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The Kazakhstan government has implemented several policy changes
that reduce administrative entry processes. Key changes
- Redefining passport registration as a temporary residence
permit process for certain visa-exempt nationals seeking to stay
for more than 30 days;
- Implementing an online process for the mandatory notification
of arrival notification; and
- Eliminating the requirement for host companies to submit
monthly reports to regional labor authorities for review and
Separately, the Kazakh government clarified the maximum
allowable stay for visa-exempt short-term travelers as 90 days in a
180-day period, limited to 30 days per trip, where previously no
cumulative limit was set.
Effective January 11, 2020, the Kazakhstan government has
implemented several policy changes that reduce administrative entry
processes and redefine the passport registration process.
A closer look
Migration Card abolished
- Visa-exempt nationals no longer need to complete a Migration
Card with details of their travel, including their purpose and
duration of stay, as was previously required upon entry.
- The new policy is expected to streamline the entry process for
- Visa nationals were already waived from the Migration Card
Passport registration replaced by temporary residence
- Nationals from the following countries, seeking to stay in
Kazakhstan for more than 30 days, must apply for a temporary
residence permit where they previously needed to register their
passport with the Migration Police: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Brazil, Ecuador, Georgia, Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova,
Russia, Serbia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and
- The new policy redefines the passport registration process as a
temporary residence process, where previously, temporary residence
permits were not available in Kazakhstan.
- Fragomen expects the application process and supporting
document requirements to largely stay the same. Notably however,
the strict registration deadline of five calendar days from arrival
is expected to be changed to a 30-day deadline.
- The new policy seeks to modernize the immigration system; align
it with permit requirements applied in neighboring countries; and
more accurately track foreign nationals seeking to reside in
Kazakhstan for more than 30 days.
- The increased application deadline will reduce the compliance
burden on host companies, since under the current system, failure
to complete passport registration in a timely manner may impact
host sponsoring companies even though the registration is an
- Importantly, notification of arrival by the host company within
three business days of arrival remains mandatory under the new
- Other visa-exempt nationals (who receive two passport stamps
upon arrival) and all visa nationals were exempt from passport
registration and remain exempt from the new temporary residence
Passport registration abolished for short-term trips by
- Nationals from the following countries no longer have to
register their passport with Migration Police for business or
tourist trips, among others, under 30 days: Argentina, Azerbaijan,
Brazil, Ecuador, Georgia, Hong Kong, Moldova, Serbia, South Korea
- Eligible short-term travelers benefit from a reduced
- Other visa-exempt nationals and all visa nationals were already
waived from the passport registration requirement for stays under
Online notification of arrival
- Effective immediately, employers can file notifications of
sponsored foreign nationals' arrival online where these were
previously submitted to regional Migration Police offices.
- As before, notifications must be filed within three business
days of the foreign national's arrival, and are required for
work permit holders and visa-exempt business travelers.
- The new policy, which seeks to streamline and modernize the
notification system, alleviates the administrative burden on
employers, since sponsoring host companies previously had to
sign/stamp an original notification letter before submission.
- Through online filing, employers can more easily meet the
notification deadline through quick online notifications. This
development will ease the compliance burden on host companies since
failure to complete this notification in a timely manner entails an
almost automatic sponsorship ban for up to one year.
Monthly labor reporting eliminated
- Host companies are no longer required to submit monthly labor
reports (confirming numbers and data of current employees) to
regional labor authorities for review and tracking, with the
exception of the Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) and Aktobe regions,
where labor reports remain required until further notice.
Authorities have not yet confirmed whether alternative regional
information requirements will be implemented.
- Employers in most Kazakh regions benefit from a reduced
Cumulative duration of stay for short-term business
- Kazakh authorities have clarified the allowable duration of
stay for visa-exempt nationals. These nationals can travel to
Kazakhstan for business or tourism, among others, for 90 days in a
180-day timeframe and up to 30 days per trip. Previously,
visa-exempt nationals could enter Kazakhstan for up to 30 days per
trip, but there was no clarity on the cumulative allowable duration
of stay per year.
- Upon exhausting 90 days of stay, travelers must exit Kazakhstan
until expiry of the 180-day period counted from their first entry,
before being allowed to re-enter (unlike the Schengen area, where
the 180-day period is assessed counting backwards at each
- The new policy seeks to clarify the maximum allowable stay for
- Foreign nationals should track their stay and ensure they do
not exceed the maximum cumulative allowable stay.
- Under the new policy, host companies share responsibility for
preventing foreign nationals' overstay.
These streamlining efforts are in line with other recent
improvements to immigration rules, such as the introduction of an
e-visa for business trips for nationals of 23 countries
in April 2019, and the extension of the
business visa waiver to more nationals
in October 2019.
government's decrease of the foreign worker
quota in early January 2020 demonstrates the
government's intention to limit the influx of foreign workers
into the country as Kazakhstan continues to grow as one of the
region's highest oil and gas producers.
As Kazakhstan continues to draw foreign visitors and workers
particularly to the oil and gas industry, the government is likely
to continue to on one hand streamline the immigration process for
foreign workers to create internal efficiencies, and on the other
hand increase its tracking mechanisms to maintain control of the
foreign visitor volume, which is expected to double by
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