The Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with our passport/visa system. This issue is worldwide and is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category. We apologize to applicants who are experiencing delays or are unable to obtain a passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or visa at this time. We are working urgently to correct the problem and expect our system to be fully operational again soon.
We encourage applicants with previous travel to the U.S. within the last four years to check the U.S. Visa Information Service Website to determine if you qualify for our “Drop Box” interview waiver program. Eligible applicants may apply for visa renewals by express mail.
Temporary Visitors to the U.S.
All visa applicants must CAREFULLY double-check information entered on their DS-160 visa application form. Incorrect data will result in significant delays and require a second interview/appointment.
Due to systems processing procedures, the Consular Section is not able to issue visas the day of the interview. All applicants are encouraged to apply for visas well in advance of planned travel to the United States. Appointments cannot be expedited simply because you purchased your tickets. The Consular Section strongly advises that tickets should only be purchased once a traveler has received their nonimmigrant visa.
Applying for a Visa in Astana or Almaty
To apply for a nonimmigrant visa to the United States, follow these steps:
1. Check your passport:
a) Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the United States (e.g. if you plan to go to the United States for one month in March, your passport must be valid at least through October).
b) Your passport must have at least one blank visa page.
2. Check your photo:
To complete your online visa application, you need a digital photo. Please carefully read the requirements to upload your photo and the photo specifications. If the photo you upload does not meet the criteria, you will be given the option to continue without a photo. In this case, if you have successfully submitted the application, you may bring a photo meeting the above requirements to your interview.
The photograph should measure two inches by two inches (approximately 5x5 cm) with the head centered in the frame, taken within the last six months to reflect your current appearance. The photo must be in color and on a white background. Hats or head coverings are only allowed if worn for religious reasons and if they do not obscure any facial features. Eyeglasses are acceptable in a photo only if the lenses are not tinted and there is no glare, shadows, or rims/frames obscuring the eyes. Bringing a photo with you to the interview rather than uploading a photo to the online application form may prolong the visa issuance process.
Please note: Your photo will be rejected at the time of your visa interview if it does not correspond to the requirements specified above even if it was accepted by the online image quality assessment test. This will result in delays of issuance of your visa. Therefore, it is recommended to bring your photo meeting the above requirements to your interview even if you have submitted your photo with an application.
Step 2. Visit the U.S. Visa Information Service Website to pay the visa application fee, fill out an application form, and make a visa interview appointment. From this site you may also request an expedited interview if you qualify.
Please be aware that only the following circumstances will be considered for an expedited appointment: Urgent medical care for yourself or a family member, death of an immediate family member, urgent business when travel needs could not have been predicted in advance, and to begin or resume a program of study when no student visa appointments are available.
All applicants who wish to have an expedited appointment are required to first pay all relevant visa fees and schedule a visa appointment before requesting an expedited appointment.
For more information, including the documentary evidence required to qualify for an expedited appointment, visit U.S. Visa Information Service Website
Step 3. Come to an Interview with a Consular officer.
Applicants who have received a visa to the U.S. in the last 47 months are eligible for our Drop Box interview waiver program and are not required to schedule an interview. You may submit your documents by courier service.
Step 4. Receive Your Passport and Visa via Pony Express
You choose the method of passport delivery while making an appointment online for your interview.
“Pick up” means you will pick your passport yourself at the main office of Pony Express in Astana and Almaty. Passports with visas can usually be picked up as early as two business days after the interview.
You can also choose to provide your home or office address to have your passport delivered by the Pony Express courier within two to four business days. The number of days it takes to receive your documents varies depending on your place of residence as addresses outside of Almaty and Astana may see some delay in delivery.
You should never pay for travel arrangements before having a visa in your possession. The U.S. Mission Kazakhstan does not accept any responsibility if you do so, nor will we expedite visa processing because you have fixed travel dates.
Business, Tourist, Student and Journalist Visas for Five Years
As of August 1, 2013, qualified Kazakhstani applicants who apply for business, tourist, student, and journalist visas are eligible to receive visas to the United States with a maximum validity of five years.
Please note that the validity of your visa is the period of time in which you can apply to enter the United States. Immigration officials at the U.S. port of entry determine the duration of your stay.
Nonimmigrant visa fees and validity vary depending on the type of visa:
| Category||Processing Fee||Issuance Fee for 12 Months||Issuance Fee for Maximum 60 Months|
|B1/B2, F, I, J and M||$160||N/A||$0|
|C||$160||(single entry for three months only)||N/A|
|L||$190||$0 (for up to 24 months)||N/A|
|O, P and Q||$190||$0||N/A|
The visa processing fee must be paid at the Kazkommertsbank.
If you are refused a visa, you can apply again. However, we do not recommend re-applying without additional or new information that can demonstrate your strong social and economic ties to Kazakhstan and/or that the circumstances of your life have changed since your previous application.
If you are refused a visa, the Visa Processing Fee will not be refunded.
For more information about visa refusals under 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, please refer to Visa Denials at Department of State website.