Return to: Index of "Travel Information" || Index of "Consular and Travel Information" ||
Electronic Research Collections Index ||
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
1995 MAY: RUSSIA AND NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES TRAVEL TIPS
BUREAU OF CONSULAR AFFAIRS
TIPS FOR TRAVELERS TO RUSSIA AND THE NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES
This pamphlet contains information for travel to the Newly Independent
States (NIS). These countries include: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus,
Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
The Newly Independent States are currently undergoing fundamental
political and economic changes. The tourism industry, like other
enterprises in the region, has been affected by the elimination of some
government organizations and the introduction of new bureaucratic
systems. These changes can cause confusion for travelers throughout the
Newly Independent States.
Formerly, all tourism in the region was handled by Intourist, which has
contracts with a large network of hotels and restaurants. However,
other tour agencies have been established which offer comparable
services. In addition, there are a number of specialized tour operators
which organize stays with families and adventure tours. It is best to
book travel with regional tour operators through U.S. travel agencies.
Consular Information Program
The Department of State issues Consular Information Sheets for all
countries of the world. When the Department, based on the best
available information, recommends against travel to a certain country,
it will issue a Travel Warning in addition to the Consular Information
Consular Information Sheets include such information as the location of
the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, entry
requirements, crime and security information, health concerns and
unusual currency regulations. If an unstable condition exists in a
country that is not severe enough to warrant a Travel Warning, a
description of the condition(s) may be included in the Consular
Information Sheet under an optional section entitled "Areas of
Instability." On limited occasions, relevant U.S. embassy advice given
to official employees will be included. Consular Information Sheets
present information in a factual manner so travelers can make their own
informed decisions concerning travel to a particular country.
The State Department also issues Public Announcements as a means to
disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats or other short-
term or transnational conditions which pose significant risks to the
security of American travelers.
There are several ways to access Consular Information Sheets, Travel
Warnings and Public Announcements. You can listen to them 24 hours a
day by calling 202-647-5225 from a touchtone phone. You can receive
copies of them of by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the
Overseas Citizens Services, Room 4800, Department of State, Washington,
D.C. 20520-4818. (Write the name of the requested country or countries
on the outside of the envelope.)
To receive them by fax, dial 202-647-3000 from a fax machine, using the
machine's telephone receiver, and follow the instructions. To view and
download with a personal computer and modem, dial the Consular Affairs
Bulletin Board (CABB) on modem number: 202-647-9225. Set your
communications software to: no parity, 8 bits, one stop bit (N-8-1).
Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings are posted at the 13
regional passport agencies and at American embassies and consulates
abroad. They can also be accessed through an airline or travel agent's
computer reservation system or by computer through many electronic
This section contains general information useful for travel throughout
the Newly Independent States. For information about a specific country,
please refer to the current Consular Information Sheet, or the Country
U.S. citizens must possess a valid U.S. passport and appropriate visas
for travel to or transit through the Newly Independent States, whether
by train, car or airplane. Travelers who arrive without an entry visa
may be unable to register in a hotel, are subject to large fines, and
may be delayed by lengthy official processing requirements and/or face
immediate ordered departure by route of entry (at traveler's expense).
Under extenuating circumstances, some countries may grant limited stay
visas at the border or the airport. Visas should be obtained in advance
of your trip at the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to
visit. If possible, plan to obtain your visa(s) in the United States,
because they can be difficult and time-consuming to obtain abroad.
Visas are valid for specific dates. Before starting your trip, be sure
your visa is valid for the dates of your planned entry and departure and
indicates the point of entry. It is helpful to make a photocopy of your
visa in the event of loss while enroute or after entry to Russia.
Amendment of a visa necessitated by illness or changes in travel plans
must be approved in advance by the office that issued your visa.
Tourist, Business, and Transit Visas
U.S. citizens may apply for a tourist, business or transit visa. Most
travelers to the Newly Independent States arrange for their visas and
accommodations through an American travel agent. A business visa
requires a letter of invitation from a business contact in the country
to which you are traveling. A transit visa requires a copy of your
confirmed ticket and visa (if required) to your onward destination.
Many NIS governments accept each others' visas as valid for transit of
less than 72 hours through their own territory. However, border
officials, particularly at remote land crossings are not always aware of
visa reciprocity between other NIS countries and their own government.
Furthermore, border guards often fail to date stamp foreign passports on
entry at land borders with other NIS countries, leaving no way to prove,
when exiting, how much time the traveler has spent transiting a given
country. For these reasons, it is always a good idea to obtain a
separate visa for each country you may transit.
Sponsorship for Visas
Many of the Newly Independent States issue visas (with the exception of
transit visas) on the basis of support from a sponsor, usually an
individual or local organization. It is important to know who your
sponsor is and how to contact them, because in many of these countries
the law requires that your sponsor apply on your behalf for replacement,
extension or changes to your visa. The U.S. Embassy cannot act as your
sponsor. U.S. citizens should contact their tour company or hotel in
advance for information on visa sponsorship.
How to Obtain Visa Information
Authoritative and current information on visas can only be obtained from
the embassies or consulates of the countries you plan to visit. When
you inquire about visas, ask about price, length of validity, the number
of entries that are permitted and whether or not you will need an exit
Your U.S. Passport
Thefts of U.S. passports are increasing rapidly. The theft or loss of a
passport, especially when the nearest U.S. consular office is hundreds
or thousands of miles away, is a major source of inconvenience and
expense to travelers. Before your trip, make photocopies of the data
page of your passport and of your visa(s). A copy of the addresses and
telephone numbers of the U.S. embassies and consulates in the countries
you will visit may also be helpful. Put one set of the photocopies
along with two passport photos in a place separate from your passport.
If your passport is lost or stolen abroad, this will make issuance of a
new passport faster and easier. Leave the second set of copies and your
itinerary with a relative or friend in the U.S.
While in the NIS, you may be asked to turn over your passport to hotel
personnel or a tour leader for short periods of time for registration
with police or for other purposes. Your passport should be returned
within two or three days. However, for U.S. citizens on long-term
business or studies, the registration process can often take longer. It
is not unusual for sponsors and local authorities to hold on to American
passports for as much as several weeks while visas are registered or
while exit visas are processed. Be sure to safeguard your passport at
all other times, as its loss can cause you delays and problems.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you must apply for a replacement
passport at a U.S. embassy or consulate. If possible, bring with you:
identification, especially any photo i.d.; proof of U.S. citizenship (a
birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or a copy of your
passport); two 2" by 2" passport size photos, in color or black and
white; and a police report, if available. (Some embassies are equipped
with passport photo cameras and can take your passport photo for a fee.)
In most cases, a new passport can be issued quickly. If U.S. passport
records must be checked, the process may delay the issuance of a new
passport. A new passport costs $55 for an adult and $30 for a child;
the execution fee is $10.
