Uzbekistan - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, currency, language, health, local time, business hours and holidays, acceptable business etiquette, dress, business cards, gifts, temporary entry of materials and personal belongings, etc.

Last published date: 2020-10-14

Business Customs:

Tashkent is a cosmopolitan city where most modern dress is accepted.  However, local norms for dress in bazaars, the old part of Tashkent, and outside the city tend toward traditionally modest styles.  Visiting business people should wear business attire for official meetings; business casual wear is appropriate for most social situations, and casual attire is acceptable for sightseeing and shopping.  Uzbekistanis take pleasure in giving and receiving gifts.  Inexpensive gifts do not have to be wrapped, while expensive ones should be.  If giving flowers, it is important to give an odd number, as even numbers are only for funerals.

Obtaining an appointment with government officials can be difficult. Persistence and patience are essential. If possible, print business cards and company literature in Uzbek or Russian.  It is important to learn the titles of those with whom you plan to meet; such distinctions are important in Uzbekistani culture. Only close friends or relations refer to one another by their first name.

Travel Advisory:

Please refer to the State Department consular information sheet for detailed information.

Visa requirements:

A valid passport and visa are required to enter Uzbekistan.  Although invitations from a sponsoring organization or individual are not officially required for American citizens applying for short-term visas, the de facto practice of the Government of Uzbekistan is to request invitation letters.  Visas are issued by Uzbekistan’s embassies and consulates abroad, but e-visas may also be obtained online for citizens from qualifying countries, including the United States, using the form found at https://e-visa.gov.uz.  Visitors coming from countries where Uzbekistan does not have diplomatic or consular representation should obtain visas in a third country.  The Embassy has received a number of reports from American citizens who have had problems obtaining Uzbekistani visas or who received Uzbekistani visas valid for a very limited period.  Americans seeking visas for purposes of trade or investment are encouraged to apply for their visas well in advance of their intended travel and to request a visa for multiple entries with a validity  of one year.  Failure to make such a request may result in a visa valid for less than three months in duration and often with only a single entry permitted.  It is important to note that Uzbekistan’s visas indicate not only the validity of the visa, but also the period of time a person is allowed to stay in Uzbekistan on a given trip. Short-stay visas upon arrival to foreign passengers traveling in transit for a period of 72 hours were introduced in May 2018.

Further visa information is available from the Consular Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 1746 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.  20036-1903; telephone: (202) 887-5300; fax: (202) 293-6804; website: www.uzbekistan.org; or from the Consulate General of Uzbekistan in New York City, 801 Second Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10017; telephone:  (212) 754-7403; fax: (212) 838-9812; website: https://www.uzbekconsulny.org/page/658?language=en.

U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s):  State Department Visa Website.

Currency:

Uzbekistan’s law requires transactions to be in the local currency, the soum. The largest denomination bill is 100,000 soum (about $10 as of April 2020). Some vendors and merchants, however, may accept payments in U.S. dollars.


Credit cards are not widely accepted in Uzbekistan, although major hotels, larger restaurants, and larger supermarkets in Tashkent are increasingly likely to accept Visa credit cards.  Only a limited number of ATMs are available in large hotels and banks in Tashkent, although the number is growing.  Travelers checks cannot be used in Uzbekistan.

Telecommunications/Electronics:

The public telephone networks of Uzbekistan have more than two million subscribers to fixed services and about 23 million to cellular mobile services.  Uztelecom, the national carrier, and Buzton, the digital network operator, provide fixed telephone services.  In Uzbekistan, the power sockets are of type C and F.  The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.


Five operators provide cellular mobile services.  They operate on the GSM and CDMA standards.  The two largest cellular communication providers – Beeline and Ucell – provide roaming with the United States.  The national data transfer network is owned by the UZNET branch of Uztelecom.  There are about 700 Internet service operators.  The average speed of download in mobile internet is 11.78 Mbps and upload is 6.85 Mbps. Fixed broadband internet offers 28.52 Mbps download and 27.53 Mbps upload speed.  Wi-Fi is available in most hotels and shopping malls in Tashkent and in large hotels in major tourist sites.

