National emergency number
Fire and rescue services
We haven't changed our level of advice:
Exercise normal safety precautions in Kazakhstan.
Theft, pickpocketing, bag-snatching, assaults, drink spiking and carjacking occur. The risk of crime increases at night. Avoid walking alone at night. Monitor the media for new safety risks. Never leave your drink or food unattended.
Expats have been the victims of violent attacks and muggings. Criminals have targeted expat communities in Atyrau and Aktau in western Kazakhstan.
Thieves posing as police officers or 'meet-and-greet' drivers at airports have robbed travellers. Pre-arrange your transport if you can. If approached by a police officer, driver or official, ask to see their ID.
There have been tensions around the border with the Kyrgyz Republic. Avoid large gatherings and protests. Keep up to date on new security risks in the border regions.
Terrorism is a threat in Kazakhstan. Targets may include places popular with foreigners. Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places. Monitor the media for new threats.
Earthquakes and severe weather occur. People have died in snow-related accidents in recent years. Monitor local media and other sources, such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
Full travel advice: Safety
Ticks are common in forested areas, especially from spring to autumn. Tick bites can expose you to disease. Regularly check your body for ticks during and after visits to forest areas.
Declare all prescription medication and other restricted items on arrival. You could face charges if you don't declare medication or if you exceed the legal limit.
HIV/AIDS is prevalent. Take precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to the virus.
Other infectious diseases include typhoid, hepatitis, haemorrhagic fever, tuberculosis, brucellosis, leishmaniasis and rabies. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Avoid ice cubes in rural areas. Avoid unpasteurised dairy products and raw or undercooked food. If an animal bites or scratches you, get immediate medical help.
Medical facilities in Kazakhstan are below Australian standards. Basic drugs and equipment are in short supply. You may need to pay up-front for treatment, including for emergency care.
Full travel advice: Health
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include long prison sentences. Serious crimes, such as murder, may attract the death penalty.
Be careful when taking photos. It's illegal to take photos of airport facilities, near military and security establishments and near border areas. It's also illegal to take photos near some official buildings. Some places, including larger shops and supermarkets, ban photography.
You may need to get official documents before you travel if you plan to live or work for long periods in Kazakhstan or you plan to marry there. Contact an embassy or consulate of Kazakhstan before you travel.
Always carry your passport or a certified copy with your registration. Identity checks by police are common.
It's illegal to drive if your blood alcohol exceeds 0%.
Kazakhstan doesn't recognise dual nationality. This may limit the consular help you can access. If you're an Australian-Kazakh dual national, you might have to do national service if you visit Kazakhstan. Find out about possible implications before you travel.
Full travel advice: Local laws
You don't need a visa to stay up to 30 days. For longer stays, you'll need to get a visa before you travel. You'll also need a medical certificate of a negative HIV test. If you overstay your visa or breach your visa conditions, authorities may fine, imprison or deport you. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate for details.
Officials will issue you with a migration card when you enter. You'll need it to check into hotels, to conduct any official business and to leave Kazakhstan. If you didn't get a migration card or your card contains only 1 stamp, contact the nearest Migration Police office.
Strict border controls apply to road travel between Almaty in Kazakhstan and Bishkek in the Kyrgyz Republic. You need permission from the Kazakh government before you travel to certain regions and towns.
Declare amounts over $US10,000 on arrival and departure. Cash payments are preferred. Only change your money at commercial banks and exchange bureaus.
Use only registered taxis and limousines. Avoid public transport. Local buses and mini-buses have poor safety standards and maintenance. Rail travel can be unreliable and dangerous due to petty crime.
Full travel advice: Travel
The Consular Services Charter details what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
The Australian Consulate in Almaty, headed by an Honorary Consul, provides limited consular services.
Contact the Australian Embassy in Moscow for full consular assistance.
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Theft, pickpocketing, bag-snatching and assaults occur. They can happen:
on public transport
in shopping areas
at open markets, including the Green Market in Almaty
near major tourist hotels and nightclubs, especially in the Almaty region
The risk of crime increases at night.
To lessen your risk:
keep an eye on your belongings
avoid walking alone at night
monitor the media for new safety or security risks
There are reports of thieves drugging and robbing travellers in nightclubs and bars in Almaty.
