Our Kyrgyzstani office

Inter Relocation Group Ltd.
1068 Budapest,
Felsőerdősor u.
12-14. I. em. 4.
Hungary (Group Partner)

Contact
Stuart McAlister – Managing Director
Tel.: +36 1 278-5680
Fax: +36 1 278-5688
Email: info@interrelo.com
Responsible for: Operations in Kazakhstan

Kyrgyzstan Relocation Guide

Key Facts

Government type: Unitary parliamentary republic
Capital: Bishkek
Total Area: 199,951 km2
Population: 6,034,841

GDP Per Capita (PPP) $3,653
Official languages:  Kyrgyz, Russian
Religions: Islam 75%; Russian Orthodox 20%; other 5%
Country code: +996
Currency: Kyrgyz Som (KGS)
Voltage: 220 V

Brief Overview

Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions. Landlocked and mountainous, it borders Kazakhstan to the North, Uzbekistan to the West, Tajikistan to the Southwest and China to the Southeast. Kyrgyzstan is a country with a dominant agricultural sector. Cotton, tobacco, wool, and meat are the main products, although only tobacco and cotton are exported in large quantities. The economy relies heavily on industrial exports, with plentiful reserves of gold, mercury, uranium and natural gas.

Ethnic Kyrgyz make up the majority of the country’s 5,7 million people, followed by significant Uzbek and Russian minorities. The official language, Kyrgyz, is closely related to other Turkic languages, but Russian is still widely spoken, a legacy of the century-long policy of multiculturalism. Most people are non-denominational Muslims.

Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Turkic Council, the TÜRKSOY community and the United Nations.

Culture

The culture of Kyrgyzstan is heavily influenced by the traditions from nomadic life. Kyrgyz culture features influences from Russia, Persia, and Turkey, but yet remains something entirely unique. The country is divided into north and south by mountain ranges. Northern culture has been influenced by Russians, while southern culture has absorbed Uzbek traditions. The Naryn region in central Kyrgyzstan is relatively isolated, and it is here that the Kyrgyz culture is most “pure.”

As nomads, the Kyrgyz people always lived closely with nature. From their housing to their clothing, everything was designed to adapt to changing weather and locations. Moreover, horses were, and still are, central to Kyrgyz culture. They provided not only transportation, but played crucial roles in wars and even cuisine. Some instruments were even designed so that they could be played on horseback, and the beat of hooves can be heard in traditional Kyrgyz music.

Kyrgyz is an official language. In 2000 Russian was adopted as an official national language. It is still commonly used as the language of business, and many ethnic Russians cannot speak Kyrgyz. All children study Kyrgyz, Russian and English in school.

Kyrgyzstan is also a modern country. People are proud of the culture in Kyrgyzstan, and events are held to make sure that it is kept alive and promoted. Visitors can expect to be immersed in these nomadic and traditional elements, especially if they stay with a host family.

Kyrgyz people are generally very warm and inviting, so expats will find them invited to a traditional Kyrgyz dinner. Guests should take a small gift and be sure to remove their shoes at the door. Eating and drinking are taken very seriously and guests at a Kyrgyz dinner will be overwhelmed with food.

Immigration

There is a 60-day visa-free regime for citizens of the following countries: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Mongolia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States Of America, Vatican.

There is also a visa-free regime for the following CIS countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine.

Foreign citizens from other states must obtain a visa to enter and transit through Kyrgyzstan. Foreign citizens, except those from Russia and Kazakhstan, need a visa to work. Employing foreign citizens, including chief executives, requires authorization (Permit for Attraction) and work permits for each individual foreign employee (Work Permit), both of which are valid for up to one year with the possibility for extension. Once the necessary permits have been received, the foreign citizen must apply to the Department of Consulate Services under the KR Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DCS) for a work visa. Citizens of the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan need to obtain a work permit. The process generally takes up to 2.5 months.

The company offering visa support to a foreign citizen must register them at the local police department within three days (OVIR, Department of Internal Affairs) of arriving to Kyrgyzstan if they plan on staying for more than three working days (excluding weekends).

