Today, on May 17, 2023, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Kazakhstan signed a landmark agreement on mutual visa exemption. The agreement was formalized during a meeting between Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who met in China as part of President Tokayev’s visit to attend the China-Central Asia Summit. This significant development marks a new chapter in the bilateral relations between the two countries.
During the meeting, both leaders underscored the importance of fostering closer ties and enhancing cooperation in various sectors. As a result, a series of bilateral agreements were signed, covering diverse areas such as economy, trade, energy, transport, agriculture, technology, tourism, and cultural exchange.
Under this comprehensive visa exemption agreement, ordinary passport holders from both countries will be able to travel to the other country for a period of 30 days without the need for a visa. This includes travel purposes such as tourism, medical treatment, business, transit, and more. Furthermore, for repeated visits, individuals can stay for a total duration of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
This agreement is particularly significant for citizens of Kazakhstan, as it grants them the opportunity to travel to China without the requirement of a visa. Prior to this agreement, Chinese citizens were already allowed visa-free travel to Kazakhstan; however, the duration of stay was limited to 14 days per visit and a total of 42 days within a 180-day period. With the new agreement, Chinese passport holders will now be able to enjoy an extended period of time in Kazakhstan without the need for a visa.
Once implemented, which is expected to take approximately two to three months, the visa exemption agreement between China and Kazakhstan will expand the number of visa-free destinations available to Kazakhstan passport holders to 78. As a result, Kazakhstan’s ranking on the Guide Passport Index will improve by one position, reaching 67th place. It is important to note that this visa-free arrangement will not impact the current ranking of the Chinese passport, which currently allows visa-free access to 71 destinations and holds the 73rd position on the Guide Passport Index. This is due to the fact that Kazakhstan is already among the existing visa-free travel destinations for Chinese passport holders.
The visa-free travel agreement between China and Kazakhstan signifies a deepening of bilateral ties and a positive step towards enhancing people-to-people connections and fostering greater economic cooperation.