COVID-19 Information

U.S. citizens are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts from the Embassy and Consulate. Ensure you have added a trip to Kazakhstan on your profile to receive pertinent updates.

The Kazakhstani Ministry of Health has confirmed 42,574 cases of COVID-19 in the country as of July 2, 2020

We urge U.S. citizens in-country to remain vigilant and to continue practicing social distancing, frequent handwashing, and enhanced disinfection measures. Please look for ways to prevent becoming a vector for the virus, such as avoiding social gatherings.  We recommend that U.S. citizens continue with limited movement in public to include grocery shopping, pharmacy, and other essential trips.  For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please consult the CDC’s website.

Lufthansa Flight Update: Lufthansa is considering operating a flight, LH649, between Almaty and Nur-Sultan to Frankfurt on July 21. Please note, this flight replaces the one Lufthansa was considering for July 9. Lufthansa will decide whether it will operate this flight by 6:00 pm Almaty time July 6. In order for Lufthansa to determine demand for the flight, please contact them directly by phone or email (see below).  Other options for travel out of Kazakhstan exist and are summarized on our COVID-19 webpage.

Flight Information for LH649 (Note: all times local):

·         Almaty to Nur-Sultan: 02:10 – 04:00

·         Nur-Sultan to Frankfurt: 04:55 – 07:00

Lufthansa Sales Team:

·         +7 701 057 2440 (Hours: M-F 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; S-Su: 11:00 am to 3:00 pm)

·         +7 701 782 5977 (Hours: M-F 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm)

Lufthansa Service Center:

·         +7 727 333 50 25 (Hours: M-F 10:00 am to 9:00 pm; S-Su 11:30 am to 8:00 pm)

Email:

·         service-team@dlh.de

·         julia.polynova@dlh.de

·         rushana.tukanova@dlh.de

New Quarantine Measures: The Kazakhstani Government has announced that quarantine restrictions will be reinstated throughout the country starting July 5. These restrictions will be in effect for at least 14 days, and may be extended or strengthened. Other municipalities may introduce restrictions beyond the below and with little or no notice; for the latest information, see your respective city’s website. Links are provided on our COVID-19 page.

·         Transportation: Regional bus service will be suspended, and municipal transportation will be limited. Rail travel will be limited. Domestic and international air travel will remain at current levels.

·         Businesses Shuttered: Most business will be closed, including beauty salons, gyms and fitness centers, pools, closed markets, beaches, cultural facilities, museums, exhibits, entertainment centers, religious facilities, movie theaters, food courts, and recreational facilities.

·         Essential Businesses Exempt: Some essential business will continue to operate, including grocery stores, open-air markets, and pharmacies. Health centers will offer services by appointment. Limited enterprises, such as companies in construction, agriculture, auto service, and commercial banks will remain open. Restaurants will be open for delivery or take-out; summer patios will remain open.

·         Personal Movement Limited: All large events and family gatherings are prohibited. Individual outdoor fitness activities are permitted, and people may walk in parks and other public spaces in groups of three or less. Individuals older than 65 years old are limited from leaving their residence.

For U.S citizens who need to travel by vehicle from areas with restricted movement in order to reach an airport with international flights, the only assistance we can provide is to request passage through the checkpoints from the Government of Kazakhstan (GoK).  Based on the GoK’s requirements, you must provide us the below information at least four business days before your scheduled flight. Address this information to the following addresses: AlmatyUSCitizen@state.gov or Nur-SultanUSCitizen@state.gov. This information will be shared with the Kazakhstani Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

·         Name

·         Passport number

·         Residential address in Kazakhstan

·         Purpose of stay in Kazakhstan

·         Flight number

·         License plate number (vehicle transporting you to airport)

International Flights: Commercial flight options exist for travel out of Kazakhstan and to locations with onward connections available to the United States:

From Nur-Sultan (note as of June 8, Nur-Sultan’s airport code changed to NQZ):

·         Air Astana offers a weekly flight, on Wednesdays, to Frankfurt (via Uralsk). Additional information on this flight can be found on the Air Astana website.

