Some Info on the Embassies in Dushanbe, as of June 2016.
(for AU tourists). Visitors to Iran, Turkmen, Azeri and Russia… read on.
Iran – tourist visa.
We applied for the LOI through Stantours and were told that this would take 10-12 days from receipt of payment. We paid on a Tuesday night, but the application wasnt lodged until the following Saturday. This had something to do with the fact that Iran doesn’t work on Thursdays or Fridays.
We received notification that our LOI’s had arrived 10 days after lodgement. On the email it said we should wait for three days before applying at the embassy, but Stantours told us to ignore this delay, so we went the next day (Wednesday). At the embassy we were invited into an office and had a short interview, then we were told to come back in 3 days as the embassy hadn’t received our LOI’s yet…
We went back the next day anyway and they had arrived. We then had another hour interview with another man who asked lots of bizarre questions. Then we were told that we had to go and pay the fee at a nearby bank (150 Euros per person!) and to return with the slip before 12.30pm. The bank is about 1.5km north of the embassy, on Rudakai Ave, on your rhs going north, just past the Southern Fried Chicken shop, 10mins walking. We returned at 12pm but they were closed. Very frustrating.
So we had to wait out the long weekend (the embassy is closed Fri-Sun), before finally lodging the documents (3 weeks after paying for the LOI). (Application form, Receipt for payment, 2 photos – headscarfe optional, Passport Copies). They told us to come back the next day at 10, but we asked if it was possible that afternoon. They told us they closed at 4pm, so we went back at 3:30 but… they were already closed. So the next morning we were back at 9:30am, told to wait until 11, and finally got the visa then.
The people at the embassy are relatively polite, if not overwhelmingly helpful. Being told to return before ??pm and finding them closed 30mins earlier was really annoying. Also the second interview was quite strange with some odd questions “Does your husband show you respect” “are you athletes” “can you define athlete for me?” etc. The guy at the front desk speaks no English, Russian and Persian only. The embassy is exactly where google maps puts it.
Turkmenistan – 5 day transit.
You can either apply and then collect from Dushanbe in 7 days, or apply in Dushanbe and get the approval via email, then collect from any other embassy, or at the border. We decided to receive the email and go to the border.
So you fill in the form they give you, hand write an accompanying letter (which they have a sample of in the embassy), provide a passport copy and a copy of the Iran visa. That’s it! Then hopefully the email will arrive in 10 days so you can get the visa at the border for USD$55.
The consul told us we were 100% guaranteed to receive the confirmation email in 10 days, but we nominated 13 days from applying to our entry date just to be sure. Note that the dates are fixed.
Contrary to information given to us by Stantours, the embassy did not need to see our Uzbek visa, and the turnaround time is 10 days for the approval email, or 7 days for collection from Dushanbe.
Not many tour companies will tell you about the option to collect the visa at the border or a different embassy to avoid waiting around for it – i think this is because they want to sell you the tour guide that you need for a tourist visa.
The embassy is not on Google Maps. So… going north on Rudakai Ave, turn left onto Karamov St, then it’s the 2nd on the right, and first on the left.
We only applied today, will amend once the email arrives and we hopefully get into TM!
Azerbaijan Transit Visa
Very helpful consulate, provide application forms, require 2 photos, passport copies and pay the fee at the Orien Bank (USD$20), return with the receipt and 3-5 days later collect the visa. It’s valid for entries across one month, and gives you 5 days transit. Keep in mind that if you’re in your own vehicle, you only get 72 hours from customs for the vehicle before it needs to exit, or be in a customs impound.
Russian Transit Visas
Consulate is where Google says it is, and very helpful once you get inside! So ignore the crowd and push forward to the intercom, shout “visa” into the microphone, repeatedly if needed and they will let you in. There was just one counter that spoke English so we had to wait a bit, but then they need:
Fill the online form and print it, 2 pics, passport copy, 2 blank pages in your passport (that are facing each other!), and the visa fee.
AU passport transit visa costs USD$70, ready in 7 days, or USD$105 express 2-3 days. EU transit visa costs EUR 35 in 5 days, or EUR 70 in 2 days.
They will give you a transit visa that requires you to travel 500km per day. So trip length divided by 500 = transit days.
If you plan to transit from KAZ to Georgia the approval time is 10 days because of instability in that area, and “it takes more time to make sure you aren’t terrorists”.
The Russian embassy in Dushanbe does not issue tourist visas for non Tajik residents (you’d need to show an OVIR registration longer than 30 days).
Hope this helps others!!