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Visas

Lebanon: Most Europeans can get a Lebanese visa free of charge upon arrival at Rafik Hariri International Airport. Or, if you come overland from Syria, you will have to pay 50,000 Lebanese Pounds (approx $35) for a one-month visa. You will not be allowed into Lebanon if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport.

Syria: Contrary to what alot of guidebooks say, it is possible to get both transit (48 hrs) and two-week single-entry Syrian visa at the Syrian-Lebanese border. The costs vary according to your passport: I pay $28 with a French passport, or $12 for a 48-hour transit visa, while out British companions pay $52 for both. You will not be allowed into Syria if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport.

Turkey: Desperate for EU membership, all Europeans can get Turkish visas at the border.

Iran: Most Europeans will need a letter of invitation (LOI). These can be applied for online and cost about 30 Euros. The company that we used was iranianvisa.com. The application took over two weeks, so make sure you leave enough time. After the LOI is issued to the Iranian embassy of your choice, you go to the embassy, pay the visa fee (again, it is cheaper for French than English!), and come back to pick up our visa in 2 working days. We collected ours from the embassy in Beirut without a problem.

Turkmenistan: There are two types of visas for Turkmenistan: a tourist visa and a Transit visa. The former is more expensive, as you are obliged to pay for a government-sponsored guide for every day that you spend in the country. These can be as much as $90-$150 per person per day. Alternatively, opt for the transit visa, which allows a maximum of 5 days in the country. The embassy will only grant you the transit visa if you have already secured an onward visa to a country bordering Tukmenistan (in our case, Uzbekistan). We applied for the visa at the Turkmen embassy in Tehran, and managed to pick it up two weeks later at the Turkmen consulate in Mashhad. With a French passport, the transit visa cost $55.

Uzbekistan: see Uzbekistan visa in Tehran

Kazakhstan: We obtained a Kazakh visa from the embassy in Tashkent. Apply in the morning, collect within 2 working days in the afternoon. One month visa costs $30.

China: Chinese visas are still an ordeal to obtain, despite the easing of restrictions after the end of the Olympics. You will need an airline ticket/booking, as well as a hotel booking for the first week-10 days. We applied and collected our visa in Tashkent. If, like us, you are travelling overland, the best strategy is to go to the office of an airline carrier (for us, Uzbekistan Airways), and make a flight reservation without actually buying the ticket. Normally, they will issue you a reservation that will need to be paid within 48-hours. Tell them that you are waiting for a Western Union transfer or something and are unable to pay immediately, but make sure they give you the print-out confirming the reservation. This will suffice for the Chinese embassy. As for the hotel reservation, you can try to email a hostel and ask them to reply with a confirmation of the reservation, although Im not sure if this will suffice for the Embassy. Alternatively, either electronically doctor-up a past hotel reservation (changing dates on the computer, which is what we did), or make an actual reservation via the internet and a credit card, printing out the confirmation, and then cancelling the reservation, upon which a fee will be deducted, but it will be considerably less than the cost of a week’s worth of hotels! A one-month visa cost $60 for French, $80 for U.K. passports.

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One comment

  1. If you need download uzbekistan visa application



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