To enter Kazakhstan each person, including children, needs to have been issued with a Letter of Invitation (LOI) before applying for a visa which must be obtained before arrival. Visas are normally valid for a maximum of one year. HR will organize LOI’s and visas for staff moving to Atyrau. Contact HR for more information.
A passport, which must have a minimum of six months validity after the expiry of a Kazakhstan visa, is required for each person, including children. Driving licences are not required as NCOC and the other joint venture companies does not allow staff to drive in Kazakhstan. Company transport, either a bus or a car, is provided.
Make sure you have had your pre-assignment medical check-up and vaccinations before leaving for Kazakhstan. The latest information on vaccinations can be found on the Shell Intranet pages. Some medications are not available in Kazakhstan. If specific medications are required, check with the International SOS Clinic in Atyrau whether they are available or not. If not, bring adequate quantities in your hand luggage (not checked or unaccompanied baggage), with an official letter stating why this medicine is needed. It is a good idea to have any dental check-ups completed before leaving for Kazakhstan as the dental services are limited.
Insurance for personal effects is for your own account so insurance companies should be contacted prior to departure to Kazakhstan. It is also strongly advisable to have travel insurance to cover home trips, holidays and business trips. Insurance for the personal effects of Shell staff whilst on assignment to Kazakhstan may be taken out with the Dutch insurance company Kröller (+31 (0)70 3422400 firstname.lastname@example.org). Kröller also offers personal liability insurance.
Non-stop flights are available from Amsterdam 6 times a week and from Istanbul twice aweek. To and from Amsterdam (4 ½ hrs) flights are available on every day of the week except Saturday. From Istanbul (3 hrs) flights go every Tue and Fri. Air Astana recently opened a new route from Atyrau to Moscow (SVO), three times a week, on Mon, Wed and Fri. Air Astana provides domestic flights to Almaty, Astana, Aktau, Oral and Aktobe. From the hubs Astana and Almaty Air Astana provides flights to Abu Dhabi, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong and Seoul. Air Astana is constantly expanding their routes, so check www.airastana.com for the most recent information on routes.
Transaero has direct flights to and from Moscow-Domodedovo airport (2 hours), three times a week (Tuesday, Friday and Sunday). This route connects directly to London-Heathrow, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Munich, Vienna. Check www.domodedovo.ru/en for the most recent information on routes. Note: if you change airport in Moscow you need a Russian visa, if you only change terminals, a visa is not needed.
Company housing policy states that pets are only allowed in company accommodation, and is subject to confirmation of the accommodation management. At this moment (2011/2012) we know of the following accommodations accepting pets: Ardager residence, Zhety Kazyna apartments, and River Club Housing. Please note that some accommodations have additional rules for pets.
Although a time consuming and costly affair, it is not difficult to get your cat or dog into Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan doesn’t require arriving pets to be in quarantine. However you should take into account that some accommodation is in apartments and there are not many places to exercise your animals. And, we are told, that it is more difficult to take your pet out of Kazakhstan than bringing it in!
A pet passport, showing all necessary vaccinations is required. On arrival in Atyrau the pet passport will be scrutinized – it is a good idea to have a picture of the animal inside the passport. Animals are also required to have a blood sample taken, which shows whether it has enough antibodies against rabies. A microchip implant is required to remove animals from Kazakhstan. Atyrau has no facilities for implanting microchips so this should be
organised in your base country.
Air Astana and pets
Air Astana allows small cats, dogs and fish (up to 8 kg) to accompany the passenger in the cabin (PETC). When transporting live fish, passengers are asked to specify the number of fish, the container size and weight, as well as the total weight. Cats and dogs with a weight of more than 8 kg up to 50kg and polecats can travel in the cargo compartments (AVIH) of the aircraft. Birds and rodents cannot be transported in the aircraft cabin or within passengers’ registered luggage. The transportation of birds and rodents is permitted within the cargo hold of aircraft. The transportation of animals must always be disclosed and is subject to confirmation by Air Astana. Notification of the intention to carry animals and fish on board Air Astana flights must be given 24 hours in advance of your flight departure to either your travel agent or to the Air Astana Special Services desk (email@example.com). For full information on pets check the website of Air Astana: http://www.airastana.com/int/en/Carriage-of-Pets.aspx
There are veterinarians in Atyrau – Welfare Desk will provide translators if necessary. Please note that these veterinary services are limited. Emergency facilities are not available and even normal services for sick animals are of a low quality.
