Kazakhstan Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Kazakhstan
How safe is Kazakhstan?
Threat level: Low-Medium
The current travel safety advice for Kazakhstan is to be cautious of petty crime. The threat of terrorism in Kazakhstan is general risk as with most of the European countries currently. With attacks that have happened in the past appearing to be random, sometimes involving tourist destinations. The Kazakh authorities will announce any security-related issues, so remain alert to these.
On 18th July 2016, a lone gunman killed six people and injured several others in a shootout after the man tried to force his way into the Almaty Region Department of Internal Affairs. The president of Kazakhstan called this a 'terrorist act' and it is thought that the gunman adopted radical Islam during this time.
The threat level of the country has been reduced from 'red' to 'yellow. Turkmenistan closed its borders with Kazakhstan for 5 days on July 20th. This has since reopened.
In July 2015, flooding and mudflow from the Kargalinka River resulted in around 1,000 people being evacuated from Almaty and its surrounding areas. No one was killed or seriously injured.
Most people face little trouble when visiting Kazakhstan, however there has been some incidents of crime against foreigners. There is a slightly heightened risk of robberies and violence at night time and it is advised to stay indoors or in groups if going outside.
Be aware of scams such as the ‘lost wallet ploy’, which is currently employed in Kazakhstan. A wallet will be left on the ground and if it is picked up or tried to return, a thief will approach the individual suggesting that the money in the wallet is split. A local Kazakh man will then approach claiming that it is his wallet, and will ask to see a purse/wallet to prove you’ve not tried to steal the wallet. When this happens, the thief will steal all your belongings and both thieves will run away.
Pickpocketing and other petty crimes are the most common incidents faced by tourists, often occurring in hotels or other Westernised areas. There is a small risk of earthquakes as Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty is in an active seismic zone.
Kazakhstan's International Relations
Kazakhstan is part of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Independent States, NATO’s Partnership for Peace Programme and OSCE, which it chaired in 2010 amongst others.
Kazakhstan has diplomatic relations with over 100 countries, including the United States, which was the first country to recognise its independence in 1991. Other countries with diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan include: United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, all of which have embassies in the country.
Travelling around Kazakhstan
In order to drive in Kazakhstan, an International Driving Permit is required. The standard of many roads in the country are poor with damage being rarely maintained. Be aware when embarking on long journeys outside of main city areas that there are limited service stations, so preparation is necessary. Caution should be taken when driving in Kazakhstan as the standards of locals on the road can be erratic and many do not follow road regulations.
Emergency services in Kazakhstan:
Police emergency: 102
Fire emergency: 101
Medical emergency: 103
Religion: Islam and Christianity
Currency: Tenge (KZT)
Time now in Astana:
Consular information for Kazakhstan
U.S. Embassy Astana
Ak Bulak 4, Str. 23-22,
Telephone: +7 7172 702100
Telephone: +7 7172 702200 (Out of hours)
British Embassy Astana
62 Kosmonavtov Str.
Renco Building, 6 Floor
Telephone: +7 7172 556200
Visa requirements for Kazakhstan
Many countries including United Kingdom, France, Spain, USA and United Arab Emirates can enter Kazakhstan for up to 30 days without a visa. Anyone wishing to stay longer than 30 days should contact their nearest Embassy of Kazakhstan for more information.
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Kazakhstan are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider vaccinations for Hepatitis B and Tick-borne Encephalitis. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Medical facilities are less advanced than many Western countries, so it is very important to purchase good travel insurance, as evacuation from Kazakhstan for treatment may be necessary.
Southern Kazakhstan is prone to outbreaks of haemorrhaging fever during spring and summer. The tick-borne disease has been known to cause death.