Tajikistan is a mountainous, landlocked country bordered by Kazakhstan to the north and China to the east, and it's while perhaps not the most popular choice for expats or tourists, the country does have wonderful natural scenery and rugged, snow-capped peaks popular among hardcore hikers and climbers.
It is one of the poorest countries in Central Asia, devastated by a civil war that engulfed the country after the fall of the Soviet Union. Tajikistan has very few natural resources and over 50 percent of Tajikistan nationals live below the poverty line, mostly working in agriculture, particularly cotton farming. The illegal production of heroin and opium is also a large de facto contributor to the economy.
The refining and export of aluminium is another contributor to GDP, and the government is encouraging foreign investment in agriculture, oil, gas and hydroelectric power. China is the largest investor in the country, with the UK, US, Russia and South Korea also among the biggest investors.
Recently, there has been a relaxing of visa laws in an effort to follow the example of neighbouring countries and encourage tourism. However, Tajikistan is still very conservative and new arrivals, especially women, should dress modestly.
There are only a few hundred expats in Tajikistan, mostly in the capital, Dushanbe, and mostly working in the diplomatic or NGO fields, or at the hotels that serve this sector. Few people speak English outside of these sectors, and most locals speak Tajik or Russian.
The cost of living in Dushanbe is very low, and decent apartments and family houses are available for rent. State education will likely be below expat standards, but Dushanbe has a small selection of international schools, including QSI International School and Dushanbe International School.
Tajikistan is relatively safe if expats follow basic common sense. However, local law enforcement is severely under resourced. It is not advisable to travel to rural areas alone, or to walk around anywhere alone at night. Long-term visitors may opt to hire drivers and private security guards.
In addition, healthcare and emergency resources are very limited. Having said this, there are a handful of private clinics in the cities. Medical care is affordable but no insurance plans are available; most people pay in cash. Expats are advised to have full international health and medical evacuation insurance for themselves and their families.
Population: Around 9.1 million
Capital city: Dushanbe (also largest city)
Neighbouring countries: China sits to the east of Tajikistan, while its other borders are shared with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Geography: The terrain is mostly mountainous with a large system of rivers. The climate changes radically depending on elevation, from freezing temperatures to fairly warm. While there are a few desert areas, Tajikistan is regarded as the wettest of the Central Asian republics.
Political system: Semi-presidential republic
Major religion: Islam
Main languages: Tajik, Russian
Currency: Somoni (TJS)
Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz.
Internet domain: .tj
International dialling code: +992
Emergency contacts: 112
Transport and driving: People drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Are you an expat living in Tajikistan?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Tajikistan. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
GeoBlue is one of the best international health insurance plans for US expats abroad or internationals residing in the USA. The GeoBlue Xplorer plan includes worldwide coverage and great customer service with access to a premium international network of hospitals and doctors including the Blue Cross Blue Shield network in the USA.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.