Country guides Asia
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. The European round two-pin plugs are standard (Type C and F).
Kazakh, spoken by about 65 percent of the population, is the state language and Russian is an official language used for business, administration, and cross-cultural communication.
The official currency is the Kazakhstani tenge (KZT), which is divided into 100 tiyin. ATMs are generally accessible in Kazakhstan, with major European and international credit cards, such as Diners Club and Visa, accepted in central hotels, shops, and restaurants.
Tipping is not customary in Kazakhstan, as a service charge is included in hotel and restaurant bills, but the practice is becoming more common as more tourists arrive. There is also a fixed charge on taxi and railway transport, so many taxi drivers won't take tips unless travellers insist repeatedly.
All travellers arriving from a country where there is a risk of yellow fever transmission are required to have a certificate of inoculation. It is recommended that travellers to Kazakhstan immunise themselves against hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and update their MMR (mumps-measles-rubella) vaccines; all travellers who are older than 16 should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Medical facilities are not as advanced as those in the UK or Canada, so travellers should take along their own medical of essentials, as well as updated and signed letters from their physicians that detail what medications they carry and why they need them. Doctors and hospitals will expect payment in cash, regardless of travel health insurance.
The general rules of safety in Kazakhstan are the same as in any other developing country. There are the normal risks of pickpockets and petty crime, and travellers are advised to be cautious of corrupt police. Travellers are advised to be cautious at night in and around clubs and bars. Kazakhstan is generally a very friendly country and foreigners are respected.
Kazakh people are known for their hospitality, respect for elders, and tolerance. Generosity and cordial behaviour are common in both social and business fields, but standards of dress and behaviour are conservative, so travellers should take care not to offend. Greetings between opposite genders should remain verbal, though same sex friends may shake hands or, if very close, greet one another with a hug. Possession and use of drugs is illegal. If travellers are found guilty, they could face a lengthy prison sentence. Same sex couples are discouraged from openly showing their affection, even though same-sex relations are legal. Cultural norms prohibit and actively discriminate against homosexuality.
An experienced and proficient interpreter can be of great assistance at business meetings. Kazakhstan's hierarchal social structure translates into the business environment, so high ranking officials and partners will wish to meet with their equals. It is customary to shake hands and call people by their first names and last names at business meetings, as well as at informal gatherings, and small talk commonly precedes any business negotiations.
Business attire is generally a suit and tie for men, and a suit or business dress for women; even at informal gatherings formal attire is often expected. The respective parties often give small gifts (pens, company logo pins or books) at the end of an initial meeting as a token of appreciation. Business cards are widely distributed, with Russian and English translations. Many people in Kazakhstan are Muslim and therefore often take breaks from work during the day for prayer, so visitors should consider prayer times when scheduling meetings.
The following goods may be imported into Kazakhstan without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 200g of tobacco products; three litres of alcoholic beverages; a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use; and gifts to the value of EUR 1500 for personal use only.
The international dialling code for Kazakhstan is +7. Inexpensive prepaid SIM cards are available and provide an easy way to communicate both locally and internationally; free WiFi is available in cafes, restaurants and hotels in main towns and cities.
Passport & Visa
Most foreign passengers require a visa to enter Kazakhstan, and a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required if travellers are arriving from a country where there is a risk of transmission. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Kazakhstan. No visa is required for stays of up to 30 days.
British citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Kazakhstan. No visa is required for stays of up to 30 days.
Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Kazakhstan. A visa is required for stays longer than 30 days.
Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Kazakhstan. A visa is required for visits longer than 30 days.
South African citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Kazakhstan. A visa is required.
Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Kazakhstan. A visa is required for stays longer than 30 days.
New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Kazakhstan. A visa is required for stays longer than 30 days.
Useful contacts102 (Police); 103 (Ambulance)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Kazakhstan Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 232 5488.
Kazakhstan Embassy, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 207 925 1757.
Kazakhstan Embassy, Toronto, Canada: +1 613 695 8055.
Kazakhstan Embassy, Singapore (also responsible for Australia): +65 6536 6100.
Kazakhstan Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 460 0086.
Kazakhstan Embassy, Singapore (also responsible for New Zealand): +65 6536 6100.
Embassies / consulates in Kazakhstan
United States Embassy, Nur-Sultan: +7 7172 70 21 00.
British Embassy, Nur-Sultan: +7 7172 556 200.
Canadian Embassy, Nur-Sultan (also provides limited assistance to Australia): +7 7172 475 577.
South African Embassy, Nur-Sultan: + 7 717 925 326/7/8.
Irish Embassy, Moscow, Russia (also responsible for Kazakhstan): +7 495 937 5911.
New Zealand Embassy, Moscow, Russia (also responsible for Kazakhstan): +7 495 956 3579.