Overlanders Tips: Getting your GBAO Permit in Dushanbe for $3
We had picked up our Tajikistan Visas in Ankara, Turkey back in March but still needed to get the GBAO (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province) permit for the Pamirs. Some consulates will not issue these whilst others and some tour agency’s can charge up to $150 just for the permit!
I got wind that it was possible to obtain this permit, direct, in Dushanbe for next to nothing.
What you need to do.
Go to the Amonatbank (Green and white writing) here: N38.57384, E068.79299
and ask at the counter for ‘Pamir Permit’ or ‘Gorno-Badakhshan’ Permit. Pay them the 15 Somoni ($3) in cash and they will write out a receipt.
Next, take this receipt to the OVIR office down the road (Its marked in the Lonely Planet) and can be found here: N38.57126, E068.79722
They seem to be open Monday to Friday 0900-1700 but closed 1200-1400. Its a pink building and you want the door on the right as you look at it off the street. Its about 300m SE of the Hotel Asia on Mirzo Tursunzoda. Marshrutka 67, 4 and 16 go right past it.
We got there at 1030 and had it all processed in 15 minutes. When you enter the building there is a window/booth on the left as you go in. Hand this guy your receipt and mention the Pamir Permit. As you have all ready paid them they cant fob you off with ‘hotel’ or ‘agency’ and they know that as you have the receipt. The guy in the booth will copy your passport (you did bring your passport with you right?) and Tajikistan Visa then write a letter of introduction on the reverse. We processed 2 permits with him and he asked for 5 Somoni ($1).
Take this piece of paper to the 3rd window and hand it in with your passport, the guy will likely say, come back at 1600 after checking dates with you. I checked with him that Ishkashim was on the permit and he said yes. I asked about Lake Zorkul and he said no, not even for money!
We returned at 1600 same day and the women on her Iphone didn’t want to know us and told us to come back the following day. I stuck my nose through the window and told her in Russo-English that I was going nowhere and that my permit should be ready. A man appeared 2 minutes later with the 2 small pieces of paper we needed, job done.
So for next to no hassle you can get your own GBAO permit for about an hours worth of your time. Highly recommended.