Fire and rescue services
Call 03 or go to the hospital.
Call 02 or go to the local police station.
Exercise normal safety precautions in Turkmenistan overall.
Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Crime in Turkmenistan includes:
The risk is higher:
People travelling in unofficial taxis have been robbed.
To protect yourself from crime in taxis:
Crime risks are higher for women. The risk of crime is also higher at night.
To protect yourself from crime:
Police and other local officials have reportedly harassed, mistreated and extorted foreigners. Ask for identification if you are unsure the person is an official.
Bandit gangs are active in the south-eastern area of the country.
The security situation is extremely dangerous in the region bordering Afghanistan due to:
The security situation could get worse without warning.
We are extremely limited in the consular help we can provide to Australians in these border regions.
If you travel to this region despite our advice, monitor local and international media for updates.
Earthquakes are a higher risk in the south-west and north-east regions.
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
Flooding can occur in the Chardzhou region.
To stay safe during a natural disaster or severe weather:
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Some sleeping tablets and medications containing codeine are controlled in Turkmenistan.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Turkmenistan. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Declare all prescription medication and other restricted items on arrival.
Ask DFAT to authenticate medical documents if needed.
You could be refused entry, prosecuted or charged if you:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
Get urgent medical attention if you suspect food poisoning, or if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Medical facilities are limited in Turkmenistan.
Medicines and equipment are often in short supply.
You may need to pay cash up-front to doctors and hospitals, even for emergency care.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll be evacuated to a place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Always carry ID. Security officials often ask for proof of identity.
Internal security may target foreigners with extra security checks and increased scrutiny. Internal security may question you or search your home or car.
Penalties for drug offences are severe. They can include long prison sentences.
In Turkmenistan it's illegal to:
It's also illegal to take photos of sensitive sites, such as:
Always check with local authorities before taking photos of government or security infrastructure.
Penalties can be severe and can include:
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Turkmenistan doesn't recognise dual nationality. The government prohibits dual citizenship for all adults.
If you're a dual citizen and you travel on your Turkmen passport, this limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained.
Always travel on your Australian passport.
Australian-Turkmen dual nationals may be required to perform military service in Turkmenistan.
If you're a dual national, seek advice from an embassy or consulate of Turkmenistan before you travel.
Obvious displays of affection, even between married couples, may offend. Police may harass or detain you. Avoid public displays of affection.
The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan will be from late April to late May in 2020. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time.
Avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and around people who are fasting.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
You need a visa to enter Turkmenistan, even if you're just transiting.
You must get a visa before you arrive.
Make sure you have the right visa for the purpose of your visit, especially for business and work visas.
Before you travel, make sure your visa has the correct:
Turkmen visas specify:
You can only stay in Turkmenistan for the number of days shown on your visa.
There are penalties for infringing your visa, including:
Transit visa holders must:
You can't change a transit visa to another class of visa once you're in Turkmenistan.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
There is no embassy or consulate of Turkmenistan in Australia. See the Turkmenistan Government's list of embassies and consular offices.
When you arrive, you must:
If you don't register, or if you stay in Turkmenistan with an expired visa, you may face:
All foreign citizens, except accredited diplomats, must pay a tourist fee for each day of their stay. Your hotel may include the fee in your bill.
Adults travelling with a child may need evidence of parental, custodial or access rights. They may also need a letter of consent from any non-travelling parent.
Customs rules control the import or export of:
You need a certificate from the Carpet Museum in central Ashgabat to export carpets from Turkmenistan. It must show that the carpet has no historical value. You may be able to get this certificate in some private shops.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The official currency is the Turkmen Manat (TMM).
Declare any foreign currency when you arrive and depart.
Turkmenistan is largely a cash-based economy.
Traveller's cheques are only accepted in some major hotels.
There are very few ATMs in Ashgabat, and none outside the capital city.
US dollars can be readily exchanged. Make sure banknotes are in good condition and aren't counterfeit. Only use authorised foreign exchange providers.
Exchange any unspent local currency before you leave. You may not be able to exchange local currency outside Turkmenistan.
You must have a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Turkmenistan.
Designated restricted zones are closed to foreigners who don't have government permission. These zones include:
Road conditions and driving standards are poor.
Avalanches and landslides can make road conditions dangerous, particularly during winter and spring.
Driving at night is dangerous due to a lack of lighting.
Access to service stations can be limited in rural areas.
Random police checks and security checkpoints on roads are common. Carry certified copies of your passport and visa.
Only use licensed, official taxis. These are yellow and clearly identified.
Negotiate your fare with the driver before you travel to avoid disagreement.
Rail travel can be unreliable and dangerous due to criminal activity.
To protect yourself on trains:
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Turkmenistan's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Call 03 or go to the hospital.
Call 02 or go to the local police station.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in Turkmenistan. The Australian Embassy in Russia provides consular assistance to Australians in Turkmenistan.
10a/2 Podkolokolny Pereulok,
Phone: +7 495 956 6070
Fax: +7 495 956 6170
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.