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Kyrgyz Republic - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in the Kyrgyz Republic the possibility of violent crime and occasional civil unrest.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Areas south and west of Osh, the Fergana Valley and borders with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
The security situation is tense and there is a possibility of violent clashes and civil unrest in:
- areas south and west of Osh
- throughout the Fergana Valley
- along the borders with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
There are landmines in the areas bordering Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Use officially recognized border crossings only, as landmines may be present in uncontrolled border areas.
Violent crime is common and criminals (including organized gangs) target foreigners due to their perceived wealth.
Robbery, mugging and pickpocketing occur frequently. Target locations include:
- areas near major hotels
- public transportation, including stations
- currency exchange booths
- shopping centres and markets
The capacity of police to respond to crimes and other incidents is limited.
To minimize the risk of becoming a victim of crime:
- do not walk or travel alone, especially at night
- be vigilant and keep your personal belongings, including passports and other documents, secure
- don’t show signs of affluence
- avoid carrying large sums of money
Tactics used by criminals
Men posing as police (in uniform) have committed robberies. If you’re approached by a man in a police uniform, ask to see his police credentials.
Men posing as “meet and greet” airport facilitators lure unsuspecting foreigners into cars and demand money. Make prior arrangements with your contacts and ask for identification upon arrival. Don’t leave the airport with anyone who does not show you their identification.
Bars and night clubs
Foreign men are targets for theft in bars, nightclubs and other drinking establishments. You may be approached by one or more women who want to go to your hotel room or apartment. The woman will then seek to provide access to your accommodation to men she is working with. In these situations, you could be robbed, physically assaulted and possibly blackmailed.
To minimize safety risks at night, call a reputable taxi service in advance before leaving popular restaurants and places of recreation. Foreigners on foot, travelling alone or in small groups at night have been followed and robbed.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave your food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as the items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Credit card, Internet and ATM fraud is common.
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Uzbekistan’s land border crossings are open to citizens of some countries, including Canada, but are closed to Kyrgyz citizens. Uzbek authorities may restrict access to border crossings with Kazakhstan without warning. Confirm that border posts are open if travelling between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Avoid public transportation. It is unsafe due to poor maintenance and reckless driving practices.
Use only officially marked taxis. Ask the driver to use the meter or pre-negotiate the fare. Do not share a ride with strangers.
Drive defensively, as traffic accidents are a common cause of death and injury. Roads are poorly maintained and inadequately lit, and traffic regulations are often ignored.
There are few gas stations outside of the cities of Bishkek and Osh. Ensure that you have an adequate supply of gasoline when travelling outside these cities.
Travel on the road between Almaty and Bishkek is difficult because of the many checkpoints set up on the road.
Roads to Tashkent are hazardous in winter.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General safety information
Tourist facilities are not highly developed. Plan ahead to minimize safety risks.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Kyrgyz authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 8 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Kyrgyz Republic.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required (for stays up to 60 days)
Business visa: Not required (for stays up to 60 days)
Student visa: Not required (for stays up to 60 days)
Transit visa: Not required
To visit for longer than 60 days, Canadians must obtain a visa. Depending on the type of visit, you may be eligible for an e-visa.
More about the Kyrgyzstan’s e-visa - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan
If you plan to stay in Kyrgyzstan for longer than 60 days, you must register at a State Registration Service Passport Desk (in Russian) within 5 work days following your arrival.
If you cannot provide proof of registration when you are leaving the country, local authorities will fine you and prevent you from leaving until your fine is paid. Generally, you will be directed to a bank to pay the fine. Officers should not ask you to pay them directly.
If you are travelling onward to China from Kyrgyzstan, you must obtain special permission from Chinese authorities
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
- There are no updates at this time.
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
- Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
- It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
- It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
- Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
- A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
- Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)?
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Asia, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Health care is limited and of poor quality in rural areas. Some common medications and medical equipment may not be available or may be restricted.
Medical bills could be twice as high for foreigners as they are for a local. If you do not speak Kyrgyz or Russian, you will need an interpreter to deal with clinic or hospital staff.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need medical evacuation to a destination with adequate facilities.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
You must carry photo identification, such as your valid passport. Police regularly carry out identification checks and you could be arrested if you’re stopped and you don’t have ID on you.
Keep a legally certified copy of your visa, registration and passport with you at all times. Keep your passport and visa in safekeeping facilities. You should also have digital copies of all your travel documents.
You must carry an international driving permit.
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. The blood alcohol limit is 0.00%.
More about the International Driving Permit
Illegal or restricted activities
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Photographing military installations or government buildings may result in a penalty. Seek permission from local authorities before taking such photographs.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in the Kyrgyz Republic.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
Dress and behaviour
Although Kyrgyzstan is a secular country, locals closely adhere to Islamic practices and beliefs, particularly in rural areas. To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
Although Kyrgyz law doesn’t prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, homosexuality is not socially tolerated. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Kyrgyzstan.
The currency is the Kyrgyzstani som (KGS).
The economy is primarily cash-based.
Declare foreign currency upon entry. You can’t leave with more foreign money than you brought in.
Convert Kyrgyzstani soms into euros or U.S. dollars before leaving the country, as you will not be able to do so after departure.
ATMs are widely available in Bishkek but may be limited in rural areas.
Credit cards are accepted in major hotels, some restaurants and most banks.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Kyrgyzstan is in an active seismic zone and the risk of tremors is very high.
Avalanches and landslides are common in mountainous areas, particularly in the spring. They can be hazardous and can block road access.
General information and safety precautions in case of an emergency situation - Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Kyrgyz Republic
Dial 112 for emergency assistance or:
- 101 in case of fire
- 103 for medical emergencies
- 102 for police
Bishkek - Consulate of Canada
Astana - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Astana, Kazakhstan, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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