Guidance

Living in Kazakhstan

Official information British people moving to and living in Kazakhstan need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

Coronavirus

You should follow the advice of the Kazakhstan government and your local authority. You can also read our Kazakhstan Travel Advice for our latest guidance.

For information on vaccines abroad, see our COVID-19 travel guidance.

Visas and residency

See entry requirements in Kazakhstan in our travel advice.

The 30-days visa free regime is suspended until 1 May 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Make sure you have the right visa for the purpose of your stay, especially for business visas or work permits. Check the validity dates of your visa and any associated restrictions carefully.

You should contact the nearest Migration Service office if your visa has expired or is due to expire but you are unable to leave the country. You may be able to get an extension or exit visa allowing you more time to arrange your travel.

If you overstay or violate the conditions of your visa, you could face a fine, a short term of imprisonment and/or a ban on entry to Kazakhstan for up to 5 years.

Residency

Kazakh immigration authorities require a proof of no criminal record when foreign nationals apply for residency permit. A certificate from ACRO Criminal Records Office can be accepted by local authorities.

Please check with the relevant Migration Service office whether they require the certificate to be legalised/apostilled by the UK Legalisation Office.

The British Embassy in Kazakhstan has no authority to conduct criminal record checks and are unable to provide British nationals with proof of no criminal record.

If Migration Service requires a certificate of no objection from the Embassy for your residency application, please book an appointment to ‘Prepare a document in another language’ on our Notarial and Document Services page.

Registration

You do not need to register with local authorities and you will no longer receive a white immigration card when crossing the border. It is the responsibility of the host person or hotel to notify immigration authorities of a foreigner’s arrival. See Kazakhstan Travel Advice for more information.

If you live in Kazakhstan, you do not need to register with the British Embassy. The embassy no longer keeps a register of long term British residents in Kazakhstan. We encourage British nationals to sign up for our Travel Advice e-mail alerts and to follow UK in Kazakhstan on social media including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Passports and travel

Your passport should be valid for a minimum of three months beyond the expiry date of your visa.

Foreigners are required to carry a valid passport while in Kazakhstan at all times. Police may stop you and your identity will be checked.

Check that you have enough space in your passport for visas and entry and exit stamps. If your passport is due to expire soon or you do not have spare pages for stamps, please consider applying for a replacement passport in advance.

For more information see overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).

See our travel advice for Kazakhstan for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

If you are moving to Kazakhstan permanently see moving or retiring abroad.

Healthcare

You should buy comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you enter the country.

The NHS has information for people moving abroad. You should also check your prescriptions are legal in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan and the UK do not have reciprocal healthcare agreements. If you become sick or are injured while in Kazakhstan you should seek medical attention locally if you feel you need it. See more on Kazakhstan Travel Advice.

If you are resident in Kazakhstan and contribute to the national medical insurance directly or via your employer, you will have access to the state hospitals for routine medical care. However, the medical facilities in Kazakhstan are not as advanced as those in the UK. You or your employer can make arrangements with private clinics. Contact your travel health insurance company in advance to find out whether they have a recommended or restricted list of hospitals to use.

Most of the hospitals will accept card payment method, but some may insist on cash in local currency. We have a list of public and private hospitals on our website. English speaking doctors/nurses are very rare.

Emergency medical assistance is available to foreigners within the state guaranteed medical plan, dial 103 and ask for an ambulance. You may need an assistance if you do not speak Kazakh or Russian and waiting times for ambulances can be lengthy. If possible, it is often quicker to take a taxi to the hospital. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Working in Kazakhstan

In accordance with Kazakh law, foreign nationals can work in Kazakhstan under permits granted by the designated authority.

Permission to employ foreign workers shall be granted to the following four categories:

Please note that every year the government sets a limit on foreign workers who can be employed. At the moment Kazakh nationals should occupy no less than 70% jobs of each company in 1st and 2nd categories and no less than 90% in 3rd and 4th categories.

