This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
While many may associate Kazakhstan with a certain Sacha Baron Cohen film, the country has been on our travel bucket list for a while now. Unfortunately, the cost of the visa for US citizens hoping to visit has always been pretty steep: $160 for US passport holders plus $25 for a single-entry visa.
Next year, the capital city of Astana will host EXPO-2017, an event taking place from June to September dedicated to energy conservation and sustainable living. In order to create more favorable conditions for foreign visitors, the Kazakh government is terminating its visa requirements for US citizens and those of 21 other countries — including Austria, Canada, Mexico, Singapore and New Zealand — allowing free entry for up to 30 days. The changes take affect January 1st 2017, making the off-the-beaten-path country more accessible.
First-time visitors should head to the city of Almaty for a rewarding mix of European, Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. Once an important stop on the Silk Road, the city maintains its eclectic mix of bazaars, cobblestone streets and natural beauty. Outside the city, you’ll find ski resorts in the winter, canyon hiking in the summer and several UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Have you ever been to Kazakhstan? Tell us about your experience, below.
Featured image of Astana, Kazakhstan, courtesy of Shutterstock.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards