Getting an Uzbekistan Visa is a notorious time suck, no matter where you apply for it. Obtaining an Uzbek visa can take 10 days or longer. The prescribed way to avoid this wait is to obtain a Letter of Invitation (LOI) and then go along to the Uzbekistan Embassy or Consulate of your choice and pick it up in one day. An LOI costs from around US$70. The visa itself is another US$70. We took the budget option and got an express Uzbekistan visa in Istanbul in 5 days for US$95, here’s how to do it.
First, ignore the Uzbekistan Embassy website which indicates that you can get a visa in two days, it’s plain incorrect.
How to Get an Uzbekistan Visa in Istanbul
- Complete the online evisa form (http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en/)
- Visit the Uzbekistan consulate and hand in the form
- Second Visit to the Uzbekistan consulate when advised, receive banking details
- Pay for your Visa at AK Bank on Levent Caddesi
- Third visit to the Uzbekistan consulate with payment confirmation for visa to be applied to your passport
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it is, sort of. Here’s the more detailed version.
1. Complete the online Uzbekistan evisa
You’ll find the form HERE. http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en/ This creates a PDF version of the form. You can create a form for one person or for multiple people who are travelling together. Be aware if you complete the form for multiple people and make an error you cannot go back and “fix” errors, you need to create a new form.
On this form, you need to input the following details
- Your full name
- Passport details – including date of birth, issue date and so on.
- Dates and length of visa required
- Location where you will apply for the visa
- Location where you will collect the visa
- Your route through the country (cities)
- The purpose of your visit (Tourism)
- Address in Uzbekistan (pick your hotel/hostel)
Completing the form does not constitute submitting a request for a visa. It simply enters you into the system and delivers you a PDF with a barcode on it. You need to visit the consulate or embassy in order to start the visa process properly. We were unsure as to whether we would collect our Uzbekistan visa in Istanbul or Tehran, so we created a form for both.
Note that you need to have at least 2 empty pages left in your passport and 6 months validity after the end of the visa.
Types of Uzbekistan Tourist Visas Available
You will have to select an option for the length of visit for your visa when completing the form. These are clearly indicated on the online system. At the time of writing, these are as follows
- 7 days single entry US $ 60
- 15 days single entry US $ 70
- 30 days single entry US $ 80
- 3 months single entry visa US $ 100
- 6 months single entry visa US $ 140
- 1-year single entry visa US $ 160
Note that there is no mention whatsoever on the online system of an express option. Keep reading to find out more.
Uzbekistan Consulate Istanbul Location
The Uzbekistan Consulate in Istanbul is located in the LEVENT district. It’s easy to get to on the metro (be sure to buy an Istanbulkart to get there cheaply).
8 Lale Sokak, Levent Caddesi, Levent, Istanbul.
Here’s a map view of where to find it. We use maps.me for navigating when we don’t have internet access. Be sure to download the app and the relevant maps.
Directions to the Uzbekistan Consulate in Istanbul
Take the metro/subway line number M2 to Levent. Exit on to Levent Caddesi.
Walk past all the banks, including the AKBank, where you will have to pay for your visa later in the process. Cross the road, walk past the small photo copy/printing shop (useful if you forget to take a copy of your passport like we did!). We were charged 0.5 lira for two passport copies.
The consulate is on a residential street, with iron bars surrounding the grounds. There is a kiosk just inside the grounds where you bring your visa application.
You’ll find two benches out front of the consulate where you can rest during your wait. There is some shade from trees, but there’s nowhere to shelter from the rain.
Uzbekistan Consulate in Istanbul Opening Times
The Uzbek consulate is open for visa applications from 10:00 until 12:00 (noon) only, and only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is closed when these days are government or public holidays in Uzbekistan. The consulate is also open in the afternoon on these days for the collection of your visa. However, the security man opens the kiosk at 09:30.
2. First Visit to the Uzbekistan Consulate in Istanbul
Your first visit to the Uzbek consulate is simply to begin the process. You do not need to take payment with you at this time. It’s not required to leave your passport with the consulate at any point during the process.
You need to ensure that you have the following with you in order to get an Uzbek visa in Istanbul. Should you forget copies, the small store on Levent Caddesi is open from around 09:15. If the store is closed, the manager is usually at the Uzbek embassy making an application
- Two printed copies of the form that you completed online.
- A passport photo for each form. The security guard at the kiosk inside the consulate will offer you scissors and glue if you don’t already have it stuck on
- A single black and white copy of your passport (photo and information page only). You can also take a colour copy, but black and white is sufficient
- Your passport
What Time Should You Arrive at the Consulate?
We suggest you arrive at 09:30, it will allow you to get on the list (see below) earlier, and out again earlier.
What to do on your first visit to the Consulate
Join the line and when you get to the front, hand over your application form and passport. The security guard does not speak English, so obviously does this every other day. The security guard will then put your name on a list. You will be called in the order that you were put on the list. Once you get your name on the list DON’T WALK AWAY.
Names started being called at 09:45, two folks who had walked away, obviously thinking that nothing would happen until 10:00 missed out. We arrived at 09:25, and were ninth on the list. We were called into the consulate at 10:10.
What Happens When you Go into The Consulate
It’s unlikely the security guard will call your name unless it’s Turkish, he’ll probably point at you, but also keep an eye on who joined the line before you. When you’re called, the security guard will open the gate and let you in. You’re not supposed to take an electronics, especially mobile phones into the consulate, so if it’s obvious that you have one, he might ask you to leave it with him. If you don’t obviously display one, then don’t say anything and keep it in your bag/pocket.
