Kazakhstan

Individual - Other issues

Last reviewed - 23 July 2021

Temporary visas

The application package for a temporary visa includes a letter of invitation (LOI) from a host organisation in Kazakhstan, a passport photo, and the completed application form. The timeline for obtaining a visa is ten business days, and the consular fee is approximately USD 200. Usually visitors are applying to the nearest country where a Kazakhstan embassy or consulate is available. 

In December 2019, the Ministry of Internal Affairs launched an online application for an LOI on its website (www.vmp.gov.kz). This service is available for the following types of visas:

  • Single entry business visas category B1, B2, and B3.
  • Single entry private visa category B10.

The process takes up to five business days from the date of submission. 

Based on the LOI, a foreign national may also obtain an electronic visa (e-visa) for Kazakhstan, if applicable. It is important to note that entry to Kazakhstan under an e-visa is possible only through the International Airports of Nur-Sultan and Almaty.

The citizens of the following countries are able to visit Kazakhstan on a visa-free regime for 30 days for each entry. The total duration of stay shall not exceed 90 days within 180 days:

Australia Iceland Poland
Austria Indonesia Portugal
Bahrain Ireland Qatar
Belgium Israel Republic of Korea
Bulgaria Italy Romania
Brazil Japan Saudi Arabia
Canada Kuwait Singapore
Chile Latvia Slovak Republic
Croatia Liechtenstein Slovenia
Cyprus Lithuania Spain
Czech Republic Luxembourg Sweden
Colombia  Malaysia Switzerland
Denmark Malta Thailand
Estonia Mexico Turkey
Finland Monaco United Arab Emirates
France Netherlands United States
Germany New Zealand Vatican
Greece Norway Vietnam
Great Britain Oman
Hungary Philippines

The purpose of visit must be business, tourism, or private only. Work is not allowed. 

Work permits

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in Kazakhstan, as established by immigration laws. Work permits must be secured for employees and sponsored by a locally incorporated entity. 

Citizens of Eurasian Economic Union members (i.e. Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia) are exempt from work permits and work visas.

The most common scenario used by companies engaging foreign personnel to Kazakhstan are:

  • intra-corporate transfer
  • provision of foreign personnel (secondment), and
  • direct hire.

Attraction of foreign personnel to Kazakhstan is allowed only within the limits of the quota, which is the annual number of foreign workers employed by the government for labour in Kazakhstan. Companies should apply for the quota by 1 August on an annual basis. Certain engagement options are exempt from the quota requirement. 

Generally, work permits are issued within the quota for:

  • The first category: CEO and deputies only. Up to three years. Extensions are allowed for one, two, or three years.
  • The second and third categories: Heads of structural divisions, departments, and specialists. Up to one year. Extension is allowed three times. Overall validity is up to four years.
  • The fourth category: Skilled workers. Up to one year. No extension is available.

Starting 28 April 2018, Kazakhstan legal entities with 100% foreign ownership are no longer required to apply for work permits for foreign individuals acting as CEO or deputies.

The application for a work permit is done online and takes up to 40 calendar days after the submission of documents to the labour authorities.

Registration requirements

Registration of passports with migration authorities has been cancelled for foreign nationals arriving in Kazakhstan from CIS and EEU countries. Allowed duration of stay is 30 calendar days. This can be extended up to one year by obtaining a temporary residence permit based on the employment contract, business trip order, work permit, etc.

Notification on arrival must be submitted within three business days from the arrival for all foreign nationals arriving to Kazakhstan, regardless of the basis of entry and purpose of visit. This can be done in three ways: 

  • The Visa Migration Portal.
  • The eGov website.
  • Submission of written notification to the relevant migration authority (in case of technical issues with the Visa Migration Portal or eGov website).

COVID-19 update on travel restrictions to Kazakhstan

Due to quarantine restrictions, an entry permission is required to arrive in Kazakhstan. Such permission is issued by the inviting company (host party). Entry permit is issued by the Interdepartmental Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Crossing the state border

Introducing amendments to the procedure for crossing the state border for:

  • foreigners holding Kazakhstan residence permit and their family members, and
  • foreigners who are family members of citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

This category of persons can cross the Kazakhstan state border not more than once every 30 days (previously 90 days).

