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Once Turkmenistan letter of invitation (LOI) has been issued/ approved you can get the actual transit visa without any difficulties.
If you are entering from Azerbaijan (crossing the Caspian sea), you can get this visa on arrival at Turkmenbashi port. However, Azerbaijan authorities changed their rules in the past and at some point decided not to let travellers on board of the ferry across the Caspian sea without a valid Turkmenistan visa in their passport.
The rules can change suddenly and without any prior warning.
The options you have are:
- wait until you get to Baku and board the ferry with the LOI. If that becomes impossible, you can get your visa at the embassy of Turkmenistan in Baku. Just make sure that the visa validity starts a day after you leave Azerbaijan as the ferry will take at least 12-14 hours to cross the Caspian sea.
- get the transit visa beforehand. That can be done at the embassies in either Istanbul or Baku in just a couple of days. You will need to tell the embassy that the transit has been pre-approved already and will need to submit your passport, application form (available at the embassy), copy of the LOI (don't forget to print it and take it with you), photo and some cash. The visa will then be valid for 5 days according to the dates you request on the application form.
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