You’ll go past the kiosk and turn right down a narrow alley. Halfway down is a door on the right. This is a toilet if you’re in need, it is for visitors use. At the end of the alley, turn left and there’s a small building ahead to the right. Approach the slightly open window closest to the wall and hand over your application forms, passport copy and passport.
The visa officer speaks English. He’ll review your form, then tell you that it will be 10 working days. At this point, if you want an express Uzbekistan visa in Istanbul you’ll need to ask him how to get it sooner. The normal cost of an Uzbekistan visa in Istanbul without an LOI is UZ$70. This could take 10 working days, recent reports say it takes 8 days in total.
The cost of an express Uzbekistan visa in Istanbul is US$95. Once the visa officer has told you this and said he will put it through as express (be very clear that this is what you want), be sure to ask him when to return. We applied on a Monday and he told us to return the following Monday. You do not need to leave your passport or pay and you do not get any form of receipt.
Express Uzbekistan Visa in Istanbul – How to Find out Your Visa has been approved
Go and enjoy Istanbul! Seriously you won’t hear anything for at least a couple of days. You need to check the visa website – here’s that URL (http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en/) – at the beginning and end of each day, to check the process of your visa.
If nothing is happening then you’ll see “no information”
If your visa is ready then you’ll see “TELEX number = XXXXX” > where the XXXX is a 4-6 digit number.
What’s a Telex Number on an Uzbekistan Visa?
The telex number on an Uzbekistan visa is simply an approval number. It means that your application has been approved. If you have applied for an LOI then you will have received a telex number. All a telex number signifies is that your application for a visa has been approved by the visa offices of the government in Uzbekistan.
3. Second Visit to the Uzbekistan Consulate
Once you’ve seen the telex number appears next to your passport details on the visa application website you can head back to the consulate on the next day that they’re open for visa applications.
Return to the Uzbek consulate and get your name on the list again. You’ll be called in, in the same process as your first visit. For this second visit take your passport and a note of the telex number. The visa officer will check this system to confirm that your telex number has been received. He will ask to see your passport in order to do this. If you have applied jointly, then he only needs one passport. He will then direct you to go to the bank and pay. He will also advise you when to return to the consulate to collect your visa. At 10:19 he told us to return in two hours.
You will not be given a paying in slip, but ask the security guard for the bank details. He will give you a small business card.
You now need to go to AK Bank on Levent Caddesi and pay for your visa. We found it useful to write down our names and the amount of money that we wanted to pay to the Uzbekistan Consulate.
Paying for your Express Uzbekistan Visa in Istanbul
You need to pay in US dollars. The cost of the express Uzbekistan visa is US$95. Some reports indicate that there’s a US$3 fee from the bank, but we were not charged this. You can take US dollars out at most Turkish ATMs. Remember when you withdraw foreign currency you will ALWAYS get a better rate if you take the cash out and do NOT accept the ATM’s exchange rate. Letting visa / mastercard set the exchange will get you a better deal.
Turkish Banking Laws dictate that anyone making a payment MUST have a Turkish identity card number. The Banking staff are not allowed, again by law, to use their own. You’ll have to find a willing customer in the bank who will give their ID number to the banking staff and allow your payment to be made. The banking staff will ask for you. They’ll also tell you at length that the Uzbekistan Consulate knows that this is a problem and needs to find a solution.
You’ll be given two copies of a receipt that indicates the Uzbekistan consulate IBAN banking details, your names as a reference and the amount. If you are paying for multiple visa applications then you can get them all on the same receipt.
Now Wait for Two Hours
Now go grab a coffee or a late breakfast and return to the consulate in time for your third visit.
Third (and final) visit to the Uzbekistan Consulate
Return to the Uzbek consulate for the final time and wave your Ak Bank receipt at the security guard. For this final visit, we waited about 15 minutes before we were called in. We had, however, returned early in the hope that the visa would be ready early.
On this final visit, you need your passport and one copy of the AK Bank receipt. Hand over both to the visa officer and he’ll print your visas, stick them into your passports.
And that’s it. You’re done. We first visited the Uzbekistan consulate on Monday. Our telex number appeared on the online system at the end of Wednesday of that same week. We returned to the consulate on the Friday at 09:30 and had Uzbekistan visas in our passports by Friday at 12:15.
All the Options for Uzbekistan Visas in Istanbul
- If you have an LOI (available from sources including caravanistan.com for US$70 and up) then you can usually get your visa in a single day. The cost of the LOI is in addition to the costs at the consulate. Cost at Consulate = US$70, or US$140 if you applied for an express LOI
- If you have time to kill, then don’t ask for an express visa, pay the reduced amount and wait it out. Cost at Consulate = US$70
- If you want to get your visa quicker, but avoid the cost of an LOI, then ask in person for the express Uzbekistan visa in Istanbul. Cost at Consulate = US$95
If you decide to avoid the cost of an LOI when applying for your Uzbekistan visa, then getting an express Uzbekistan visa in Istanbul is a much faster option that costs only US$25 more than the standard 10-day process. Check it out, let us know how you get on!
- We stayed at the Hotel Peninsular in Istanbul, it has great staff (say hi to Sergei!) and a fab location
- 10 reasons why you should visit Istanbul (and its not just for visas!)
- We are Overlanding the Silk Road – Read More about that here.
- Read about how we got to Istanbul from Bansko, Bulgaria
- The Uzbekistan Visa Website