Security and Personal Safety, Local Police
SecurityUzbekistan is one of few countries of the former Soviet Union where low crime is an indisputable fact. The strong Government has made the issue of security a top priority: effective law enforcement and the general obedience of citizens have resulted in safety and peace across the country. Though neighboring Afghanistan is still suffering consequences of war, Uzbekistan has been able to protect itself, its people and arriving guests from the terrorism threats at all times, even before terror strikes in the US, when the Taliban Movement was on the peak of its power. Now, it is much safer to travel in Uzbekistan these days than in many world's famous tourist destinations.
Dealing with Uzbek PoliceAll guests (except for tourist groups) are recommended to have their passports on them at all times. It is advised to make copies of your passports and visas, and keep them as well. If stopped by the police, you will have to show them the passports and follow them to the police station should they demand it. For such cases it is strongly desirable to have phone numbers of your respective Embassy and the travel company/person who sponsored your visa. It is also advisable to keep your travel company or agent informed on your whereabouts and future plans.
Since recently, the Uzbek Government has introduced a special department of Tourist Police which is equipped with officers who can speak foreign languages. They are patrolling popular tourist zones and monuments to help tourists in any matter if it is needed.
Protecting Your PropertySimple rules should be observed when you walk on the streets, for example, not displaying large sums of money; carrying cash in a safe money belt; using hotel safes as much as possible for keeping passports, tickets and valuables (this is applied to visitors in groups, individuals may need to have their passports at hand all the time).
You should avoid the local gypsies (so called lyullih) who gather near big sights and beg. If they approach, you should not stop for them and keep a firm hold of your possessions.
If you have your property stolen, report it to the local police for insurance policies. Visitors in groups should fully rely on local 'through' guides to deal with the police.
Personal SafetyThe greatest danger faced by foreigners is that posed by pickpockets and petty thieves. Like in any country it is advisable to hand over belongings that are demanded with menace.
Women are unlikely to encounter sexual harassment, though they should ignore curb-crawlers and avoid taking a taxi alone at night. They should not go out alone late at night either.
There is a certain threat to people on the street posed by careless drivers. Visitors, especially when in groups, should carefully follow instructions of their guide while crossing roads, especially major motorways.
Embassies and ConsulatesThose who intend to stay in Uzbekistan for longer than a month are advised to register with their Embassy/consulate. If visitors are hospitalized, robbed, imprisoned or otherwise rendered helpless, consular officials will help make arrangements, find an interpreter or at least offer advice. Also, they can re-issue passports or, in some emergency cases, provide money to get visitors home.
Areas Closed for VisitingAt times, Uzbek authorities announce some provinces or districts either closed or limited for foreigners. Such measures are usually taken to ensure safety of the visitors or for reasons of national security. Also, in order to visit some districts or regions of the country, foreigners may need a special permission from the National Security Service or Border Control. Usually, this applies to some border provinces or districts. Before visiting such areas, please, contact your travel agent.
It is prohibited to take pictures of airports, railway and subway stations. Also, it is not recommended to take photos while crossing border controls or moving through railway bridges.