Okay, I get it. You want to go to Kazakhstan and meet beautiful Kazakh girls. Why else you’d want to go there, I don’t know. (I’m kidding, of course).
The only question is… do you need a Kazakhstan visa to start your adventure? We’ll discuss this in depth in today’s article and tell you everything you need to know about getting a Kazakhstan visa.
The short answer is that US citizens – as well as people from most countries – don’t need a visa to visit Kazakhstan for a maximum of 30 days in a row unless they plan to work there.
Visa-free travel in Kazakhstan also means that you are not allowed to spend more than 90 days during any six-month period. This is very similar to how the Schengen space works.
But even though the short and quick answer is the one you have read above – and that is probably enough for most travelers out there, I will still get a bit more in depth. Especially because if you’re looking to spend more than 30 days in the country and live there more longer term, you will need a visa.
We already know that Almaty and Astana are interesting places in Kazakhstan, and I totally understand why you’d like to spend more time there. So let’s discuss the visa situation in Kazakhstan more in depth.
PLEASE NOTE: This information is only accurate as of the date of this post. We’ve seen in 2020 how quickly the situation can change so make sure to double check with your embassy.
(Of course, I don’t expect a 2020-like situation to ever happen again, but better be safe than sorry)
Kazakhstan Visa Requirements for US Citizens
If you are staying more than 30 days in Kazakhstan, you need a visa. If you need a work visa, that will be up to your company to acquire for you. If not, you should go through all the trouble of getting your visa yourself.
The problem is that it is difficult to get a visa and it doesn’t really make sense to go through the trouble of getting one, in my opinion.
You can opt to get a 10-year Kazakhstan visa which sounds a lot better than it actually is. Because, even though this visa is valid for 10 years, you can still only spend a maximum of 60 consecutive days in the country if you’re there for business and just 30 as a tourist.
If you want to spend more days in the country, you will need a residency permit. The main requirement here is proving that you have enough money to support yourself (however, the actual amount is not very clear for me).
You also need to write your autobiography in the local language or Russian, proof that you have a leasing contract in the country and your criminal record. There are more things that you have to tick off the box, and I recommend checking this official website for all the details.
The good thing is that if you go through the trouble of getting the residency permit in Kazakhstan, it will also be valid for 10 years and it will allow you to spend more than 30 days in a row (or more than 90 days in any 6-month period).
Closed Areas: Travel to certain areas bordering China and cities in close proximity to military installations require prior permission from the Kazakhstani government.
The town of Baykonur and surrounding areas in Kyzylorda Oblast, and the town of Gvardeysk near Almaty are also closed to foreigners.
Most of the popular tourist areas in Kazakhstan – Medeu, Shymbulak, Big Almaty Lake, Charyn Canyon, Alakol Lake, Monakhov Gorge, and other locations within 25 kilometers of a border – now fall in so called “closed” zones.
While visitors to popular tourist sites within these zones are not required to obtain special permission from immigration authorities, visitors to these sites should bring personal identification in the event they are requested to present it to local authorities.
Those wishing to visit other areas within these zones should check with local authorities to ensure that no prior permission is required.
Entering With Your Kazakhstan Visa
Now, when you go into the country, you’re going to have to register. Your entry information may say something about 90 days. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN STAY 90 DAYS.
Again, if you’re staying over 30 days YOU NEED A VISA.
If you don’t acquire any visa beforehand (hint: if you didn’t pay $160 or more), then you can’t stay for more than 30 days, no matter what the paper you get seems to say. This is what makes many people get confused.
If you do so and try to leave on day 31, you may or may not run into trouble. If you leave on day 90, you more than likely will.
The great news?
A Kazakh Visa Is CHEAP
It’s $160 to get a single entry visa to Kazakhstan (I repeat what I said earlier: make sure to double check, as prices can always change, and what I paid might no longer be the norm). The funny thing is that it’s the same price for a double-entry visa, albeit it has to be within three months.
It’s also $160 for a triple entry visa, for three months.
Oh… and it’s $160 for a ten year visa. Multiple entries. Again, that’s TEN years – but as we saw already, you are not allowed to spend more than 30 continuous days in the country.
There’s no special application, you just need to mark it on your visa application itself. Read the instructions on the visa application page carefully if you need further clarification.
It makes zero sense whatsoever to apply for a single-visit visa when you’ve got the option to come back multiple times, with no hassle, for the same fee.
More than likely, if you’re holding a US passport, you’re going to get approved for this without many questions (if any) asked.
This means you can come and visit your Kazakh buddies as much as you want and not have to worry about visas in the future. For the same fee. It’s a no brainer!
Kazakhstan is still one of the most off the grid and underrated places in the entire world. As I’ve said before here on LAA, the girls are a beautiful blend of the Soviet beauty and the skin of Asians. It’s the best of both worlds.
On top of it, the language is interesting, the cities vast, and it’s a great stopover point between Asia and Europe. If you get your Kazakhstan visa, you’ve unlocked a great part of the world, at a great price. I promise, you won’t regret it.
If you’ve got questions regarding the visa process or anything Kazakhstan, leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure to try and answer them as well as I can.