Kazakhstan Visa Waiver Extended to China, India, and Iran

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The government of Kazakhstan has announced it has granted visa exemption to citizens of China, India, and Iran for up to 14 consecutive days from the moment they cross the Kazakh border.

These travelers are permitted a total visa-free stay in Kazakhstan of up to 42 days within every 180 days.

Visa-free stays in Kazakhstan for Chinese, Indian, and Iranian nationals are permitted for tourism, business, or private matters.

These citizens are not permitted to work or perform any paid activity in Kazakhstan with visa-free entry. If they wish to stay and obtain employment in Kazakhstan, they will be required to obtain a Kazakh work permit in advance.

Additionally, if they wish to stay for longer periods than those permitted visa-free, they will be required to apply for a visa for Kazakhstan. Both Chinese and Indian citizens are able to apply for a Kazakh eVisa through a simplified electronic application.

Iranian citizens are not currently eligible to apply for the Kazakh electronic visa online. Instead, they are required to submit a visa application at an embassy or consulate of Kazakhstan, regardless of their motive for travel or intended duration of stay.

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Visa-free Entry to Kazakhstan to Strengthen Ties with Target Countries

The new visa exemptions were granted following a meeting to discuss visa matters between Shakhrat Nuryshev, the Kazakh Ambassador to China, and Hu Heping, China’s Culture Minister, on June 26.

Although the visa-free agreement is not currently reciprocal, Nuryshev has expressed hope that China will also grant visa exemption to Kazakh citizens. The 2 countries have tightened their ties in recent years and seen a boom in mutual trade. Chinese President Xi is also due to visit Kazakhstan in the autumn.

It is also hoped that the other countries will return Kazakhstan’s unilateral visa exemption gesture. Kazakhstan maintains a good relationship with Iran, and recently assisted the Iranian government with oil swap agreements.

The presidents of both countries also jointly inaugurated the new Kazakhstan-Turkey railway network on June 19. The railway, which also passes through Iran, facilitates Kazakh exports to Europe, but could also help Iran promote the International North-South Transport Corridor trade route.

Changes in the Kazakhstan Visa Waiver Program

The new additions to the Kazakhstan visa waiver program is just the latest of many changes to the Kazakh visa policy in recent years.

The new Kazah visa waiver rules replace the previous visa exemption for Chinese and Indian citizens for 72 hours for transit purposes only. This applied from April 2018 to January 2020, when it was suspended due to COVID-19 concerns.

The new 14-day visa-free stay marks the first time that travelers from China and India are granted visa-exemption to Kazakhstan since the beginning of the pandemic.

Visa-free entry was also suspended for all other visa-exempt nationalities during this time, before it again became possible for select nationalities to enter Kazakhstan by air without a visa on January 1, 2022.

Citizens of a large number of countries are now able to enter Kazakhstan without a visa for up to 30 days due to their large direct investment in Kazakhstan’s economy. Additionally, nationals of roughly 10 Eastern European and Asian countries are permitted a visa-free stay of 90 days.

Additionally, the Kazakh government announced in June 2022 its intention to establish visa waiver agreements with 100 additional countries.