A new immigration law took effect in in Kazakhstan in late May 2013 that reorganized the country's visa classification system.The new rules serve a dual purpose. First, they aim to create favorable conditions for foreign nationals, including tourists, private persons, and business visitors, who travel to Kazakhstan. Second, the rules serve to reduce the number of foreign nationals engaged in impermissible activity in Kazakhstan such as illegal entrepreneurial, labor, and other remunerated work.
In determining whether to issue a visa, the Kazakhstan immigration authority will consider the political and migration situation in the visa applicant's country of nationality or permanent residence.
Types and Categories of Visas
There are now two general categories of visas: nonimmigrant visas for diplomatic, service, investor, business, missionary, tourist, and transit activities; and immigrant visas for work, permanent residence, family reunion, education, work and humanitarian stays.
Each of these visa categories, with the exception of tourist and transit visas, is further divided into sub categories. The most notable subcategories are the investor, business and performance of labor activity visas.
- Investor Visas: These visas are issued to foreign nationals who are engaged in investment activity in Kazakhstan as a single entry visa for up to 90 days or multiple entry visas for up to 3 years.
- Business Visas:
The new law has imposed new restrictions for business visitors. Business visas are issued to foreign nationals who enter Kazakhstan for the purpose of participating in conferences, forums, exhibitions, cultural, scientific and other events, and also for delivering lectures and teaching at educational establishments. Business visas are now divided into subcategories based on the specific types of activities a visitor intends to perform, with each visa subcategory now having its own maximum allowable stay per entry.
Business visitors are not allowed to extend the validity of the visas, which are issued according to the time requested in the invitation letters submitted in support of their visa application. Visitors in all of the new business visa subcategories must also limit their cumulative stay in Kazakhstan to 60 days per six month period. The annual maximum cumulative period of stay for business visitors remains 120 days.
- D1 Business Visa: participation in conferences, symposiums or similar events and lecturing or teaching at academic institutions. Visitors in this subcategory must limit each stay to 30 days per entry.
- D2 Business Visa: business trips, assembling or maintaining equipment, negotiating or signing contracts, or consulting and auditing services. Visitors in this subcategory must limit each stay to 60 days.
- D3 Business Visa: providing humanitarian aid, conducting negotiations, executing contracts, rendering consulting and auditor's services Visitors in this subcategory must limit each stay to 30 days.
- Work Visas:
Generally, work visas are divided into five subcategories:
- The M1 Visa is renewable visa issued to foreign nationals on the basis of a work permit or permission for independent employment and is valid for up to one year or for the effective term of allowed employment.
- The M2 Visa is for Dependents of M1 Visa Holders.
- The M3 Visa is issued to foreign nationals who are submitting documents to the local executive bodies for employment permission and is valid for a period of up to 30 days per entry.
- The M4 Visa is issued to business immigrants who come to Kazakhstan for the purpose of conducting entrepreneurial activity for period of up to one year.
- The M5 Visa is issued to seasonal employees.
- Simplified Procedures for the Issuance of Visas and Registration of Passports: The new rules retain the simplified procedure for obtaining visas for Kazakhstan for nationals of 48 developed countries including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Israel, Denmark, Australia, Bulgaria, Norway, Poland, Singapore, France, Spain, Germany, Korea, among others. Nationals of these countries can obtain short-term visas for Kazakhstan without formal invitation letters. Additionally, registration of passports of foreign nationals from the 48 enumerated "developed" countries takes place at the Kazakhstan state border checkpoints when passing a passport-border control. The visa is issued at that time and there is no need to submit an application prior to the entry.
Maggio + Kattar extends its sincere thanks for this update on immigration processes in Kazakhstan to Ms. Yuliya Chumachenko and Mr. Alexander Chumachenko from the Aequitas Law Firm.