Kazakhstan travel advice
Latest updates: The Need help? section was updated.
Last updated: ET
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Kazakhstan - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Kazakhstan
Safety and security
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and vehicle break-ins occurs, particularly in Astana and Almaty.
Theft is frequent in or near tourist locations, including:
- public transportation, especially buses
- shopping areas
- open-air markets
During your stay:
- exercise caution
- ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in crowded areas
- don’t walk or travel alone at night
- don’t show signs of affluence or wear expensive jewellery
- don’t carry large amounts of money
- be vigilant if approached by strangers seeking assistance
- don’t leave valuables within reach or in plain sight
Violent crime against foreigners rarely occurs. However, there have been reports of attacks, muggings and robbery.
There have been incidents involving tourists outside of bars and nightclubs, especially at night, in Almaty, Astana and Atyrau. Residences of foreigners have also been targets for burglary.
Kazakhstan is a transit country for drugs, but there is also an increase in local production and consumption in urban areas, especially of synthetic drugs. Illicit drug trafficking and use may lead to violent spillovers and street crime.
- Exercise caution
- Avoid areas that seem unsafe
- Don’t walk alone at night
- Choose living accommodations that have adequate security measures
- When at home, don’t open your door to strangers under any circumstance
- Keep windows and doors locked at all times
There is a threat of terrorism. There are security concerns about extremism and radicalization, but Kazakh authorities have reinforced security measures. Terrorist attacks could still occur at any time.
Targets could include:
- government buildings
- 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.
Be particularly vigilant during:
- sporting events
- religious holidays
- public celebrations
- major political events, such as elections
Terrorists may use such occasions to mount attacks.
Credit and debit cards
Credit and debit card as well ATM fraud occur.
- Pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
- Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank
- Avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- Cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- Check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Cybercrime occurs frequently in Kazakhstan, especially online extortion and identity theft. There are several reported cases of Canadian citizens transferring money to individuals in Kazakhstan and losing contact with the swindlers once the transaction is completed.
Criminals can compromise public Wi-Fi networks to steal personal data or credit information. They can also monitor social media and listen to your phone conversations.
- Don’t transfer money to strangers
- Don’t share personal information over the phone or online, including on social media
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks
- Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) when browsing on the Internet
- Avoid shopping on unencrypted websites
- Don't click on suspicious links that ask for your banking information in an e-mail or text message
Fraudulent police officers
Thieves posing as police officers have approached foreign travellers and asked them to pay alleged fines. There are also reported cases of online scams by individuals posing as investigators asking people to confirm their personal information in the context of an ongoing investigation.
If you face a similar situation:
- offer to go to the nearest police station
- ask to see police credentials
- remain vigilant
Demonstrations take place occasionally and require approval from local authorities.
In 2022, security forces strongly intervened in large-scale demonstrations across Kazakhstan. The demonstrations led to vandalism and violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces, which resulted in hundreds of casualties.
The situation has since returned to normal without any further disturbances, but you should expect a heightened presence of security forces on or around politically important days.
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
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.
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Road conditions vary throughout the country. They are generally in good condition in and around major cities, but in rural areas, they are poorly maintained and dangerous due to:
- large potholes
- malfunctioning or absence of traffic lights
- insufficient lighting
- uneven surface
- bad road markings and signage
Fuel shortages occur occasionally, even in major cities and gas stations are limited in rural areas.
If you travel to remote areas:
- keep in mind that services and roadside assistance may be limited
- keep your gas tank full
- make sure that you have an adequate supply of food and water
During winter, driving conditions are hazardous, particularly in the Kazakh Steppe. Roads and highways regularly close due to cold, wind and snow.
Drivers are reckless and often disregard traffic laws, especially during rush hours.
Typical behaviours include:
- sudden lane changes without signalling
- driving on the opposite side of the road and astride lanes
- driving and parking on sidewalks
- stopping abruptly
Pedestrians often cross in the middle of the road and drivers don’t always give pedestrians the right of way.
If you’re driving in Kazakhstan:
- always drive defensively
- avoid driving at night
- use main roads and highways as much as possible
- always carry a cellphone and a charger
In major cities, buses are generally in good condition. However, they are often overcrowded and pickpockets are common.
- Always carry your valuables and identification with you
- Avoid storing bags in the overhead compartment or under your seat
- Don't take buses that look overloaded or in poor condition
When travelling to or between rural areas, avoid using minibuses called ‘’Marshrutka’’. They often lack security features like seatbelts.
Official and unofficial taxis operate in Kazakhstan.
Unofficial taxis don’t always have roof-mounted taxi signs and are not always equipped with safety features like seatbelts.
Unofficial taxis may pick up additional passengers, which poses a risk to your safety. There are reports of passengers being overcharged, and becoming victims of robbery, assault and harassment by unmarked taxi drivers.
At airports, some drivers may insist to get you into their car and will significantly overcharge you.
In major cities, there are ridesharing applications through which you can order taxis with generally safer vehicles and fixed fares, except if you select the cheapest category.
If you choose to take taxis during your stay:
- order your taxi at the reception if you are staying at a hotel
- don’t use unmarked taxis
- never share a taxi with strangers
- confirm the fare in advance
- have small bills available for payment
While rail service is reliable and relatively safe, onboard robberies do occur.
