Registration in Kazakhstan
When entering Kazakhstan, travelers receive a white registration card. You must fill in and retain this card throughout your stay in Kazakhstan. Two stamps on the card indicate that the traveler is registered. If the card contains only one stamp, the traveler must register with the Migration Police (OVIR) within 5 days. If you stay less than 5 days, you do not need registration (arriving at 23:55 counts as a full day!).
If you arrive by airplane, you will get two stamps at the airport and you do not need to register with the Migration Police anymore. If you arrive over land or sea, you do need to register. Some travelers have been able to get 2 stamps directly at a land border. Asking nicely may work. Being good-looking is a definite advantage.
The OVIR offices are generally loud, busy and confusing, especially during the busy summer season. Try to go with a local if you do not speak Russian. All registrations should be free and valid for three months, regardless of where they are issued. This means that you can keep your registration card when you leave and enter Kazakhstan again in case you have a multiple entry visa. Many border guards however tend to take your registration card, in which case you will have to register again on re-entering Kazakhstan.
The process: you will need a copy of your passport and your Kazakh visa and the address of the hotel where you are staying at (if you are staying at a private flat things might be more complicated and additional documents from your hosts may be needed – in this event we are told to NOT recommend registering yourself, but to do it through a travel agent for KZT 3000 – 4000. We always do it ourselves though, it has never been a problem.)
There is always a copy shop nearby OVIR. Give your papers to the migration police officer (locating the correct window might take some time even if you speak Russian) and she will hand you 2 forms to fill in your data. Possibly she might tell you that you need to get these forms from the copy shop as well. Hand in the forms, together with your passport. You get one form back, stamped, with which you should return later (the officer will tell you when) to pick up your passport and registration. Later usually means 1 or 2 days later. Sometimes, 15 minutes is all they need.
Since March 2013, it seems possible to register online. You will need the help of a Kazakh citizen. We have not heard of anyone who has tried it yet, and don’t know if and how it actually works.
Try not to register in Astana, Semey or Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk). It seems the OVIR of Astana and Oskemen only give 10 days registration instead of the 30-day rule.
Address: 86 Karasay Batyr
Tel: (3272) 63-86-81 or 62-54-62
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 9-13 and 15-18, Saturday 9 – 13
It is a blue building that stands a bit back between the rest of the houses. The copy shop next to it is a bit more expensive than the one 3 houses down. Window number 3 is for foreigners.
Address: ul. Sakena Seifullina, 29
Watch out: only gives 10 days registration!
Address: Zheltoksan Street, through some setback blue gates.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 – ?
To find the immigration office, walk up Momysh-uly Avenue from the main Republic Avenue until you come to Abal Park. On the opposite corner from the park you’ll see a large blue-grey building and beside it another building. Many police cars should be parked outside. There’s a blue metal gate. Walk through the gate, into a courtyard and up to the first floor where you should find immigration.
Apply at window 4.
Address: microdistrict 3, house 123. Go along SE-edge of district and look for house 151. Take the road in there. A bit in there’s an outdoor shop on your left and the OVIR is 20-30 meters further on your right.
Big place with big sign on the facade. You need window 2.
Address: Toraigyrova 70/1
Tel: 8 (7182) 32-04-08 or (7182) 326962
Address: Ermekova 118
Also a bad place to register! Travelers have reported Migration Police refused to register them.