Atyrau is the capital city of the Atyrau Region in Kazakhstan. Situated 20 meters below sea level, this is one of the world’s very few bi-continental cities, due to its divided position between Europe and Asia on the Ural River. This moderately sized city covers 163,221 km2 and has a population of 154,100 people. 90% of the city’s inhabitants are ethnic Kazakhs, who have resided in Kazakhstan for thousands of years. After this, there are small expat communities, mostly Russians, Tatars and Ukrainians.
Russian and Kazakh are the official languages of the city. Russian is spoken more often in business and communications, while Kazakh is widely spoken by locals. The official religion of the city, and Kazakhstan as a whole, is Islam. Traditionally, Kazakhstani people are Sunni Muslims.
The climate of Atyrau is classified as semi-arid. The city experiences intensely hot summers which resemble the typical Mediterranean climate and extremely cold, sub-arctic winters. The temperatures vary between the years, with summer highs of anywhere between 32°C and 4°C. During the winter months, the temperature drops to lows of -5°C to 14˚C and snow is common. It happened to reach -30°C in January, February and March. The rates of rainfall remain low throughout the year.
In order to enter Kazakhstan, all foreign nationals will require a visa, unless they are exempt under international treaty laws. Once a visa has been granted, it must be pasted into the foreign national’s valid passport and any other paper forms of identification. There are several different forms of visa which will allow nationals from overseas to enter the country including the private visa, investor visa and student visa. Expats intending on residing long term or permanently in Atyrau should make arrangements to apply for a permanent residence visa.
To secure a permanent residence visa, potential expats should contact the nearest Kazakh embassy and submit the necessary documents and forms of evidence. The required documents include a passport with at least three months validity remaining, a letter of invitation or visa support letter from the Department of Consular Service of Kazakhstan, a photograph and a handwritten letter of application. As well as this, the embassy will need to be provided with an accurately filled out visa questionnaire and evidence that the consular visa fee has been paid.