·         Air Astana offers a flight to Istanbul (direct) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Additional information on this flight can be found on the Air Astana website.

From Almaty:

·         Air Astana offers a weekly flight, on Tuesdays, to Amsterdam (via Atyrau). Additional information on this flight can be found on the AirAstana website.

·         Air Astana offers a weekly flight, on Mondays, to Seoul (direct). Additional information on this flight can be found on the AirAstana website.

·         Asiana Airlines will offer a flight to Seoul (direct) once every two weeks, including on July 7 and 21. Additional information can be found on the FlyAsiana website.

·         Air Astana offers a flight to Istanbul (direct) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Additional information on this flight can be found on the Air Astana website.

·         Turkish Airlines offers a flight to Istanbul (direct) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Additional information can be found on the Turkish Airlines website.

From Atyrau:

·         Air Astana offers a flight on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to Amsterdam. Additional information on this flight can be found on the AirAstana website.

·         Air Astana will offer a flight on Tuesdays and Fridays to Istanbul. Additional information on this flight can be found on the Air Astana website.

From Uralsk, Air Astana offers a weekly flight, on Wednesdays, to Frankfurt. Additional information on this flight can be found on the AirAstana website.

Border Restrictions Still in EffectKazakhstan’s border largely remains closed to foreign citizens with limited exception, including diplomats, direct-family members of Kazakhstani citizens, residency permit holders, some employees of designated companies in critical industries, and citizens of those countries with which Kazakhstan has resumed direct flights (China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Turkey). Additional information can be found on the website of the Kazakhstani Committee for National Security. Please note that immigration questions are the purview of the Government of Kazakhstan, and we are not permitted to give recommendations or intervene on matters related to entering Kazakhstan. Such matters should be directed to the Kazakhstani Embassy in the United States or, if applicable, your employer. Visa-free travel to Kazakhstan has been suspended until November 2020 (see below).

Visa-Free Travel Suspended Until November 2020: On April 17, the Government of Kazakhstan suspended a previous decree that had allowed citizens of the United States, in addition to some other countries, to enter and stay in Kazakhstan for 30 days visa-free. U.S. citizens seeking entry or reentry to Kazakhstan prior to November 1, 2020 will require a valid visa. Those applying for a visa will be required to submit a medical certificate — dated no more than 48 hours prior to the date of application — confirming they are not infected with COVID-19. For additional information, see the website of the Kazakhstani Embassy in the United States.

·         New Requirements for Entering Kazakhstan: On June 15, the Kazakhstani Government announced new requirements for individuals eligible to enter the country via international flights. Note that Kazakhstan has rescinded visa-free travel until November 2020, and all foreigners entering Kazakhstan will require a valid visa. However, even those with a valid visa will only be allowed entry into Kazakhstan if they fall into a category permitted under the current entry restrictions (see Border Restrictions section above).

·         Passengers arriving on flights originating from ChinaSouth KoreaJapan, and Thailand will have their temperature taken and be required to complete a questionnaire.

·         Passengers arriving on flights originating from Turkey will have their temperature taken, be required to complete a questionnaire, and will need to provide proof (via PCR test and dated no more than five days before their arrival to Kazakhstan) of their negative status for COVID-19. Those without PCR test results will be tested in Kazakhstan and their residence within 48 hours of arrival.

·         Passengers arriving on flights originating from other countries will have their temperature taken, be required to complete a questionnaire, and will need to provide proof (via PCR test and dated no more than five days before their arrival to Kazakhstan) of their negative status for COVID-19. Those without test results will be held for up to two days in a quarantine facility in the city of their arrival and tested for COVID-19

Visa Enforcement: The Migration Service of Kazakhstan has announced that foreigners currently in the country either visa-free or on an expired visa have until July 10, 2020 to leave the country or renew their visa without penalty. Due to potential increased demand for such services, U.S. citizens are urged to renew lapsed visas as soon as possible. For additional information, see the website of Kazakhstani Embassy in the United States. Those in country on work visas should also work through their employers. Migration violations will be prosecuted starting July 11, 2020. Migration Police offices have reopened in Nur-Sultan and will reopen in other cities starting May 20. For additional information, see their Facebook page.

