- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions.
- Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- Police and military presence is high on the streets. Security officials may carry out identity checks at any time. You should carry identification at all times and ensure travel documents are in order.
- We strongly advise you not to travel to the region bordering Afghanistan because of ongoing political and civil unrest in Afghanistan.
- The regions bordering Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan, areas of the Caspian coast and Dashoguz are designated restricted zones and are closed to foreigners without government permission.
- Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Turkmenistan. The Australian Embassy in Russia provides consular assistance to Australians in Turkmenistan.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued.
Entry and exit
A visa is required for all travellers to Turkmenistan, including transit passengers. It is not possible to obtain a visa on arrival.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact an embassy or consulate of Turkmenistan, for example the Turkmenistan Embassy in Washington DC (email: email@example.com) for the most up-to-date information.
Visas for Turkmenistan specify the validity of the visa, the number of entries permitted and the duration of stay permitted. You are only allowed to stay in Turkmenistan for the number of days specified on the visa.
You should ensure you hold the appropriate visa in relation to your visit to Turkmenistan, especially for business and work visas. Ensure that your passport number, date of birth and validity of your visa are correctly marked on the visa before travelling. Penalties for visa infringements, including over-staying your visa period, include fines, imprisonment and/or deportation.
You will be required to pay a migration fee on arrival and departure. If you are carrying any foreign currencies, you will need to complete customs declarations forms both on arrival and on departure.
In any location you visit for three days or more, you will need to register your entry and departure with local authorities. This is usually completed by your local hotel, travel agent, employer or private host through their local Turkmenistan State Service for the Registration of Foreigners (SSRF).
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.
Turkmenistan/Afghanistan border: We strongly advise you not to travel to the region bordering Afghanistan because of the extremely dangerous security situation and very high threat of terrorist attack in Afghanistan. This region is a transit point for drugs and other smuggled goods.
If, despite our advice not do to so, you decide to travel to these border regions, you should monitor developments as the security situation may deteriorate without notice.
Civil unrest/political tension
You should avoid any large public gatherings or political demonstrations as they may turn violent.
Petty crime targeting foreigners, including pickpocketing, mugging and theft, occurs throughout Turkmenistan particularly on trains (commonly on overnight rail services) and in markets.
Travellers have been robbed when using unofficial taxis. You should seek assistance from staff at hotels, restaurants or places of entertainment to book a licensed taxi.
Crime levels are higher at night. You should avoid walking alone and avoid using public transport after dark.
Women can be subjected to verbal and physical harassment. You should take care when travelling alone and pay attention to your immediate surroundings.
There have been reports of harassment, mistreatment and extortion by police or other local officials.
Gangs of bandits are known to operate in the south-east area of the country.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan is predominantly a cash economy and travellers’ cheques are only accepted in some major hotels. There are no ATMs in Turkmenistan. The official currency is the Turkmen Manat (TMM). US dollars are readily exchanged. To avoid difficulties, ensure banknotes are in good condition. You should exchange any unspent local currency prior to departure as you may not be able to exchange it outside Turkmenistan.
Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
The regions bordering Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan, areas of the Caspian coast and Dashoguz are designated restricted zones and are closed to foreigners without government permission.
Road conditions and driving standards are poor. Roads can be particularly hazardous in winter and spring, when avalanches and landslides occur. Driving at night is also particularly dangerous due to a lack of lighting. Access to service stations can be limited in rural areas. For further advice, see our bulletin on Overseas Road Safety.
Random police checks and security checkpoints on roads are common. You should carry a copy of your passport and visa at all times.
Rail travel can be unreliable and dangerous due to criminal activity. If you are travelling overnight, store your valuables in a safe place. Do not leave the compartment unattended and secure the door from the inside.
The use of official taxis and pre-negotiated fees may help to avoid disagreements with taxi drivers.
Airline and air charter safety and maintenance standards vary throughout the world. It is not known whether maintenance procedures and safety standards on aircraft used on internal flights are always properly observed or whether passengers are covered by airline insurance.
For further information, please refer to our Aviation Safety and Security travel bulletin.
When you are in Turkmenistan be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Identity checks, conducted by security officials, are common and you should carry identification with you at all times and ensure all travel documents are in order. Foreigners may be subject to increased security checks and scrutiny from internal security, including questioning and car and home searches.
Penalties for drug offences, including possession, are severe and include lengthy imprisonment in local jails.
Identity checks, conducted by security officials, are common. You should carry identification with you at all times and ensure all travel documents are in order.
Homosexual acts between males are illegal. Penalties include a prison sentence of up to two years.
Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is an offence.
Photography of sensitive sites such as military zones, military assets, military personnel, transportation facilities and government buildings is illegal and may result in confiscation of equipment or detention. You should check with local authorities before taking photographs of government or security infrastructure.
A certificate from the Ministry of Culture is required if you plan to export artefacts or cultural items from Turkmenistan.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Turkmenistan and you should take care not to offend.
Public displays of affection may cause offence.
Information for dual nationals
Turkmenistan does not recognise dual nationality.
The Australian Government may only be able to provide limited consular assistance to Australian/Turkmenistan dual nationals who are arrested or detained and have travelled on their Turkmenistan passport.
Australian/Turkmenistan dual nationals may be required to perform military service in Turkmenistan. Australian/Turkmenistan dual nationals should seek advice from an Embassy or Consulate of Turkmenistan, such as the Turkmenistan Embassy in Washington DC (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) well in advance of travel.
Our Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
Malaria is a risk in some areas in the south-east of Turkmenistan. We encourage you to consider taking prophylaxis against malaria and to take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, polio and hepatitis) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before travelling. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our Travelling Well brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.
Medical facilities are limited in Turkmenistan, with medicines and equipment often in short supply. Doctors and hospitals often require payment in cash prior to providing services, including for emergency care. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. Costs for a medical evacuation could be considerable.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller’s medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For more information see our travel bulletin on avian influenza.
Where to get help
Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Turkmenistan. You can obtain consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Russia:
Australian Embassy, Moscow
10a/2 Podkolokolny Pereulok,
Telephone: +7 (495) 956-6070
Facsimile: +7 (495) 956-6170
If you are travelling to Turkmenistan, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register on-line or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency – whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Turkmenistan is subject to earthquakes. Information on natural disasters, including earthquakes and volcanic activity, can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service.
If you are in an area affected by a natural disaster, you should monitor the media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Australians are advised to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
Adults travelling with children may be required to show evidence of parental, custodial and/or access rights, as well as a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent. You should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Turkmenistan for up-to-date information.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments. You should exercise the same precautions you would take before placing children into schools or childcare facilities in Australia.
For general information and tips on travelling with children, see our Travelling with Children brochure.