The Kazakhstan government has implemented several policy changes that reduce administrative entry processes. Key changes include:

  • 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 tracking.

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.

The situation

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-exempt nationals.
  • Visa nationals were already waived from the Migration Card requirement. 

Passport registration replaced by temporary residence permit application  

  • 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 Uzbekistan.
  • 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 employee responsibility.
  • Importantly, notification of arrival by the host company within three business days of arrival remains mandatory under the new policy.
  • 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 permit requirement.

Passport registration abolished for short-term trips by certain nationals

  • 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 and Uzbekistan. 
  • Eligible short-term travelers benefit from a reduced administrative burden.
  • Other visa-exempt nationals and all visa nationals were already waived from the passport registration requirement for stays under 30 days. 

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 administrative burden. 

Cumulative duration of stay for short-term business travel clarified

  • 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 entry).


  • The new policy seeks to clarify the maximum allowable stay for short-term visitors.
  • 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.

The 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.

Looking ahead

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 2020.

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