Municipal Resources: For the most up-to-date information on restrictions in your city or region, see the below websites:

Nur-Sultan

Almaty

Almaty Oblast

Shymkent

Aktau

Aktobe

Atyrau

East Kazakhstan

Karaganda

Kyzylorda

Mangystau 

North Kazakhstan

Pavlodar

Saran

Shakhtinsk

Taraz

Temirtau

Current Status of Passport Applications: As of June 11, some domestic passport facilities have reopened and resumed very limited operations, including processing applications received prior to when they shuttered operations. We are not able to give an accurate picture of how long it will take to get a new passport. If your passport is expiring and you have urgent travel needs, we can provide you with an emergency passport, which has a limited validity of up to one year and is intended to be used for travel back to the United States.  For additional information on passport operations, visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/passport-help/faqs.html.

COVID-19 Testing for Certain Travelers:  In the event the Kazakhstani authorities determine that you have likely been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, they may require you to go to a medical treatment facility in order to be tested.  In that event, please comply with instructions while at the same time taking such personal items as you may need if the testing process requires an overnight stay or a longer period of quarantine.  Examples include smart phone with charger, any required medicines, personal hygiene items, etc.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of US personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.

The Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory for COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

U.S. Citizen – Kazakhstani Entry/Visa Issues

Q:  My Kazakhstani visa/30-day visa-free period has expired.  What should I do?

A: The Migration Service of Kazakhstan has announced that foreigners currently in the country either visa-free or on an expired visa have until July 10, 2020 to leave the country or renew their visa without penalty. Due to potential increased demand for such services, U.S. citizens are urged to renew lapsed visas as soon as possible. For additional information, see the website of Kazakhstani Embassy in the United States. Those in country on work visas should also work through their employers. Migration violations will be prosecuted starting July 11, 2020. Migration Police offices have reopened; for additional information, see their Facebook page.

Q:  Will I have issues at the airport when departing Kazakhstan if my visa expired during the state of emergency?

A: Foreign citizens in this situation will be able to depart Kazakhstan by July 10, 2020 without penalty. Migration police have temporarily suspended the need for an exit visa before leaving the country prior to July 10, 2020.

Q: Can foreigners travel to or reenter Kazakhstan?

A: Our current understanding is that borders largely remain closed to foreigners with limited exception, and we note that visa-free travel to Kazakhstan for U.S. citizens has been suspended until November 2020. Please note that immigration questions are the purview of the Government of Kazakhstan, and we are not permitted to give recommendations or intervene on matters related to entering Kazakhstan. Such matters should be directed to the Kazakhstani Embassy in the United States or, if applicable, your employer. Note that visa-free travel to Kazakhstan has been suspended until November 2020.

Q:  If I am eligible to enter Kazakhstan, what restrictions are in place? 

A: Those granted entry to Kazakhstan from abroad via air travel must provide a PCR test documenting their negative status for COVID-19 and dated no more than five days prior to their entry to Kazakhstan. Those who do not provide such a test will be held in quarantine for up to two days and tested for COVID-19 at that time. Individuals either displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or who test positive for COVID-19 will be hospitalized. Those who test negative will be released after the two days of monitored quarantine and allowed to self-isolate from home for 12 days. Individuals in self-isolation at home may be required to download the Smart Astana app, which will be used to monitor compliance with self-isolation restrictions.

Q: Do you have any information on when Kazakhstan will start issuing visas 
again, both inside the country and at its embassies?

