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COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
Kazakhstan - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Kazakhstan due to crime.
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place and may vary depending on the region.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to physical distancing
- Avoid crowded areas
The use of a face covering might be required in certain public spaces. If you violate these measures, you could be fined and face criminal charges for endangering public health.
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
The Government of Kazakhstan maintains a public alert system on terrorism. The alert level is currently at “yellow.” There are increased security measures on public transportation and in other public areas.
Violent crime against foreign tourists occurs. Robberies occur on public transportation, in parks, shopping areas, open markets and restaurants, and near major tourist hotels and nightclubs.
- Do not open your door to strangers under any circumstance
- Do not carry large amounts of money or travel alone after dark
Individuals posing as police officers have robbed foreigners. If approached, ask to see police credentials.
Men posing as “meet and greet” airport facilitators lure unsuspecting foreigners into cars and demand money. Make prior arrangements with your contacts so they can appropriately identify themselves to you at the airport.
Foreigners have been the target of violent attacks and muggings when leaving bars, nightclubs and other recreational establishments at night in Aktobe, Almaty, Atyrau and Nur-Sultan. Avoid walking alone after dark and make transportation arrangements with a reputable company before leaving such venues.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Demonstrations occur from time to time. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Aggressive driving, poorly lit, marked and maintained roads and obscure signs make driving hazardous, especially in winter.
Driving after dark is dangerous.
Road signs are in the Cyrillic alphabet.
Avoid driving unless you are familiar with local road conditions. Consider hiring a car with a driver.
Due to the vast distances between cities and the lack of gas stations and other services in rural areas, you should fully fuel your vehicle and pack a weather-appropriate emergency kit before leaving major cities.
Use only officially marked taxis, pre-negotiate the fare and do not allow other passengers to ride with you.
While rail service is good, onboard robberies often occur and railroad officials may be involved. Store your belongings in a safe place and do not leave the compartment unattended. Ensure that the door is secured from the inside.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Unannounced delays and flight cancellations are common in winter due to poor weather conditions. Regional airlines do not always respect reservations.
General safety information
Tourist facilities are limited, especially outside Almaty and Nur-Sultan. Plan ahead to minimize safety risks.
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory. While some countries have started to ease some of these measures, most remain in place.
Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions or requirements related to this situation. Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel.
These could include:
- entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- exit bans
- quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, some in designated facilities, at your own cost
- health screenings and certificates as well as proof of adequate travel health insurance
- travel authorization documents to be obtained before you travel
- border closures
- airport closures
- flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the authorities of Kazakhstan. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Kazakhstan.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
You must obtain a visa to visit Kazakhstan.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Single-entry visas allow visitors to remain in Kazakhstan for up to 90 days, while multiple-entry visas are valid for up to three years with a maximum stay of 30 days per entry.
When obtaining a visa, ensure that the visa corresponds to the type of activity you plan to undertake. Visa infringement is punishable by prison terms and deportation.
You do not need a letter of invitation for stays longer than 30 days if you are applying for an A3, B1, B3, B10 or B12 visa. Travellers with all other categories of visa must obtain an invitation for stays longer than 30 days.
Visas for foreign citizens - Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Your hosts must notify migration services of your arrival within three calendar days. If the registration process is not completed within this timeframe, local authorities may detain you, impose a fine or delay your exit from the country.
Authorities have designated all areas within 25 km of a border as “closed zones.” You must apply for a special permit to visit them.
Closed zones include:
- Big Almaty Lake
- Lake Alakol
- Sharyn Canyon
- Monakhov Gorge
Some areas within the following provinces are closed to travellers:
- Karaganda (Gulshad and Priozersk villages)
- Kyzylorda (city of Baikonur and the Karmakshinsky and Kazalinsky regions)
- West Kazakhstan (Bokeiordinsky and Zhangalinsky regions)
- Zhambyl (Gvardeyskiy and Rossavel villages and Kulzhabasy)
To obtain a permit, valid for one visit only, send a request to the Head of the Almaty Migration Police Department. Indicate the name of the persons intending to visit the site, passport numbers for each person, the exact time and date of the visit, and the name of the site to be visited. If you attempt to enter these areas without a permit, you are subject to arrest and/or a fine.
Health entry requirements
You must provide a medical certificate of a negative test for infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), conducted no more than one month prior to registration, if you are planning to travel or reside in Kazakhstan for more than 3 months.
You must present the certificate (translated and certified by a local notary and the Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS in Almaty) to the Migration Police within 3 days of arrival. You can get tested for HIV abroad or locally at the centre.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - January 16, 2021
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
- Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
- It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
- It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
- Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
- A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
- Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)?
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Central Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, malaria, and tick-borne encephalitis.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Asia, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with former defence industry installations and test ranges, particularly in the Semipalatinsk Test Site area, pose health risks. These test areas are normally closed to foreigners; if travelling to these areas on organized tours, closely follow the advice of tour leaders.
Medical services and facilities
COVID-19 - Testing facilities
Consult the following links to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test:
- Local COVID-19 testing facilities - Akimat of Nur-Sultan (in Russian or Kazakh only)
Health care is inadequate. Medical facilities throughout Kazakhstan are scarce. Medical clinics often have poor hygiene practices and lack basic drugs and equipment.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Identification checks are common and police will arrest visitors who do not carry identification. Carry photo identification, as well as a legally certified copy of your visa and registration, with you at all times.
- Keep your passport and visa in a safe place
- Leave a photocopy of your travel documents with a relative or a friend at home
- Keep a digital copy of your ID and travel documents
You must carry an international driving permit.
More about the International Driving Permit
Illegal or restricted activities
There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving.
Possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs may result in jail sentences and heavy fines.
Photography of military installations or government buildings may result in a penalty. Seek permission from local authorities before taking photographs.
The importation of prescription medication is restricted.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Kazakhstan.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Kazakhstan, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
Any Kazakh citizen who obtains another citizenship is legally obligated to surrender their Kazakh citizenship by advising the nearest embassy or consulate of Kazakhstan and returning all Kazakh identification and travel documents within 3 days of becoming a citizen of another country.
Kazakhstan is a secular country, but Islamic practices and beliefs are widespread and are most closely adhered to in rural areas. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Although Kazakhstani law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, homosexuality is not socially tolerated.
LGBTQ2 travelers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Kazakhstan.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
The currency is the tenge (KZT).
The economy is largely cash-based. It is illegal to use foreign currency in financial transactions.
Traveller’s cheques are rarely accepted outside large hotels catering to foreigners. Credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas. Euros and U.S. dollars can be exchanged at authorized currency exchanges. All U.S. dollar bills must have been issued after 1995 and be in good condition. You must declare amounts exceeding US$3,000 in cash at border crossings.
ATMs are widely available in Almaty and Nur-Sultan, and are becoming increasingly available in urban centres throughout the country. Only some ATMs will accept debit cards that use the Plus System.
Natural disasters and climate
Kazakhstan is located in an active seismic zone. Avalanches and landslides are possible in mountainous areas, especially in the spring.
Kazakhstan experiences severe weather conditions, especially in the winter when temperatures can fall below -30°C and strong winds can result in wind-chill temperatures below -50°C. Highways and roads are regularly closed in the winter months due to cold, wind and snow. Travellers should ensure they prepare appropriately and take adequate precautions when travelling outside of urban areas in the winter.
Industrial pollution is severe in some cities.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
Nur-Sultan - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Kazakhstan, in Nur-Sultan, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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