Transportation:

Uzbekistan Airways (HY - https://www.uzairways.com/en) is the flag carrier of Uzbekistan.  In addition to HY, Turkish Airlines, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Aeroflot and other airlines from former Soviet countries fly to Tashkent.  HY links Tashkent with international destinations including London, Paris, New York, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Moscow, Delhi, Tel Aviv, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Seoul and Beijing.  Korean Air and Asiana provide service to Seoul; Turkish Airlines flies to Istanbul. HY and Aeroflot fly to a large number of CIS destinations. HY was a long-time monopolist on all domestic flights, but Humo Airlines has recently been created as a competitor.

The National Railway Company of Uzbekistan, Uzbekiston Temir Yollari (UTY - http://www.railway.uz/en/), is the monopoly provider of passenger rail services.  UTY operates the national railroad system, which connects most parts of the country with Tashkent.  Comfort and service vary depending on the destination.  In 2012, UTY launched a new fast train from Tashkent to Samarkand, Bukhara, and other destinations, which offers comfortable accommodations on modern Spanish-made high-speed trains.  Tickets on the fast train very often sell out weeks to months in advance during the April-June tourist season.

Road travel is a widely used option due to relatively well developed networks and a large number of privately owned automobiles.  Tour companies use Chinese and used European buses.  Tashkent has Central Asia’s first subway system, with three lines connecting different parts of the city.

Language:

The official language of Uzbekistan is Uzbek.  Although Russian is still commonly used, business and public sector officials can increasingly speak English.  Interpreters are broadly available and vary in skill and experience.

Health:

Food and waterborne diseases such as Salmonella, Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid and Meningitis are common.  Travelers are advised to drink only bottled/boiled water and to eat only fruits and vegetables that have been cooked and peeled.  Undercooked meat should be avoided as well.  Due to poor sanitation and power shortages resulting in poor refrigeration, travelers should avoid eating unpasteurized dairy products and food sold on the street.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all visitors to Uzbekistan update their routine immunizations prior to traveling.  For those with specific health concerns, and for the latest health and medical information pertinent to Uzbekistan, visit the CDC website for more information: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/ before traveling.

Local time, business hours, and holidays:

There is a single standard time zone in Uzbekistan, which is +5 hours GMT; Uzbekistan does not observe daylight savings time.  During U.S. daylight saving time (March-November), Uzbekistan is Eastern Standard Time +9 hours.  The remainder of the year Uzbekistan is EST +10 hours.  Business hours are generally from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The most common times to find employees working are from 10:00 a.m.  to 6:00 p.m.  In the rural provinces, the workday finishes earlier.

2020 Uzbekistan Holidays:

  • January 1                             New Year’s Day
  • March 8                                Women’s Day
  • March 21-23                         Navruz
  • May 9                                   Remembrance Day
  • May 23-24                            Eid Ramadan (Eid al-Fitr)
  • July 31                                 Kurbon Hayit (Eid al-Adha)
  • September 1                        Independence Day
  • October 1                             Teacher’s Day
  • December 8                         Constitution Day
  • December 31                       New Year’s Day

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings:

Materials and personal belongings of high value, including large quantities of cash (over $2,000), need to be declared.  It is prohibited to import (or transit with) narcotics, pornography, counterfeit items, explosive materials and drones. Uzbekistan’s customs authorities may also enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import or export from Uzbekistan of items such as chemicals, armaments and ammunition, space technology, encryption devices, X-ray and isotope equipment, nuclear materials, poisons, drugs, precious and semi-precious metals, nullified securities, and pieces of art and antiques of historical value.  It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Washington, D.C. or the Consulate of Uzbekistan in New York for specific information regarding customs requirements for materials and personal belongings.