I had my last day of work this past Thursday. After the visit to the Cannstatter Volksfest (thanks Markus for organizing!) on Wednesday night it was supposed to be a quiet day. This mostly worked out fine, except just before lunch I got a phone call from my customer that the latest software release wasn’t working. Great news! After about 45 minutes on the phone we figured out what had happened, and so my last software delivery went through just fine. What a relief!
After the mixed news I got last week, it is time to rejoice once again! Ten days earlier than expected I today received my passport back from the Iranian consulate in Munich with a travel visa valid for 30 days. So the only uncertainty which remains is the LOI for Turkmenistan.
In order to obtain a visa for Turkmenistan I need a letter of invitation (LOI) from the Turkmen government. I contacted the travel agency in Ashgabat to get a status of the LOI on September 8, in order to check whether they had started the procedure as discussed previously. The procedure for obtaining the LOI was started on September 2. So this is great news.
Happy news from the visa front: earlier than expected, I found a letter from the Uzbek consulate in the mail yesterday. For some reason I feared there would be an issue with overlapping visas, but apparently this does not seem to be one after all. So what did I do to get the visa?
- Fill in the on-line form at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, print the resulting PDF file and add a photo to that form.
- Write a nice letter asking for a visa
- Add a registered and stamped return envelope
- Add my passport
- Send prove of money transfer for the visa request
and that was it!
The next step now is to request a tourist visa for Iran. I double checked the visa requirements on the website of the Iranian consulate in Munich (which is the one to contact if you live in Southern Germany) and it seems that there is no need to involve a travel agent. All the travel agent does, is to request a reference number with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which takes between 3 and 7 days. The consulate in Munich also performs this request and it takes 5 days. Thus there is not really any gain, except if I would ask for an express visa. In that case, the consulate performs the remaining activities in 2 instead of 10 days.
Tomorrow I will mail my passport with the following information to the Iranian consulate:
- Filled in visa request form, which you can find here
- Two photos
- Registered and stamped return envelope
- Prove for the money transfer for the visa request
Hope this works as well as the previous two visas!
My first goal is achieved! After two and a half weeks I got my passport back from the Kyrgyz consulate in Frankfurt.
The next visa in my queue is the Uzbek visa. My research led to the information that the Uzbek consulate does not require a letter of invitation for Swiss citizens. Thus the requirements for the visa are the same as for the Kyrgyz visa: completed application form with photo, passport, return envelope and that’s it. Let’s wait and see how things will work out.
A big trip starts with a lot of planning and eventually some first actions. Since I’ve been back from my vacation in the west, I’ve kept busy organizing last items to be moved to my parents place and asking around for the visa situation. Here is my result on the visas:
- Iran: The visa is only valid for 3 months from the date it is issued. Therefor I am too early, since my plan is to travel through Iran in November
- Turkmenistan: A tourist visa requires booking a tour or a guide through an approved travel agent. I’ll double check the situation with the consulate
- Uzbekistan: The tourist visa requires a travel voucher. I will check with the consulate what exactly this document is.
- Kyrgyzstan: Only the visa form with a photo, payment and the passport are required
So the Kyrgyz visa will be first to be organized, so I can clarify the requirements with the Turkmen and Uzbek consulates.