Visa Services / Letters of invitation (LOI)
Visa Services / Letters of invitation (LOI) All travelers to Turkmenistan require a visa. Visa documentation by the
Turkmen Authorities requires at least 14 business days processing. AYAN travel can provide you with an invitation / visa support letter (essential to obtain a visa). Obtaining official government approval of the invitation letter usually takes 14-20 business days. Additionally we request that you book services with AYAN travel. The relevant amount is payable to us in advance. Credit cards are not acceptable.
To obtain LOI our clients are required
- To confirm tour itinerarty (with travel dates, ports of entry/departure, detailed sightseeing)
- To complete application form (click here to download the form)
- To provide colored scan of passport (photo page with all details and photo must be clearly visible)
- To provide scan of colored passport type photo (5 cm x 6 cm)
Submit form to obtain letter of invitation
With e-mailed copy of the invitation letter you can apply for your Turkmen visa at any Embassy/or Consulate of Turkmenistan worldwide by yourself. Some Embassies can issue the visas by mail using courier services at your cost. If no time to get visa at TM Embassy in advance you can also obtain the visa at Ashgabat airport or at most land borders on arrival (visa fees are different and depending on nationality; payable in USD cash only (at the borders on arrival).
Travelers should report their final travel dates and route to our office. While you are in Turkmenistan, you need to obtain Registration. We will handle this for you and you should report to our office within three working days of your arrival in Turkmenistan.
Being the southernmost region of the former Soviet Union, Turkmenistan has by far the highest temperatures in Central Asia, but owing to the low humidity even in summer, this can be bearable. In the south the climate is also slightly less continental than in the north and temperatures seldom drop below -5°C. Northern areas on the Uzbek border and Khorezm (Dashoguz) can become very cold in winter with temperatures dropping below -10°C. The best months for moderate temperatures are April, May and June for beautiful blossoming deserts and mountains. September and October are great for an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables due to the harvest season.
Turkmenistan is a very safe place for travellers. Nevertheless, all foreigners should carry their passport with the valid visa at all the times. Like anywhere else in Central Asia, while travelling overland and at airports & railway stations you may become subject to routine police registration checks. Please respect that you should not take any pictures at police controls, customs facilities, airports, railway stations and bridges.
Medical & Health
Several clinics in Ashgabat can conduct consultations and / or operations performed by specialists. Travellers are advised to take medical insurance. No vaccinations are obligatory, although Hepatitis vaccinations are recommendable.
Turkmen manat (TM) is used in the country. TM comes in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 manat bills and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 tenge (cent) coins. Most hotels in Ashgabat accept credit cards such as VISA or MASTER. Travellers are advised to take only new, clean U.S. dollar bills (2006 and newer) with them. Except at the relevant borders exchange rates for other currencies such as Pound Sterling or Euro are not favourable. Official exchange offices have opened up at markets, airports, train stations, hotels and numerous other places throughout Turkmenistan to provide for availability of unobstructed manat/dollar exchange.
Rugs & Jewellery
In order to take Turkmen rugs or jewellery out of the country you need to present an official receipt and registration form from the State or Hotel shop where you bought the items to customs officials. Items purchased otherwise (such as those bought at formerly known “Tolkuchka Bazaar”) are subject to a documentation procedure that requires our assistance and takes at least one full working day. Many antique souvenirs, especially silver, and items dating back as little as 20 years are entirely restricted from export.
Upon arrival and departure from Turkmenistan you are requested to fill out a Customs Declaration in duplicate. You should declare the exact amount of foreign currency you are taking in/out of the country as well as all electronic items carried (cameras, telephones, computers, etc) and valuable souvenirs bought before or during your trip (especially rugs and handicrafts). You should keep one copy of the stamped declaration for exit or onwards travel within the CIS in order to facilitate smooth customs procedures throughout your trip. Note that the declaration will only be accepted in A5 Format printed on front and back. X-rays at the Ashgabat International airport are film-safe; for other airports and borders you should keep your film and camera in a special bag or present them for visual check.
Turkmenistan is a Muslim country and it is advisable to wear long sleeved clothes for both men and women especially in rural areas. Nevertheless women are not expected to wear headscarves (let alone veils), but a head covering and sunglasses (bring a spare pair!) become essential during summer. When trekking high boots are preferable to sandals as protection from snakes, spiders and the sun. On off-road trips bring a light scarf to protect from dust and bring dust-proof bags for your cameras. Bottled water and soft drinks are freely available throughout the country and you should drink as much as possible to avoid dehydration. In rural areas check the seal on plastic bottle lids to ensure the bottles have not been refilled and do not drink tap water unless boiled.
There is good and safe restaurant fare available throughout the capital and at some restaurants in the larger cities. Otherwise it is preferable to eat cooked food (as is local custom) and to avoid unpeeled fruit and vegetables. Hepatitis A&B immunisations and plenty of mineral and vitamin substitutes are strongly advised. As a rule carry toilet paper, wet napkins and a small flashlight for some of the less attractive toilet facilities and preferably use the countryside on overland trips. Most foodstuffs and toiletry are available in Ashgabat, and a few basic items throughout the country.
The only mobile phone network (local “Altyn Asyr” – www.tmcell.tm) works throughout most urban and a number of rural areas. International GSM systems do not work in Turkmenistan. Long distance calls are available from the better hotels, some private homes and at the post / telegraph office. Public phones are scarce throughout the country and are not usually suitable for international calls. There are several internet-cafes in the capital.