Since these entitlements may vary from time to time, all staff should seek advice from HR before departure. It generally takes 3-4 weeks for unaccompanied airfreight to arrive in Kazakhstan. Do not put any items in airfreight that will be needed soon after arrival. All goods arriving in Kazakhstan will go through rigorous checks at customs and may be taxed. (The joint venture companies will handle the arrival process). This may cause considerable delay. Before the unaccompanied airfreight is delivered you will need to produce a power of attorney. The company will approach you when this document is needed and will help you getting it.
Since these entitlements may vary from time to time, staff should seek advice from HR before departure. Normally your sea freight can take up to 3 months to arrive in Atyrau if sent via Rotterdam. From other locations it might cause longer shipment times. Even after it has arrived in Kazakhstan it can take 1-2 weeks before it is customs cleared.
Include in your hand luggage any medicines, cosmetics, moisturizers, spices/herbs, reading material and anything else required for the first few weeks after arrival. Only one laptop per person is allowed on arrival – it is advisable to have paperwork for any company laptop, which should be organized in advance to avoid delays.
Shell Central HR has initiated an On-boarding Video/DVD, which will be your “Guide to an Expatriate Transfer”. The video is available on DVD and is accessible via the Internet. A link to this video will be sent to you as soon as Outpost receives your FDP (First Day on Payroll) notification. If you prefer to receive the link to this video at an earlier stage, please email us.
If arriving at any time other than summer, ensure that all members of the travelling party wear sturdy shoes or boots as mud and ice/snow can be a problem
NB This section is applicable for those arriving on an International flight into Atyrau. Please ignore the information on passport control if you arrive on a domestic flight.
As you step off the plane onto the tarmac look for the ladies holding up VIP-arrival signs. Approach them, say which company you are with and give them your name(s). If you are on the list for VIP-Meet & Greet you will be directed to a dedicated (small) minibus. If not, you will need to get on one of the other (large) buses. VIP Meet & Greet passengers are driven to a separate set of rooms for processing through passport control and customs. Give the ladies on the small bus your luggage tags (if any). Join the queue for passport control and make sure you hand over the (completed) immigration card given to you on the plane, together with your passport, when it is your turn. You will probably be asked for your company name by the immigration officer. Make sure that you are given the form back, duly stamped (2 stamps), along with your passport (1 stamp), as you will need the immigration card to exit Kazakhstan. Don’t pass the luggage checking machine if you have luggage to collect - just enter the room on the left and wait for your luggage to be brought to you, which may take some time. When the luggage arrives you need to go outside to collect it from the cart, return inside and put all your belongings through the luggage X-ray machine, which is operated by a customs officer.
If you are not on the VIP-Meet & Greet list, but on the regular Meet & Greet list, you will be taken to the main building for passport control and customs checking. Whilst you are in the passport queue keep your eyes open for new desks opening and watch the immigration officer as he may beckon you over. Make sure you hand over the (completed) immigration card given to you on the plane (see Appendix D), together with your passport, when it is your turn. You will probably be asked for your company name by the immigration officer. Make sure that you are given the card back, duly stamped (2 stamps), along with your passport (1stamp), as you will need this card to exit Kazakhstan. Collect your luggage (you may be asked for your luggage tags so keep them handy) and put all your belongings through the luggage X-ray machine, which is operated by a customs officer.
Be aware there are no toilets and a limited amount of trolleys in the arrival hall!
On first arrival, all accompanied staff will be met by a member of the Welfare department outside customs (Meet & Greet). Currently NCOC is providing this service for all the joint venture companies. If you do not see someone with a sign with your name on, look for a person in a high visibility NCOC jacket holding a large sign on a pole with ‘NCOC’ logo on it. You will be accompanied or directed to your car and driver who will take you to your accommodation. If no-one is at the airport to meet you, contact Emergency Travel (24 hours) on +7 701 787 7777. There is also an NCOC office on the floor above the ground floor if you need to report missing luggage or require help.
A member of the NCOC Welfare department should be at the airport to make sure everything will be fine and will accompany you to your accommodation. Please let the Outpost team know your arrival date so that a welcome letter from Outpost, as well as their Information Pack about how to request your spouse badge and company transportation, can be supplied to your accommodation. If you do not receive this information please contact the Outpost Focal Point. Most of the accommodation is fully furnished so no float is necessary.
Everyone must register with immigration within 5 days of arrival in Atyrau, your local HR will help you with that. And subsequently, if anyone in your family will be spending a period of 90 continuous days or more within Kazakhstan, he/she must re-register with immigration before the 90 days is up. This applies on all employees, spouses and children! Contact your local HR for further information.