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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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  #16  
Old 31 May 2008
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:(

I also checked, as I'm going there in one and a half month.
The problem is that tour agency can offer LOI ONLY for tourist visa, NOT transit which, according to the state law, means that entering Turkmenistan as a tourist a visitor is obliged to book tour services, such as hotel accommodation in Ashgabat, guided sightseeing, guide-escort outside Ashgabat.

I contacted more than a few agencys and the answer is the same.

This is really a problem now, only way to avoid Turkmenistan is via Afghanistan, and that isn't funny at all.
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  #17  
Old 31 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjorn View Post
<SNIP>
I triple-checked with Vienna:
LOI is DEFINITELY mandatory AND 'possible to get' for a TRANSIT visa.
Tour guide is DEFINITELY NOT mandatory.

But: All tour operators, including StanTours (who I agree are very helpful) say that they only issue a LOI for a TOURIST visa, which comes with a packaged tour.
Again, the rules for visas for a Turkmenistan, for example, CAN vary from the consulate in Vienna compared to the consulate in Istanbul compared to its consulate in another country.
This is true not just with Turkmen but with other consulates.

And lastly, please do NOT bribe to acquire a visa on the spot...you will make it more difficult for travellers that follow and that is disrespectful.
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  #18  
Old 1 Jun 2008
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Nixa,

According to Vienna, a LOI is actually possible WITHOUT Tourist visa. So I don't know why tour operators can't issue one.
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  #19  
Old 1 Jun 2008
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Because by the law thay cannot issue LOI without bookings, guide, escort.

All of tour agencys explicitly told me that they cannot issue me LOI without all the extras.
I really now start to think that people in Vienna don't know for this rule.
I will call in Vienna tomorrow and explain to them what is the problem that this new rule doesn't have much sense.
After that, if they still insist on LOI then I'll call other Turkmen embassys (Kiev, Almaty, Bishtek, Toskent) and try to get that visa.

Turkmen visa is the last one I need. I cannot close the circle without their visa.
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  #20  
Old 1 Jun 2008
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I'm not sure if you're aware of this about the Turkmen visa...

Whether you choose to get a tourist/transit visa, you MUST pick fixed dates to enter and leave the country.

If you don't enter by your entry date, the visa is worthless...


Because of this many people prefer to acquire the visa when they get closer to Turkmenistan. Within a month of arriving...

HTH
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  #21  
Old 1 Jun 2008
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Yes I'm aware that, as I'm starting on 12.07.2008, somewhere around 10.08.2008 should be OK. I took a few days+ just to be there on time.
If people in Vienna show no mercy tomorrow I'll try to arrange something in one of the embassys in Central Asia. Bishtek, Toskent or Dusambe one of them should do the job, I hope.

My main arguments for tomorrow are:

1. I apllied before this new regulation. When LOI was not needed, they told me that I don' need one.
2. They told me that I will get visa in Viena 2 weeks back, but I didn't, that is very, very unprofessional. I drove 800 km that day for nothing.
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  #22  
Old 1 Jun 2008
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I almost forgot:

3. There is noone who could even issue LOI for transit visa in the first place
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  #23  
Old 1 Jun 2008
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Nixa,
EXACTLY the same situation for me. Though I didn't drive to Vienna, because I found out JUST before heading up there (my travel partner found out...).

BTW: Embassies being unprofessional? Are you kidding me? Ha Ha
I can tell you stories from various other embassies that created just as many problems as the TM one... But I always got there in the end.
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  #24  
Old 2 Jun 2008
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:)

Good news guys!

This morning I phoned in Vienna and explained the whole situation to them.
They told me to call back later, because they need to check, is LOI really only issued for tourist visa.
When I call them back, they told me that everything is okey, and that I can get my visa without LOI.

Also, I phoned embassy in Kiev and they don't need LOI for transit visa.

Why this whole situation occured ?
I really don't know but I asume that somebody didn't pay enough attention.

I just hope that this is their final answer.
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  #25  
Old 4 Oct 2008
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September 2008

I got my Turkmenistan transit visa in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. That embassy is real pain, probably the worst I have seen. It is very difficult to get inside as there is live queue (with waiting list) but as they are only open 2 hours per day and process is very slow, not all people who are waiting will get inside by the end of day and must try again the following day. I got inside on 3rd day, as I put my name in the waiting list around midnight. On second day I was number 6 in the list but unfortuanately police stopped me in metro to check documents and as I had 2 passports I had to spend 2 hours in metro police station explaining things and by that time the embassy already closed...

Once inside you give your application and then wait 10 days for approval. After 10 days you'll need some patience again to get inside the embassy to ask if you were approved. As the approval takes so long you can leave your entry/exit dates open on visa application and specify them later, after you are approved.

At the end I got my 5-day transit visa, paid $35, but they had written completely different itinerary on visa than I requested (different entry/exit points). I wanted to transit to Iran from near Nukus and exit below Asgabat but they gave me Farap-Artyk-Türkmenbashi, like I was going to Baku. That also means they still issue transit visas for ferry passengers. Without Türkmenbashi the visa would probably be 3-day, not 5 (one Japanese who received the same day, he had only 3 days and no Türkmenbashi marked).

On Türkmenistan border at Farap I had to pay $13 fee to enter the country plus $58 for motorbike. Vehicle fee is calculated mainly from distance (low fuel cost compensation), I had Farap-Artyk. Big cargo trucks pay something like $400 for that route. They will issue special transit permit that also includes generic road map of Türkmenistan and your exact route is also marked on the map (in addition to entry/exit point names). I speak Russian and got impression that it may be possible to alter your route slightly at this point. If officials are in good mood and you explain them that you want also to go to Asgabat for few days, they may mark that on your paper (you must talk about this *before* thay are starting to draw this paper). If not, then officially no go.

Soon after crossing the border at Farap you need to cross Amu-Darya river and need to pay toll for that (100000 manat + $5 or about $13). Bigger vehicles pay more.

In september unofficial exchange rate was about 1$ = 13000 manat, and litre of gasoline did cost 3300 manat.
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  #26  
Old 4 Oct 2008
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Turkmenistan...

few years ago I tried to get a Turkmenistan visa in Tashkent - after lots of waiting finally I was given a 3 month visa valid for 2 1/2 months...
so I asked why?

Apparently, I hadn't provided a certificate to prove that I didn't have AIDS, so I could only be given a 2 1/2 month visa, not a 3 month...

I asked the embassy staff who had come up with this piece of research? Had someone discovered as the result of long experiment that Turkomen women were able to resist the charms of western men for 10 weeks, but not for 12... he just shrugged and, very apologetically said 'we don't make the rules, you understand how it is...'

I sort of felt that it was a challenge, but then the Uzbek - Afghan route opened, so I didn't get the chance to see... ah, regrets!


Tony
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