Azerbaijan, Baku

Traveling to Azerbaijan: The New Visa Regime

Important changes in the visa regulations at Heydar Aliyev International Airport via the German Embassy in Baku

Dear Members,

we would like to inform you about important changes in the visa application procedure: effective immediately, all non-Azerbaijani citizens applying for a visa upon arrival at the airport will be able to obtain a visa only for a seven days. Turkish citizens are exempt from the new regulations, as they will continue to obtain a 60 day visa.

Visa Regulations:

* Private Visitors have to submit an invitation issued by an Azerbaijani citizen or a foreign citizen residing in Azerbaijan. The invitation must be registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
* Tourists must submit a booking confirmation of their hotel as well as a return airline ticket.
* Business travelers must submit an invitation issued by a legal entitiy registered in Azerbaijan.
* Passenger in transit who will be traveling up to 7 days through the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan to a third country must submit their valid visa for the third country.
* Diplomats and those traveling on official government missions must submit a Note Verbale…

In addition, the following documents have to be submitted:

* Passport (passport must be valid at least three months after the expiration date of the visa).
* Completed application form
* 2 Passport Pictures (3×4 cm), pictures must be glued on the application form).
* Paying in slip of the visa fee… The Embassy does not accept checks or transfer orders. Official and diplomatic visa are exempt from the visa fee.

The Embassy recommends to apply for a visa at least one month prior to travelling [sic].

If sumbitted [sic] by mail, the documents have to be accompanied by a duly stamped self-adressed [sic] envelope, since the passport can otherwise only be picked up personally during the consultation hours of the embassy.

From President Ilham Aliyev’s Twitter acount:

Azerbaijan is one of the most rapidly developing economies in the world. Only within last five years Azerbaijan almost tripled its GDP. 5:23 AM Sep 29th via web

UPDATE: According to an article published by Eurasia Net, “Azerbaijan Scraps Airport Visa Service,” published October 15, 2010, that same day the country no longer permitted travelers to obtain visas for a nominal fee at the Heydar Aliyev Baku International Airport. Travelers must obtain a visa in advance from the local Embassy of Azerbaijan by submitting a letter of invitation. Visitors from the Commonwealth of Independent States are still on a visa waiver program and can stay for 90 days.

The kicker in the Eurasia Net story says it all:

Asked to explain the reason for the visa changes, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs consular department representative, who asked not to be named, answered that: “The purpose is that the president ordered the changes.”