Health Alert for U.S. Citizens (March 31, 2020)

Location:  Turkmenistan

Event: This message contains the following new information: U.S. Embassy authorized ordered departure status due to reduced international and medevac flight availability, and restriction of movement.

The State Department advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  The State Department is advising U.S. citizens traveling or residing outside the United States to arrange for immediate return to the United States unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period of time.  U.S. citizens are urged to take advantage of commercially available options for returning to the United States while they are still operating.  Those U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States should work with their airlines to make travel arrangements while flights are still available.  Please enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at

U.S. Embassy Status. On March 27, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of all family members of U.S. government employees under the age of 18 in addition to the authorized departure of non-emergency personnel and all other family members of U.S. government employees due to limited medical evacuation options and stringent travel restrictions and quarantine procedures. With reduced staffing, the Embassy will continue to provide only the most essential services.

Flight Availability:  At this time, there are no scheduled international flights out of Turkmenistan, including medical evacuation flights.  Any international charter flight, including medevac flights, must use Turkmenabat Airport which is 290 miles by air and 385 miles by road from Ashgabat. On March 28th, the U.S. Embassy coordinated a repatriation flight for members of the Embassy community along with private American citizens and foreign nationals.  We do not know when scheduled international passenger flights will resume after the U.S. organized charter flight.

Movement Restrictions: The government of Turkmenistan has limited travel between regions and closed its land borders to most traffic, including passenger vehicles and cargo trucks.

Entrance Restrictions: Turkmenistan has barred admission to all travelers except Turkmenistani citizens returning home, foreign citizens departing to their home countries, and diplomats on a case-by-case basis if flights are available.  All travelers should be aware that they will be required to undergo medical screening and possibly involuntary quarantine at local medical facilities.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.

Due to the possibility of quarantine of unknown length, carry additional supplies of necessary medication in carry-on luggage.  Contact the U.S. Embassy if you are subject to quarantine or prior to undergoing any invasive medical testing or procedures.

Please read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

Actions to Take:

  • Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19
  • Check with your airline before traveling regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
  • Carry medical evacuation insurance and verify that COVID-19 is covered under your policy.
  • Consider declining any invasive medical procedures related to COVID-19 in Turkmenistan as medical protocols do not comply with U.S. standards.
  • Carry additional supplies of necessary medication in carry-on luggage.
  • Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
  • For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
  • Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on for the latest information.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the U.S.
  • Seek medical care right away if you believe you may have COVID-19 (or similar symptoms) or were exposed to someone who may have COVID-19 in the last six weeks.