Visa-free regime

  • Extending the suspension of the visa-free regime for citizens of 54* countries until 31 December 2021.
  • Extending the suspension of the 72-hour visa-free stay on the territory of Kazakhstan for transit passengers from China and India until 31 December 2021.

Citizens of the following countries must obtain a visa to enter Kazakhstan:

* 54 countries of visa waiver: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican, and Vietnam.

Entry and stay of foreign citizens under quarantine restrictions

Effective 10 February 2021, residence permit holders, including their family members, and also foreign citizens who are relatives of the Kazakhstan citizens (spouse/parents/children), can enter Kazakhstan no more than once every 30 days after their last departure.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) certificate requirements

Pursuant to Governmental Decree of Chief Sanitary Doctor of the Republic of Kazakhstan No. 25, dated 3 June 2021 and 12 June 2021, changes were made to the procedure for presenting a PCR certificate when entering Kazakhstan:

  • Foreign nationals are not required to provide a PCR certificate in case a full course of vaccination was completed in Kazakhstan. The document confirming vaccination (e.g passport or certificate of vaccination) shall be provided upon arrival to Kazakhstan instead of a PCR certificate.
  • Vaccinated foreign nationals from Hungary, Thailand, and Mongolia now can enter Kazakhstan. Their passports, certificates, and vaccination certificates are recognised as valid in the territory of Kazakhstan. If you are not complying with the above requirements, then you still need a PCR certificate with a negative result for COVID-19 to enter Kazakhstan.

Air travel

At this moment, Kazakhstan has resumed direct air flights with 16 countries: Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea, Belarus, Netherlands, Germany, UAE, Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt, Georgia, Tajikistan, Sri-Lanka, Montenegro, and Poland.

The citizens of these countries can:

  • arrive in Kazakhstan by direct or transit air flight through the mentioned country without obtaining an entry permission of the Interdepartmental Committee
  • can enter Kazakhstan through third countries (subject to the availability of an appropriate visa)
  • visit Kazakhstan under any purpose of stay (work, business trip, tourism), and
  • travel to Kazakhstan under a visa-free regime in case there is a bilateral agreement on visa-free trips between the countries. Otherwise, a visa will be required.

Registration requirements of employment contracts to the unified system (enbek.kz)

The provisions for entering information about an employment contract (EC) to the Unified System of Employment Contracts (USOEC) were approved (Minister of Labor and Population Social Protection’s Order #353 dated 3 September 2020). As of 18 September 2020, the employer must enter EC data to the USOEC within the deadlines prescribed.

As per the Law on amendments and additions to labour legislative acts (4 May 2020 No. 321-VI), the labour code introduced a requirement for the employer to conclude an EC in electronic form or to register the EC in the USOEC if the contract is concluded in writing, as of 15 May 2020.

As of 18 September 2020, the employer must enter into the USOEC details about conclusion of / modifications to / termination of an EC within the following deadlines:

  • Information about existing ECs concluded before 18 September 2020: Before 19 September 2021, where employee headcount is less than 1,999 inclusive.
  • Information about existing ECs concluded before 18 September 2020: Before 19 September 2022, where employees’ headcount is 2,000 or more.
  • Conclusion of an EC on 18 September 2020 or later: Within five working days from the date of signing by both parties.
  • Modifications to an EC: Within 15 calendar days from the date of signing by both parties.

Within 30 calendar days the employer has the right to:

  • correct errors if information was entered incorrectly, and
  • delete information if the employee’s and/or employer's data was entered incorrectly.

Within ten working days of an employees’ reinstatement, the employer should enter the date/number of the internal resolution about reinstatement and name of the authority that approved the reinstatement. The employee concerned should acknowledge this in the personal online cabinet on the e-government web portal using their personal e-key.

Provision of personnel (outstaff) procedure

Now, companies in Kazakhstan can hire employees through employment agencies.

Below are the new articles that have been introduced into the Kazakhstan Labour Code regulating the:

  • Procedure of the staffing services.

  • Procedure for establishment and composition of the commission responsible for investigating the occupational accidents with host party employees.

  • The rights and obligations of the parties with respect to safety and labour protection.

  • Remuneration of the employees of seconding party, particularly non-discrimination of provided personnel.

  • Material liability of the employee of the seconding party, for causing damage to the employer or the host party.

  • HR documents processing upon out staffing.