Status Update:

Current location: Bochum / Germany

50 countries, 1226 days, trip mileage: 124200 km

7 Aug 2008

Tajik Bureaucracy

Tajikistan - Waiting for the OVIR registration in Dushanbe

Like most other former Soviet Republics, Tajikistan still has some rather annoying & unnecessary bureaucracy in place, an example of which is that every visitor has to register with the local authorities (the ‘OVIR’, a modern version of the ‘KGB’) within 5 days of entering the country. Considering the awful road conditions, I’m glad we actually made it to Dushanbe in time.

So, off to the OVIR office, queue up & fight off the locals who’re trying to jump the queue, show our passports, pay the registration fee & be happy, right? Wrong! Tourists are not allowed to register themselves personally. Instead, they have to go through one of the local tourist agencies – off course, for yet another fee!

So thanks to yet another prime example of Soviet bureaucracy (and an exercise in madness), what should have taken 10-15 minutes ended up taking 3 full days. On day three, after several hours of waiting in the tourist agency’s front garden (we were told to come at 4pm), we finally get our passports & registration certificate back, 7pm.

(Note: In theory one should register again upon entering Tajikistan’s autonomous region of Gorno-Badakshan, in either Murghab or Khorog. We didn’t do this, and had no problems when exiting Tajikistan. The only thing they asked for at the border was the initial registration paperwork. If you’re coming from Kyrgyzstan you’ll probably do the registration in Murghab – take a photocopy of your passport with you, as Murghab has limited electricity & the local OVIR office can’t do photocopies).