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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 22 Sep 2009
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Iran into Turkmenistan possible?

Hi,

I'm planning an overland trip from the Netherlands to Kyrgyzstan may 2010 entering from Iran. Did not find any usefull info on bordercrossing between these country's.
Is it possible to cross the border on a foreign licenced motorbike?
Research is pointing to an transit visum.
A closer look on the map makes the border between Quchan and Ashgabat the most likely option.

My questions:
A - Is it possible to travel from Iran to TURK?
B - What paperwork is needed for entering TURK from Iran on a motorbike?
C - Which bordercrossing is recommended?

I would like to hear from you,

Kind regards,

Guido Bijsterbosch
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  #2  
Old 22 Sep 2009
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If you obtain your Iranian visa first...before you apply for a T-stan transit visa, you should have no drama/issue.

T-stan needs to have a visa from the country you will be exiting T-stan BEFORE giving you a T-stan visa.

HTH
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  #3  
Old 23 Sep 2009
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Uzbekistan first

That means you'll need an Uzbek visa first... .

Shouldn't be to difficult to get the visa sorted (if you do it at home...)
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  #4  
Old 23 Sep 2009
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Get the Iran & Uzbekistan Visa first, then apply for Turkmenistan Transit visa.
Borders: No problems whatsoever. Iran-Turkmenistan took about 2h (running around from office to office, but all good, no touts, easy), Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan was a bit quicker.
The only thing I can tell from my own experience regarding Visas: the Turkmen like to change things as they go... "easiest" and certainly friendliest embassy was Vienna/Austria. Half-way through the application they demanded a LOI for a transit-visa, which does NOT exist. 2 weeks of negotiaing they realized they asked for the impossible (NO tourist agency in Turkmenistan could get that LOI, because a LOI for a TRANSIT visa does NOT exist!!!). After I got the visa (finally), everything (border-crossings) was easy. Inside Turkmenistan, I never even got asked for a bribe or anything...
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  #5  
Old 23 Sep 2009
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Thanks Robbert, MotoEdde and Bjorn,

This is usefull information. Hopefully the Embassy in The Hague will be cooperative. At least now I know the right order to apply for visa.

Are there recommendations for specific border crossings? Often borders are restricted for foreigners and you may be redirected to another one hundreds of miles away from the planned route. Which is not appreciated if it is the opposite direction

Hope to hear from you,

Kind regards,

Guido
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  #6  
Old 23 Sep 2009
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Hi,

I am also planning a trip to the stans next year, i want to start at 6 or 7 may and go via Ukraine and Russia. After entering kazachstan I want to go via Uzbekistan following the silkroad to Dushanbe and the Pamir highway, then follows Kyrgistan and back via Kazachstan, Russia and Ukraine.
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  #7  
Old 23 Sep 2009
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I crossed from Mary in TM to Mashad in Iran. David at STANTOURS - Central Asia Travel Resources can work out the visa details and is up to speed on the current situation. All the advise above was accurate as of 2004 but you can confirm everything with David
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  #8  
Old 24 Sep 2009
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using StanTours we have just received Iran ref no.for visa

Hi
I used David to get our LOI for Iran and the required reference number that you need in order to pick up your Iran visa.
We had to provide David with a list of all of the hotels that we would be 'staying' at during our time in Iran and also the date of entry and exit and the border crossing that we will be using.
You also need a letter from your employer. If you use StanTours David will advise you in everything that is required and is very quick in his responses.

we used moneybookers to pay his and the LOI fees. fast and easy.

We are hopefully picking up our Iran visa in Tajikistan Dushanbe - meant to be a good place to do this.
With regards to Turkmenistan. We hope to get our transit visa either in Dushanbe or Tashkent Uzbekistan. We will apply after we have got our Iran visa. We already have the visa for our country of exit ie Uzbekistan.

one thing to note: with the Turkmen visa - if you state you are going to enter and exit at certain borders then you must stick to these as far as I am aware.
with regards to border restrictions for travelers - the Lonely planet has good and up to date advice - use their website too. plus the UK Foreign office site has advice on border crossings for some countries.

fingers crossed that we do eventually get given our Iranian visa and then Turkmen transit!
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  #9  
Old 25 Sep 2009
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Guys, it's my understanding that a transit Visa for Turkmenistan is very hardly obtainable, while a tourist visa (that means a guide, stated accomodations...) is much easier but of course more expensive.
Also Stantours told me a similar thing.