Please be aware that in the NIS you must also obtain a new or duplicate
visa from the Office of Visas and Registration (OVIR) should your
passport be lost or stolen. (This office is also known as the
"Passport-Visa Service" in some areas.) The passport number on your
visa must match that of your new passport. Obtaining a replacement visa
takes approximately 10 working days. A police certificate verifying the
theft of your visa and passport may be necessary to obtain a new visa.
Questions regarding U.S. visas for foreigners should be directed to the
nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
All U.S. citizens who visit the Newly Independent States are encouraged
to register at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration is
especially important if you are in an area experiencing civil unrest or
a natural disaster, if you are going to a place where communications are
poor, or if you plan to stay for a long period of time. Registration
takes only a few minutes, and it may be invaluable in case of an
emergency. If your passport is lost or stolen, having previously
registered at an embassy or consulate can make it easier to issue you a
new passport without a delay.
Travel in the Region
Areas of Instability
When planning a trip to the Newly Independent States, be aware that
areas of instability still exist throughout the region and that it may
not be safe or wise to travel through these areas. For updated
information on a specific country, please consult that country's current
Consular Information Sheet.
Name Changes and Travel Times
Many geographic names throughout the region have been changed. Try to
obtain maps before your trip, but keep in mind that some place names may
need to be updated. If your map and street sign do not correspond, you
are not necessarily lost; it is entirely possible that the street has
Departure and arrival times for planes, trains and boats were formerly
quoted in Moscow time; now, the timetables for travel in and between the
Newly Independent States have been revised to quote local times. Within
Russia itself, however, you may still find Moscow time in use regardless
of which of the 11 time zones you are in. Whenever you make
reservations or purchase tickets, learn which time zones the schedule
refers to and confirm all departure and arrival times as you travel.
Air Travel Within the Newly Independent States
With the breakup of Aeroflot into many small airlines, travel within the
NIS is often unreliable. Domestic air travelers must often cope with
unpredictable and/or inaccurate schedules and difficult conditions,
including deterioration of centralized systems of maintenance, poor
service, overloading and fuel shortages.
In addition, it is often difficult to make arrangements for air travel
within the NIS from the United States.
When traveling by train or automobile in the NIS countries, it is
advisable to bring food and water with you. You cannot rely on the
availability or quality of these goods throughout the region.
When traveling overland between Central European countries and the NIS,
be certain that you have visas for all countries through which you will
pass. For example, you will need a Belarusian transit visa if you take
the train from Warsaw, Poland to Vilnius, Lithuania because the train
passes through Grodno, Belarus. Most transit problems can be avoided if
you research your routes well.
Driving conditions in the NIS are drastically different from those in
Western Europe. In some areas, roads are practically non-existent.
Throughout the region, service stations are few and far between, and the
lines are often quite long for the scarce amount of available fuel.
Travelers should adhere to all local driving regulations. They are
strictly enforced and violators are subject to severe legal penalties.
In addition, your automobile should be fully insured under a policy
valid for the country in which you are traveling.
A valid U.S. driver's license, a valid international driver's license,
or a valid license from the country in which you are traveling are
necessary to drive a vehicle. International driver's licenses, good for
one year, are available through the American Automobile Association.
Foreigners planning to drive in the region for more than one month are
encouraged to obtain an international license. Travelers without a
valid license are often subject to prolonged stops by highway police.
Travel in the Newly Independent States can be strenuous, particularly
for the elderly and individuals with special health problems. When you
plan your trip, be careful not to overschedule; leave time for rest and
relaxation. Tourists in frail health are strongly advised not to visit
because of the harsh conditions and lack of adequate medical facilities.
Outbreaks of diphtheria have been reported throughout the NIS, even in
large cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. The U.S. Centers for
Disease Control recommend up-to-date diphtheria immunizations before
traveling to the NIS. Typhoid can be a concern for those who plan to
travel extensively in the region. Cases of cholera have also been
reported throughout the area; the risk of exposure to cholera can be
reduced by refraining from drinking local water supplies.
No immunizations are required for travelers to the NIS. However,
diphtheria, tetanus, polio and Gamma Globulin vaccinations are
recommended for the region. The following vaccines should be
considered, depending on the locations to be visited, planned
activities, and the health of the traveler: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B,
rabies and typhoid. If traveling to certain southern border areas of
Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, malaria prevention measures are recommended.
Please be aware that many of the NIS countries stipulate that foreigners
planning an extended stay in the area must be tested for the AIDS virus.
The length of stay mandating an AIDS test varies from country to
country. Positive test results for HIV could be grounds for expulsion
from the country. All travelers intending to reside in the Newly
Independent States are strongly advised to have the requisite tests
performed in the United States, as the testing conditions in the NIS
tend to be very unsanitary and could pose a hazard to your health.
Requirements for HIV testing are likely to change in the countries of
the NIS as new legislation is adopted. Please refer to the current
Consular Information Sheet or contact the U.S. embassy in the country
you plan to visit for the latest requirements.
Medical Care in the Region
Medical care in the Newly Independent States is below Western standards.
There is a severe shortage of basic medical supplies, including
disposable needles, anesthetics, common medications, and antibiotics.
X-rays are of poor quality, and other advanced diagnostic equipment
(such as CAT scan machines) is not widely available. Patient support
services, including basic hygiene measures, are inadequate. Travelers
may expect the length of hospitalization to exceed the duration of stay
they would expect in Western facilities. In addition, full, frank, and
empathetic discussions between doctor and patient are hampered by
language barriers as well as the lack of customary patient rights.
Access to the few quality facilities that exist in major cities usually
require cash payment in U.S. dollars at Western rates upon admission.
Many resident Americans travel to the West for virtually all their
medical needs. If you need medical care, U.S. embassies and consulates
maintain lists of medical facilities and English-speaking doctors.
The U.S. Public Health Service warns that many visitors to the NIS have
returned to the United States infected with the intestinal parasite
Giardia lamblia. This infection is usually contracted by drinking local
tap water. In addition, you should avoid ice cubes, salads, and uncooked
vegetables and fruits which cannot be peeled, and use bottled water for
Local water supplies can be avoided in several ways. Some travelers to
the region bring drinking water with them in their luggage. If you
cannot import your drinking water, drink only bottled carbonated drinks
or beverages that have been boiled for at least five minutes. Some
portable water filters are specially constructed to remove the Giardia
parasite; however, if you are relying on a water filter, it is still
highly advisable to boil the water after filtering. In many large
cities, bottled water of imported or Russian origin can be purchased in
some stores. However, travelers should not rely on the availability of
bottled water from these sources. In addition, carry iodine tablets to
disinfect drinking water (though it should be noted that some iodine
tablets take several hours to work). Travelers returning from the
region who develop a diarrheal illness lasting more than five days
should consult a physician.
