Visa waiver program expanded to more countries, extended through 2017

7 Jul 15

KAZAKHSTAN

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Kazakhstan’s visa-exemption pilot program that was scheduled to expire July 15 has been extended until Dec. 31, 2017, and 10 countries have been added to the program.

What does the change mean? Nationals of 19 countries may travel visa-free to Kazakhstan for stays of up to 15 days.

  • Implementation time frame: Nationals of the existing countries in the program may continue to travel visa-free. Nationals of 10 additional countries may travel without a visa beginning July 16.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of the 19 designated countries planning short-stay travel to Kazakhstan.
  • Impact on processing times: The visa exemption eliminates processing before travel.
  • Business impact: The government extended the program because of the positive impact on business travel and investment.

Background: Under the one-year pilot program that began in July 2014, Kazakhstan unilaterally waived visas for nationals of 10 countries to ease travel and spur investment. Those countries are France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Korea, the U.K., the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates. (South Korea later signed a reciprocal agreement with Kazakhstan for 30-day visa-free travel and therefore is no longer under the pilot program.)

The government has decided to renew the program through 2017 and has added the following countries to the program beginning July 16: Australia, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Monaco, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Under separate reciprocal agreements, nationals of several other countries, including Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Ecuador are visa-exempt for stays of 30 days.

BAL Analysis: The extension and expansion of the visa waiver program provides a convenience to business travelers on short trips. Citizens of the affected countries may travel with a valid passport and obtain entry at the border.

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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