QUICK FACTS FOR VISITORS

Overview

The following goods may be imported into Kazakhstan by travellers over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:

  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 200g of tobacco products.
  • 3L of alcoholic beverages.
  • A reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use.
  • Goods up to the value of €1,500 for personal use only.

On entering the country, you must complete a customs declaration form, which you must retain until departure. This allows the import of articles intended for personal use, including currency and valuables, which you must register on the declaration form. You must export these at the end of the stay. Customs inspection can be long and detailed. It is advisable to keep receipts for items bought in Kazakhstan in order to avoid difficulties at customs on departure.

Banned Imports

Photographs and printed matter directed against Kazakhstan, military arms and ammunition, narcotics and live animals.

Food must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate.

Banned Exports

Arms and ammunition, precious metals and stones, and furs.

Antiquities and art objects require an export permit.

Kazakh Tenge KZT. Notes are in denominations of 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500 and 200. Coins are in denominations of 100, 50, 20,10, 5, 2 and 1.

Standard time in Kazakhstan is either UTC+05:00 or UTC+06:00. These times apply throughout the year as Kazakhstan does not observe Daylight saving time.

In Kazakhstan, the current is 220V/50Hz. Electrical sockets take European-style two round pin plugs.

Mon-Fri 0900-1800. Banks close for lunch 1300-1400. All banks are closed Sat-Sun.

Major European and international credit cards, including Diners Club and Visa, are accepted in the larger hotels in Almaty and in major shops and restaurants. Facilities exist for credit card cash withdrawals in Kazakhstan.

Most large stores and shops are open 10 am – 8 pm, daily.

Cashmere products, leather, jewelry, traditional clothes,

  • Police 102
  • Ambulance 103
  • Fire 101
  • 112 for the national emergency number.

Along with Kazakhtelecom, a number of private companies operate in Kazakhstan offering services to domestic and foreign businesses, governmental and financial institutions, banks, hotels, corporate clients, and private users. The strong telecommunications development is expected in oil-rich western regions of the country, serving rapidly growing business community and individuals demand. Among this sector’s companies and private structures the most famous are: CJSC Altel, NURSAT, LLP Kar-Tel, LLP GSM Kazakhstan, OJSC Kazakhtelecom, ALKATEL, MOTOROLA, CJSC Arna.

KazakhTelecom is the operator of the national data transfer network, which connects the major cities of Kazakhstan. It features a total bandwidth of 957 Mbit/s and a carrying capacity in separate local segments of up to 10 Gbit/s. KazakhTelecom had about 2.5 million fixed line subscribers in 2005 and accounted for approximately 90 percent of the country’s fixed line market. It currently controls 49 percent of the country’s leading mobile operator, GSM Kazakhstan, and 50 percent of another cellular operator, Altel. In 2015, broadband internet speed in Kazakhstan was estimated at 18.41 Mbit/s on average.

Liberalization of the telecommunications market in 2004 increased competition among the five licensed operators: KazakhTelecom (the former state monopoly, now with 51 percent state participation), Transtelekom, Kaztranscom, Arna (DUCAT), and Astel. First-tier ISPs with international Internet connections and their own infrastructure are KazakhTelecom, Nursat, Transtelecom, Kaztranscom, Arna, Astel, and TNS Plus.

There are approximately 100 second-tier ISPs that purchase Internet traffic from first-tier ISPs. They include:

  • Kcell (3G)
  • INTELSOFT (cable)
  • AlmaTV (cable access)
  • Beeline (3G, cable)
  • DigitalTV (WiMax)
  • Nursat
  • Sekatel
  • SputTV (satellite access)
  • 2Day Telecom (dial-up)

Market liberalization has not been completely carried out, as there are restrictions on foreign ownership for fixed-line operators providing long-distance and international services. In addition, KazakhTelecom retains dominance over the telecommunications market, making it difficult for other operators to compete.

KazakhTelecom also launched an interactive IP TV service on 11 March 2009 as it worked to maintain its dominance in the fixed-line market. Other leading first-tier ISPs, Nursat and Astel, operate terrestrial and satellite-based infrastructure. There are five mobile operators in the country. Three operators are offering GSM services and two CDMA. The government estimates that 60 percent of the population uses mobile services.

One of the largest ISPs, Arna (DUCAT), accused KazakhTelecom of breaking a law regarding the promotion of competition and the limiting of monopolistic activities. Arna claimed that KazakhTelecom used uncertified systems that monitored and interfered with the telecommunications of customers who are using services offered by competing companies. An investigation of the Kazakh government revealed that such systems indeed existed and were used by KazakhTelecom, but no evidence was found to prove KazakhTelecom was intentionally interfering with competitor activities.

January, 1 – 2New Year (from January 1 Saturday slips to January 3 Monday, from January 2 Sunday slips to January 4 Tuesday)
March, 8International Women’s Day
March, 21-23Nauryz holiday
May, 1Kazakhstan’s People Solidarity Holiday (Sunday slips to May 2)
May, 7Defenders’ day (Saturday slips to May 10)
May, 9Victory Day
July, 6Capital Day 
August, 30Constitution Day of the RK (August 29 slips to August 27 Saturday)
December, 1First President Day 
December, 16 – 17Kazakhstan Independence Day (Saturday slips to December 19)

Vaccinations against yellow fever (Hepatitis), polio, cholera, typhoid fever are advised. Travellers should bring their own medical supplies for any personal needs and a basic medical kit. You should think that there is no perfect medical care in the countryside.  While the potential dangers can seem quite frightening, in reality few travelers to Kazakhstan experience anything more than an upset stomach.

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