Bring Your Own Medicines
Bring with you any necessary medications and keep them in their
original, labeled containers in your hand luggage. Because of strict
laws on narcotics, carry a letter from your physician explaining your
need for any prescription drugs in your possession. Also bring along
any toiletries and personal hygiene items that you will need. These
items can be difficult to obtain in major cities and virtually
For More Health Information
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta has
detailed information on health matters for the international traveler.
For recorded information on worldwide health information, contact the
CDC at 404-332-4559. For information by fax, contact the CDC at 404-
332-4565 and follow the prompts.
Review Your Health Insurance Policy
If your insurance does not cover you abroad, consider purchasing
temporary insurance that does. In addition to medical insurance,
consider obtaining insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of
an accident or serious illness. Because conditions in many hospitals
are not adequate to ensure recovery, medical evacuation is frequently
necessary for illnesses or injuries which could be treated locally in
other countries. This is an expensive option; for instance, minimum
cost from Moscow to New York on a stretcher is more than $10,000.
Medical evacuation by hospital aircraft on the same route approaches
$130,000. The minimum cost for medical evacuation from Kiev to Western
Europe in a hospital aircraft is approximately $20,000 and evacuation to
the U.S. approaches $100,000. Such services require a substantial down
payment before they commit themselves to arranging a flight out of the
NIS. Insurance companies, as well as some credit card and travelers
check companies, offer short-term health and emergency assistance
policies designed for travelers. Ask your travel agent for information
about them or look for their advertisements in travel publications.
The countries of the Newly Independent States operate on the basis of
cash-only economies. This means that traveler's checks and credit cards
are not widely, if ever, accepted as currency. Old, or very worn dollar
bills are often not accepted, even at banks. U.S. bills in small
denominations (ones and fives) are often useful for covering taxi fares,
tips and other minimal expenses easily paid for in dollars.
The countries of the Newly Independent States have experienced periodic
cash shortages. The difficulties of a currency shortage can be avoided
by taking a prepaid tour that includes all meals and hotels. Most
travelers, however, solve the problem of the currency shortage by coming
to the NIS with a sufficient supply of hard currency to cover their
obligations during travel. Be advised that some hotel restaurants and
shops will accept payment only in dollars or other hard currency.
Before you leave home, check with your credit card and travelers check
companies to learn if and where these can be used in Russia and the
Newly Independent States. The countries of the Newly Independent States
have established their own currency systems. Generally, U.S. dollars
can be exchanged for local currency only at official exchange offices or
in banks. Anyone caught dealing on the black market can expect to be
detained by the local militia.
Customs laws and regulations in the NIS are generally in a state of flux
and not consistently enforced. However, when enforced, customs and
currency laws are strict. When you arrive, make an accurate and
complete customs declaration of all money, travelers checks, and
valuables in your possession. Include all personal jewelry, such as
wedding rings and watches, and other high-value items, such as personal
computers. Never declare more money leaving the country than you
declared coming in. Have your customs declaration stamped by the
authorities and keep it with you until you leave the country. Keep your
exchange receipts to account for your expenditures. Without these
records, customs officials could confiscate your cash and valuables upon
Attempts to bring any of the following articles into the NIS have caused
difficulties for U.S. citizens in the past:
Narcotics - Drug laws are strict. U.S. citizens have received long
sentences for trying to enter or transit with illegal narcotics.
Pornography - Magazines with sexually explicit photographs, that may be
considered commonplace in Western countries, may be regarded as
pornography in some of the NIS countries and are often confiscated.
Gifts for Persons in the NIS - A high rate of customs duty may be
assessed on gifts that you bring into a foreign country. U.S. citizens
have had to abandon gifts at the airport because they lacked funds to
pay the customs duty.
Video Cassettes - Customs regulations allow for the import and re-export
of a limited number of blank or commercially recorded video cassettes
for personal use. Some travelers with a large number of cassettes have
had them confiscated. Travelers are advised to leave blank video
cassettes sealed in their wrappers when entering a country.
Be wary of antiques! Artwork, souvenirs, and handicrafts purchased at
special stores for tourists may be taken out of the Newly Independent
States. The authorities define antiques as anything which is of
historical or cultural value, and they apply this definition to a wide
range of articles. Antiques and artifacts (such as samovars) often may
not be taken out of these countries without inspection by local cultural
authorities and payment of a substantial export duty; this can be an
inconvenient and time consuming process. Items such as samovars which
are not purchased at tourist stores and not cleared by cultural
authorities are normally confiscated at pre-departure customs
inspections. You should obtain a receipt for all items of value that
you have purchased. The receipt must indicate that the items were
bought in a store clearly licensed to sell to foreigners. Furthermore,
icons, art, rugs, antiques and other culturally significant objects must
have a certificate indicating that they have no historical value. This
certificate can be obtained either from the store at the time the item
is purchased or from the Ministry of Culture.
Crime Against Foreigners
Crime against foreigners in the Newly Independent States continues to
increase, especially in major cities. Pickpocketings, assaults and
robberies occur both day and night. Be aware of your surroundings;
travelers are assaulted or robbed on city streets, in underground
walkways and the subway, in train stations and airports, at markets,
tourist attractions and restaurants, and in hotel rooms and residences,
even when locked or occupied. Members of religious and missionary
groups have been robbed by people pretending to be interested in their
beliefs. Groups of children are known to assault and rob foreigners on
city streets or underground walkways. Foreigners who have been drinking
alcohol are especially vulnerable to assault and robbery in or around
night clubs or bars, or on their way home. Robberies may occur in taxis
shared with strangers. Traffic police sometimes stop motorists to
extract cash "fines." Travelers have found it safer to travel in groups
organized by reputable tour agencies as those traveling alone are more
vulnerable to crime.
Crime aboard trains has also increased. For example, travelers have
been victimized without their knowledge and robbed on the train from
Moscow to St. Petersburg. Crimes such as armed robbery have also been
reported on trains between Moscow and Warsaw and between Moscow and
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. On some trains, thieves have been able to open
locked compartment doors.
Crime Against Foreign Businesses
Extortion and corruption permeate the business environment in the NIS.
Organized criminal groups target foreign businesses in many cities and
reportedly demand protection money under threat of serious violence.
Many Western companies hire security services, but this has not always
proven effective in avoiding armed extortion attempts.
Although officials in the Newly Independent States have in many cases
expressed willingness to cooperate with U.S. officials in emergencies
involving U.S. citizens, communications and transportation can be slow
and difficult, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate may be more
than a day's travel away. To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of
crime, exercise the same precautions that you would in any large city
and follow these tips:
-- Safety begins when you pack. Leave expensive jewelry, unnecessary
credit cards, and anything you would hate to lose at home.
-- Never display large sums of money when paying a bill. Conceal your
passport, cash, and other valuables on your person. Do not trust waist
packs or fanny packs because pickpockets have learned that is where the
valuables are stored.
