Visa requirements to be dropped for 10 countries

20 Jun 14

KAZAKHSTAN

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Kazakhstan has announced a one-year pilot program offering visa-free travel for citizens of 10 countries.

What does the change mean? Citizens of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States will not be required to have visas for short stays in Kazakhstan.

  • Implementation timeframe: The visa-free regime will begin July 15 and continue as a one-year pilot program until July 15, 2015.
  • Visas/permits affected: Business and tourist visas.
  • Who is affected: Nationals from the above 10 countries planning short business trips to Kazakhstan.
  • Impact on processing times:The removal of visa procedures will reduce or eliminate processing times.
  • Business impact: The program will facilitate businesscontacts and investment with Kazakhstan.
  • Next steps: Thevisa-free regime is proposed as a pilot program that will be monitored during the year for its effectiveness in spurring foreign investment.

Background: Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced the unilateral removal of visas for the 10 countries in a speech to the Foreign Investors Council on June 12. The 10 countries were identified as those with already significant investments in Kazakhstan or that have the potential to be significant investors. All nationals from those countries with valid passports will be allowed to enter and travel through Kazakhstan multiple times for up to 15 days per visit. They may stay longer than 15 days by obtaining a business visa from the Ministry of Internal Affairs or an investor visa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

BAL Analysis: The new regime will provide ease of entry and greater mobility for business travelers in Kazakhstan. The country is seeking to attract investment and create favorable travel conditions in advance of EXPO 2017, a large international exposition that it will host that year. In the coming weeks, the government is expected to release details on procedures for citizens of the 10 countries in the visa-free pilot program.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Kazakhstan. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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