Rental Market

The majority of expats living in Kyrgyzstan settle in the capital – Bishkek. The housing found in Bishkek is characterized by high-rise apartment blocks in the city center and low-story private houses on the town outskirts.

Expats tend to live in the center (Oktyabrsky and Leninsky districts) as there are a lot of A-level apartment options. The Oktyabrsky district is the most eco-friendly area of the city as there are four parks on its territory. Leninsky district contains the biggest number of leisure facilities (theatres, cinemas, museums, restaurants and etc.) in addition to the great variety of premium-class housing options. Each year more and more high-standard accommodation is being provided on the rental market of Bishkek. Bishkek is a modern city with wide streets and beautiful buildings. There are no historical buildings in the city at all, because Bishkek is a relatively young city. The most famous buildings include the Government House, the Opera and Ballet Theater, the Russian Drama Theater, Kyrgyz Drama Theater and the National library in the city centre.

Below you can find a table reflecting average housing prices for different types of property in Bishkek*:

1 bedroom 2 bedrooms 3 bedrooms 4+ bedrooms / townhouse
$700–$1,200 $1,100–$1,700 $1,400–$2,300 $2,500-$4,400

* These are average rental prices which are applicable only for long-term rent, vary on location and apartment type/class and does not include utilities or other expenses applicable.

Schools

There are only limited options for private and international education in Kyrgyzstan and most are in Bishkek. The most popular choice is the QSI International School of Bishkek, which offers international level of education in English. The curriculum adheres to the American system.

Another option is the Silk Road International School in Bishkek. Teaching goes from preschool through to high school. The language of instruction is English and the school follows the British key stage curriculum.

Schools most popular with expats:

Health Care

Getting international health insurance is absolutely essential in Kyrgyzstan and it is fundamental to include a solid medical emergency component. Reliable insurance providers include Cigna Global Health, Bupa and Expat Financial. Emergency services in Kyrgyzstan are largely limited to cities and bigger towns and most emergency workers do not speak English. It is highly advisable to invest in good private health insurance and seek care at one of the private hospitals or clinics in Bishkek if necessary. Intermark recommends the Eye Microsurgery Hospital and Neomed Hospital.

Medical centers in Kyrgyzstan:

Key Facts

Government type: Unitary parliamentary republic
Capital: Bishkek
Total Area: 199,951 km2
Population: 6,034,841

GDP Per Capita (PPP) $3,653
Official languages:  Kyrgyz, Russian
Religions: Islam 75%; Russian Orthodox 20%; other 5%
Country code: +996
Currency: Kyrgyz Som (KGS)
Voltage: 220 V

Brief Overview

Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions. Landlocked and mountainous, it borders Kazakhstan to the North, Uzbekistan to the West, Tajikistan to the Southwest and China to the Southeast. Kyrgyzstan is a country with a dominant agricultural sector. Cotton, tobacco, wool, and meat are the main products, although only tobacco and cotton are exported in large quantities. The economy relies heavily on industrial exports, with plentiful reserves of gold, mercury, uranium and natural gas.

Ethnic Kyrgyz make up the majority of the country’s 5,7 million people, followed by significant Uzbek and Russian minorities. The official language, Kyrgyz, is closely related to other Turkic languages, but Russian is still widely spoken, a legacy of the century-long policy of multiculturalism. Most people are non-denominational Muslims.

Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Turkic Council, the TÜRKSOY community and the United Nations.

Culture

The culture of Kyrgyzstan is heavily influenced by the traditions from nomadic life. Kyrgyz culture features influences from Russia, Persia, and Turkey, but yet remains something entirely unique. The country is divided into north and south by mountain ranges. Northern culture has been influenced by Russians, while southern culture has absorbed Uzbek traditions. The Naryn region in central Kyrgyzstan is relatively isolated, and it is here that the Kyrgyz culture is most “pure.”