-- Do not leave valuables in your hotel room; have them locked in the
-- Be vigilant on public transport and at tourist sites, food markets,
flea markets, art exhibitions, and all places where crowds gather.
-- Even slight intoxication is noted by professional thieves.
Therefore, if you drink in a public place, do so only with a trusted
friend who has agreed to remain sober.
-- If you are the victim of crime, report it immediately to the local
police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. It is worthwhile
to report a theft, because stolen items are sometimes retrieved.
-- Avoid hailing unmarked cars as taxis. Although this is a common
practice in the NIS, foreigners have been robbed and assaulted by the
drivers of such unmarked cabs. Never accept a ride from a driver who
already has other passengers.
Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal
security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the
Department of State pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," which is for sale
from the U.S. Government Printing Office. (See back cover for ordering
The majority of areas formerly closed to foreigners have been opened;
currently, only areas and installations closed to the general public can
be closed to foreigners. However, use good judgment when photographing
in museums and sensitive areas. (Many museums do not permit photography
near the exhibits.) When in doubt, ask your tour guide or someone else
in authority if it is acceptable to take a photograph.
The following are general guidelines for photo-taking in the Newly
Photographs are permitted of architectural monuments, cultural,
educational, and medical buildings, theaters, museums, parks, stadiums,
streets and squares, and living quarters and landscape scenes.
If prior permission is obtained from officials of the institution
concerned, photographs may be taken of industrial enterprises which
manufacture non-military products, farms, railroad stations, airports,
riverports, and governmental, educational, and social organizations.
Telephone Service to the U.S.
Long distance telephone calls can usually be made from a hotel. It is
also possible to make calls from the local Telephone and Telegraph
office. This is the cheapest way to call, but it also necessitates
standing in line and putting in a request to make an international call.
A rudimentary knowledge of the local language is extremely helpful for
those placing a call through the Telephone and Telegraph office.
U.S. Priority Mail Services
Federal Express, DHL, TNT, and United Parcel Service all offer priority
mail services between the U.S. and Russia and the U.S. and Ukraine.
(However, even packets sent by priority mail may be held up in customs
for up to a week.)
How to Avoid Legal Problems
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's
laws and regulations. In some instances, laws in the NIS countries
differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford
the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Exercise
caution and carefully obey local laws. Penalties for breaking the law
can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.
Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may have difficulties with
the authorities and may be expelled and forced to forfeit the unused
part of a prepurchased tour. Serious transgressions of the law can lead
to arrest and imprisonment.
Under Article 12 of the U.S.-USSR Consular Convention of 1964 (which the
U.S. considers to remain in force), government authorities in the NIS
countries are required to inform the U.S. embassy or consulate of the
arrest or detention of a U.S. citizen and to permit communication with
the detained citizen within two to four days of arrest. If you are
detained by authorities, ask that a U.S. consular officer be informed
and that you be allowed to meet with a consular officer without delay.
The U.S. government has notified the governments of the Newly
Independent States that the U.S.-USSR Consular Convention of 1964 is
considered to remain in force. The United States recognizes as an
established principle of international law that every sovereign state
has the right to decide under the provisions of its own laws who is and
who is not its citizen. The U.S. Department of State maintains the
-- U.S. citizens, whether by birth or naturalization, possess full
American citizenship and its accompanying benefits and responsibilities
despite any additional entitlement to other citizenships.
-- A U.S. citizen entering a country of the Newly Independent States
with a U.S. passport and a valid visa is regarded as a U.S. citizen by
that country for purposes of the visit, regardless of whether the
foreign government might also consider that person to be their citizen.
-- U.S. citizens cannot lose their U.S. citizenship because of
automatic acquisition of foreign citizenship. However, if a U.S.
citizen contemplates voluntarily accepting dual nationality in
connection with assuming duties as a government official in one of the
NIS countries, he or she should first consult with the Department of
State's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 202-647-5225 or with the
nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
The countries of the Newly Independent States generally do not prevent a
U.S. citizen possessing a U.S. passport and appropriate visas from
visiting those countries and returning to the United States, or to his
or her country of permanent residence, even if under foreign laws he or
she is considered a citizen of a NIS country. Any dual national U.S.
citizen traveling in any country in the region should contact the
nearest U.S. embassy or consulate immediately if any question arises
about his or her U.S. or foreign citizenship.
Legal Permanent U.S. Residents
Please be aware that the ability of U.S. authorities to assist legal
permanent U.S. residents is limited. These individuals should travel
with appropriate documentation of their legal status in the U.S. Those
who are citizens of an NIS country should ensure that they have the
correct entry/exit permission from the appropriate embassy in the United
States before they travel.
Americans contemplating marriage to a citizen of Russia or other NIS
country should contact the Consular Section of the nearest American
embassy or consulate before the marriage takes place. Consular officers
cannot perform marriages, but can provide information about local
regulations concerning marriage.
Adopting A Child Abroad
It is technically possible to adopt a child from most countries in the
Newly Independent States. However, adoption laws and procedures vary
from country to country, and are subject to change with little prior
notice. In general, adoption procedures throughout the region are
complicated, and prospective parents should be prepared to go through a
lengthy process before being allowed to adopt a child. The Department
of State maintains country specific information on file about the
current laws and procedures for international adoption in the Newly
Independent States. U.S. citizens interested in adopting a child from
one of these countries are encouraged to contact their state's
Department of Health and Human Services to locate an agency that
specializes in international adoptions, and/or the Department of State's
Office of Children's Issues, in the Office of Overseas Citizens
Services, at 202-736-7000 for further information on foreign country
The following sections contain information on the individual countries
of the Newly Independent States. This is a challenging and exciting
time to visit these countries. Because travel conditions are changing
rapidly throughout the region, you will need to research and plan your
visit carefully before leaving the United States. Be patient and
flexible once you are underway in order to have a successful and
pleasurable trip. For updates on each of these countries, please
consult the current Consular Information Sheets.
Russian law requires that all travelers who spend more than three days
in Russia register their visas through their hotel or sponsor. Visitors
who have not registered their visas may be prevented from leaving the
country. In addition, all foreigners must have an exit visa to depart
Russia. For short stays, the exit visa is issued together with the
entry visa; for longer stays, the exit visa must be obtained by a
sponsor after the traveler's arrival.
Problems with tourist visas should be referred first to Intourservice,
located in many major hotels. If problems are encountered with other
types of visas, travelers should contact their sponsor, who will
intercede with OVIR on the behalf of U.S. citizens.
Errors in the dates or other information on the visa can occur, and it
is a good idea to check your visa carefully before departing the United
States. U.S. citizens can contact the Russian Embassy, Consular
Division, 1825 Phelps Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202)
939-8918, 939-8907, or 939-8913, or the Russian Consulates in New York,
San Francisco or Seattle for current information on visa requirements.
