature, and offering private religious instruction are subject to criminal penalties and/or deportation. Carrying religious literature and/or open displays of worship can attract the attention of security authorities. Review OSAC’s report, Freedom to Practice, and the State Department’s webpage on security for faith-based travelers.

Anti-U.S./Anti-Western Sentiment

​Members of various terrorist groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiment and have attacked U.S. government interests in Central Asia previously, including U.S. Embassy Tashkent, and may attempt to target U.S. government or private interests in the region.

The Government of Uzbekistan maintains friendly relations with the U.S. Government. Expressions of anti-U.S. or anti-Western sentiment are rare; the U.S. remains a popular destination for business and leisure travel for Uzbek citizens.

Concerns involving the Rule of Law, Arbitrary Detention, Official Harassment, Corruption &/or Transparency

Corruption is endemic in the public and private sectors. ​While there are laws in place that address corruption, enforcement of these laws tends to be weak. It is possible that officials may try to extort payments from a business in connection with the granting of permits and licenses.

The risk of abuse while in police custody is a potential danger. If police harass or detain a U.S. citizen, or if a U.S. citizen is the victim of a crime, immediately report the incident to the American Citizen Services Unit (ACS) at +998-78-120-5450

Communication Issues

​The constitution and law provide for freedom of expression, including for the press, but the government has restricted these rights for both online and offline media.

The government exercises official and unofficial restrictions on the ability of individuals to criticize the government or to discuss matters of general public interest. The law restricts criticism of the president; publicly insulting the president is a crime for which conviction is punishable by up to five years in prison. The law specifically prohibits publication of articles that allegedly incite religious conflict and ethnic discord or that advocate subverting or overthrowing the constitutional order, violation of which has been used to silence activists. The government has used charges of libel, slander, and defamation to punish journalists, human rights activists, and others who criticized the president or the government. Review OSAC’s report, Lèse Majesté: Watching what you say (and type) abroad.

Independent media does not operate freely, because the state exercises control over media coverage. Articles in state-controlled newspapers reflect the government viewpoint. All media entities, foreign and domestic, must register with authorities and provide the names of their founder, chief editor, and staff members. Print media must also provide hard copies of publications to the government. The law holds all foreign and domestic media organizations accountable for the accuracy of their reporting, prohibits foreign journalists from working in the country without official accreditation, and subjects foreign media outlets to domestic mass media laws. The government has used accreditation rules to deny some foreign journalists and media outlets the ability to work in the country.

In January the government began operating its Public Fund for Support and Development of National Mass Media. The main purpose of the Public Fund is to help media outlets develop and maintain equal rights in the media market and to promote the rights of journalists and bloggers.

Police and security services may subject print and broadcast journalists to arrest, harassment, and intimidation. Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, some journalists reported a “negative trend” in terms of media freedom, citing daily reports of harassment. Some journalists said they believed the security services used pandemic restrictions to remind media that “they are still in charge,” despite the president’s public claims that journalists and bloggers are a vital part of the country’s reform process.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, print newspapers and magazines could not be published for several months. In their place was increased reporting from popular online media outlets, such as Kun.uz and Daryo.uz, as well as through channels on the social messaging app Telegram. In November, the Agency of Information and Mass Communications (AIMC) sent warning letters to three leading news websites for questioning the legitimacy of official COVID-19 statistics reported by the Health Ministry.

A few purportedly independent websites consistently reported the government’s viewpoint. The government-run Ozbekistan is a 24-hour news channel that broadcasts current affairs and news in Uzbek, Russian, and English.

Continuing the past trend of moderate criticism of the government, online publications such as Kommersant.uz and Nuz.uz publish some critical stories on issues such as demolitions, ecological problems, electricity outages, currency, trade, and the black market. In 2018-19 the government blocked the website of privately owned Kun.uz. The law holds bloggers legally accountable for what they post and prohibits posts that could potentially be perceived as defaming an individual’s “honor and dignity.”

​The government generally allows access to the internet, including news and social media sites. In the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, when citizens began to complain about the government’s response in online social forums, the government restricted access to social media -- Facebook in particular -- with frequent service interruptions. Users noted that while the government did not block the site, it became extremely difficult to load pages and view content. In March, the government amended the criminal code to include prohibitions against spreading “false” information regarding COVID-19.

The government has implemented procedures for restricting access to websites that include “banned information.” Based on these regulations, a website or blog could be blocked for similar reasons speech in print media could be restricted. According to the Ministry of Justice, the government has the authority to block websites or blogs without a court order.

The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks Uzbekistan 157 out of 180 worldwide, where 1 means most free. The Freedom House “Freedom on the Net” rates the country’s internet freedom as Not Free, and its Freedom in the World report rates the country’s freedom of speech as Not Free.

Health Concerns

Emergency Health Services           

You can reach emergency medical services locally by dialing 103. Emergency dispatch services will likely speak only Russian or Uzbek, not English. 

​The healthcare system is not adequate to meet the needs of many serious emergencies. There is a lack of basic supplies and limited modern equipment. Emergency medicine is very basic. Elderly travelers and those with pre-existing health problems may be at particular risk due to inadequate medical facilities. Some medication sold in local pharmacies may be counterfeit. Most resident U.S. citizens travel to North America or Western Europe for their medical needs.

At least one primary care facility meets Western standards and can handle minor to moderate emergencies. More severe emergencies require treatment at government hospitals and/or air evacuation. For mass casualty scenarios or if an expatriate patient needs an air ambulance, call the Ministry of Emergency Situations at 71-2341526.

Find contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance services on the U.S. Embassy website. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before traveling internationally. Because of the high costs associated with an emergency medical evacuation, travelers are strongly encouraged to obtain medevac insurance coverage. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health insurance policies do not apply overseas. Review the State Department’s webpage on health insurance overseas.

The U.S. Department of State has included a Health “H” Indicator on the Travel Advisory for Uzbekistan, indicating that Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that temporarily disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. Review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) country-specific Travel Health Notices for current health issues that impact traveler health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters.

See OSAC’s Guide to U.S. Government-Assisted Evacuations; review OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way, Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad, Health 101: How to Prepare for Travel, and Fire Safety Abroad; and visit the State Department’s webpage on Your Health Abroad for more information.

Vaccinations

​In addition to routine childhood and adult immunizations, consider the following vaccines before travel to Uzbekistan: typhoid, influenza, and rabies. There is the risk of exposure to multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Uzbekistan. Review the CDC Travelers’ Health site for country-specific vaccine recommendations.

Issues Traveling with Medications

​Uzbek customs authorities strictly control the import of controlled pharmaceuticals and psychotropic medicine for personal use. Even arriving with personal prescriptions of common medicines can meet unexpectedly stringent requirements.

Review OSAC’s report, Traveling with Medication.

Water Quality

​Food and water borne communicable diseases are prevalent in Uzbekistan, and include hepatitis, giardia, and viral/bacterial diarrheal diseases (including typhoid). Drink only boiled or bottled water and avoid undercooked meat or seafood. Thoroughly clean fruits and vegetables appropriately with chlorine solution due to widespread issues of contamination. Avoid eating unpasteurized dairy products and most food sold in the street.

Review OSAC’s reports, I’m Drinking What in My Water?

Environmental Hazards

​Uzbekistan is located on a major earthquake fault line, and tremors are frequent. In 2011, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake damaged/destroyed at least 800 homes in the Fergana valley. The reported death toll was 13 people, and more than 80 others sustained injuries. Local housing rarely meets Western construction standards; however, major Uzbek hotels reportedly meet earthquake design standards.

U.S. Embassy Tashkent strongly encourages residents and visitors to evaluate their own earthquake readiness and emergency-response capabilities. See the U.S. Embassy Tashkent’s website for resources regarding emergency preparedness and review OSAC’s report, Central Asia Earthquake Preparedness.

Cybersecurity Concerns

​Travelers should have no expectation of privacy in any activities online. Keeping cyber security and anti-virus software updated is highly recommended. Authorities generally prohibit the personal use of drones in Uzbekistan.

Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics, Best Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling Abroad with Mobile Devices, and Guide for Overseas Satellite Phone Usage.

Counterintelligence Issues

​Visitors should have no expectation of privacy. Security services monitor foreign visitors closely and may employ surveillance practices. It is reasonable to expect that authorities may monitor hotel rooms, offices, cars, taxis, gyms, and other public places on site or remotely. Do not expect privacy in communications via phone or the Internet. Authorities may search personal possessions without your knowledge or consent. Maintain direct control of all electronic devices while traveling.

Other Security Concerns

Landmines

​Uzbekistan has no known issues with landmines.

Import/Export Restrictions

​Customs regulations allow imports of up to $2,000 in cash without customs declaration; travelers must declare any amount exceeding $2,000 upon entry/exit into Uzbekistan. Save your customs declaration to show the amount of money declared upon entry into the country.

A country-specific list of goods prohibited from import to the country or that are otherwise restricted is available from the U.S. International Trade Agency website.

Photography

Authorities enforce a ban on photographs of military or security installations or other locations of strategic significance (e.g., government ministries, border and other checkpoints, bridges, tunnels, reservoirs, mountain passes). However, there is no longer any prohibition on photography of the metro system. Obey all signs restricting photography, and remember that the absence of signage does not imply permission. Photography of cotton harvesting remains a sensitive subject.

Review OSAC’s report, Picture This: Dos and Don’ts for Photography.

ID Requirements

​Exercise caution while traveling throughout Uzbekistan. Due to increased security measures, any attempts to cross Uzbekistan’s borders could be difficult and encounter significant delays. Despite official Uzbek government announcements of an increased number of border-crossing stations, many border crossings with neighboring countries remain closed or inoperable. Proper documentation (i.e., current passport, valid visa for the destination) are essential for internal and external travel alike. Even with proper documentation, unexpected border closures and restrictions against non-Central Asians may prevent crossing.

If you plan to return to Uzbekistan after crossing the border, ensure you have a valid multiple-entry visa. Some Western travelers have traveled to neighboring countries only to realize they cannot return because their visa was for a single entry. The most direct routes across the Fergana Valley are along roads that may temporarily cross poorly demarcated or disputed borders. Locals use these so-called transit roads daily without incident. Nonetheless, authorities may consider a foreign traveler crossing the border in this manner, even inadvertently, as an immigration violation.

Critical Infrastructure Concerns

​Industrial and transportation accidents are very common, as occupational safety, health standards, and traffic regulations are often lacking or ignored.

OSAC Country Chapters

​The Tashkent Country Chapter includes member organizations from the private sector and the diplomatic community. The main point of contact for OSAC issues is the Regional Security Officer. Contact OSAC’s South & Central Asia team with any questions.

Embassy Contact Information

U.S. Embassy Tashkent,

3 Moyqorghon Street, 5th Block,

Yunusobod District, Tashkent 100093

 

Hours: Monday-Friday 0900-1800

Main Operator: +998-78-120-5450

Regional Security Office: +998-78-140-2347

Consular Affairs: +998-78-140-2215

Trustworthy News Sources

  • ​Good Morning
  • Uzbekistan Ovozi Times
  • Business Partner
  • Business Review

Other Helpful Info

 

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