Safety and security
Foreign nationals can travel to most places in Kazakhstan, but if you want to travel to any ‘closed territories’ or secure areas, you’ll need advance permission from the relevant authorities. Some military/restricted areas are not clearly marked so be careful when you’re travelling away from normal routes.
Public demonstrations are only permitted when authorised, so rarely take place. You should avoid any demonstrations or political gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby violence you should leave the area immediately.
Although the threat from terrorism in Kazakhstan is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
There have been a number of violent attacks and muggings on the expatriate community in Atyrau and Aktau in western Kazakhstan, and in Astana and Almaty. Attacks have largely taken place at night, in and around local nightclubs and bars or when arriving at home late at night, as the majority of apartment buildings have dark stairwells and no lifts. Avoid walking alone and where possible pre-arrange transport.
You should take sensible precautions to protect yourself from crime while in Kazakhstan:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
- You must carry your passport with you at all times in case you are asked by the police for identification. Keep your passport in a safe place at all times
- As in many major cities, you should be careful of petty crime in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital city. This includes theft from vehicles waiting at traffic lights or parked cars and the copying of cash or credit cards at fraudulent ATM machines.
- Robberies have taken place on trains, so always lock railway compartments on overnight trains.
- Be wary of accepting food and drink from strangers in bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Some visitors have been drugged and subsequently robbed.
Lost or stolen passports
If you lose your passport, report this immediately to the police and get confirmation of the loss in writing. You’ll need this report when applying for an emergency passport from the Irish Embassy in Moscow.
The Embassy can accept applications for new passports, which may take between four and six weeks to be processed in Dublin, but it can’t issue new full passports.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Kazakhstan, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Moscow if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Kazakhstan, you should exercise caution and bring your international driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Avoid travelling in unofficial taxis, particularly at night and alone, or if there’s another passenger already in the car. We advise you to hire licensed taxicabs while you’re in Kazakhstan, rather than private gypsy cabs.
If you’re intending to travel to Kazakhstan, avoid flying on airlines subject to the EU operating ban. At present, with the exception of Air Astana, all Kazakh airlines are refused permission to operate services in the EU because they don’t comply with internationally-recognised safety standards. It’s not known if maintenance procedures on aircraft used for internal or regional flights are properly observed.
Fri, 09 Jun 2017 18:16:18 BST