To reduce your risk of food and drink spiking:
never leave your drinks or food unattended
don't accept food, drinks, gum or cigarettes from strangers or new friends
Criminals have targeted the expat community in Atyrau and Aktau in western Kazakhstan in the past. Expats have been the victims of violent attacks and muggings.
Carjackings are reported.
Thieves posing as police officers or 'meet-and-greet' drivers at airports have robbed travellers. Official taxi drivers and police officers have ID.
To stay safe when using cars and taxis:
pre-arrange your transport if you can
avoid taking unofficial taxis or taxis that have other passengers
always keep car doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight, even when moving
if a police officer, taxi driver or official approaches you, ask to see their ID
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. Authorities will arrest both participants and bystanders, even for non-violent demonstrations.
In the past, there have been tensions around the border with the Kyrgyz Republic. Security issues could emerge if tensions intensify.
To stay safe during civil unrest:
avoid large gatherings and protests
monitor the media for possible unrest and avoid those areas
follow the advice of local authorities and security announcements
If you plan to travel between Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic:
monitor the media and local sources
keep up to date on new security risks in the border regions
Terrorism is a threat in Kazakhstan. An attack could occur at any time. Targets may include places popular with foreigners.
Attacks can be indiscriminate.
People have been killed or injured in past terror attacks. Targets included:
public places popular with foreigners
To stay safe:
be alert to possible threats, especially in public places
report suspicious activity or items to police
monitor the media for new threats
take official warnings seriously
follow the advice of local authorities
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe to do so.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Earthquakes occur in Kazakhstan.
People have died in snow-related accidents in recent years, including:
snow falling from roofs
prolonged exposure to extreme cold
If a natural disaster happens:
secure your passport in a safe, waterproof place or carry it on you
monitor local media and other sources, such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
follow the advice of local authorities
keep in contact with friends and family
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
what activities and care your policy covers
that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
have a basic health check-up
ask if your travel plans may affect your health
plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Kazakhstan. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating:
what the medicine is
how much you'll take
that it's for personal use
Declare all medicine on arrival. You could face charges if you either:
don't declare restricted medicines
carry amounts over the legal limit
Officials may charge you for undeclared medicines even if you have a doctor's prescription and letter. Contact the nearest Embassy or consulate of Kazakhstan for advice.
Visiting forested areas may expose you to tick bites. Ticks can carry diseases. They are common from spring to autumn.
Regularly check your body for ticks during and after visits to forest areas.
If a tick bites you:
remove it from your body as soon as possible
make sure you remove the whole tick
monitor the site for any signs of infection
HIV/AIDS is common. Take precautions if you engage in activities that expose you to the virus.
Waterborne, foodborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases are common. They include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
in rural areas, drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
avoid ice cubes in rural areas
avoid raw and undercooked food, such as salads
avoid unpasteurised dairy products
avoid dogs and other mammals
If an animal bites or scratches you, get immediate medical help.
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Medical facilities in Kazakhstan are below Australian standards. Basic drugs and equipment are in short supply.
You often need to pay in cash up-front before doctors or hospitals will treat you. This includes for emergency care.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to the United Arab Emirates or another place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties are severe for carrying, using or trafficking in illegal drugs. They can include prison sentences and heavy fines.
Serious crimes, such as murder, may attract the death penalty.
It's illegal to take photos:
of airport facilities
near military and security establishments
near border areas
near some official buildings
in premises where there are bans on photography, including many larger shops and supermarkets
Bans apply even if there are no notices banning photography.
You may need to get official documents before you go to Kazakhstan if:
you plan to live or work there for long periods
you plan to get married there
You need an official letter of no objection from the Australian Embassy in Moscow if you plan to either:
apply for a Kazakh residency permit, or
get married in Kazakhstan
Identity checks by police are common.
Always carry your passport and your registration. A certified copy, including your registration, is usually sufficient.
It's illegal to drive if your blood alcohol reading is over 0%.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Kazakhstan doesn't recognise dual nationality.
If you're a dual citizen, this limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained.
If authorities find out about a second nationality, they may:
restrict your entry
rescind your Kazakh nationality
If you're an Australian-Kazakh dual national, you might have to do national service if you visit Kazakhstan.
In deciding which passport to travel on, think about:
the possible implications for your Kazakh citizenship
your national service obligations
your ability to access Australian consular help if authorities arrest or detain you
Standards of dress and behaviour are conservative in Kazakhstan.