In the event your passport is lost or stolen, please be aware that the
U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Russia only accept U.S. dollars, rubles
or travelers checks as payment for a replacement passport. (The
American Consulate General in Vladivostok does not accept payment for
consular fees in traveler's checks.)
Areas of Instability
At press time, the political situation remains particularly unsettled in
Russia's Caucasus area, which is located in southern Russia along its
border with Georgia and Azerbaijan. Travel to this area is considered
dangerous. The regions of the Chechen Republic, the Ingush Republic and
the North Ossetian Republic have experienced continued armed violence
and have a state of emergency in effect. Street demonstrations, which
sometimes turn violent, may occur without warning, although
announcements of demonstrations in Moscow are usually carried on local
English-language radio news programs.
Crime is a growing problem in Russia, particularly in major cities and
along the highway between St. Petersburg and Vyborg. Additional
information may be found on page 16 in the section on "Crime."
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Russian Civil Air
Authorities conducted a joint safety evaluation of Russia's civil
aviation. Airlines certified to operate internationally meet higher
standards than domestic-only air carriers yet also fly to most domestic
destinations. The Russian Department of Air Transport has provided a
list, which is available from the U.S. Embassies in Moscow or Kiev or by
writing the Department of State's Office of Overseas Citizen's Services,
of those airlines certified by Russia for international operations.
Travelers should note that safety certification of the airlines on this
list is provided solely by the Russian Department of Air Transport; the
Federal Aviation Administration only provides safety certification of
U.S. airlines. In addition, a few foreign international airlines are
starting to offer flights between some of the countries in the region.
While Russian airlines are in transition to meet international
standards, flexibility and patience are the keys to successful air
travel throughout the region.
Auto Travel and Insurance
All tourists entering Russia by automobile are required to sign a
statement guaranteeing the re-export of their automobiles. This
obligation also applies to vehicles which may have been damaged during
Your automobile should be fully insured under a policy valid for Russia
and for any other country you will enter. Insurance policies may be
purchased from Lloyds of London or from Ingostrakh, Kuybyshev Street
11/10, Moscow and Zakharyevskaya Street 17, St. Petersburg. Ingostrakh
is a Russian organization that insures foreigners in Russia. Ingostrakh
also sells auto insurance for travelers who plan to drive out of Russia
through Finland by car. Auto insurance obtained in Russia is accepted
in some of the other NIS countries.
Be aware that Russian law allows the insurance company to refuse
compensation for damage if a driver is pronounced by the authorities to
be under the influence of alcohol at the time of an accident. Such
determinations can be made without the benefit of any tests.
Though Russia operates on the basis of a cash-only economy, some hotels
and restaurants in Moscow and St. Petersburg have begun to accept credit
cards. (These are usually foreign run, joint venture operations.)
However, do not assume your hotel will accept your credit card as
If you find yourself short of funds in Moscow, St. Petersburg, or
Vladivostok, there are several possible avenues for assistance. Western
Union has agents in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok, as well as
in other cities in the NIS, which can disburse money wired from the U.S.
In addition, money can be transferred from a bank account in the U.S to
Dialogbank, located in the Slavianskaya Hotel (the minimum transfer is
$1,000). In case of an emergency, funds may also be wired to an
American citizen through the State Department's Overseas Citizens
Services at 202-647-5225. The funds are generally disbursed two
business days later at the American Citizens Services unit of the U.S.
Embassy. In Moscow, automatic teller machines which accept American
Express credit cards are located at the American Express office and the
Mezhdunarodnaya (International) Hotel. An automatic teller machine
which accepts Visa cards is located in the Metropol Hotel. Dialogbank
in the Radisson Hotel provides cash advances for Mastercard holders.
The American Express offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg can cash
travelers checks and personal checks for card holders. In addition, the
St. Petersburg office can provide card holders with cash advances up to
$500. In Vladivostok, Credo Bank (located near the Territorial
Administration building) can cash American Express traveler's checks for
rubles only and provide cash advances in dollars on Visa credit cards.
During periodic cash shortages, it can be difficult or impossible to
cash travelers checks for dollars, for other convertible (hard)
currency, or even for rubles. In places where it is possible to cash
traveler's checks (such as in some hotels in major cities), the fee may
be high (for example, 5%). In addition, the currency situation varies
from city to city. In Moscow, cash may be available at Dialogbank or
American Express. In St. Petersburg, rubles may be available but not
hard currency (though rubles and hard currency are generally available).
Russian customs laws and regulations are in a state of flux and are not
consistently enforced. All items which may appear to have historical or
cultural value -- icons, art, rugs, antiques, etc. -- may be taken out
of Russia only with prior written approval of the Ministry of Culture
and payment of up to 100 percent duty. Caviar may only be taken out of
Russia with a receipt indicating it was bought in a store licensed to
sell to foreigners. Failure to follow the customs regulations may
result in confiscation of the property in question. For further
information, see the general information section on "Shopping."
On February 6, 1992, Russia established a new citizenship law
recognizing dual nationality only if there is an agreement between the
two countries which specifically addresses dual nationality. At this
time, the United States and Russia do not have a dual nationality
agreement. Therefore, if you hold dual nationality and encounter
problems in Russia, you may not be permitted to leave and the ability of
a U.S. consul to assist you may be limited.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin has signed into law legislation which
requires all foreigners staying in Russia for more than 3 months to
undergo a test for the AIDS virus. The details of the new law were not
available at the time this brochure went to press. Please refer to the
current Consular Information Sheet for updated information on this
Travelers are advised to obtain a visa from the Embassy of the Republic
of Armenia in Washington, D.C. before traveling to Armenia. It is
possible to obtain a 21-day visa at the main airport in Yerevan upon
arrival, but at a higher cost. Travelers without a visa cannot register
at hotels and may be required to leave the country immediately via the
route by which they entered.
Air transportation to and from Armenia is limited, and passengers should
be prepared to cope with frequent delays, unexpected refueling stops,
and poor service. Other modes of transportation may be unreliable and
uncomfortable. Although the U.S. government no longer prohibits U.S.
officials from traveling overland between Georgia and Armenia, travelers
should exercise caution. Travelers should be aware that there is
frequent armed conflict along portions of the Armenian-Azerbaijani
Travelers should be prepared for a lack of electricity and heat, fuel
shortages, and limited availability of consumer goods. Traveler's
checks and credit cards are not accepted. Armenia has a relatively low
rate of violent crime, but robbery has increased.
A passport and visa are required to enter Azerbaijan. Businesspersons
who apply for visas more than five days in advance and tourists who
apply more than ten days in advance will not be charged for their visas.
