In a rather surprising move, Kazakhstan, ruled by the authoritarian president Nazarbayev, has announced plans for visa free travel for a number of countries.
Astana is abolishing visa requirements for citizens of 10 countries with a strong track record of investing in Kazakhstan, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has announced.
The visa-free countries are France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Nazarbayev told a June 12 gathering of the Foreign Investors Council at the lake resort of Burabay, to the north of Astana.
The visa-free system is expected to go into effect on July 15 and initially be in force for a pilot period of one year, Rapil Zhoshibayev, the deputy foreign minister, later explained. Citizens of 10 designated countries can stay in Kazakhstan without visas for 15 days; anyone needing to stay longer would be required to apply for business or investor visas.
A visa for a US passport holder (incl. a 5 year free multiple entry visa) is issued for a $160 fee.
I have been looking to go to Almaty next year and this is welcome news. The national carrier is Air Astana, which flies to a number of destinations in the region.
Air Astana is a Miles&More partner and you can use the Miles&More chart for bookings. Fuel surcharges are low so miles can be very valuable.