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  20.07.2006 Formalities: Kazakhstan
Date of Border Crossing 20.7.2006
Point of Entry
  1. Chernyaevka (between Tashkent Uzbekistan and Shymkent, Kazakhstan)
  2. Border to Russia at Pavlodar
Passport and Visa Passport has to be valid for at least another 6 months and you need a visa to enter Kazakhstan. See Additional Information on how to get a visa for Kazakhstan.
We did not have a valid insurance for Kazakhstan. Nobody checked or seemed to care.
Drivers License Did not get checked, but I am sure that officially you are required to have one.
Motorcycle papers All you need is your 'vehicle passport' (vehicle registration papers).
License plates Own license plates are sufficient.
How it went

We crossed into Kazakhstan twice. Once at the Uzbek border and once at the Russian border near Pavlodar. Of the two the border at Pavlodar was far better organized. At the Uzbek border they did not quite know what to do with us!

What is important at Immigration is that you get the 'White Visitor Card' and that there is a stamp on it. If  you have that you will not have a problem leaving the country and you don't need to do the OVIR registration.
So insist on this card. Should you have forgotten you need to go through the OVIR registration. Either have a travel agent in Almaty do it for you or ask your hotel to do it. The OVIR registration will cost you around 20 USD depending on hotel or travel agent. They will need a passport picture to do the registration.
At the Uzbek border we did not get this visitor card and therefore ended up having to do the registration in Almaty. The second time around the Kazakh embassy in Almaty filled out a visitor card for us and we only had to get it stamped at the border. The cards are usually available at the borders, but you have to ask for them!

Customs office:
Again the process depends on where you enter. At the Uzbek border they just looked at our papers and then waved us through.
At the border in Pavlodar we had to fill out temporary import forms for the motorcycles. These got issued free of charge and were valid for a stay up to three months. However these papers never got checked: neither by the police in the country nor at the border leaving the country. Nevertheless to be on the save side insist on this temporary import permit no matter what border you come in on.

Point of Exit
  1. Border to Russia at Semey
  2. Border to Kyrgyzstan at Kegan
How it went Immigration Office:
Neither the exit to Russia nor the exit to Kyrgyzstan proved to be a problem.
The only trick is to have the stamped White Visitor Card. They collect this card, stamp your passport and that is it.
Customs Office:
The border to Russia up from Semey, more than anything was a test of patience. We had to wait a long time outside the border before we were waved into the Customs checkpoint. There they looked at the bikes and then waved us on to the immigration office.
The border to Kyrgyzstan is down a lonely stretch of dirt road past Kegen. We got the impression that they were glad to see us. It is a very little used border and so very easy going. We got our exit stamp in no time and that was it.
Additional Information

Getting a visa for Kazakhstan:
We had to get a visa for Kazakhstan twice: once in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) and once in Ulaan Bataar (Mongolia).

The Kazakh embassy is a bit tricky to find, since it is hidden behind a tall building. Here is the GPS point: N37 53.596 E58 21.257. If you don't have GPS ask a cab driver.
The people at this embassy are extremely friendly and speak good English. Get there early however, because they are usually very busy and showing up late will make for a long wait!
You need to have the following:

  • filled out visa application form
  • 1 passport picture
  • 1 copy of passport
  • statement written in longhand stating who you are, why you want to go  Kazakhstan and where you will be going

There was no same day visa available, but we were able to pick up the visas the next day. The visas cost us 45 US dollars each and they had to be paid in US dollars.

Ulaan Bataar:
Again very friendly embassy with staff who speak very good English. The embassy is at the Diplomatic site. Here is the GPS point: N47 55.495 E106 54.388. Again we had to hand in the documents mentioned above. Same day visa service was possible here, costing twice as much as a normal visa. So we paid 140 US dollars each for the same day visa.

Changing money:
Coming into Kazakhstan:
You don't need any money coming into Kazakhstan as there is no fees of any kind.

  • Chernyaevka: there was only one guy changing money at this border. We opted to drive on to Shymkent and changed money there with one of  the money money changers on the main road going into town.
  • Pavlodar: as far as we could tell there was no money changers at this border. We still had leftover currency from our last trip, so we did not need to change money.
Leaving Kazakhstan:
  • To Russia at Semey: You need rubles at the border to pay for the insurance and the vehicle permit. However there is nowhere at the border to buy rubles. So change some money at a money changer or bank in Semey.
  • To Kyrgyzstan at Kegen: There is nowhere to change any money at this border. As a matter of fact, the first chance you get is in Karakol where there is money changing offices a plenty! However on the road to Karakol you go through the Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve. Here you have to pay an entrance fee of 500 Soms per vehicle!. So buy some Kyrgyz SOM before arriving at this border for example at the moneychangers in Almaty!
These are the details of the border crossing into this particular country. The information is correct as of the date on which the border was crossed. But, due to the stability and vagaries of the regimes involved, it is prudent that you get additional data directly from the embassy involved, preferably in your own country. Also you should keep in mind that the procedure can vary depending on exactly who is on duty. So never assume anything is a particular way, and regardless of what anyone says, the impossible is often possible if you are in the right place at the right time. Good Luck.


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