Turkmenistan Register Travel insurance Destinations

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Risk level(s)

Risk level(s)

Turkmenistan - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Turkmenistan due to heightened tensions throughout the region and crime.

Border areas with Afghanistan - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to border areas with Afghanistan due to ongoing conflict in that country.

Safety and security situation

Safety and security

Safety and security

Border areas with Afghanistan

The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan border has transit points for drugs and other smuggled goods. The security situation in Afghanistan is extremely unpredictable due to ongoing insurgency, terrorist attacks, kidnapping and a high crime rate. You should not travel near or attempt to cross the border.

Crime

Street crime, such as mugging and pickpocketing, occurs. Acts of banditry occur in remote areas. Remain vigilant and ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure. Dont travel alone, and avoid showing signs of affluence. Alcohol-related incidents, including bar fights and drunk driving, are common. At nightclubs, drinks should never be left unattended, and drinks should never be accepted from unknown people.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Also avoid minority religious gatherings, whose participants have been the target of police raids, arbitrary arrests and beatings.

Curfews

Curfews may be imposed, and areas may be cordoned off on short notice. The violation of a curfew can result in immediate deportation and a ban against returning to Turkmenistan for five years.

Women’s safety

Women should not travel alone in Turkmenistan.

There are sensitivities around relationships between foreign men and local women, and Turkmen authorities are known to take action against both.

Safe-travel guide for women

Road safety

Driving standards are poor. Rural roads are often in disrepair and unlit. Animals frequently wander onto the road. Random traffic police checks and roadblocks are common.

There is no roadside assistance in Turkmenistan.

Public transportation

Don’t travel or use public transportation after dark.

Use only officially marked taxis and pre-negotiate the fare. Avoid shared taxis.

Avoid travel by train, as service is slow and crime is prevalent. If you must travel by train, store your personal belongings in a safe place and do not leave the compartment unattended. Secure your door from the inside.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

Border areas

The border between Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan is currently closed to traffic.

General safety information

There is a significant police and military presence throughout Turkmenistan. Carry your original passport, a photocopy of the passport or other photo ID at all times, as officials frequently request proof of identity. Cooperate with police authorities if stopped for questioning. Leave a photocopy of your passport with a relative or a friend at home.

Security personnel maintain checkpoints on major roads and may place visitors under surveillance. Foreigners are often subjected to questioning and car and home searches. Hotel rooms, telephones, e-mail and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Some foreigners have been detained. 

Tourist facilities are limited, especially outside Ashgabat. Many goods and services are not available.

Entry/exit requirements

Entry/exit requirements

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 Turkmen authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.

Passport

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 6 months beyond the date on your letter of invitation.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

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.

Useful links

Visas

Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Turkmenistan.

Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required

Letter of invitation

You must present a letter of invitation in support of your visa application. Obtain this letter from the person you intend to visit, from the company for which you will be working, or from an authorized travel agency in Turkmenistan. The person/organization inviting you must submit a request to the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan (SMS).

Migration card

You must complete a migration card and pay a migration fee upon arrival at an airport or border crossing. Border officials will provide you with a copy of this card, which you must carry with you and return to border officials upon departure. Failure to produce the card or return it on exit can result in fines and departure delays.

Registration

If you plan to stay for more than three working days, you must register your arrival with the SMS. You must also deregister with the SMS prior to departure. Failure to register properly can result in fines, arrest and/or deportation. If you are deported for these violations, authorities will bar your return to Turkmenistan for up to five years.

Border areas

Areas bordering Iran, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, including the city of Dashoguz and areas of the Caspian coast, are restricted zones. You must obtain permission from the Government of Turkmenistan to travel to these areas. Submit applications to travel to these areas at least 10 working days before your intended date of travel. See the Government of Canada’s travel advisory for travel to the border with Afghanistan.

Health entry requirements

You must produce a negative result on an HIV test certificate if you intend to remain in Turkmenistan for longer than three months.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Health

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

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 professional about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

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

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.

