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Visa Hassles – Kazakhstan Visa in Urumqi

We tend to complain a lot about our own country’s government inefficiency, but after experiencing the Kazakhstan Visa process it makes them look like a formula One pit crew

Put our passports in today in Urumqi. athinak79’s post on thorn tree (see below) was very accurate although we had a few slight changes in our processing.

Got there at 8:30am. Put our names on the list which means nothing. At 9:10 we + a Japanese couple were ushered out of the line and into the building in front of everyone. Great so far. All paperwork done by 10:30am. The man doing our paperwork gave it all back (inc passport) and told us to go across the road (through the park) and pay for our visas and come back by 11am – Still going well.

NZ = $20 USD (130 Yuan)
USA = $160 USD (1040 Yuan)

We just assumed this would mean we could skip lines and pushed our way back into the building where we were then told to get a photocopy of the receipt (1 Yuan each) which we did by going through the back corridor. However when we tried to go through the corridor the man controlling building 1 refused to let us and told us we had to go outside. (the left door) So we went through the left door and pulled the foreigner card pushing our way to the front and entered the right hand door. Here we were refused entry and told to line up in a line that was not moving.

We tried a couple of times and finally ended up in another line. Here we waited an hour and a half without moving but with people pushing through and just entering the building as they pleased. 12:30 and we finally got inside only to be told to wait again.

Katie literally pushed on the door to the room where they were processing at 1pm (closing time) jamming her foot in it and saying time and time again that we had already paid. She was the last to enter with others being refused. Last part inside took…wait for it…. 2 minutes.

Be sure to check what days they are open for visas. Apparently the next day was Friday – According to someone in the line they are only open 3 days a week, although I could not confirm this.

Needless to say, bring your patience, your “foreigner card” and be prepared to be politely pushy. All seems like a crap shoot and luck as to whether you get it done in one day. Fingers crossed we will have our passports back late next week. Jumping on the bikes anyway and heading for a weeks camping without passports in one of China’s highly policed areas. Fun

Note – I applied for a Kazakh visa back in 2009 and while it was a bit of a show, it was not this bad.

Visa Pickup Update: Thought I’d add this to the post as picking up the visa was just as much of an experience. We showed up on our visa pickup day (21st May 2014) about 2:30. Just before 3pm a couple of men came out and told all the people waiting for visa pickups that it wasn’t going to happen today and everyone should come back tomorrow. OK?

Fast-forward to the 22nd. Showed up 30 minutes early again and lined up in the rain, The line was not as orderly this time probably due to the weather. Just before 3pm the men came out and there was a scramble to hand over the pink pick up slips through the barred gates. The men then disappeared back in the building and we were all left outside to wait. (in the rain)

Every time the embassy door opened there was a rush of people towards the gate. This happened multiple times for the next hour. Just after 4pm the men came out (things being said in another language) and people haphazardly formed a “line” in front of the gate. A lot of yelling and pushing ensued as it was opened and people poured through with the men trying, but not succeeding, to control the amount of people. We scraped through with my wife getting crushed up against the bars, but the British guy I had met in line did not.

A short while later a gentleman started handing out visas. In the end we got ours and also simply took the British guys passport and gave it to him outside. We were not even questioned when we said he was with us and much to his relief, as he had tried to make it into the room a couple of times and been kicked out.

Let’s just say that the Urumqi Kazakhstan Visa is an experience in how a simple numbering system could make life a lot easier. Hope this gives fellow travelers more of an idea what to expect and prepare accordingly.

(may 2014)
hi folks, just got our kazakh visa in urumqi. we needed our passports and one photograph, nothing else.
the process is the following:
you need to get to the consulate at the crack of dawn
there are two doors as you are facing it. you need to go to the door on the left side. outside there is a massive disorderly crowd of kazakhs.
you need to put your name on a list held by a man on the steps outside the door and then wait, you will be given a number in the queue.
once you are called in the staff inside make a photocopy of your passport, give you a declaration where you complete your name, how many entries you want and what type of visa you are requesting. then another member of staff sits you down and completes a form with your details on line. she/he prints this out and you sign it. there you pay 20 RMB for the photocopy and the printed form.
do not worry if the dates of entry on the form is not right. they just put the date that you apply but when you submit the paperwork(see below) you need to tell them when you want your visa to start from.
you then cross a corridor and you are at the building next door where you wait in the queue to submit your paperwork. when you submit they will ask you when you want to go to kazakhstan and your itinerary. this can be just cities, nothing more.
the staff will then give you a China Construction Bank payslip which they stamp with their account number. make sure they stamp the account as ours forgot and we had to point it out to her. the price is 160 RMB/$20USD for greek and australian passports.
you need to go to the nearby construction bank and pay. you need to have a photocopy of your passport information page to pay. then you need to go back with your receipt of payment and submit it through the door on the right as you face the consulate (queue up in the right hand side queue by this door). when you submit your application they might give you a date to come back and submit your payment receipt. for example they asked us to come back the day before our passport was due to be picked up but we decided to drop off the receipt the day after we had submitted the application and that was fine. there is a possibility that you might be able to have made the payment prior to submitting your application and so you can already have the payment slip receipt when you go the first time. most locals seem to have done this. we are not certain how that works but if you can read kazkh/russian this is the website that might give more information about this www.kzpvsurumqi.org
otherwise just go with what we did.
the waiting time was 7 working days. they did not let us have it earlier.

on pick up day we went back as requested at 3pm, the doors didn’t open till 3:30, queue up by the door on the right of the consulate, in the righthand side queue, try to get in the queue early as they only take a few people at a time and they shut at 4pm.

we asked for an OVIR registration card, they said you register when you enter kz

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