Same-sex relationships are legal, but not widely accepted.
Take care not to offend. If in doubt, dress and behave conservatively and seek local advice.
The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan will be from late April to late May in 2020. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time.
Avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public in the presence of people who are fasting.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
Before you travel:
check the dates your visa is valid
any rules or restrictions
You won't need a visa to stay for up to 30 days.
You must register at the local Migration Police office if you plan to stay longer than 3 months. You may also need to register if you enter through a land or sea border.
For longer stays, you'll need to get a visa before you travel. Get a visa that matches the purpose of your visit.
If you overstay your visa or breach your visa conditions, authorities may fine, jail or deport you.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Kazakhstan for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
You may need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Kazakhstan if you arrive from a country with a risk of yellow fever.
Officials will issue you with a migration card (white slip) on entry.
Keep this card in your passport. You'll need it:
to check into hotels
for any official business
to leave Kazakhstan
The migration card must contain 2 stamps.
If you didn't get a migration card on entry, or your migration card contains only 1 stamp, contact the nearest Migration Police office.
If you plan to stay longer than 3 months, you must register with local authorities, you'll need a medical certificate showing a negative HIV result.
Strict rules apply to the export of antiquities.
Children travelling alone or with only 1 parent or guardian must carry a letter of consent for travel. Both parents must have signed the letter.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The local currency is the Kazakh Tenge (KZT).
Declare amounts over $US10,000 or equivalent on arrival and departure. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
Only change your money at authorised commercial banks and exchange bureaus.
Cash payments are preferred. Large hotels accept traveller's cheques and credit cards.
Credit cards are widely accepted in Nur-Sultan and Almaty.
Outside of Nur-Sultan and Almaty, ATMs are limited.
Contact your bank to make sure your cards will work.
You need permission from the Kazakh Government before you can travel to:
the towns of Kulzhat and Kargos and other areas which border China
regions around the Gvardeyskiy village, Rossavel village, the Kulzhabashy railway station in Zhambyl Oblast
Bokeyorda and Zhangaly districts in Western Kazakhstan Oblast
the town of Priozersk and Gulshad village in Karagunda Oblast
Baykonur, Karmakshy, and Kazakly districts in Kyzylorda Oblast
any areas with military installations
If you plan to travel to areas within 25km of Kazakhstan's borders, carry ID. Local authorities may ask to see proof of identity.
Strict border controls apply to road travel between Almaty in Kazakhstan and Bishkek in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Crossing the land border between the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan by car can be slow. Customs checks can create long delays.
The border between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan may close for short periods. Before you go, check with the Kazakhstan Border Service (Russian).
To drive in Kazakhstan, you need both:
an valid driver's licence
an International Driving Permit (IDP)
Get your IDP before you leave Australia.
You're 4 times more likely to die in a car accident in Kazakhstan than in Australia. Hazards include:
poor road conditions
poor driving standards
lack of street lighting
pedestrians crossing streets with no warning
snow and ice on roads during winter
Cars often don't give way to pedestrians on roads.
In rural areas, animals on roads are another hazard.
The road between Almaty and Bishkek in Kyrgyz Republic is very poor. Drive carefully.
It may be difficult to access service stations in rural areas. Fuel shortages happen sometimes.
If you plan to drive:
check your travel insurance covers it
learn local traffic laws and driving practices
beware of animals on the roads
look out for pedestrians crossing streets without warning
avoid travel at night, especially in rural areas
Check your insurance policy covers you using a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Use only registered taxis and limousines. Arrange them through your hotel if you can.
Avoid public transport.
Local buses and mini-buses have poor safety standards and maintenance.
Rail travel can be unreliable and dangerous due to petty crime.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Kazakhstan's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
family and friends
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Australia has a Consulate in Almaty headed by an Honorary-Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular services. It conducts passport interviews but doesn't offer notarial services.
You can access a full range of consular services at the Australian Embassy in Moscow.
10a/2 Podkolokolny Pereulok
Phone: +7 495 956 6070
Fax: +7 495 956 6170
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
77/7 Al-Farabi Ave
Almaty 050060, Kazakhstan
Phone: (+7 727) 258 5960
Fax: (+7 727) 258 5961
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.