Individuals requesting visas for less time or arriving in Baku without a
valid Azerbaijani visa will be charged a fee ranging from $40 to $250
for their visa. Although visas can be obtained in Baku after arrival,
passports without visas are retained by immigration authorities at the
airport. Visitors must apply to the consular department of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs the next working day to retrieve their passport. All
visitors to Azerbaijan are strongly urged to obtain a visa prior to
their arrival. Travelers with valid Georgian visas are permitted to
enter Azerbaijan for five days. Thereafter, they must obtain an
Azerbaijani visa. Visa applicants must include a letter of invitation
from an individual or organization in Azerbaijan when applying for a
visa. Outside the United States, visas may be obtained from Azerbaijani
embassies in Germany, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. For additional
information on visa requirements, contact the Embassy of Azerbaijan in
Washington, D.C. at telephone 202-842-0001 or fax 202-842-0004.
Although Azerbaijan has a low rate of violent crime, incidents of street
crime and assaults on foreigners are increasing. Travelers should
exercise caution as public disturbances may occur without warning. In
the capital of Baku, armed troops are positioned outside a number of
government buildings to provide additional security. Azerbaijan has
been engaged in an ethnic conflict with Armenia over the territory of
Nagorno-Karabakh. Approximately twenty percent of the territory of
Azerbaijan is occupied by Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Travelers may be stopped at roadblocks while vehicles and travel
documents are inspected. Travel to several regions is restricted and
requires advance permission from the Ministry of the Interior. The
Consular Section of the American Embassy in Baku can provide additional
information on the crime situation including safety tips and contact
numbers for the local police.
Train travel in the Caucasus region has been severely disrupted by civil
strife and is not secure. Air travel to Azerbaijan is currently
available through Turkey on a regular basis, and, through Germany and
the United Kingdom on a more limited schedule.
A state of emergency and midnight to 5:00 a.m. curfew established in
October 1994 remain in effect for Baku. There are numerous roadblocks
and checkpoints throughout the capital. Visitors to Azerbaijan are
encouraged to exercise extreme caution.
A visa is required for entry into Belarus. Visas may be obtained at the
Belarusian Embassy in Washington, D.C. or the Consulate in New York. An
invitation from a Belarusian sponsor, whether an individual or a travel
agency, is required. Russian and Kazakh visas are valid for transit (up
to three days) through Belarus. Visas may also be obtained at
Belarusian embassies and consulates abroad, although this can be a time-
Travelers passing through Belarus on the way to other points in the NIS
must possess a Belarusian transit visa. On occasion, travelers taking
the train from Warsaw, Poland to Vilnius, Lithuania have been required
to leave the train in Grodno, Belarus and return to their point of
departure to obtain a transit visa. Transit visas are not available on
the train. This problem can be avoided by taking the direct rail route
that goes to Sestokai, Lithuania via Suwalki, Poland, without passing
U.S. citizens residing in Belarus are required to register with the
local Office of Visas and Registration (OVIR). Failure to do so will
result in fines and frequent visits from local militia. U.S. citizens
residing in hotels are automatically registered.
Traveler's checks are not accepted in Belarus. Intourist hotels in
Minsk accept American Express, and several stores selling imported goods
and the Planeta Hotel accept Visa cards.
The number of reported diphtheria cases in Belarus has quadrupled in the
past three years. The Centers for Disease Control recommends
immunization against diphtheria.
A passport is required for entry into Georgia, but a visa is not
required before arrival. Visitors who enter at the Tbilisi airport
receive a temporary stamp at passport control and are instructed to
obtain a visa from the Consular Division of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. Visas are usually granted within five days. Travelers who
have valid visas for Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan can use these
visas for transit (up to three days) through Georgia without an
additional Georgian visa. Those arriving from or departing to other
countries, including the remainder of the Newly Independent States, must
obtain a Georgian visa in order to leave the country. On an exceptional
basis, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs can assist travelers to
obtain visas at the checkpoint at Sarpi on the border with Turkey, and
at the port of Batumi on the Black Sea. Arrangements must be made in
advance to issue a visa at one of these entry points.
Travelers should be aware of the risks of travel in Georgia. Some
terrorist incidents have occurred in connection with regional conflicts.
Despite the nominal end of the war in Abkhazia, travel in that region is
still hazardous. High crime rates in South Ossetia make unofficial and
unescorted travel there risky. The security situation in Tbilisi has
improved slightly, but crime rates are still high. The security of
overland travel inside Georgia is minimal. Trains destined for Armenia
have occasionally been targeted by terrorists, and all train and
vehicular traffic is vulnerable to robbery by bandits.
Violent crime is not uncommon in Georgia. Sporadic gunfire, often
celebratory in nature, can be dangerous to bystanders. Travelers on the
metro system in Tbilisi are particularly susceptible to criminal acts.
Petty theft and pickpocketing is common, especially in open-air markets.
While police authority has improved slightly, security conditions can
Entry visas are issued at the Kazakhstan Embassy on the basis of a
letter of invitation from a Kazakh organization, or at the Almaty
Airport. Visas issued at the airport without a letter of invitation are
only valid for three days. Kazakhstan immigration officials consider
visas for Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and
Belarus to be valid for transit (up to three days) through Kazakhstan.
Incidence of infectious diseases in Kazakhstan is generally higher than
in the U.S., and immunizations are unavailable. Drinking only boiled or
bottled water will help guard against cholera, which has been reported.
Common street crime has increased, especially at night, and some robbery
victims have been assaulted. Robbers congregate around hotels that
cater to foreigners. Walking in a group or utilizing an official
metered taxi with door to door service is the best way to traverse the
cities after sunset.
Visas are required for entry into Kyrgyzstan. Visas are issued by the
Kyrgyz Embassy in Washington, D.C. No letter of invitation is required
for a stay of up to two months. For detailed information, contact the
Kyrgyz Embassy at telephone (202) 628-0433 or fax (202) 347-3718. In
countries where no Kyrgyz Embassy is present, the Russian Embassy has
the authority to issue a Kyrgyz visa. All visitors staying in
Kyrgyzstan more than three days are required to register with OVIR, the
Office of Visas and Registration. Visitors who do not register within
three days are fined.
Currently, no airline provides dependable, regularly scheduled
international air service into Bishkek. Most air travelers fly to
Almaty, Kazakhstan, and then travel overland to Bishkek (approximately a
four-hour journey). Train travel in the region is irregular and
Kyrgyzstan has a moderate rate of violent crime, and members of the
foreign community have been singled out as targets. Some incidents of
muggings have occurred outside hotels catering to foreigners.
Kyrgyzstan has a cash-based economy, and credit cards are not accepted.
Only one bank accepts traveler's checks, and the fee can be as high as
Travelers must have visas to enter Moldova. Visas are available from
the Moldovan Embassy in Washington, D.C., from the Moldovan Consulate in
Frankfurt, Germany, or in other selected cities. When traveling to
Moldova with the intention of continuing elsewhere in the NIS, keep in
mind that visas for travel to other NIS countries are mandatory and
difficult to obtain in Moldova.
