Friday, May 20, 2011

Kazakhstan Visa

Just got our Kazakhstan visas for our trip in late August this year.  Will blog more on the trip and the reasons why we're going after we take the trip itself but I wanted to quickly share about our experience on getting the visa since it's not too well documented. Might help whoever is as crazy as us to visit land of Borat :)

The application process itself isn't too hard and expensive if compared to other countries like Russia or the US.  The Kazakhstan Embassy in Malaysia has a pretty good website that documents what is needed and what forms to fill out. A couple of things to point out though:
  • There's a bunch of countries that do not require invitation letters when applying for visas.  This include Malaysia which really helped on the costs - hotels and agents in Kazakhstan were asking for $100 USD a head for visa services including to issue the invitation letter. 
  • You don't have to personally show up at the embassy. You can get a travel agent to do it for you if you can find one.  We tried looking for one in Penang to do it for us to safe us the trip to Kuala Lumpur but the responses we got from the travel agents were like "Where do you want to go? Kazakhstan? Where's that?".  I ended up going down to Kuala Lumpur and applied for both of us.
  • On top of the application form, we turned in our flight itinerary and hotel voucher.  We were prepared with financial statements showing we could afford the trip and travel insurance but they were never asked.
  • Payment for a tourist visa is $25USD and I think only cash in US dollars are accepted.
  • Visas are ready for pick up only after 5 working days. For those planning to do in person (like for us), you would need to make another trip down to Kuala Lumpur to pick up the visa & passport.

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