The Uzbekistan visa office in Bishkek is infamous for its scary totalitarian staff, ludicrous appointment system and administrative nightmares but it’s all very doable if you get organised.
Most EU nationalities do not require a letter of invitation (Ireland does) which can be obtained through a number of Uzbek agencies. However, a lot of travellers applying in Bishkek end up paying for an LOI anyway ($30-60 depending on the agent) as it makes the visa appointment process a lot less arduous.
Our LOIs were organised by Luxury Asia Travel in Tashkent who were really great to deal with and even filled out the online application forms for us and sent them as PDFs for us to simply print off. The LOIs took about 6 working days to get and only cost 20$ each but we also have to stay at one of the agencies associated hotels for a night during our stay in the country.
Caravansistan quoted around 60$ just for the LOI…
The Uzbek embassy has very recently (June 2016) changed address and it is now in a gated commune next to the right of the new Oxford International School on Manas Avenue.
Everyone gets told to come at 10am and there was a fairly big group of travellers already waiting at the commune gate when we arrived at 9:50. So either arrive early and wait or don’t bother turning up until 11am. The guard on the gate speaks no English and operates an irregular 1 in 1 out system.
You need to have 1 passport photo, a copy of your application form completed online and printed off, your LOI document and photocopies of your passport page and Kyrgyz entry stamp.
The visa staff are not the friendliest but speak good English. After waiting for an hour and a half we were permitted into the embassy and handed over our paperwork.
We were told we needed to make payment at the nearest KiCB bank situated here (a 10 min cycle or fair walk away):
The bank closes for lunch between 12-1 and annoyingly the embassy closes 1-2pm. We turned up at 12:05 but Paddy managed to charm the ladies there into letting him in, they even let him off on the transaction commission fee!!
It was all pretty straight forward after paying the bank fee and we walked away with out 30 day visa before lunch.