Kazakhstan Tightens Entrance Regulations Amid Influx Of Russians Amid Ukraine War

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Kazakhstan has tightened entrance regulations for citizens of Eurasian Economic Union (EAES) member states as the number of Russian citizens arriving increases amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and its mobilization to boost troops in the ongoing war.

As of January 27, citizens from the group — Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, and Armenia — will be unable to stay in Kazakhstan for more than 90 days within 180 days, according to the government’s resolution adopted on January 16.

Previously, citizens from EAES countries could stay in Kazakhstan for as long as they wanted on the condition that they registered in Kazakhstan within 30 days of their entrance and leave the country within each 90 days, even if they re-enter immediately.

EAES citizens could also obtain a one-year visa to stay in Kazakhstan without leaving every 90 days with only basic IDs and not a passport. Under the new rules, such visas can be obtained only with passports.

Hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens, mostly men, entered Kazakhstan in September and October after President Vladimir Putin announced a military mobilization to support Moscow’s ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, launched in February last year.

The Kazakh Interior Ministry has said that around 2.9 million Russian nationals entered Kazakhstan in 2022, of whom 146,000 obtained Kazakh identification numbers that allow them to open bank accounts and apply for jobs in the oil-rich country.

According to Kazakhs officials, 36,000 Russian citizens obtained permanent residence in 2022, while decisions on other applications are pending.

In November, as Russian citizens continued to enter Kazakhstan en mass, Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smaiylov announced that his government had prepared a bill under which knowledge of the Kazakh language, the country’s history, and legislation will be mandatory for individuals seeking naturalization.

Source: Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty