The Kazakhstan capital, Astaná, was inaugurated in 1997, replacing the old capital city of Almaty. A ‘planned city’ like Washington DC or Canberra in Australia, Astana was designed to usher in a new, modern Kazakhstan, and is overflowing with futuristic architecture from international experts in design. However, in order to visit this stunningly modern capital city, most passport holders will need a Kazakhstan visa for Astanà.
Visa for Astaná requirements
Some passport holders are eligible to visit Kazakhstan without a visa for a maximum of 30 days, including citizens from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the United States, and all EU member states. Citizens from countries neighboring Kazakhstan can also visit the country visa-free for up to 90 days. These are Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, and Ukraine.
All visitors to Kazakhstan not from a visa-exempt country or wanting a longer stay will require a visa for Astanà in order to visit the capital. Visas can currently be obtained from a Kazakhstan embassy or consulate. A Kazakhstan visa on arrival is also available for some nationalities but requires a letter of invitation and to pay a fee at the border.
As of later this year, citizens of eligible countries will be able to get a travel visa to Astána online.The list of eligible passport holders will be announced shortly and published on this site when available.
The online Kazakhstan visa requirements will be simple. Applicants require a valid current passport from an eligible country, as well as a credit or debit card to pay the visa fee.
How to get the Kazakhstan visa for Astaná
At the moment the Kazakhstan visa for Astaná must be obtained from an embassy or consulate before traveling to the country. Both single-entry and multiple-entry Kazakhstan tourist visas are available, which allow a stay of 30 days within a 90-day validity period. The multiple-entry visas permit holders to leave and reenter Kazakhstan on the same document.
The Kazakhstan tourist visa can only currently be obtained by residents of a country with Kazakhstani diplomatic representation. However, citizens who don’t have a Kazakhstan embassy or consulate in their country are eligible to get a visa on arrival for Astaná. This is available at select airports in Kazakhstan, namely Aktau, Almaty, Astana, Atyrau, and Oral.
However, travelers seeking a visa on arrival are advised to book a flight from Monday to Saturday office hours, when the transfer desks are open.
When the electronic travel visa to Astaná becomes available, eligible passport holders will be able to complete the Kazakhstan visa application online and receive the visa directly in their email inbox. They will then be able to print a copy of the visa for Astaná to present to Kazakhstan border control and avoid the visa on arrival queues when they arrive.
Top attractions in Astaná
Upon receiving the travel visa to Astaná, visitors to Kazakhstan can begin planning their itinerary There is a host of futuristic buildings and spaces to explore in Astaná, as the country has spared no expense in crafting a state-of-the-art modern metropolis.
Khan Shatyr and the Palace of Peace & Reconciliation
Two of Astana’s most eye-catching structures were designed by the same world-renowned British architect, Norman Foster. The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation was completed first, in 2006, and visitors can take a tour of this huge glass pyramid that serves as an international conference venue.
Khan Shatyr is a giant ‘lifestyle and shopping’ center, impressive both in its exterior structure and interior attractions. The huge, 500-feet high structure resembles a giant transparent tent and was constructed with heat-absorbing materials that allow summer-like temperatures inside all year long. Inside, visitors can enjoy a variety of surprising attractions, including a water flume ride, a drop-tower attraction, a monorail, and the Sky Beach Club, an artificial beach complete with a large pool, palm trees and, of course, sand.
The Bayterek Monument
The Bayterek Monument is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Astaná and an iconic symbol of the city, even appearing on Kazakh bank notes. This tall white-lattice tower is crowned with a giant golden orb and represents a Kazakh folk legend about a magical bird who laid its egg in the branches of a poplar tree. The tower has a height of 97 meters exactly, in homage to Astana becoming the Kazakhstan capital in 1997, and visitors can take a lift to the top for incredible panoramic views over Astana.
National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Those looking to explore the history and culture of Kazakhstan need only make one stop. The National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan not only boasts an impressive exterior of blue glass and white marble, but also a comprehensive collection of artifacts from the country’s long and eventful history. Visitors are first greeted in the entry hall by a giant golden eagle guarding a map of Kazakhstan, and the surprising displays also include a jewel-encrusted statue of a horse, as well as real horse intestines pickled in formaldehyde that date back to the 4th century!
Astaná offers a variety of other architectural wonders, such as a series of striking mosques and government buildings. Just make sure you check the Kazakhstan visa for Astaná requirements before you visit the most futuristic capital in Central Asia!