As nomads, the Kyrgyz people always lived closely with nature. From their housing to their clothing, everything was designed to adapt to changing weather and locations. Moreover, horses were, and still are, central to Kyrgyz culture. They provided not only transportation, but played crucial roles in wars and even cuisine. Some instruments were even designed so that they could be played on horseback, and the beat of hooves can be heard in traditional Kyrgyz music.

Kyrgyz is an official language. In 2000 Russian was adopted as an official national language. It is still commonly used as the language of business, and many ethnic Russians cannot speak Kyrgyz. All children study Kyrgyz, Russian and English in school.

Kyrgyzstan is also a modern country. People are proud of the culture in Kyrgyzstan, and events are held to make sure that it is kept alive and promoted. Visitors can expect to be immersed in these nomadic and traditional elements, especially if they stay with a host family.

Kyrgyz people are generally very warm and inviting, so expats will find them invited to a traditional Kyrgyz dinner. Guests should take a small gift and be sure to remove their shoes at the door. Eating and drinking are taken very seriously and guests at a Kyrgyz dinner will be overwhelmed with food.

Immigration

There is a 60-day visa-free regime for citizens of the following countries: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Mongolia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States Of America, Vatican.

There is also a visa-free regime for the following CIS countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine.

Foreign citizens from other states must obtain a visa to enter and transit through Kyrgyzstan. Foreign citizens, except those from Russia and Kazakhstan, need a visa to work. Employing foreign citizens, including chief executives, requires authorization (Permit for Attraction) and work permits for each individual foreign employee (Work Permit), both of which are valid for up to one year with the possibility for extension. Once the necessary permits have been received, the foreign citizen must apply to the Department of Consulate Services under the KR Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DCS) for a work visa. Citizens of the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan need to obtain a work permit. The process generally takes up to 2.5 months.

The company offering visa support to a foreign citizen must register them at the local police department within three days (OVIR, Department of Internal Affairs) of arriving to Kyrgyzstan if they plan on staying for more than three working days (excluding weekends).

Rental Market

The majority of expats living in Kyrgyzstan settle in the capital – Bishkek. The housing fond in Bishkek is characterized by high-rise apartment blocks in the city center and low-storey private houses on the town outskirts.

Expats tend to live in the center (Oktyabrsky and Leninsky districts) as there are a lot of A-level apartment options. The Oktyabrsky district is the most eco-friendly area of the city as there are four parks on its territory. Leninsky district contains the biggest number of leisure facilities (theatres, cinemas, museums, restaurants and etc.) in addition to the great variety of premium-class housing options. Each year more and more high-standard accommodation is being provided on the rental market of Bishkek. Bishkek is a modern city with wide streets and beautiful buildings. There are no historical buildings in the city at all, because Bishkek is a relatively young city. The most famous buildings include the Government House, the Opera and Ballet Theater, the Russian Drama Theater, Kyrgyz Drama Theater and the National library in the city centre.

Below you can find table reflecting average housing prices for different types of property in Erevan*:

1 bedroom 2 bedrooms
$700–$1,200 $1,100–$1,700
3 bedrooms 4+ bedrooms / townhouse
$1,400–$2,300 $2,500-$4,400

* These are average rental prices which are applicable only for long-term rent, vary on location and apartment type/class and does not include utilities or other expenses applicable.

Schools

There are only limited options for private and international education in Kyrgyzstan and most are in Bishkek. The most popular choice is the QSI International School of Bishkek, which offers international level of education in English. The curriculum adheres to the American system.

Another option is the Silk Road International School in Bishkek. Teaching goes from preschool through to high school. The language of instruction is English and the school follows the British key stage curriculum.

Schools most popular with expats:

Health Care

Getting international health insurance is absolutely essential in Kyrgyzstan and it is fundamental to include a solid medical emergency component. Reliable insurance providers include Cigna Global Health, Bupa and Expat Financial. Emergency services in Kyrgyzstan are largely limited to cities and bigger towns and most emergency workers do not speak English. It is highly advisable to invest in good private health insurance and seek care at one of the private hospitals or clinics in Bishkek if necessary. Intermark recommends the Eye Microsurgery Hospital and Neomed Hospital.

Medical centers in Kyrgyzstan:

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