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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 14 Sep 2010
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Question Visa Questions...please clarify!!!

Hi to all,

I'm considering a trip from the UK to central asia and back, and I've been searching a range of websites etc to find out the paperwork requirements but would very much like it if someone could confirm the following, or correct me where I'm wrong! These are for a UK passport holder if that makes a difference - here goes:

Europe - no worries!
Turkey - visa purchased at the border? 15 USD I think I read?
Georgia - No visa required for UK citizen?
Azerbijan - Easiest to acquire in Georgia, Letter of Introduction (LoI) required, only 72 hours to transport bike from inbound customs to oubound customs
Turkmenistan - Use a visa agency + London embassy, LoI needed even for a transit visa? Stantours has been recommended, anyone agree / have an alternative?
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan & Kazachstan - All obtainable in Istanbul, no LoI needed for any of the three.
Russia - Use a visa agency + London embassy - onlinevise . ru has been recommended? any other visa requirements for a transit visa from Kaz to Belarus?
Back in Europe!

The Trip qould be anti-clockwise so the countries would fall roughly in this order. Also, is a Carnet needed for any of these countries?

Thanks in advance, you folks are priceless!

Cheers, Dan
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  #2  
Old 14 Sep 2010
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I am German, so things might be a little different, but here's how it went for me:

Europe: no visa obviously, but check if your green card covers all the countries

Turkey: no visa, but some paperwork for the bike (stamp in your passport), might need to buy insurance if you greencard doesnt cover Turkey

Georgia/Azer: didnt go

Turkmenistan: no LOI, no agency, direct from the embassy in Berlin (first visa). The visa has fixed dates, so if you miss them, you will need a new one - which was the case with me. New visa applied for in Tehran and picked up in Mashad, no LOI, no agency.

Uzbekistan: no LOI, got this one at home (watch out, valid for a fixed period, like most of the stan visa)

Kyrgyzstan: got this in Tehran, they wanted a LOI, express visa is very expensive.

Russia: too long ago and Russian friends did it for me through some Russian agency, so I can't comment. I'll try to find out ...
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  #3  
Old 14 Sep 2010
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Just a note about the Turkey visa - you can pay either 15 euro OR 10 pound sterling BUT the notes must be crispy new ones or they won't take them. I gave a slightly ripped 10 pound note and it wsas refused - lucky I had 2 crisp fivers.
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  #4  
Old 14 Sep 2010
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Europe = worries,

Georgia= Worries

Azerbaijan visa cost me $40 in Tashkent, Transit visa 30 days to enter 5 days to transit, but only 72h for the bikes

Uzbek= Get the LOI from Stantours ect and apply at any Uzbek embassy you like, as long you tell Stantour which embassy you want to apply at, Visa cost me over $100 in Almaty to be issued on the spot

Russia = Visa agency in London

Kazakhstan = Just applied my self in London £26 single entry

Turkmenistan Transit $80 in Tashkent and 1 week wait and a lot of hassle. You are better of applying for the Turkmen transit visa in London and request to actually get the visa stamped in for you on your travels. The london embassy will get all the nessesary clearance and you just turn up at any Turkmen embassy and they will give the transit visa same day with the entry date you like.

Have fun
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  #5  
Old 14 Sep 2010
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Cheers for all the answers folks, especially for replying as quickly as you have, it's very greatly appreciated. Any more people's experiences would be equally cherished!!!

By the way, is anyone heading that way any time soon?

Greatly indebted to you all,

Dan
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  #6  
Old 14 Sep 2010
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Hi Dan,

We're currently in Pakistan and have come through the same way as you in the last few months. We're also UK passport holders and left the UK with just China and Pakistan visas so got the rest en route.

We did as follows:

Europe: no problems, anything required is done at the border (look into green card/insurance though)
Turkey: got at border €15 plus €10 for 3 months insurance.
Georgia: all done at border - didn't pay a penny
Azerbaijan: applied in Istanbul, dead easy - never asked for an LOI so didn't get one) - definitely get to the customs in Baku before your 72 hours is up. We ended up parking our bikes in customs, and then coming back a few days later.
Turkmenistan: applied for transit visa in Istanbul (took 20 mins) and arranged to pick up visa in Baku. Definitely the best way as means you don't have to specify date (it starts when you land). Make sure you allow 3 weeks between application and pick up. No LOI required.
Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan - applied for both in Istanbul (Kyrg let us take passport away for other apps). No LOI required. Note, do NOT overstay your Uzbek visa - they got very funny when we needed to extend after they closed border at Osh. Kyrg extensions are dead easy, 3 hours and $20 for 30 days.
Kazak - applied in Tashkent - took 2 days, cheap.

Can't comment for Russia, but we haven't needed any LOI's or agents. All been pretty straight forward. Even Pakistan (some in our china crossing group didn't have their Pakistna visas) was easy despite a recent ruling that you can only get Pakistan visas at the embassy in your home country. We just rode to Sost and they gave them no questions asked for $24 for the month. Way cheaper and far less hassle than we had doing it in London!!