The U.S. Embassy in Chisinau advises that only essential travel should
be undertaken into or through the Transnistria region. There are
frequent checkpoints in Transnistria, manned by armed, young and
inexperienced paramilitary units who are not under the control of the
Moldovan government and whose members rarely understand English.
Travelers may be subject to extortion or robbery at checkpoints. Only
Air Moldova and Tarom (Romania's national airline) regularly fly to
Moldova. Air Moldova service is well below Western standards. Aircraft
appear to be old and cabin areas are in poor condition. Train service
is also below Western standards and an increasing number of Americans
have been victimized while traveling on international trains to and from
The Centers for Disease Control recommend Hepatitis B series for certain
travelers. In addition, rabies vaccinations may be useful as casual
exposure to stray dogs is common throughout Chisinau.
At the time of publication, a Travel Warning for Tajikistan was in
effect. Although a cease-fire is in effect between the warring factions
and peaceful elections were held, sporadic fighting continues along the
Tajikistan-Afghanistan border. In addition, unsettled conditions exist
in some areas of the countryside, particularly in parts of the Gharm
Valley and Gorno-Badakhshan. There is a potential for terrorist actions
in the capital, Dushanbe, primarily targeting Russians. The U.S.
Embassy provides a full range of consular services, but is extremely
limited in the services it can provide outside Dushanbe. For updated
information, contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 202-
A visa is required for entry into Tajikistan. Registry at a hotel is
prohibited without a visa, and travelers who enter the country without a
visa will be required to leave immediately via the route by which they
entered. In the United States, Tajik visas are issued by the Russian
Embassy in Washington, D.C., or the Russian Consulates in New York, San
Francisco, or Seattle. Contact these sources for current information on
visa requirements for Tajikistan.
Due to the unsettled situation in the region, travel to, from, and
within Tajikistan is difficult and unreliable. The only regular
international air travel to and from Dushanbe are connections to Moscow
and St. Petersburg via Air Tajikistan. These flights may be cancelled
due to lack of fuel. International train connections are extremely
dangerous because of criminals operating on board. Travelers to other
Central Asian countries or Russia must have appropriate visas, which are
not available in Tajikistan.
The civil war has significantly contributed to the deterioration of
Tajikistan's medical infrastructure. Many trained medical personnel
have left the country and there is a potential for significant outbreaks
of disease due to the migration of refugees and the discontinuance of
International banking services are not available in Tajikistan.
Traveling with large amounts of cash can be dangerous. However, credit
cards and traveler's checks are rarely accepted in lieu of cash.
Without a visa, travelers to Turkmenistan cannot register at hotels and
will be required to leave the country immediately via the route by which
they entered. If a visa is not obtained from the Embassy of
Turkmenistan in Washington, D.C., it may be obtained on arrival at the
airport for twenty dollars for a ten-day stay. This visa may be
obtained without presenting an invitation letter. However, if an
extension of the visa is necessary, a letter of invitation must be
furnished by the traveler's host to support the application. Extensions
may be authorized by applying at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Generally, the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs takes five working days to process any requests to
extend visas, although for a fee, this process can be expedited.
Visas for entry into Ukraine may be obtained in advance from the Embassy
of Ukraine, or the Ukrainian Consulates in New York or Chicago. Almost
all Ukrainian visas are issued on the basis of invitations. The
invitation may be extended by a person, company, or organization in
Ukraine or through a tour company voucher.
Travelers who intend to visit Russia from Ukraine must have a Russian
visa. Visitors who arrive in Ukraine without a visa must obtain one at
the border point. Three day visas for travelers arriving without an
invitation are issued for $150.00 at Kiev, Odessa, Lviv, and Simferopol
airports and at the ports of Odessa and Yalta. Sometimes travelers art
also required to purchase a tourist voucher for the visa to be issued.
Visas are not normally available at land crossing points.
Travelers are usually denied admission to Ukraine without a visa, or if
the entire number of entries on the Ukrainian visa have been used.
Those travelers intending to enter neighboring countries, such as Russia
or Poland, and then re-enter Ukraine should keep this in mind.
Travelers departing Ukraine do not need an exit visa; however, the visa
must be valid (not expired) for departure to take place.
All foreigners staying in Ukraine for more than three days are required
to register their passports with local law enforcement authorities
(though this requirement is sporadically enforced). The registration
requirement is automatically met when foreigners stay in hotels, when
resident business persons register their businesses, or when students
register under established exchange programs. Private visitors must
have their hosts, relatives, or landlords register their U.S. passport
at the local "Visas, Permits, and Passport Department" (VVIR) office of
the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Visitors who do not register may
experience delays when leaving Ukraine, as well as fines or other
difficulty when trying to extend visas. (Check your visa carefully for
any errors in the dates of travel, number of entries, and/or authorized
destinations in Ukraine.) A fee of ten U.S. dollars or the equivalent
in Ukrainian currency is usually charged for visa extensions or passport
Your letter of invitation cannot be issued by an American in Ukraine,
unless that person represents, is employed by, or studies in a
registered organization (such as a joint venture or recognized
university). In recent years, some Americans whose visas are sponsored
by missionary groups, even registered ones, have faced problems with
visa extension. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs no longer
extends visas for private Americans, only for journalists, certain
businesspersons, and other select foreigners spending extended time in
Ukraine. The U.S. Embassy in Kiev accepts only U.S. dollars or
Ukrainian coupons as payment for passport replacement.
There have been isolated cases of diphtheria, typhoid and cholera in
Ukraine. Adequate vaccination received before leaving the United States
protects against these diseases.
Ukrainian customs regulations prohibit the sending of money through the
international mail system to Ukraine. Money sent through the mail is
subject to confiscation. Make sure you have enough money to cover your
expenses before entering Ukraine. In Kiev, cash may be available at the
Agroprombank, Export/Import Bank, or Bank Ukraina.
It is legal for Ukrainian citizens to hold hard currency; therefore, a
black market does not exist for U.S. dollars. It is legal only to use a
bank, hotel, or licensed currency exchange kiosk (in Ukrainian "Obmen
Alyut") to exchange money. Several banks and financial companies,
including Western Union, can cash travelers checks and disburse money
wired from the United States. In addition, a credit card cash advance
may be obtained for a fee at "Xchange Points," a company headquartered
in Kiev's Lybid Hotel. As of March 1995, Ukraine has no operating
Customs declarations are carefully examined upon departure from Ukraine;
keep receipts for purchases made both inside and outside Ukraine.
Certain items deemed to be of historical or artistic significance may be
unexportable. When purchasing artwork, always request a certificate
attesting to the item's value and artistic significance. In Kiev, the
Ministry of Culture on Prorizna Street has an office that can also issue
these certificates, after a complicated bureaucratic process.
Crimea has experienced chronic, low-level tension on the political level
since 1992. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Kiev or the Office of Overseas
Citizens Services for current information on the situation.