Influenza

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

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.

Polio

There is a risk of polio in this country. 

Recommendations:

  • Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
  • One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult. 
Rabies

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 (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).

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.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* 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.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Food/Water

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
  • 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

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Central Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, malaria, and tick-borne encephalitis.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Asia, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Tuberculosis

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 professional.

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

Avoid medical clinics as they often lack basic drugs and equipment and have poor hygiene standards. Most health-care providers only accept cash payments.

If travelling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Turkmenistan to ensure that the medication is legal in Turkmenistan. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

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.

During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2019, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 5.

Driving

An international driving permit is recommended.

Foreigners residing in Turkmenistan must apply for a local driver’s licence with the Road Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan.

Drinking and driving is strictly forbidden. Drivers may be fined or jailed if any amount of alcohol is detected.

Illegal or restricted activities

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines. 

It is against the law to smoke outside in Turkmenistan, except in designated smoking areas.

Prostitution is illegal. Authorities will generally consider any Turkmen woman leaving a club with a foreign man late at night to be a prostitute. On that basis, the foreigner may be detained.

Avoid publicly discussing politics or criticizing the country’s current and previous leaders.

Photography of military installations, police stations, airports, government buildings and other sensitive sites may result in a penalty. Seek permission from local authorities before taking photographs.

LGBTQ2 travellers

The laws of Turkmenistan prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Turkmenistan.

Canadians with Turkmen citizenship may be subject to national obligations, such as taxes. Check your status with the Embassy of the Republic of Turkmenistan in Washington, D.C., prior to departure.

Dual Turkmen–Canadian citizens are likely to have a difficult time returning to Canada after visiting Turkmenistan, and it might be necessary for them to renounce Turkmen citizenship in order to be allowed to depart. The renunciation process can take six months or longer.

General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Turkmenistan.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Turkmenistan, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship

Canadians with Turkmen citizenship may be subject to national obligations, such as taxes. Check your status with the Embassy of the Republic of Turkmenistan in Washington, D.C., prior to departure.

Dual Turkmen–Canadian citizens are likely to have a difficult time returning to Canada after visiting Turkmenistan, and it might be necessary for them to renounce Turkmen citizenship in order to be allowed to depart. The renunciation process can take six months or longer.

Customs

Declare all foreign currency you bring into the country.

Cultural objects, such as woven carpets and artefacts, must be authenticated by the Ministry of Culture prior to departure. Failure to do so will result in confiscation and/or a fine that may be greater than the value of the item in question.

Money

The currency is the new Turkmenistan manat (TMT). The economy is primarily cash-based. A few hotels and restaurants in Ashgabat accept credit cards (specifically American Express and Visa) and traveller’s cheques in U.S. dollars. U.S. currency and euros can be exchanged into the local currency at banks and exchange bureaus. Since there are few international ATMs in the country, you may find it difficult to obtain cash.

Communication

Satellite phones and other forms of communication are illegal. Cellular reception is poor outside of major cities. Internet connections outside the larger hotels can be unreliable and many social media sites, including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, are blocked. Some messaging Apps, such as WhatsApp, are also blocked.

Natural disasters and climate

Natural disasters & climate

Turkmenistan is located in an active seismic zone.

Heavy rains may trigger floods and landslides.

Assistance

Assistance

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 02 (002 from mobile)
  • medical assistance: 03 (003 from mobile)
  • firefighters: 01 (001 from mobile)

Consular assistance

There is no resident Canadian government office in Turkmenistan. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the Embassy of Canada to Turkey in Ankara.

Ankara - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressCinnah Caddesi No. 58, Çankaya 06690, Ankara, TurkeyTelephone90 (312) 409-2700Fax90 (312) 409-2712EmailANKRA-Consular@international.gc.caInternetwww.turkey.gc.caServicesPassport Services AvailableTwitter@CanEmbTurkeyOther social media @KanadaTurkiye

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Ankara, Turkey, 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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