Kyrgyzstan border crossings and border permit

 A complete guide to crossing Kyrgyz borders in 2024

Nestled in the heart of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is a stunningly beautiful country with so much to offer visitors. If your travel plans involve overland exploration, then understanding Kyrgyzstan’s border crossings and border permits is essential. Learn more about the main border crossings open to foreigners: Dostyk, Kordaï, Torugart, Kyzyl Art, etc. In addition, note that border permits are also required for certain areas that are considered sensitive or restricted regions. With these requirements in mind, visitors can navigate Kyrgyzstan’s border crossings safely and easily while enjoying the beautiful scenery and warm Kyrgyz hospitality.

Travel guidebook about Kyrgyzstan, central Asia : 24 of the best off-road routes
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Map of Kyrgyzstan’s restricted areas and border crossings.

Below, you will find a map of the restricted areas and main border crossings in Kyrgyzstan. This map is taken from the book EXPLORE KYRGYZSTAN. The restricted areas have not changed for many years, but may change at any time. To access these restricted areas, you must apply for a border permit. You can order your border permit here.

carte permis frontalier kirghizistan / map border permit kyrgyzstan
kyrgyztsan border permit : mandatory for lake kol suu, chong kemin, engilchek, sary jaz, lenin peal etc

Kyrgyzstan border permit for 5 zones

If you want to visit Kyrgyz border areas, you must apply for a border permit. Now you can easily order your 5 zone permit online, for only 30 euros.

  • Validity: 1 month (2 months as an option)
  • Delivery time: 15 days (urgent 5 days as an option)
  • Delivery place : Bishkek (other location as an option)
  • Price: 35€ / person.
  • Include 5 zones : Issyk-Kul, Chong-Kemin, Naryn, Osh and Batken regions (except Leylek and Batken districts).

Entering Kyrgyzstan overland: main requirements

Along with Armenia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union. These countries share the same customs regime, meaning you do not need to temporarily import your car anew when crossing the borders between Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus. Each time you leave and re-enter the Customs Union, the temporary import is renewed.

When entering Kyrgyzstan or another country of the Customs Union, you get a TIP (temporary import paper) for a duration of 6 months up to to 1 year, meaning your vehicle is allowed to stay within the borders of the Customs Union for 12 months maximum. However, note that your visa is likely to run out earlier. In Kyrgyzstan, this is not a problem, you can leave without your car and re-enter Kyrgyzstan, you will receive another 2 month free visa.

Unlike Iran, India and other Asian countries, you do not need a Carnet de Passage en Douane (CPD) to enter Kyrgyzstan. However, since 2015, you have to pay an eco-tax. In 2020 this eco-tax was 500 soms for a motorbike, 1,000 soms for a car, and 2,500 soms for a truck. If you arrive via Kazakhstan, you will not need to pay this ecotax. You will have to pay it when your enter the Custom Union for the first time.

Be careful, do not venture into border areas unless you have a border permit or are actually crossing at the border crossing.

Main border crossings open to foreigners in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border crossing

Whether through the Kordaï, Ak-Tilek, Sypatay Batir, Aisha Bibi or Karkyra checkpoints, the border between kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan is open to international travellers and is not causing any particular difficulties.

Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan border crossing

There are two border crossings between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan which are open to international travelers: Izboskan and Dostyk. Izboskan border crossing is pen for foreigners, BUT only for pedestrians and cyclists, not for cars and motorbikes! Shared taxis run on either side of the border.

Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border crossing

Due to a conflict at the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, all borders between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has remained closed for 2 years. Since 28th July 2023, the Kyzyl-Art border crosing has reopened to foreign visitors. In the KG-TJ direction you will need a letter from the Kyrgyz Department of Tourism and a GBAO permit.

Kyrgyzstan-China border crossing

Before attempting to cross the high altitude borders between Kyrgyzstan and China, it is important to check the weather conditions and ensure that there are no holidays on either side of the border. Crossing into China on a Friday can be challenging as any delays could result in being stuck there for two additional days. The borders are often closed in winter due to the important snowfall. This area has limited resources for fuel, food, and spare parts. There are two border crossing points between Kyrgyzstan and China: Irkeshtam and Torugart. The Irkeshtam pass is probably the less difficult route into China.

