Kyrgyzstan border crossings and border permit

Our complete guide to crossing the Kyrgyz border in 2024

Nestled in the heart of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is a country with much to offer adventure-seeking travelers. If you are planning to travel to Kyrgyzstan overland, it is essential to know the main border crossings and the border permits required for certain areas considered sensitive or restricted. If you take these requirements into account, you’ll be able to cross the country’s borders easily and safely, while enjoying the magnificent scenery and warm hospitality of the Kyrgyz people.

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Hello! We’re Olivia & Victor, authors of the OunTravela guides.

Over the years, our passion for adventure has led us to create original travel guides sold in over 70 countries worldwide. Our mission is to spread a travel philosophy based on adventure, freedom, improvisation and exploration. Our guides inspire travellers to explore the world’s forgotten paths, encountering wilderness and civilization.

We hope you find this article, based on our own experience, useful.

Enjoy your reading!

Kyrgyzstan shares borders with Kazakhstan, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. For the exact location of border crossings with these countries, see the map below.
Warning: don’t venture into the 5 border zones shown on the map unless you have a border permit, which you can order online here.

carte permis frontalier kirghizistan / map border permit kyrgyzstan

Administrative procedures for entering Kyrgyzstan

Which visa is required to travel to Kyrgyzstan?

Citizens of more than 60 countries, including France, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada, benefit from visa-free travel for stays of up to 60 days.

Please note that certain border areas with Kazakhstan, China and Tajikistan require a border permit, which you can order online here.

Also note that since 2023, it has not been possible to leave and re-enter Kyrgyzstan as easily.

  • If you have used up the 60 days when you leave the country, you must ensure that you spend 60 days outside the country before re-entering Kyrgyzstan under the visa-free regime. If you wish to return earlier, you will need to apply for an e-visa.
  • If you have not used up the 60 days when you leave the country (for example, if you have spent X days in Kyrgyzstan, with X<60), you will have to wait at least X days outside the country before being allowed to re-enter Kyrgyzstan under the visa-free regime. It should also be noted that this exit does not suspend the 60-day period allowed from the date of initial entry into Kyrgyzstan. You will therefore be authorized to stay 60-X days in the country under the visa-free regime. If you wish to return before the X days, you will need to apply for an e-visa.

Entering Kyrgyzstan by land with your vehicle

Along with Armenia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, Kyrgyzstan is a member of theEurasian Economic Union. These countries share the same customs regime, which means you don’t need to re-import your car temporarily when crossing the borders between Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus. Each time you leave the customs union and return, the temporary import must be renewed.

When you enter Kyrgyzstan or any other country in the customs union, you obtain a TIP (temporary import document) for a period of 6 months to 1 year, which means that your vehicle is authorized to remain within the borders of the customs union for a maximum of 12 months. Please note, however, that your visa may expire earlier.

Unlike Iran, India and other Asian countries, you don’t need a Carnet de Passage en Douane (CPD) to enter Kyrgyzstan. However, since 2015, you have had to pay an ecotax. In 2020, this ecotax was 500 soms for a motorcycle, 1,000 soms for a car and 2,500 soms for a truck. If you arrive via Kazakhstan, you won’t have to pay this ecotax. You will have to pay it when you enter the Customs Union for the first time.

Kyrgyzstan’s main border crossings

Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border

Whether through the Kordaï, Sypatay Batir, Aisha Bibi or Karkyra checkpoints, the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan is open to international travellers and poses no particular difficulties.

Korday

After being closed for repairs for 2 years, Korday / Ak-Zhol is once again the main border crossing between Bishkek and Almaty. If you don’t have your own means of transport, there are plenty of buses and cabs available. The border is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there’s an exchange office on both sides, as well as food and drink.

Ak-Tilek

With the reconstruction of the Korday border post now complete, Ak-Tilek is now restricted to the passage of goods trucks. Travellers on foot or in cars are not allowed.

Sypatay Batir

Border post between Taraz and Bishkek. It is possible to change money and eat at the border.

Aisha Bibi

Border post between Taraz and Talas. It is possible to change money and eat at the border.

Karkyra

Please note that there is little public transport available for travellers without a vehicle. For those who have their own means of transport, note that part of the road is not in very good condition (dirt and gravel track). There is no exchange office, and no supplies.

Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan border

There are two border crossings between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan that are open to international travelers: Izboskan and Dostyk. Please note that drones are strictly forbidden in Uzbekistan.

Izboskan

Open to foreigners, BUT only to pedestrians and cyclists, not to cars and motorcycles! Shared cabs operate on both sides of the border.

Dostyk

Quick and easy border crossing. It lies on the main road between Osh and Andijon.

Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border

Due to a border dispute between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, all borders between the two countries remained closed for over two years. Since July 2023, only the Kyzyl-Art border crossing has reopened.

Kyzyl-Art

This border crossing reopened in July 2023. Please note that you must apply to the Kyrgyz Tourism Department for permission to cross the border. You can contact them at . Some agencies can provide this authorization more quickly for a fee:
Destination osh (+996776770090)
Destination pamir +996707760657)
CBT Osh (+996556007030)

In the KG-TJ direction, you’ll also need a GBAO permit.

Kulundu

Closed since 2022. Please note that there is another border crossing 12km further west, which is strictly forbidden to foreigners.

Isfara

Closed since 2022.

Kyrgyzstan-China border

There are two crossing points between Kyrgyzstan and China: Irkeshtam and Torugart. Before attempting to cross the high-altitude borders between Kyrgyzstan and China, it’s important to check weather conditions and make sure there are no public holidays on either side of the border. The borders are often closed in winter due to heavy snowfalls. This region has limited resources in terms of fuel, food and spare parts.

Irkeshtam

The busiest and easiest border crossing. Make sure you arrive early in the morning, as the office is closed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Kyrgyz side and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the Chinese side (Kyrgyz time) for lunch!

Torugart

The Torugart Pass is generally snow-free from late May to late September. Outside this period, it is often closed or the road is too dangerous.

Car insurance in Kyrgyzstan

Since 2018, it has been compulsory to insure your vehicle in Kyrgyzstan. However, this type of insurance is still rarely used, and few customs officers require it at the border. You can only take out local insurance at certain borders, otherwise you’ll have to go to Bishkek or Osh. However, if you have an accident with a Kyrgyz, they themselves are very rarely insured.
Rental vehicles are always insured.

Border permits in Kyrgyzstan

What is a border permit?

Certain border areas are subject to strict regulations governing the movement of people, particularly foreigners. If you wish to visit these areas, it is essential to apply for a permit in advance. You can order your permit online here.

There are five restricted zones, shown on the map below.

  • Chuy region: Chong-Kemin valley
  • Issyk-Kul region: Karkyra, Sary-Jaz, Engilchek, Khan-Tengri national park, Sarychat-Ertash reserve, Ak-Shyrak and Karasay checkpoint
  • Naryn region: Ak Say valley, Kol-Suu lake, Kok-Kiya canyon, Chatyr-Kul lake and Torugart checkpoint
  • Osh region: Trans-Alaï range (Lenin peak)
  • Batken region: Kadamjay, Leïlek and Batken districts

How much does the border permit cost?

In theory, you can apply for a permit yourself at the Department of Registration in Bishkek. In practice, if you don’t speak or write Russian, it’s difficult to do it yourself without assistance. You can apply for a permit at any travel agency, for a fee of varying amounts.
In 2024, we found the following average prices in travel agencies:

  • about 2500 soms for a zone
  • about 3,500 som for two zones
  • approx. 5000 som for all zones (4-5 zones)

 

kyrgyzstan border permit: essential for lake kol suu, chong kemin, engilchek, peak lenin etc.

Order your permit online!

We’ve set up a simple, secure system to make the process as easy as possible. You can now order your border permit directly from our website.

In fact, 7 of the routes in our Explore Kyrgyzstan guide are located in these border areas, and we want our readers to be able to get there without headaches and pay the best price for their permit!

How long is the permit valid for?

Permits are valid for one month. It is possible to extend the validity of the permit for up to 2 months.

Keep the original version and make copies of the permit

Once you’ve obtained your permit, keep the original and make several copies, as you’ll need to leave one at each military checkpoint. Your passport will also be requested for verification. Please check that there are no errors in the passport number, the dates and your name on the permit. A simple mistake and you’ll be stuck at the checkpoint.

Our blog posts on Kyrgyzstan