Do you guys have any experience in this? Did you succeed in getting a transit Visa for Turmkenistan with no problems?
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  #10  
Old 25 Sep 2009
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I am currently travelling from Germany to Nepal via Iran, Stans etc. Getting a Turkmen transit visa from the embassy in Berlin was very easy (provided you already have visas for the countries before and after, Iran and Uzbekistan in my case). They weren't the fastest, but it was ok. Now the problem with getting the visa at home is that it is only 4-5 days max, and it has fixed (!) dates that cannot be changed. You don't need to enter on the starting date, but a day before it ends, so you can extend it in Ashgabat (you get another 5 days). The extension I have not tried myself, so dont take this for granted.

Now, as it was bound to happen, I was 1 day late, and my Turkmen visa expired. I applied for a new one in Tehran. The application was easy enough (bring passport and visa photocopies from home!!!), the only problem is it takes time, and a lot at that. Despite opting for express and some support from other embassy friends, I still don't have the visa about a week after I applied. That's not the fault of the embassy in Tehran, as they need the ok from Ashgabat, and there were holidays etc, but at any rate, apply somewhere where you won't mind staying for a while. Or convince them to send the authorisation to a place along your route. I have now done this, and hope to pick up the visa in Mashad (there is a Turkmen consulate) on Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed for me ;-)

As to the crossing, I will let you know how it goes ... More infos on my trip (always ~2 weeks behind) on Moto Eurasia
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Old 29 Sep 2009
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will let you know

not applied for Turkmen transit as yet....will be doing so when we get to Dushanbe in a few weeks. Will let you know how it goes.
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  #12  
Old 29 Sep 2009
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Just keep in mind that it is illegal to travel in parts of Turkmenistan with out a guide. Border areas and desert highways tended to be the hangout off Police officers when I was there in 2007. During Trabant Trek I was detained for a few hours at the Turkmen/Uzbek border until my guide could arrive and sort things out.

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The website has some video of Turkmen highlights. Make sure to get out to the Darvaza Gas Crater... It is amazing
oh and while in Tajikistan try to visit the Pamir Lodge in Khorog. The owners/operators are amazing. Tell them the guys with the funny cars said hello.
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  #13  
Old 29 Sep 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony P. View Post
Just keep in mind that it is illegal to travel in parts of Turkmenistan with out a guide. Border areas and desert highways tended to be the hangout off Police officers when I was there in 2007. During Trabant Trek I was detained for a few hours at the Turkmen/Uzbek border until my guide could arrive and sort things out.
Turkmenistan customs is no joke/joy.
I'm guessing it is illegal if you're on a tourist visa...as the guide has to accompany you.

Part of the illegallity might also be based on the route you/guide claimed you'd follow when you first entered the country.

Turkmenistan customs(upon entry) require you to specify a route you'll be following when you enter the country. They will then calculate a tax based on that route. You will be handed a copy of this...and may be asked when you get stopped by their police.

Anyways, I was on a transit visa which i extended and stayed for around 10 days in May 2007...I didn't have any issues...
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  #14  
Old 6 Oct 2009
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Update from the road: in the end I picked up my new Turkmen transit visa in Mashad (after applying for it in Tehran). The application and getting the visa was no problem, except that it took about 10 days. Note that the Turkmen embassy in Tehran has moved, so if you have an old city map, you want to be looking for the Marocco embassy, because the Turkmenis live there now ;-) Also useful to know: the Turkmen embassy in Tehran has regular holidays (i.e. closed Fri/Sat), but very short opening hours (~9:00-11:00), whereas the consulate in Mashad is closed Fri and Sun, but open on Sat. Officially Mon and some other day (I dont remember) are reserved for transporation companies, but I had no problem getting my visa there on a Monday.

Turkmenistan customs was no problem at all, once again it just takes some of your time. About 1-2h with 7 offices to visit and forms to fill. You will also need some dollars (50-75$) for road tax, insurance, customs fee, processing fee, etc etc. After that on a transit visa you're free to go without any guides. It's true that they ask your specific route, but I was never asked for my route when travelling in Turkmenistan. There are some road blocks, but all they did was write my passport number in a big log book and send me on my way. But then things change constantly in the Stans, so whatever that's worth.

Turkmenistan into Uzbekistan at Kenurgench is easy - at least until the Turkmens are done with constructing their new customs building with 30 more offices. Until then there's only 4 offices you need to visit when exiting ;-) In my case a customs officer did it for me, so I was on my way in about 30 min.
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