ASTANA – As of March 1, Kazakhstan will be included in the list of countries whose citizens will be required to pass through additional consultations to obtain a Schengen visa, Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Aibek Smadiyarov noted at a press briefing on Feb. 27.
“As for the question that supposedly Kazakhstan is included in some kind of list, I would like to say that we have not received an official notification from the European side. However, from March 1, Kazakhstan will indeed be on the list of countries whose citizens will henceforth require additional consultations when issuing a Schengen visa. There are no black or red lists in the Schengen agreement, however, and it is a normal working process,” Smadiyarov said.
He explained that this was requested by one of the countries of the Schengen agreement. According to EU rules, EU and Schengen countries can initiate additional consultations for third-country nationals applying for a visa.
“Such consultations can take up to seven days. At the same time, the standard term for a general review of the visa applications remains the same as before – up to 15 days. In practice, we do not expect any changes in the procedure for processing visas for Kazakh citizens,” Smadiyarov said.
The list of 40 countries whose citizens are required to go through additional consultations includes many states that have close relations with the EU and who have a fairly favorable security situation, including all the countries of Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, and Vietnam.
Smadiyarov added that in line with the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Kazakhstan and the European Union, which entered into force in 2020, the parties agreed to conduct a comprehensive dialogue on visa facilitation for both Kazakh and EU citizens, and promote people-to-people contacts. Kazakhstan introduced a visa-free regime for citizens of all EU member-states in 2017.
According to Smadiyarov, the ministry continues discussions with its European partners to develop mutually acceptable mechanisms to simplify visa procedures for Kazakh nationals.
“We expect concrete steps from the European side in the near future,” he said.
This year, Kazakhstan and the EU are celebrating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, which are developing dynamically, as the parties continue to strengthen and promote their partnership on a wide range of issues, Smadiyarov said.