Kazakhstan will start issuing electronic visas from July 1 as part of the Digital Kazakhstan programme. Visitors will be able to apply online through an electronic portal.
“We have identified several countries and this year we plan to implement pilot projects for them. This will require the modernisation of Berkut, the unified system of tracking foreigners and local residents as they enter and leave Kazakhstan, which is currently administered by the National Security Committee. “The national budget committee has approved all the related expenses. Therefore, we will start issuing e-visas this year,” said First Deputy Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi.
The process will be based on similar systems which exist in Estonia and the United Arab Emirates.
With the launch of the electronic visas, foreign citizens will no longer need to visit Kazakh embassies or consulates, said Interior Affairs Deputy Minister Yerlan Turgumbayev. The e-visa system is the first of its kind in Central Asia.
Foreign citizens will be required to apply for visas from Kazakhstan’s migration office by providing the required personal information, including the purpose of visit, their financial position and length of stay.
“We will check the information with the database and if there are no restrictions, we will issue a visa. This will ease the registration process, especially for the countries where there are no consular services available. Thus, we will also not need to increase our consular staff. E-visas also contribute to the provision of comfortable conditions for businesspeople and tourists,” he added.
At present, citizens of 61 countries, including all Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development members, do not require a visa to stay in Kazakhstan for up to 30 days. Visa procedures have been simplified for residents of 53 additional nations.
Visitors from Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Russia are exempt from registration with the local migration police during the first 30 days after entry, and terms for a similar procedure are under discussion for Tajikistan.