At the same time, Kazakh law sets the following categories of foreign nationals that can be employed without a special permit:

  • migrants with status of qandas (ethnic Kazakhs returned for residency in Kazakhstan)
  • business immigrants (entrepreneurs)
  • those who have refugee status or are seeking refugee status in Kazakhstan
  • individuals arriving under international agreements on charity, humanitarian aid and grants signed by Kazakhstan
  • those convicted by courts of Kazakhstan to restriction of freedom
  • victims of human trafficking during the criminal case proceedings
  • those entering Kazakhstan for family reunion and their spouse is a citizen of Kazakhstan
  • those studying and working at Kazakhstan educational institutions
  • members of crews of river vessels, air, rail or motor transport vessels, owned by foreign entities
  • artists, directors, conductors, choir masters, choreographers, sportsmen and coaches
  • those invited by members or agencies of Astana International Financial Centre
  • individuals, specialising in developing space rocket infrastructure and operating ground space infrastructure to be employed under international agreements on cooperation in aerospace signed by Kazakhstan
  • those who teach at secondary, vocational, professional, post-secondary and higher educational institutions (under international agreements) on cooperation on education projects authorized by Kazakhstan (staffing of which does not exceed a 25 percent staff quota)
  • professors who have been awarded special status and are working in higher educational institutions on managerial positions
  • chief executives of branches or offices of foreign corporations, and chief executives of Kazakhstani companies with 100% foreign participation in share capital
  • individuals on business trips lasting not more than 120 calendar days in one calendar year
  • chief executives of companies that entered (with the Kazakhstan government) into contracts for investment worth over 50 million US Dollars, and chief executives of the Kazakhstan corporations investing in priority sectors, who entered into contract with the respective authority responsible for investment
  • those who work in a national corporation on positions not lower than head of division
  • those invited to be a member of Director’s Board of a national corporation

Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).

Studying in Kazakhstan

Information about education opportunities and contacts of local education authorities is available on the eGov pages

See also list of public and private secondary schools in Kazakhstan and list of higher education institutions.

Money and tax

Kazakhstan has a ‘double-taxation agreement’ with the UK signed on 21 March 1994 and amended by a Protocol signed on 18 September 1997.

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

As an embassy we are unable to become involved with tax matters, as we do not have the specific or relevant expertise. We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Kazakhstan.

To open a bank account in Kazakhstan you need to have individual identification number, which can be obtained from Public Services Centre or via the Egov.kz portal

Money can be transferred by Western Union or MoneyGram in an emergency. Some of the local banks that offer money transfer services are:

ATMs are present throughout the country. Kazakhstan is mainly a cash society, however, credit cards are accepted in big shops and supermarkets.

National Insurance

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

Pensions

If you retire in Kazakhstan you can claim:

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

If you contribute to the Kazakhstan’s local pension fund and you depart Kazakhstan for permanent residence in another country, there is an opportunity to withdraw your pension savings, read more on the eGov pages.

Benefits

Read our guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in Kazakhstan.

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

Check which benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as pension credit and housing benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

Driving in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol. A driver may be detained by police and convicted of drunk driving for driving a vehicle after consuming one drink of alcohol, regardless of whether the driver is actually intoxicated.

If you wish to drive in Kazakhstan you should apply for an International Driving Permit. See also renewing UK driving licences if your licence is due to expire.

You can apply for your first driving licence in Kazakhstan but you will be required to attend training course and pass an exam.

Read about safety and security on our Travel Advice

See also driving abroad and taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Voting

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths and getting married

If a child is born in Kazakhstan you should register a birth locally and obtain local Birth certificate. See register a birth abroad for more information.

If someone dies in Kazakhstan you can:

Find out how you can get married abroad.

Find out about notarial and document services for British nationals in Kazakhstan

Pets

To bring a pet in Kazakhstan you will be required to show a vet passport (health certificate) and confirmation of anti-rabies vaccination prior to the travel. A translation in Kazakh or Russian languages will be required.

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Local emergency numbers are:

  • 101 – Fire
  • 102 – Police
  • 103 – Ambulance
  • 112 – Rescue service

Accommodation and buying property

Only residents (holders of residence permit) are allowed to own property in Kazakhstan. You can read more on purchasing property on eGov

See also buying a property abroad.

Other useful information:

Returning to the UK

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

If you hold residence permit and leave Kazakhstan permanently, you should notify the Migration Service. Your residence permit card will be withdrawn.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCDO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 11 November 2013
Last updated 15 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. 'Living in Kazakhstan' guideline updated March 2021

  2. Change in the entry and registration requirements for Kazakhstan: 30-days visa free regime is suspended until 1 May 2021

  3. Just updated an attachment changing Astana to Nur-Sultan

  4. Just put in slight changes

  5. Updated bank transfer information for 2019

  6. Updated on 18 July 2018

  7. Updated 19 July 2017

  8. Updated 19 July 2017

  9. Updated 18 July 2017

  10. First published.