On 6th December 2016 Uzbekistan announced plans to removing visa requirements for fifteen countries in a move that has surprised many. The state is notoriously restrictive on visitors and the move has been seen as a sign that the country may at last be reaching out to the outside world. An executive order from Shavkat Mirziyoyev said that citizens of the fifteen countries would no longer be required to hold a visa. The new regulations will come into place on 1st April 2017. Countries included in the list are: Australia, Austria, Britain, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Korea, Singapore, Finland, Switzerland and Japan. In a further relaxation of the regulations any citizen of a further twelve countries, including France and the United States may enter the country visa free if they are aged fifty five or over. The other is this list are: Belgium, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, USA, France, Vietnam, Israel, Poland, Hungary, Portugal and the Czech Republic. Citizens of these countries over the age of fifty five are allowed to stay visa free for no longer than 30 days. There are many famed tourist sites along the historical Silk Road of Uzbekistan that have long been difficult to visit for the majority of the world and it is hoped that these relaxed restrictions will encourage tourists and business people alike. Uzbekistan has maintained its strict exit visa regulations for its own citizens meaning that they still require a visa to exit the country and it is hoped by many that the new visa regulations for entry to the country will be closely followed by restriction on its own citizens being allowed to travel more freely abroad. The commodity rich country is clearly working towards a more open policy of trade and travel and is starting to open up to the outside world.
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