A: Most Migration Police offices have reopened in Kazakhstan. The Consular Sections of the Kazakhstani Embassy and Consulates in the United States reopened June 15, 2020. Please note that immigration questions are the purview of the Government of Kazakhstan, and we are not permitted to give recommendations or intervene on matters related to entering Kazakhstan. Such matters should be directed to the Kazakhstani Embassy in the United States.

Q: Can I travel to Kazakhstan without a visa? 

A: On April 17, the Government of Kazakhstan suspended a previous decree that had allowed citizens of the United States, in addition to some other countries, to enter and stay in Kazakhstan for 30 days visa-free. U.S. citizens seeking entry or reentry to Kazakhstan prior to November 1, 2020 will require a valid visa. Those applying for a visa will be required to submit a medical certificate — dated no more than 48 hours prior to the date of application — confirming they are not infected with COVID-19. For additional information, see the website of the Kazakhstani Embassy in the United States.

Q:  I saw that I need to provide COVID-19 negative test results to get a Kazakhstani visa.  How can I get a COVID-19 test in the United States?

A:  Contact your health provider or local health department in the United States for information on how to get tested. For entry to Kazakhstan, please note that Kazakhstan requires a PCR test.

Q: Since visas are obtained often a week or more before departure, will Kazakhstan require a second test in order to get on a flight to enter the country?

A: The Kazakhstani government has not announced any requirement to get a second COVID test in order to board an international flight to the country. However, passengers with a certificate of negative PCR test results issued not earlier than 5 days before arrival will not be subject to COVID-19 testing on arrival. Passengers without a negative PCR test result will be screened for COVID-19 upon arrival in Kazakhstan and held in quarantine for up to two days.

Travel Concerns

Q: Is there any idea of when international flights might resume from Almaty and Nur-Sultan? 

A:  Some airlines are operating limited flights out of the country that allow for onward connections to the United States, and Air Astana currently operates flights from Nur-Sultan to Frankfurt (via Uralsk) and from Almaty to Amsterdam (via Atyrau) and to Seoul (direct). For additional information, see our COVID-19 page. We are closely tracking the availability of flights out of Kazakhstan, and will continue to provide updates on our COVID-19 page.

Q:  I saw that passengers need to provide a COVID-19 negative certificate in order to take a domestic flight.  How can I get this certificate?

A:  As of May 11, passengers will no longer be required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test. At the airport, passengers will be required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines of one meter. Staff at the airport will measure passengers’ temperature.

Q: I booked a flight out of a different city of Kazakhstan. Will I be able to travel for my flight? 

A: As of 1 June, Kazakhstani authorities have removed checkpoints and vehicular barriers between most cities and regions; however, authorities have reinstalled checkpoints in Kokshetau and Karaganda Oblast. The situation may change with little or no notice, and residents should note that additional checkpoints or quarantine measures could take effect at any time. If checkpoints have been installed in your region and you require access to an airport to leave the country, contact USAKZ@state.gov at least 5 working days before your scheduled flight.

U.S. Citizens Arriving in the United States

Q:  What happens after I arrive in the United States?  What are the testing and quarantine requirements?

A:  We recommend you visit Coronavirus.gov, which covers this issue in detail in the Frequently Asked Questions section.  The requirements vary depending on which country or region you have been present in. There are no entry restrictions for U.S. citizens or their immediate family members, or permanent residents. Anyone in those categories can travel to and enter the United States.  “Immediate family members” includes the spouse, minor children, or parent of a minor U.S. citizen, regardless of nationality. “Permanent residents” are those who already have received a permanent resident card, commonly known as a green card. Those who have an immigrant visa (including the Diversity Visa) but have not yet traveled to the United States are not exempt from the travel restrictions.

U.S. Passport Services

Q:  How long does it take to get a new U.S. passport?

A:  As of June 11, some domestic passport facilities have reopened and resumed very limited operations, including processing applications received prior to when they shuttered operations. We are not able to give an accurate picture of how long it will take to get a new passport. If your passport is expiring and you have urgent travel needs, we can provide you with an emergency passport, which has a limited validity of up to one year and is intended to be used for travel back to the United States.  For additional information on passport operations, visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/passport-help/faqs.html.

