Logistics

Red tape in the regions through which we intend to travel is abundant, and securing the correct visas, permits and letters of invitation can be troublesome (and pricey).

We intend to update this page as we go, in order to summarize our experiences, and hopefully lend some assistance to others’ trips.

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china flag  CHINA

Relatively straightforward nowadays for a visa. A letter of Invitation (LOI) is not always required, as long as you have a detailed itinerary. 30-day visa issued within 5 days from most embassies.

Land border crossings can be lengthy affairs and a point to note, that the customs for the crossing into Kyrgyzstan via the Irkeshtam pass is inconveniently situated some 120km from the border.

 

kyrg KYRGYZSTAN

No visa required for many passport holders, including most EU countries, USA, and Australia. Full list here. A relatively easy place to enter, exit and travel through in the context of central Asia.

 

tajik TAJIKISTAN

If you’re flying into Dushanbe, you can be issued a tourist visa on arrival. If you are entering the country at land borders, then you will need to pre-arrange a visa. This can be done from any Tajik embassy, without the need for an LOI. Cost is around $60 and it takes a week to process or $80 for a 2/3 day urgent service.

GBAO Permit: If you want to travel on the Pamir Highway you need this permit. It can be issued with the visa or separately (cheaper if both are done together). However, this can be a fairly troublesome aspect of travel in Tajikistan. The permits are occasionally not issued, and borders to and from the Pamir Highway can be closed without notice. Check before heading off.

 

Uzbek UZBEKISTAN

A fairly long-winded process. Firstly an LOI must be obtained, which can be arranged through an agent (we used Stan Tours, and they were very good). This takes 10-14 days to obtain and costs $40-$70. The visa application form will be completed with the LOI. Once LOI paperwork and application form is received, the visa can be issued in a single sitting at whichever embassy you have stated in your LOI application. Visa is another $75 payable to the embassy.

One other note regarding Uzbekistan is the requirement to register every day you are travelling in the country. This could be a bit of a hassle (particularly if cycle touring), bu there are means of avoiding this which allow for free camping; by organising an itinerary though a travel agent (again, we used Stan Tours).

 

Kazak KAZAKHSTAN

An alarmingly straightforward and cheap process. Download and fill out the application form from the embassy website. Submit to a Kazakh embassy, wait 3-4 days, pay (via a nearby bank) $30, and collect 3 month tourist visa.

Since our visit to Kazakhstan, visa restrictions have relaxed. It is now possible to  obtain a 15-day visa at the border, upon arrival (for EU passport holders).

 

azer flag AZERBAIJAN 

This caused us massive problems, and we were ultimately unsuccessful, Allowing for plenty of time for this will increase your chances of success on this one.

An e-visa system is in place and the cost is $120 each and requires five (5) weeks processing time. In reality, it takes a lot longer and after 8 weeks we still did not have ours – with no reliable information as to whether we were indeed going to get it.

 

gEORGIAGEORGIA

Easy. Visa on arrival for EU and Australian passport holders.

 

turkey flag TURKEY

Tourist visa completed online prior to arrival for between $25 – $45 depending on nationality. Print out and take the visa to the border crossing,

 

greece flagGREECE

Easy. Visa on arrival for EU and Australian passport holders.

 

Egypt flag EGYPT

We did not arrived via one of the ports, and so the process was far easier than it should have been. If arriving via airports, visa is available upon arrival (for EU and Australian passports) for a fee of $25.

Arrival via the ports of Alexandria or Port Said can be complicated and expensive. A ‘Fixer’ is essential for this process.

 

SUDANSUDAN

Can be problematic, or at least long-winded. We obtained ours in Cairo and the whole process took three days – and four visits – to the Sudanese embassy. We obtained a 2-month visa, and needed a recommendation letter from British or Australian embassy in Cairo, an invitation letter from within Sudan (we used a tour company), 2 x passport photos, a photocopy of our passports, $100 each, and some patience.

We met Folks who also managed to obtain theirs in Aswan, although only a 1-month visa was available.

Once in we also obtained our mandatory registration at the local police station, which cost an extra $45 each.

ETHIOPETHIOPIAN

Easy. Obtained within two hours at the Ethiopian embassy in Khartoum. $20 each, 2x passport photos, photocopies, and a hotel name and address required to obtain a 3-month tourist visa.

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