Kazakhstan has a diverse set of visa rules for passport holders of different nations: visa-free, single entry, multiple entry, visa only with a letter of invitation,… Which one is for you? Read on.
Important: when entering the country over land or sea and staying longer than 5 days, you might need to register within 5 days at the Migration Police. You will get a registration card on entry, which you need to fill out, get stamped and keep with you throughout your stay.
Special thanks go to CrazyDre for his tireless efforts, both here and at Wikipedia.
Visa-free means you do not need to get a visa in advance. You will also not get a visa at the border. You will only get a stamp and a registration card (see below). All visa-free regimes are valid at both land borders, sea ports and airports.
Citizens of the following countries and territories can visit Kazakhstan without a visa for up to 90 days (unless otherwise noted):
1 – up to 90 days within 180 day period
2 – up to 30 days
3 – up to 30 days, for a maximum total stay of 60 days within any 180 day period
4 – up to 30 days within 180 day period
5 – up to 30 days within year period
6 – up to 14 days
A visa-free agreement was signed with Cuba in December 2015. It is yet to be ratified.
30 days visa-free
From January 1st, 2017, citizens of the following countries do not require a visa for stays of up to 30 days.
Updates and questions can be posted in this forum topic.
Visa runs: You can enter and re-enter visa-free as many times as you like. It is entirely possible to re-enter the same day. Every time you re-enter, you get a fresh 30 days. You can keep doing this for a very long time.
Passport validity: For visa-free entry, your passport only needs to be valid for the period of your stay. If you are coming with a visa, your passport needs to be valid until the standard 6 months after the end of your stay.
If you are not able to visit visa-free, you will need to get a tourist visa at a Kazakh embassy. Since 2017, most embassies only accept applications from residents of the country they are located in.
If you do not have a Kazakh embassy in your country, find out which embassy is responsible for your nationality or get a visa on arrival.
Visa support and LOI (letter of invitation)
To get a tourist visa at a Kazakh embassy, most likely you will need to acquire a letter of invitation (LOI) first. No letter of invitation is needed for nationals of Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Everyone else needs one.
Some embassies accept a letter of invitation from a private person in Kazakhstan. Others only accept an invitation letter from a Kazakh tour operator.
We currently do not offer invitation letters to Kazakhstan anymore through our contact form. If you had a good experience with a responsible, reasonably-priced Kazakh tour operator for visa support, please let us know! We would be happy to tell others.
Tourist visa types have been simplified since 2017. Only 2 types remain: single entry and multiple entry.
- Visa duration: 90 days
- Period of stay within those 90 days: 30 days
- Number of entries: 1
- Cost: 20-50$
- Visa duration: 90 days
- Period of stay: 30 days maximum for each entry
- Number of entries: unlimited
- Cost: 200$
The 90 days start from the date you fill in on the form, not the date you receive the visa. Let it be clear: with a multiple entry visa, you can only stay 30 days in-country for each entry. You are, however, allowed to return the same day after a visa run.
A group visa is a possibility for tour groups who travel together. Most importantly, they need to enter and exit the country together. We don’t know the minimum size of the group.
Visa on arrival
Pre-arranged visas for a stay of up to 1 month can be obtained on arrival for nationals arriving from a country without a Kazakh diplomatic mission. The fee is approximately US$80, and they must hold an invitation letter. The visa on arrival is available at the airports of Aqtau, Almaty, Astana, Atyrau and Oral.
You will in any case need a special letter of invitation for visa on arrival from a tourist agency. It is not possible to get a Kazakhstan visa on arrival at a land border, nor at Aqtau sea port.
The transfer desk works Monday-Saturday during office hours. If you arrive outside of these times, you will have to wait. If that takes more than half an hour, you will be questioned by the police and possibly be detained.
If the transfer desk is open, you can show your letter of invitation, pay 80$ and receive your visa on the spot.
Find all info on the transit visa for Kazakhstan page.
Registration in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan visa requirements
- a valid passport with expiry date 6 months after the end of your stay in Kazakhstan and 2 empty pages
- a copy of Kazakhstan LOI (if you need one)
- the completed visa application form
- 1 passport-size photo
- Money to pay for the visa
A new rule in 2017 says you can only apply at the embassy where your residence is. Most embassies seem to follow this rule, but are willing to make exceptions if you do not have an embassy in your home country.
Overstaying and extending your visa
In the past, a 5000$ fine or 3 weeks in Kazakh jail were the punishment for anyone who failed to leave the country on time. Since 2017, it has become possible to overstay without serious consequences. Officially, you need to be able to demonstrate force majeure (flight cancellation, train delay, hospital visit, …), but at least one person has managed to get away with overstaying for a day without a good reason.
The procedure involves going to the nearest OVIR station and asking for an extension. You can then receive a B20 exit visa valid up to 15 days.
Taraz, October 2017: Border guards said within 3 days of overstay you only get an official warning, then another 5 days to leave with the exit visa in your passport before it goes to court. Went to OVIR, got an exit visa for 10 days – cost 1500 tenge.
YMMV. All updates welcome in the Kazakh visa overstay forum topic.
Kazakhstan has 39 types of visas. Have a good look at this official document to get a sense of where to start if you are coming for very particular reasons, or one of the articles below.
- Business visa Kazakhstan
- Kazakhstan border zone permit
- Kazakhstan private visa
- Kazakhstan visa support (Letter of Invitation)
- Permanent residence Kazakhstan
- Registration in Kazakhstan and OVIR offices
- Transit visa Kazakhstan
We have had 2 reports since January 2017, in Baku and Kuala Lumpur, that only people with residence permit can apply. In Tbilisi it is still possible without residence permit, but for an extortionate 200$.
Click the tab below for all embassy reports.