21,000 5-year U.S. visas issued to Kazakhstanis in one year05 august 2014, 10:28
Kazakhstan citizens have received over 21,000 5-year U.S. visas since the U.S. Embassy started issuing these visas in Kazakhstan on August 1, 2013, Tengrinews reports citing U.S. Charge d’Affaires John Ordway.
Availability of visas with such a long validity period simplified travel between Kazakhstan and U.S. resulting in a record number of visa applications.
“This policy contributed to a 41 percent increase in the number of visa applications for business travel and tourism from Kazakhstan citizens over the past year which, in turn, facilitated the establishment of new business partnerships and cultural ties between our two countries,” U.S. Charge d’Affaires John Ordway said.
Resident of Astana city Talgat Unaibayev shared his impression of getting a five-year U.S. visa. "I didn't even have to go to the Embassy. I just mailed the required documents. Very soon my bisuness visa was ready," he said.
Over the past year, Kazakhstan issued nearly 11,500 visa to US citizens. Most of them were business and tourist visas. "Taking into account our strategic partnership and an active role of American companies in Kazakhstan, our government has also decided to include the United States into the list of 10 countries whose citizens can enjoy visa-free travel to Kazakhstan for 15 days," Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Ashikbayev said.
Kazakhstan was the first country in Central Asia to get the privilege of receiving five-year U.S. visas, and U.S. was the first country to enter into 5-year visa agreement with Kazakhstan. “Kazakhstan citizens holding American visas have been well behaved during their stays in America and have followed all the consular rules. The United State have had no problems related to improper behavior of Kazakhstan citizens,” the U.S. Consul General Michael Snowden explained on August 1, 2013 when Kazakhstan became the only country in Central Asia to receive the privileges.
Writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina