Lonely Planet Writer

Uzbekistan goes visa-free for seven nationalities

The government of Uzbekistan has announced changes to the country’s visa policy that will provide visa waivers for an expanded list of nationalities, as well as an easing of the visa application process for many others.

The Registan Square is the best place to discover the old Uzbek architecture. Image by Getty Images

From 10 February 2018, citizens of seven countries will be able to visit Uzbekistan for up to 30 days without a visa. The list includes passport-holders from Israel, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Turkey. Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree granting the visa waivers as part of a larger effort to promote tourism to the country.

Po-i-Kalyan Islamic monument in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Image by 500px

Uzbekistan is known for its Silk Road monuments, including the celebrated Registan Square in Samarkand and the ancient oasis city of Bukhara. It also opened a high-speed railway line in 2011, which makes seeing the country’s sights – spread over vast distances – much easier. Additionally, requirements for the visa application process have been eased for citizens of 39 countries, including several EU member states, Asian and Middle Eastern countries, as well as India, New Zealand, Canada and the US. Citizens of these countries will no longer have to present a letter of invitation to receive a visa, and embassies will issue visas within two working days.

Finally, in July 2018, Uzbekistan will implement a new e-visa scheme to further simplify this process. Travellers will be able to submit their application documents online, and visas will be issued at the airport upon arrival. The changes come as several Central Asian countries have banded together to provide mutual travel schemes within the region, including visa waivers between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.