Visa-Free Travel to Kazakhstan has arrived for citizens of many countries.
It has been announced that visa-free travel to Kazakhstan is now available for all citizens of the European Union and OECD countries. This will make travel there (whether as a tourist destination or a through-route) considerably easier, and cheaper. However, this news came soon after the disappointing revelation that visa-free travel to Uzbekistan was being delayed for five years.
Who will get visa-free travel to Kazakhstan?
Visa free-travel to Kazakhstan, for a period of up to 30 days, will be available for citizens of all EU member states, citizens of all OECD (Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation) members, and more. The additional countries are Monaco, Singapore, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates. Citizens of many nearby countries, including Russia and Georgia, are already permitted visa free-travel to Kazakhstan for up to 90 days, within a period of 6 months. For citizens not in these two groups, those who still need to apply for visas, the required paperwork will be reduced to ease to process. Kazakhstan’s decision is prompted by a faltering economy, not helped by falling oil prices. These seek to “promote an even more favorable investment climate in Kazakhstan and develop the country’s tourism potential”, according to a statement.
What is there to do in Kazakhstan?
Kazakhstan has an under-sized reputation considering it is the world’s ninth biggest country, but that makes it ripe for adventure. You can travel vast distances without seeing another soul, you can hike in luscious valleys and climb dramatic mountains. You can also visit the European-style city of Almaty, wonder at the modern architecture of the capital Astana, or experience a friendly welcome from villagers in the most remote corners of the country. Of course, for many visitors visa-free travel to Kazakhstan will just mean less paperwork before crossing the country en route somewhere else. Don’t waste the chance though: there’s plenty to see if you look for it.
And… bad news regarding visas to Uzbekistan
However, it isn’t all good news. Visa-free travel to Uzbekistan has been postponed till 2021. Government agencies claim that this delay is “in order to provide steady and balanced development of tourism activities” and that first Uzbekistan must “secure safety for the lives and health of foreign tourists and citizens of Uzbekistan”. Whether this is true, or it’s a case of the new president not having quite as much power as he supposed, it’s very disappointing news. There is an upside though: it makes participation on the Central Asia Rally even more rewarding. Our team at Travel Scientists are experienced at navigating Central Asian visa procedures, so this news shouldn’t put you off a trip to a fascinating region!
Will visa-free travel to Kazakhstan tempt you to join the Central Asia Rally? The minimal assistance adventure challenge is always an incredible journey: teams travel from Russia to Kyrgyzstan, via Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, also (briefly) passing through Afghanistan. You’ll drive incredible roads, including the famous Pamir Highway, and enjoy the stunning scenery and welcoming hospitality of the region.