Entry & Exit Formalities
Export restrictions include the following:
Artworks & artefacts Export can prove awkward, as you’ll often need written permission from the Ministry of Culture.
Carpets Exporting carpets bigger than 2 sq metres requires a certificate from the Baku Carpet Museum (AZN46/26 to get it issued in one day/week). Baku carpet shops can usually organise this for you. Carpets more than 50 years old may not be taken out of Azerbaijan at all.
Caviar Limit of 125g per person.
Importing vehicles is complex and expensive.
Most nationalities require a visa, but getting one is generally painless, applying through https://evisa.gov.az at least 24 hours ahead.
E-Visa Application Process
Apply online for single-entry visas for a stay of up to 30 days. You can pick the start date of validity after which the visa must be used within 90 days. As long as you use the official site (https://evisa.gov.az) the cost is US$24 with processing taking three days. Or pay US$51 and get it within three hours. Beware that there are several copycat websites by commercial agencies that have confusingly similar addresses – these might charge more money, or demand that you book a tour with them. There is no tour requirement with the official site. Passports must be valid for at least three months beyond the expiry date of the visa.
Visa on Arrival
Visas are available on arrival at international airports for around 15 nationalities, mostly those from East Asian and Arab Gulf states plus Israel.
If you are a citizen of a nation which isn't listed as part of the e-visa agreement, you will need to apply through an embassy, consulate or designated visa service agency, typically in your country of residence or, if there is no diplomatic mission there, in a specific designated country nearby. Almost all such applications require a Letter of Invitation (LOI) from a travel agency or from a contact or business in Azerbaijan.
If you plan to stay more than 15 days, police registration (müveqqəti qeydiyat) is a legal requirement. This should not incur a cost and will be done for you automatically at many better hotels, but it's worth double-checking especially at smaller places where you might need to insist. A few hostels have been known to charge for the service.
Theoretically you can register in a regional Migration Office or online through https://eservice.migration.gov.az. The latter is now in English but you will need to upload documents and might be required to have a local mobile phone number to receive confirmation. Staying in a hotel for at least a night might generally proves worth it to save the trouble.
Not registering carries a penalty of AZN350 charged as you exit the country. One original registration currently suffices for a whole stay.
Visas for Onward Travel
Rules change frequently so any information is necessarily a transitory snapshot. Visa fees are often paid into a local bank. You then need to return with the pay-in slip, so don’t apply late in the day.
Iran Most nationals can now get a visa on arrival if flying into Iran but if you want to go overland you'll need a visa in advance, and to get that you'd be wise to first get an invitation letter organised through a reputable agency such as www.persianvoyages.com. Applying in Baku you must got to a consulate that's miles from the embassy but right by a metro station. Things are more complicated for UK, US and Canadian citizens who need to book a tour and can't travel unaccompanied.
Kazakhstan Many nationals are now exempt from visas for 15-day tourist visits. If your nationality requires a visa or you want a longer stay, a one-month tourist visa is usually relatively painless and takes a couple of days in Baku.
Turkey Most Westerners now require e-visas, which are issued almost instantly online through www.evisa.gov.tr for US$20 plus a $0.55 processing fee.
Turkmenistan Applying for Turkmen visas is a nightmare and usually takes a minimum of three weeks. Even when you have all necessary paperwork, the Baku embassy's limited opening times can mean a scrum to get in and travellers are sometimes flatly refused.
Uzbekistan Since 2019, many nationalities can now visit Uzbekistan without a visa but should you need one, there's a Baku embassy in Batamdar which processes most requests within a week and you don't have to leave your passport while you're waiting.