Money, Payments, Currency Exchange
Banks, ATMsThere is a number of Banks, including Government-owned and private ones, where visitors can cash travelers cheques or credit cards.
Foreigners are recommended to use NBU, National Bank of Uzbekistan has its branches in all provinces and major cities of Uzbekistan. Working hours are from 9.00a.m. to 6.00p.m. Visitors are usually received till 12.00p.m.
A fast and safe way of transferring cash to/from Uzbekistan is Western Union or similar Money Transfer systems.
Currency ExchangeAs of 2018, Uzbekistan is still a country of limited foreign exchange convertibility. According to law, foreign currency may only be sold at authorized Exchange Offices (available in most hotels, banks and airports).
Attention: selling/purchasing foreign exchange elsewhere or using foreign currency as means of payment is a criminal offense in Uzbekistan!
It is strongly advised to exchange foreign currency at official offices or discuss the foreign exchange matters with your travel agent or the tour guide/driver who is accompanying you during the trip.
After you turned your currency into Uzbek soums (UZS), you can with no effort change it back to dollars, euro or roubles. The Uzbek soum is fully convertible both ways.
You can withdraw foreign currency cash from your plastic card (credit/debit). Usually, this is done at the cash desk of major banks.
ATMsThere are ATMs at big hotels and major banks; they offer a chance to get hard currency in cash, but usually in smaller amounts (from 50 to 100 dollars).
A passport has to be shown when changing money at official exchange offices if a certain limit is excessed. Foreign bank notes with visible defects or marks are not accepted at the exchange.
Local CurrencyThe Uzbek currency is called Soum. The higher denominations of soums are available in bank notes, lower, called tiyin, are in coins. One soum is 100 tiyins. Coints and notes come in denominations of 1000, 5 000, 10 000, 50 000, 100 000 and 200 000 soums (as of Nov 2022) Of them, notes smaller than 1000 soums are essentially valueless.
Soums are the sole legal currency in Uzbekistan. Restaurants, cafes and hotels accept Uzbek soums only. In some tourist-oriented places like hotels, restaurants etc. you can pay directly with your Visa/Mastercard in USD. This option, however, is very limited.
All cash payments must be in soums. Uzbekistan is a country where both cash and non-cash (card) payments are equally developed.
Plastic cards are taken in most shops and air ticketing agencies though they are only available to the residents or foreigners who open local bank accounts.