Kazakhstan Travel Information

Last modified: August 25, 2023
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry requirements

Visas

A visa is needed to enter Kazakhstan. This is a recent change, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

You should contact your nearest Kazakh Embassy for further information.

Make sure you have the right visa for the purpose of your travel, especially for business visas or work permits. Check the validity dates of your visa and any associated restrictions carefully before you travel.

Anyone who has overstayed their visa needs to apply to the local migration service for an extension and may have to pay a fine.

Registration

As of 10 January 2020, it is the responsibility of the host person or hotel to notify immigration authorities of a foreigner’s arrival. The notification should be made within three working days from the date of the guest’s arrival in country and can be done online on the Visa and Migration portal or in writing to the Migration Service.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of three months beyond the expiry date of your visa. Your passport should also have at least 1 blank page for your visa.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry (together with a valid visa), airside transit and exit from Kazakhstan. If using an ETD to leave Kazakhstan, you may need to get an exit visa from the Migration Service (formerly the OVIR). This process can take five working days or longer. Check with the Migration Service for more information before confirming your travel plans.

Dual nationality

Dual nationality isn’t recognised in Kazakhstan. If you enter Kazakhstan on a Kazakh passport and also hold British nationality the British Embassy can only provide very limited consular assistance. In cases of arrest or detention, consular access is unlikely to be granted.

Customs

The government of Kazakhstan imposes limits on how much foreign currency can be imported or exported, and certain goods are subject to custom regulations. For further information please visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Crime

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Most visits are trouble-free. However, mugging and theft occur in cities and rural areas. Foreigners can be targeted.

There have been a number of violent attacks and muggings on the expatriate community in Atyrau and Aktau in western Kazakhstan, and in Nur-Sultan and Almaty. Attacks have largely taken place at night, in and around local nightclubs and bars or when arriving at home late at night, as the majority of apartment buildings have dark stairwells and no lifts. Avoid walking alone and where possible pre-arrange transport. Keep valuables in a safe place and out of public view. Avoid travelling in unofficial taxis, particularly at night and alone, or if there is another passenger already in the car.

Robberies have occurred on trains, so always lock railway compartments on overnight trains.

Passenger lists on aircraft are not always kept confidential. There have been instances of people being met from an aircraft by someone using their name and then being robbed.

Local travel

Closed areas

The following areas of Kazakhstan are closed to visitors unless prior permission has been received from the Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry, with the agreement of the Kazakh National Security Committee:

  • the Gvardeyskiy urban-type village in Almaty region (south eastern Kazakhstan)
  • the town of Baykonur
  • the districts of Karmakchi and Kazalinsk in southern Kyzylorda region

Borders

Do not cross the border into or out of Kazakhstan illegally.

Most land borders are currently closed to foreign nationals due to Coronavirus restrictions.

Road travel

If you wish to drive in Kazakhstan you should apply for a 1968 International Driving Permit (IDP). 1949 IDPs previously issued by the UK may no longer be accepted in Kazakhstan. You can get IDPs over the counter from most UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus are a single Customs Union so if you’re planning to travel overland in your own vehicle make sure your customs declaration and temporary import licence are valid for the entire period of stay in all three countries. Your import licence can be extended for up to a year if necessary by contacting the customs authorities in any of the three countries.

Service stations are limited outside the main cities. Make sure you take all you need for your journey including water. Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and in good condition for lengthy journeys.

Many roads are poorly maintained and road works or damaged roads are often not clearly signposted. Driving standards can be erratic. In some remote areas there are often stray animals on the roads. These are especially difficult to see in the dark. In winter, roads can become hazardous due to snow and ice.

Local traffic police only have the right to stop vehicles if an offence has been committed, but you should obey any request from the police to stop. The police officer should complete official papers relating to any alleged offence.

Many cars are not safely maintained and do not have rear seatbelts.

Take care when crossing roads as pedestrian crossings are rarely respected.

Air travel

The FCDO cannot offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation has carried out an audit of the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in Kazakhstan.

Following a relaxation in the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, flights resumed between most major cities on 1 May.

On 27 December 2019, an internal flight operated by the carrier ‘Bek Air’ crashed in Almaty, killing a number of people. Kazakhstan’s civil aviation authority has suspended the company’s licence. A list of further incidents and accidents in Kazakhstan can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

Local airlines do not always run to flight schedule. Check your actual departure or arrival time in advance. Keep hold of your baggage tags, as you will need to show them when you leave the airport.

Political situation

Public demonstrations are only permitted when authorised in advance. Unauthorised small-scale public protests do take place occasionally, in contravention of local law, putting participants at risk of arrest. You should avoid any demonstrations or political gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby violence you should leave the area immediately

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