Acquiring permission to visit Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region
It is necessary to get a special GBAO permit for visiting Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region in Tajikistan and enjoy the beauty of the Pamirs. The need in extra papers is dictated by the fact that a significant part of the Pamir Highway runs along the border with Afghanistan, and this is an additional security measure.
The GBAO permit is examined at checkpoints of Pamir Highway. It is available at Tajikistan embassies when applying for visa or at the OVIR (Department of visas and registration) office in Dushanbe. All you need is your passport. In Tajikistan, it takes one day to receive the permission which is given for the period of your visa with validity covering the entire autonomous region with the exception of Sarez Lake and Zorkul. The latter requires different permissions: for Sarez Lake – the Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense and for Zorkulyav – the Direction of State Reserve in Dushanbe. The price for getting GBAO permit via touristic agencies ranges between 30 to 50 USD. According to fixed rules, visiting Sarez Lake is free, but in practice it is given rather rarely. It may cost 4 USD a day to stay at the Zorkul State Nature Reserve.
In case the permission for visiting Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region needs to be extended, it can be prolonged in any city OVIR department according to your route maximum for 30 days.