Hope that helps. If you want any extra info, go to our blog where I've tried to record visa/border info as we've gone. If you've got any other questions though just get in touch.
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  #7  
Old 15 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobduro View Post
Note, do NOT overstay your Uzbek visa - they got very funny when we needed to extend after they closed border at Osh.
and if you do overstay the Uzbek visa, and they are about to deport you, then PM me and I'll tell you how I managed to get out of it

Seriously though, the Uzbeks are very tight on a lot of things. Make sure you don't overstay and don't have to extend, make triple sure you declare all cash and electronics when entering, and make sure you stay in a hotel in at least some places, so you get the police (Ovir) registration papers in case they ask for it when leaving the country. Apart from that it's a blast :-)
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  #8  
Old 15 Sep 2010
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Hey, mate!
I returned back on August 20 from a 3-week motorcycle trip from Italy to east Turkey, Georgia and Armenia.


GEORGIA: outside of Europe, it's been the easiest experience of my life as concerns customs formalities.
I did all the proceedings (including Visa) at the border: all was easy, relaxed and fast, due to highly professional officers.


AZERBAIJAN (Krasny Most border point): a real pain in the a--!
I could not enter the border even if I had a regular Visa obtained at Azeri embassy here in Italy: they wanted a USD 1520 deposit because I was not in transit (I meant to do Tbilisi - Baku - Tbilisi) even though I was made sure before departure that if I remained 72 hours only, no deposits would have been requested.
They did not give a s--t of this information I received, so I turned back and came back to the friendly Georgia.
A friend of mine that was in transit to Turkmenistan received the same request.

If you can, enter Azerbaijan at Lagodekhi border, not at Krasny Most as I tried to do: Lagodekhi border officers are way less bothering than their collegues at Krasny Most (many people told me this).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel M View Post
Also, is a Carnet needed for any of these countries?
Well, technically no, but I friend of mine was asked to show the Carnet de Passage at Turkmenistan border, even though Turkmenistan don't appear on the list of Countries where it is necessary.
But I must point out he's the only friend of mine that received this request in Turkmenistan out of many others that did not.
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Last edited by Knight of the Holy Graal; 15 Sep 2010 at 16:02.
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  #9  
Old 15 Sep 2010
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They asked to see my Carnet at the Turkmenistan border too. I don't think it's required in any way, it's just easier for them to identify frame and engine numbers that way, because the Carnet is a familiar document, whereas vehicle registration papers from all over the world are all different and might as well be home made ...
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  #10  
Old 15 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirakor View Post
They asked to see my Carnet at the Turkmenistan border too. I don't think it's required in any way, it's just easier for them to identify frame and engine numbers that way, because the Carnet is a familiar document, whereas vehicle registration papers from all over the world are all different and might as well be home made ...

This a good point, I was travelling with a temporary V5 from the UK, which is written by hand. I only had trouble in Moldova, but no problems else where. To be honest the temp V5 looked sooooo soooo fake it was embarassing. I think one could easily fake a V5 logbook
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  #11  
Old 19 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel M View Post
Cheers for all the answers folks, especially for replying as quickly as you have, it's very greatly appreciated. Any more people's experiences would be equally cherished!!!

By the way, is anyone heading that way any time soon?

Greatly indebted to you all,

Dan
russia look under visas in The Moscow Expat Site :: The virtual community for English speaking expats and Russians, Moscow, Russia may help
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  #12  
Old 20 Sep 2010
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I'm planning a very similar trip, when are you off?
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  #13  
Old 20 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel M View Post
any other visa requirements for a transit visa from Kaz to Belarus?
Belarus requires a Visa.

Oddly there are no border controls coming from Russia - it's like going from France to Belgium, just a sign. However EU passport holders still require a Visa and will have to produce it on exit to an EU state.

I am told it is a somewhat boring country to cross.
I have always avoided Belarus, going to it's north, and exit Russa into Lavia (or Estonia) then return west through Lithuania, Poland, etc - all EU. The scenery is pretty good too until Warsaw.
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  #14  
Old 22 Sep 2010
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Hey all,

Thanks again to everyone for the information and advice, you folks are fab!

Cheers to Tony P for the advice on Belarus, or on avoiding it!

To Champagne-James: Don't have a date really, just an open ended plan at the moment. When are you going out that way?

Many thanks again,

Dan
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  #15  
Old 19 Oct 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirakor View Post
They asked to see my Carnet at the Turkmenistan border too. I don't think it's required in any way, it's just easier for them to identify frame and engine numbers that way, because the Carnet is a familiar document, whereas vehicle registration papers from all over the world are all different and might as well be home made ...
Back in end of July, no Carnet required. I was coming from Iran at Bajigiran border crossing: Day 24 Turkmenistan - Ilpo Juvander
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