Absentee Voting

Q:  How can I mail my vote from Kazakhstan?  

A: Although regular mail service between Kazakhstan and the United States is suspended, international courier services such as DHL are still operating.

Q:  Can the embassy/consulate mail my ballot back to the United States for me?

A:  Under normal circumstances, we can mail ballots to the United States using the diplomatic pouch, as long as the ballot is stamped with a U.S. stamp or does not require postage.  However, currently our outgoing diplomatic pouch is suspended, so the ballots of those voting in primary elections in the near future won’t arrive in time.  There is also currently no way for people living outside of Almaty or Nur-Sultan to send their ballots to our offices.  In these cases, we recommend using a courier service like DHL to mail time-sensitive ballots back to the United States.

Q: Why can’t everyone just vote online?

A: Each state has its own requirements for absentee voting.  Some allow ballots to be returned electronically, others restrict it to certain categories such as military families overseas, and others only accept physical ballots by traditional mail.  We encourage you to reach out to your local voting precinct to explain your situation and ask if electronic voting is an option.

Visa Services

Q:  When will the embassy and consulate resume visa services?

A: The Department of State suspended routine visa services at all embassies and consulates in March in order for staff to focus on assisting U.S. citizens, which is always our top priority.  The Department will decide on a country by country basis when to resume visa processing.  This will take many factors into account, including the needs of the local U.S. citizen community, the amount of staff available, the local health situation and movement restrictions.  We continue to provide emergency visa services for certain categories of applicants, so please reach out if you feel you have an urgent travel need.

Q:  Can my visa be extended if I couldn’t travel due to the suspension of international flights?

A:  Visas cannot be extended, but those with expired or soon to expire visas may apply for a new visa, provided they are still qualified.  Anyone with an expiring immigrant visa can contact us at USAKZ@state.gov for information about how to apply for a new visa once normal visa services resume, based on the particulars of your case.

Q: Can the consulate loosen document requirements for immigrant visa interviews?  My family member can’t get original documents from abroad due to the suspension of mail services.

A: The documents which immigrant visa applicants must submit during the application process are required by U.S. immigration law and policies and, in most cases, cannot be waived.  Contact the Almaty consular section at USAKZ@state.gov for advice based on the specific circumstances of your case.  We note that although direct mail services are suspended, international courier companies such as DHL continue to operate and may be an alternative way to receive your documents from abroad.

Q: I had an interview for a Diversity Visa before the Presidential Proclamation suspending the entry of immigrants came into effect, but my case required additional administrative processing.  Are we subject to the suspension of entry?

A:  If your Diversity Visa was not approved and issued before the date that the Presidential Proclamation came into effect on April 23, you are subject to the terms of the proclamation.  That means we cannot issue your visa, nor can you immigrate to the United States, until the proclamation is lifted.

Actions to Take:

·         Monitor local government websites for updates.

·         Consult the  CDC website  for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19.

·         For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the  CDC’s latest recommendations.

·         Visit the  COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov  for the latest information.

·         Check with your airlines or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.

·          Visit our  Embassy webpage on COVID-19  for information on conditions in Kazakhstan.

·         Visit the  Department of Homeland Security’s website  on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.

·         Information on medical resources in Kazakhstan, including a list of English-speaking physicians, can be found  here.

Assistance:

·         U.S. Embassy – Nur-Sultan
Rakhymzhan Koskharbayev Ave., No. 3
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan 010010
Telephone: +7 (7172) 70-21-00

https://kz.usembassy.gov/   

·         U.S. Consulate General – Almaty
Samal-2, 97 Zholdasbekov St.
Almaty, Kazakhstan 050051
Telephone: +7 (727) 250-76-12/17

https://kz.usembassy.gov/   

·         State Department – Consular Affairs

1-888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

Kazakhstan Country Information

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