Cost of Living in Kazakhstan: The Expats Guide

Buildings Near Mountain at Almaty, Kazakhstan

Do you wish to live in a nice central Asian country where it has beautiful natural landscapes as well as Unesco listed historical sites? Maybe Kazakhstan is for you. In this article we will discuss how much you need to live in Kazakhstan.

Here’s a summary of the living costs in Kazakhstan:

Rent for a 3 Bedroom House$576 USD / 246,294 KZN
Rent for a 1 Bedroom Flat$295 USD / 126,140 KZN
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Rates)$49 USD / 30,000 KZN
Internet$12 USD / 5,131 KZN
Maid Service (Full-time, monthly)$236 USD / 100,912 KZN
Groceries$100 USD / 43,800 KZN
Dining Out (2 people) x 4 times$47 USD / 20,097 KZN
Fitness or Social Club Membership$41 USD / 17,531 KZN
TOTAL MONTHLY EXPENSES (3 bed)$1061 USD/ 465,151 KZN

NOTE: These are costs based on the average prices in the city of Nur-Sultan which is the capital, what you have to pay may change depending on where you reside. The lifestyle you adopt will also influence how much money you save or spend.

Let’s take a deeper look at these costs and see how you may tailor them to your own living needs now that we’ve covered the basics.

What Is Kazakhstan Like?

Kazakhstan is a former Soviet republic country located in Central Asia. It stretches from the Caspian Sea and Russia on its western side to the Mountain Range on China’s and Russia on the eastern borders. It also has Russia on its northern side with Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan on the south. The nation is dominated by horizonless steppes, deserts, and mountains, which are home to hundreds of animal and bird species.

Almaty is the country’s largest city and it has long been a commercial center with attractions such as the Ascension Cathedral, a tsarist-era Russian Orthodox cathedral and the Central State Museum of Kazakhstan which has thousands of Kazakh antiquities.

Kazakhstan is a land of breathtaking natural beauty as well as a diverse culture and history. Kazakhstan has the world’s 9th biggest country size (2,724,900km2) and a population of around 19 million people. This makes it the least dense population in the world for those retirees that like their space. 

Kazakhstan has a lovely culture and everything to entice visitors. Kazakhs are famous for their hospitality. Meeting guests with warmth and attention is how they show kindness, as the Kazakh proverb “Konak keldi – irisyn ala keldi” or “The guest comes and gives happiness to the home” attests.

What Is Healthcare Like In Kazakhstan?

Expats who are legally residing in Kazakhstan can use the public healthcare system. The quality of treatment on the other hand can vary depending on the location of the hospital, the skill of the staff, and the availability of appropriate medical supplies. Expats should also bring someone who is fluent in both English and the Kazak or Russian to assist with translation.

Expats can always seek treatment at public hospitals which are heavily subsidized. In Kazakhstan however state hospitals provide average care when compared to private hospitals. As a result, the majority of expats prefer private hospitals and institutions with English-speaking staff that have better technology and infrastructure. 

The costs vary depending on the type of therapy requested and in some cases air evacuation may be required owing to a specialist medical issue. Expats can protect themselves from such unanticipated costs by purchasing a comprehensive international health insurance coverage which has all the cover they need.

Kazakhstan has been working hard to position itself as a top medical expat destination for future medical tourism as that industry grows. As a result the country’s healthcare policy has undergone substantial changes. These measures have also reduced the cost of treatment for a number of serious illnesses in Kazakhstan. 

Bone marrow transplants for example cost roughly $51,000 in the United States which is less than half the price in Russia. Similarly liver transplants in Kazakhstan cost $20,000 but cost nearly double that in Turkey. Kazakhstan also wants to promote traditional healing methods through medical tourism.

Private insurance in Kazakhstan will start from $199 USD a month with a $1,000 USD deductible for any major surgeries.

You can check to the following websites for current pricing of international health insurance:

Can A Foreign Citizen Own A Property In Kazakhstan?

During the communist regime owning property in Kazakhstan was impossible. The state owned all of the properties at the time. With the demise of Communism the property rules were eventually liberalized. Both locals and foreigners can now inherit, buy, and own property and registration has become much simpler.

 Land as well as housing and commercial assets can be purchased. The exception being agricultural property which is subject to ownership restrictions. When buying it is always recommended to use a real estate agent in Kazakhstan. These agents have access to a variety of homes and will be able to help you find what you are looking for easier. 

When a seller and buyer reach an agreement on a deal the buyer often pays 10 to 20% of the property price as a deposit and both sides sign a notarized agreement. For the title deed documents are sent to the local Land Registry. Taxes and fees are applicable. It is also recommended to seek appropriate legal advice here to make sure everything is in order.

The cost of housing in Kazakhstan varies based on the style of home, its location and other factors. However In Nur-Sultan city, a 50-square-meter flat costs $44K USD. Outside of the capital you can get more for your money especially in smaller towns and cities.

You can also look for something cheaper on Facebook Marketplace. Change your filter to the Kazakhstan city you want to investigate, then click on Property Rentals or House Sales. Keep in mind that all prices will be in Kazakhstan tenge (KZN). If buying directly, still seek legal advice before handing over any funds.

TIP: Check this article to know The Best 5 Cities to Live in Kazakhstan and check the properties prices and discover each one of these cities.

Here are some local real estate websites to review current prices on:

TIP: Some of these websites are in Kazakh. If you open the website in google chrome you can use the built in translation to change it to English.

What Visas Are Available For Foreigners In Kazakhstan?

With one exception, most visitors to Kazakhstan require a visa. For tourist vacations of less than 15 days US residents do not need to obtain a visa to enter Kazakhstan. Longer visits as well as journeys for religious work or business necessitate a visa which can be acquired through the Kazakhstan Embassy in Washington, DC or your local country. 

Kazakhstan visas are usually valid for 5 years and allow numerous visits to the nation. Each stay however must be limited to 30 days. Fines, incarceration, and lengthy delays upon leaving may be imposed on passengers who exceed their allotted stay time or participate in activities that do not fit with their visa class. 

Working with a travel document specialist to ensure you have the necessary documentation before your trip will help you avoid such issues.

LINK: Kazakhstan Visa Requirements

How Much Do Groceries Cost in Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan has lower prices for basic goods than the United States. In Kazakhstan, Grocery costs are 64% cheaper than in the United States while the restaurant cost is about 61%

You might want to eat out everyday during your retirement especially in such a cheap country like Kazakhstan but bear in mind that local cuisine is very different from those in the US. It might be better to cook for yourself for the first few months until your palate adjusts to local cuisine.

Here is some average prices of groceries:

Milk1 Liter / 1 quart$0.8 USD
Bread1 Loaf$0.3 USD
Eggs1 Dozen$1.1 USD
Beef1 kg/ 2.2 pounds$5.7 USD
Chicken Breasts1 kg/ 2.2 pounds$3.4 USD
Beer12$1.4 USD
Wine1 Liter / 1 quart$5.9 USD

Here is a common local supermarket you can look at for current prices:

LINK: Galmart Supermarket

NOTE: This website is in Russian so you will need to change the language to English in Chrome to review the products. 

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