Depending on a person's reasons for wishing to enter, the process of obtaining a visa for Kazakhstan can either be a breeze or a complex procedure requiring extensive documentation. In some cases, it is possible to enter Kazakhstan with no visa at all.
There is an extensive list of countries whose citizens may enter Kazakhstan without a visa for a designated period of time – usually up to 30 or 90 days. A number of countries have this beneficial arrangement with Kazakhstan, including but not limited to Brazil, Hong Kong and Russia.
Travellers planning to visit Kazakhstan are advised to confirm with their local Kazakhstani embassy whether they will need to obtain a visa or not, and if so, which one. Those that do require a visa to enter Kazakhstan will be faced with a daunting list of the various visa categories available, so it's always best to do a bit of research to make sure one is applying for the correct visa.
Visitor visas for Kazakhstan
Nationals of 109 countries may apply for an electronic visa, known as an e-visa. E-visas are valid for 30 days and holders must arrive via either the airport in Nur-Sultan (previously known as Astana) or Almaty.
To apply for a visitor visa, an invitation letter is required.
B12 Tourist Visa
If visiting the country to explore and see the sights, the B12 Tourist Visa is the appropriate visa.
There are single-entry and multiple-entry B12 visas, both of which are valid for 90 days. Holders of B12 single-entry visas may enter the country once for up to 30 days within the 90-day validity period. Holders of multiple-entry visas can enter and exit the country as many times as they like during the 90-day period, with a maximum stay of 30 days each time they enter.
B10 Private Visit Visa
Travellers wishing to visit family members in Kazakhstan can apply for a B10 Private Visit Visa. This requires a letter of invitation from a friend or family member residing in Kazakhstan.
B10 visas can either be single- or multiple-entry. Single-entry B10 visas are valid for 90 days and allow one entry.
Multiple-entry B10 visas are valid for between 180 days and three years. These allow any number of entries and exits. When entering the country, multiple-entry B10 holders may stay for up to 90 days. If they wish to stay a further 90 days after the initial 90-day period, they can simply leave and re-enter the country and a new 90-day period will begin.
Work visas for Kazakhstan
C3 Work Visa
The C3, C4, C5 and C6 visas are for those travelling to Kazakhstan to take up employment. Both the individual and their accompanying family members are covered under these visas.
To obtain a C3 Work Visa, expats must hold a valid work permit. The C3 Work Visa simply allows entry for the purpose of working.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►See Work Permits for Kazakhstan for info on legal requirements for working in Kazakhstan
"I think in all instances, our universities helped us to get our visa and work permit. In my last attempt to get a visa, it was stamped in Russian something to the effect “MUST NOT WORK” which meant that I could not be employed while my husband had a job. It was very a short period and if my future, temporary employer were to hire me, they would be prohibited to pay me for my teaching. I did not use that last visa that I had paid for."
Read our interview with American expat Kristina to learn more about applying for a visa in Kazakhstan.
Are you an expat living in Kazakhstan?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Kazakhstan. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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