Private travel to Uzbekistan must be arranged through a travel agency
(package tour) which has a relationship with Uzbek tourism, or via an
invitation from a private Uzbek citizen organization or business which
requests visa issuance through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at least
a month in advance. This is a time-consuming process; travelers are
encouraged to make their arrangements a at least two months prior to
their departure. Visas are issued at embassies and consulates abroad,
although transit visas may be issued at Tashkent Airport.
Uzbekistan's visa policy, which requires that the visa specify each city
to be visited, is under review. Travelers should contact the Embassy of
Uzbekistan or refer to the current Consular Information Sheet for
clarification of Uzbekistan's visa requirements for American citizens.
Travelers without a proper visa cannot register at hotels, will be fined
and required to leave the country immediately via their entry route.
Unlike other NIS countries, travelers with NIS visas are permitted entry
to Uzbekistan for genuine transit only. Travelers with NIS visas who
intend to visit Uzbekistan and then return to the NIS country from which
they arrived must obtain a separate visa for Uzbekistan. Transit visas
are available for Tashkent and other transit points such as Termez and
Urgench, with confirmation of onward transportation within three days.
All travelers in Uzbekistan for even one day are required to register
with OVIR, the Office of Visas and Registration. Travelers who stay in
a hotel are automatically registered, but all other travelers are
responsible for registering themselves. Fees for registration with OVIR
range from twenty to two hundred dollars, depending on length of stay.
Visitors without proper registration are subject to fines (ranging from
twenty to sixty dollars) and possible harassment by local authorities.
Also, the government of Uzbekistan officially requires visitors to carry
a medical certificate proving that they are not HIV infected, but this
requirement is only sporadically enforced.
Diseases contracted by foreigners in Uzbekistan include salmonella,
hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies, and meningitis. Other food and
waterborne diseases are common. Therefore, travelers are advised to
drink only boiled or bottled water and to peel all fruit and vegetables.
Due to inappropriate sanitation conditions, travelers should avoid
eating dairy products and most food sold in the streets.
Uzbekistan is a country in transition; a resurgence of Islamic tradition
coexists with an increase in common street crime. Although modest
Western-style clothing is appropriate in Tashkent, women should be
prepared to dress conservatively in areas outside the capital. In rural
areas, women in pants, short skirts, or sleeveless blouses face a risk
of harassment. In urban areas, all travelers should take the same
precautions against crime that they would take in a large American city.
U.S. Embassy and Consulate Locations in Russia
Moscow: Novinskiy Bulvar 19/23; tel. (7)(095) 252-2451.
After hours duty officer: tel. (7)(095) 252-1898 or 255-5123.
U.S. Consulates General are located at:
St. Petersburg: Ulitsa Furshtadskaya 15; tel. (7-812) 275-1701.
After hours duty officer: (7-812) 274-8692.
Vladivostok: 12 Mordovtseva; tel. (7-4232) 268-458 or 267-117.
Yekaterinburg: tel. (7-3432) 601-143, or by fax, 601-181. The
Consulate General in Yekaterinburg provides emergency services only for
U.S. Embassy Locations in the Newly Independent States
18 General Bagramian Street
tel. (7-8852) 15-11-44
Prospect Azadlig 83
tel. (9-9412) 98-03-35, (9-9412) 98-03-36 or (9-9412) 98-03-37
46 Starovilenskaya Ulitsa
tel. (7-0172) 31-50-00
25 Atoneli Street
tel. (7-8832) 98-99-67 or (7-8832) 98-99-68
99/97A Furmanova Street
tel. (7-3272) 63-24-26
Erkindik Prospect #66
tel. (7-3312) 22-27-77
Strada Alexei Mateevici 103
tel. (373-2) 23-37-72
#39 Ainii Street
tel. (8-3772) 21-03-56
tel. (7-3632) 24-49-25
(As of June 1995, the U.S. Embassy's permanent address will be: 9
Pushkin Street, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Please refer to the most
current Consular Information Sheet for Turkmenistan for the U.S.
Embassy's new telephone numbers.)
Yuria Kotsubinskoho 10
tel. (7-044) 244-7344, 7345, 7349; 216-3805 (afterhours)
(The city codes for Ukrainian cities and the country code for Ukraine
will change sometime after publication. Please refer to the current
Consular Information Sheet for the new numbers.)
tel. (7-3712) 77-14-07 or (7-3712) 77-22-31
NIS Embassies in the United States
Embassy of the Republic of ARMENIA
1660 L St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
telephone: (202) 393-5983
Embassy of the Republic of AZERBAIJAN
927 15th St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
telephone: (202) 842-0001
Embassy of the Republic of BELARUS
New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
telephone: (202) 986-1604/1606
Embassy of the Republic of GEORGIA
1511 K St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
telephone: (202) 393-6060
Embassy of the Republic of KAZAKHSTAN
3421 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
telephone: (202) 333-4507
Embassy of the Republic of KYRGRZSTAN
1511 K St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
telephone: (202) 347-3732
Embassy of MOLDOVA
1511 K St., NW
#333 Washington, D.C. 20005
telephone: (202) 783-3012 (main switchboard)
(202) 783-4218 (visa information/Consular Section)
fax: (202) 783-3342
Embassy of the RUSSIAN FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC
1125 16th St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
telephone: (202) 939-8907/8911/8913/8918
Russia also has consulates in the following U.S. cities:
-- 2790 Green St., San Francisco, CA 94123
-- 9 E. 91st St., New York, NY, 10021
-- 2001 6th Ave., 23rd Floor, Seattle, WA 98121
Embassy of the Republic of TURKMENISTAN
1511 K Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
telephone: (202) 737-4800
fax: (202) 737-1152
Embassy of UKRAINE
3350 M St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
telephone: (202) 333-0606, 333-7507/08/09
fax: (202) 333-0817
Embassy of the Republic of UZBEKISTAN
1511 K St., NW
Suites 619, 623
Washington, D.C. 20005
telephone: (202) 638-4267
866 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
telephone: (212) 486-7570
PLANNING ANOTHER TRIP?
For general travel information, the following pamphlets may be ordered
from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 20402; telephone 202-512-1800. The price of each
publication is $1, except where noted.
Your Trip Abroad (price $1.25)
A Safe Trip Abroad Tips for Americans
Country specific information can be found in the following publications:
Tips for Travelers to the Caribbean
Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa
Tips for Travelers to Central and South America
Tips for Travelers to the People's Republic of China
Tips for Travelers to Mexico
Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa (price $1.25)
Tips for Travelers to South Asia
General visa information for these and other countries is available in
Foreign Entry Requirements. You may order Foreign Entry Requirements
for 50 cents from the Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO 81009.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLICATION 10269
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Revised May 1995
The information in this publication is in the public domain and may be
reproduced without permission. When this material is reproduced, the
Department of State would appreciate receiving a copy at: CA/P/PA, Room
6831, Department of State, Washington D.C. 20520-4818.
To the top of this page