How to get an e-Visa to Azerbaijan
Getting a visa to Azerbaijan used to be a pretty complicated and expensive process, but the new electronic visa system has simplified the visa process a lot. Currently 95 countries from around the world are eligible for applying an e-Visa, that is issued within three working days. Applying an electronic visa is quite simple, but here is a quick guide on how to do it, with some things you should know before applying. E-visa is valid for 90 days, it can be used for a single entry only, and the maximum duration of the stay is 30 days.
Filling in the visa form
Using the Asan Viza system is straightforward, and there are good instructions in English. Just go to the Asan Viza web page and fill in the visa application form. If you are traveling with family, you can apply visa for up to 10 family members together. There is also a possibility to apply visas for a group of 10 to 300 persons. Take your time to fill in the form with care, and check out the info boxes if you are unsure how to answer. Regarding the question about your address in Azerbaijan; if you don’t know yet, or will stay in several places, just find an address of some random hotel or hostel (for example from booking.com), and write that down in the application, it doesn’t matter really.
In the end of the application you’ll need to attach a picture of your passport information page; take care to follow the instructions of the size, quality (readability) and layout of the attachment. Also note that your passport has to be valid at least 3 months after the visa period ends, so at least 6 months from the moment you apply the visa. After completing the application form, you’ll receive an e-mail address verification message with your E-visa registration number. Hit the approve button to continue to the payment phase. It’s also possible to leave your application incomplete, and continue later with the registration number you’ll receive.
The state fee for Azerbaijan E-visa is 20 USD, plus a service fee of 4 USD. Payment can be done with Visa, MasterCard or using UnionPay. Credit card used for payment doesn’t have to be under the name of the applicant. Payment needs to be done within 8 hours from completing the application, otherwise it will be deleted from the system and you need to start from the beginning. When the payment is done, you should receive an another e-mail, confirming that the application has been successfully sent, and stating that you’ll receive information of your visa within three working days. Note that the payment is non-refundable, even if your visa is declined due to incorrectly written information in the application, due to bad passport picture quality or any other reason.
The electronic visa is issued within three working days, and the 90-day period of validity begins on the fourth day. We actually got our visas already on the next working day after applying, so it was really a quick process. You’ll receive an e-mail stating that your e-Visa is ready, and there is a download link. Download the pdf and print it out on paper. Do not attach the visa in your passport, just take the paper with you, and present it together with your passport at a border control.
Related post: From Georgia to Sheki, Azerbaijan
Know before you go
If your visit lasts longer than 15 days, you should register at the State Migration Service. It says in the visa rules that the registration can by done by the management of your residence place, so ask about it from your hotel / hostel staff or the owner of the apartment where you are staying in. As our visit was just 2 weeks this time, we didn’t test this ourselves. Failing to register can lead to a hefty fee or a temporary ban to enter the country again.
For those who have traveled in Armenia before going to Azerbaijan; note that these two countries are at war with each other. Bringing Armenian goods to Azerbaijan is forbidden, and you might need to open your bags in the border. Visiting Nagorno-Karabakh or other regions that are considered by Azerbaijan as their land occupied by Armenia, is considered illegal. That means that you can’t enter Azerbaijan with Nagorno-Karabakh stamp in your passport, even if you have received an e-Visa already. It should be possible to keep your visit in Nagorno-Karabakh out of your passport by getting a visa and stamp on a separate paper, but there still is a risk, since there reportedly are Azerbaijan spies that reveal tourists to government. Ministry of Foreign Affairs actually has a public list of people who have illegally visited regions occupied by Armenia, and are thus banned for life to enter Azerbaijan. So if you want to visit both Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, it’s the safest to visit Azerbaijan first.
Have you been in Azerbaijan? How was your visa process and did you stay longer than 15 days? Or have you traveled to Nagorno-Karabakh before entering Azerbaijan? Share your experiences in the comments to help others!