 

BorderBorder postCommentary
China
IrkeshtamThe busiest and easiest border crossing. Be aware that it is better to arrive early in the morning, as the office is closed from 11am to 2pm on the Kyrgyz side and from 1p.m. to 4p.m. on the Chinese side (Kyrgyz time) for lunch.
TorugartTo cross the no-man's land between the two border posts you have to pay for an expensive, certified Chinese guide. The pass is often closed in winter because of snowfall.
TajikistanKyzyl Art
OPEN SINCE JULY 28th 2023. You will need an official letter from the Kyrgyz Department of Tourism and the GBAO permit. Beware of very corrupt customs officers. Border post is normally open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
KulunduCLOSED SINCE 2022. Be aware that 12 km further west there is another border crossing which is forbidden to foreigners.
IsfaraCLOSED SINCE 2022. No specific difficulties.
UzbekistanIzboskanOpen for foreigners, BUT only for pedestrians and cyclists, not for cars and motorbikes! Shared taxis run on either side of the border.
DostykEasy and fast border crossing. It is on the main road between Osh and Andijon. Be careful, drone are strictly forbidden in Uzbekistan, and your vehicle will be checked.
KazakhstanKordaïNo specific difficulties.
Ak-TilekNo specific difficulties.
Sypatay BatirNo specific difficulties.
Aisha BibiNo specific difficulties.
KarkyraThe post is only open in the summer (May to October). There is no currency exchange.

Are the borders with Tajikistan open? How do I get a Chinese visa? How do I get into China? We answer all your questions in the Overland Kyrgyzstan Facebook group. Come and chat with other Overlanders!

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Vehicle insurance in Kyrgyzstan

Since 2018, it has been compulsory to insure your vehicle in Kyrgyzstan. Nevertheless, there are relatively few people who have insurance and it is rare to come across a customs officer who asks to see it at a border crossing. You can take out a local insurance at the border. It is important to note that if you have an accident with a Kyrgyz driver, they are often not insured themselves. Rental vehicles always have insurance included.

Kyrgyzstan border permit

What is the border permit?

Some border areas are subject to strict regulations regarding the circulation of persons, especially foreigners. If you wish to visit these areas, you must apply for a permit in advance.

There are five restricted areas:

  • 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, Lake Kol-Suu, Kok-Kiya canyon, Lake Chatyr-Kul and Torugart checkpoint
  • Osh region: Trans-Alay chain (Lenin Peak)
  • Batken region: Kadamjay, Leïlek and Batken districts

How much does the permit cost?

It is theoretically possible to apply for a permit yourself at the Department of Registration in Bishkek. However, if you do not speak and write Russian, it is difficult to do it yourself without being accompanied. You can therefore apply for a permit at any travel agency.
The average price recorded in 2024:

  • 2,600 soms for 1 zone
  • 3,500 soms for 2 zones
  • 5,000 soms for 4-5 zones

Order your permit online!

Now you can easily order your 5 zone permit online, for only 35 euros (around 3,200 soms in 2024). Indeed, 7 routes in our guide are located in border areas and we want our readers to be able to go there without any hassle and pay the best price for their border permit!

  • Validity: 1 month (2 months as an option)
  • Delivery time: 15 working days (5 working days as an option)
  • Delivery place : Bishkek (other location as an option)
  • Price: 35€ / person.
  • Include 5 zones : Issyk-Kul, Chong-Kemin, Naryn, Osh and Batken regions (except Leylek and Batken districts).

We’ve been able to negotiate the best prices for our readers thanks to the quantity of permits we sell on our site!

If you want to be free to move around Kyrgyzstan in any border zone and be able to choose at the last minute where to travel, the 5-zone permit sold on our site is the best option (by far!). What’s more, payment here is secure and you’re sure to get your permit within the timeframe mentioned on our site (see the reviews ***** from our readers).

How long is the permit valid for?

Permits are valid for one month. It is possible to extend the validity of the permit by up to 2 months (see with the agency).

With a travel agency, it is recommended to apply for a permit at least one week in advance for a “one zone” permit and three weeks in advance for a “three-zone” permit or more.

Keep the original version and make several copies of your permit

You can collect your permit in several cities: Bishkek, Osh, Karakol, or Naryn. Once you have obtained your permit, keep the original version and make several copies, as you will have to leave one at each military checkpoint. Your passport will also be required for verification. Check that there are no errors in the passport number, dates, and your name on the permit. A simple mistake and you will be stuck at the checkpoint.

Our latest articles about Kyrgyzstan

Our products about Kyrgyzstan

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travel guidebook about about kyrgyzstan : the ultimate overland guide for 4x4 van, motorbike and cycling travellers

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If you have any questions, please feel free to join our facebook discussion group dedicated to exploring Kyrgyzstan. You will also be able to share your experience of the country and/or discover the photos of other travellers.

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permit for border areas and border crossings in Kyrgyzstan
4 Comments
  1. Hello !
    It’s Rizwan from Pakistan. I am medical student here in osh kyrgyzstan.
    Actually I needed some information can you help me out please

    Reply
    • Hello Rizwan, how can we help you?

      Reply
  2. Hello dear
    It’s Shaikhul from Bangladesh. I would like to visit Kyrgyzstan this year. I plant to stay in Sary Mogul for 2/3 days. In one day, I would like to go with the highway towards Irketesham and then towards the Tajik Boarder. I found the highway and it’s views are amazing.

    In that case do I need to have any permission? Please let me know.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hello Shaikhul,
      You don’t need border permit to go to the border crossing!

      Reply
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