- Make sure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Don’t leave your compartment unattended
- Keep the door locked from the inside
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
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 the Foreign Representatives 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 3 months beyond the expiry date of your visa, if required. If the purpose of your travel to Kazakhstan requires a visa, you should keep at least two blank pages in your passport. If the purpose of your travel to Kazakhstan doesn’t require a visa, you should keep at least one blank page in your passport.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
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 foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required for stays of up to 30 days for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.
Business visa: not required for stays of up to 30 days for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.
Student visa: required
You could face various penalties if you overstay or if you don’t comply with the terms of your visa including:
- prison terms
- entry ban
Ensure that your visa corresponds to the type of activity you plan to undertake.
Visa to Kazakhstan - Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Canada
Kazakh authorities prohibit access to certain areas if you don’t obtain prior authorization. This includes areas along the border with China and close to military installations, such as the city of Baikonur.
If you intend to travel in these areas, you should contact the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the nearest embassy or consulate of Kazakhstan to obtain the necessary approvals.
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
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 required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
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.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a risk in some areas of this destination. 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 occasionally when unpasteurized milk products are consumed.
Travellers to areas where TBE is found may be at higher risk during April to November, and the risk is highest for people who hike or camp in forested areas.
Protect yourself from tick bites. The vaccine is not available in Canada. It may be available in the destination you are travelling to.
In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.
If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals).
Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
The flu occurs worldwide.
- In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to April.
- In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and October.
- In the tropics, there is flu activity year round.
The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.
The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.
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.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
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 of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that can cause fever, pain and bleeding under the skin. In some cases, it can be fatal. It spreads to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, or from the bite of an infected tick. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
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.
Medical services and facilities
Medical services and facilities are below Canadian standards. The equipment is often obsolete and not adequate for serious medical procedures. Medical facilities may lack basic supplies, especially in rural areas.
You will likely need medical evacuation in case of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Some prescription medication may not be available in Kazakhstan.
If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in the country.
- Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
- Always keep your medication in the original container
- Pack them in your carry-on luggage
- Carry a copy of your prescriptions
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.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
The law of Kazakhstan doesn’t criminalize sexual acts or relationships between individuals of the same sex.
However, 2SLGBTQI+ persons could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.
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.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Kazakhstan.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Kazakhstan by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Kazakhstan to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Religious proselytizing and certain religious activities are illegal in Kazakhstan, including:
- importing, producing and distributing religious content without prior approval from the government
- practicing private religious education without registration
- holding religious ceremonies without prior approval from the government
If you engage in illegal religious activities, you could face:
- heavy fines
- lengthy jail sentences
Dress and behaviour
Kazakhstan is a secular country. However, Islamic practices and beliefs are adhered to, particularly in rural areas.
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
Photographing may be restricted or prohibited, including in or near:
- military installations
- government buildings
- airport facilities
- border areas
Some large shops and supermarkets also prohibit photography.
Seek permission before taking photos, especially of official buildings and individuals.
Local authorities may ask you to show identification at any time.
- Carry valid identification such as your passport and visa with you at all times
- Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it is lost or confiscated
- Keep a digital copy of your ID and travel documents
Kazakhstan has a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving.
A Canadian driver’s licence alone is not acceptable to drive in Kazakhstan. You must carry an international driving permit.
You must carry an international driving permit.
The currency is the Kazakh tenge (KZT). You should carry cash when travelling to rural areas as credit and debit cards may not be as widely accepted as in major cities.
Foreign currency declaration
There are restrictions on the import and export of foreign currency. You must declare all foreign currency in your possession equivalent to more than 10,000 USD.
Foreign currency declarations apply to:
- traveller's cheques
- any other monetary instruments
Import and export of foreign currency – State Revenue Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Natural disasters and climate
Kazakhstan experiences severe weather conditions, especially in the winter when temperatures can fall below -30°C and strong winds can result in wind chills that make it feel below -50°C.
If you’re travelling outside of urban areas in the winter:
- keep informed of local and regional weather forecasts
- ensure you have emergency supplies and equipment in your vehicle, including:
- warm clothing
- a first aid kit
- food and water
Kazakhstan is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes occur regularly, particularly in the Almaty region. Landslides are possible in affected areas, and strong aftershocks may occur after the initial quake. Earthquakes may also trigger avalanches in mountainous areas, especially in the spring.
Avalanches and landslides can make roads impassable, cause power disruptions and disturb other essential services.
If an earthquake occurs:
- avoid the affected areas
- monitor local media to stay informed on the evolving situation
- follow the instructions of local authorities
Wildfires are common throughout the country between July and August, when temperatures can reach +40°C.
The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.
In case of a major fire:
- stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- follow the advice of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
Industrial pollution is severe in Almaty and Astana, particularly from November to March, when residents burn coal to heat homes and two coal-fired thermoelectric plants operate.
Monitor air pollution levels, which change quickly, especially if you suffer from respiratory ailments or have pre-existing medical conditions.
During periods of high pollution:
- limit your activities outdoors
- monitor local media
- follow the instructions of local authorities
In case of emergency, dial:
- firefighters: 101
- police: 102
- ambulance: 103
- emergency assistance: 112
Astana - Embassy of Canada
Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Kazakhstan, in Astana, 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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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