Major European and international credit cards, including Diners Club and Visa, are accepted in the larger hotels in Almaty and in major shops and restaurants. Facilities exist for credit card cash withdrawals in Kazakhstan.
To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.
Mon-Fri 0900-1800. Banks close for lunch 1300-1400. All banks are closed Sat-Sun.
The import of local currency is unlimited, provided it is declared on arrival; the import of foreign currency is unlimited, provided amounts exceeding US$3,000 or equivalent are declared on arrival.
The export of local currency is allowed, provided it does not exceed the amount imported and declared on arrival (if export exceeds import, special bank permission is required); the export of foreign currency is unlimited, provided amounts exceeding US$3,000 or equivalent are declared.
The national currency, the Tenge, may only be obtained within Kazakhstan. Conversion of the Tenge back into hard currency may prove difficult. Foreign currency should only be exchanged at official bureaux and all transactions must be recorded on the currency declaration form that is issued on arrival.
It is wise to retain all exchange receipts, although they are seldom inspected. Unless travelling with a licensed tourist company (in which case, accommodation, transport and meals are paid before departure), money should be brought in US Dollars cash and exchanged when necessary.
Kazakhstan duty free
The following goods may be imported into Kazakhstan by travellers over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 200g of tobacco products.
• 3L of alcoholic beverages.
• A reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use.
• Goods up to the value of €1,500 for personal use only.
On entering the country, you must complete a customs declaration form, which you must retain until departure.
This allows the import of articles intended for personal use, including currency and valuables, which you must register on the declaration form. You must export these at the end of the stay.
Customs inspection can be long and detailed. It is advisable to keep receipts for items bought in Kazakhstan in order to avoid difficulties at customs on departure.
Photographs and printed matter directed against Kazakhstan, military arms and ammunition, narcotics and live animals.
Food must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate.
Arms and ammunition, precious metals and stones, and furs.
Antiquities and art objects require an export permit.