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Entry & Exit Formalities

Arrival procedures at airports are generally straightforward and quick. Some land borders can take an hour or two to cross, especially if you're on a through bus and must wait for fellow passengers.

Entry Points

Official entry points into Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan from other countries are as follows:

Georgia

Batumi International airport and seaport.

Kutaisi Airport. Flights from Russia.

Larsi (Verkhny Lars) Road border with Russia, open to CIS and Georgian citizens only.

Poti Seaport.

Sarpi/Sarp Road border with Turkey.

Tbilisi International airport.

Vale/Posof Road border with Turkey.

Armenia

Agarak Road border with Iran.

Gyumri Shirak Airport. Flights from Russia.

Yerevan Zvartnots Airport. International airport.

Azerbaijan

Astara Road border with Iran.

Baku Heydar Əliyev International Airport. Seaport with ferries from Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan and Aktau, Kazakhstan.

Culfa (Naxçivan)/Jolfa Road border with Iran.

Gəncə International airport.

Lənkəran Airport. Flights from Moscow, Russia.

Naxçivan City Airport. Flights from Istanbul, Turkey and Moscow, Russia.

Samur Road border with Russia, open to CIS citizens only.

Sədərək (Naxçivan) Road border with Turkey.

Yalama Railway border with Russia, open to CIS citizens only.

Visas

Georgia Many nationalities, listed on www.geoconsul.gov.ge, need no visa for visits of up to a year. Those who need visas can get usually them online through evisa.gov.ge (US$20.40, allow five days).

Armenia Most European and CIS nationals (plus Argentines) can enter visa-free. Many other visitors can get a visa trouble-free at borders: 21 day (AMD3000) and 120 day (AMD15,000). Children under 18 years pay nothing. Some nationals, predominantly African, need invitations.

Azerbaijan Visas required. Procedures change frequently, and rules vary between different embassies, but don't assume things will be easy. Also note that fees vary vastly by nationality from free (Japanese) to US$160 (US Citizens). Most EU citizens pay US$35 to US$60, Brits pay US$118, or UK£100 plus processing in London. Visas are available on arrival at Baku's Heydar Əliyev Airport but only for Turks (US$10), Israelis (US$40) and those with official ministerial approved invitations. Everyone else should obtain their visa well in advance. At present this seems easiest at the embassy in Tbilsi with average waits of just three days and no awkward paperwork, though at least one hotel booking might be demanded. Most other consulates require an invitation letter from an agency, contact or business in Azerbaijan. Some will not process tourist visas at all, telling applicants to get an e-visa (evisa.mfa.gov.az). Those are, on paper, cheap (US$20) but they're primarily designed for those on package tours with applications made through an approved travel agency. Some 50 agents could use this scheme but in reality only a handful are prepared to help those who don't want to book a full package, and you'll often find that there's an agency fee, that you still need to book every night of your stay (with confirmations) and that organising all this will take around three weeks.

As well as a visa, you must also register with the migration service after arriving at least once within the first 10 days of your stay. If you stay less than 10 days, the registration isn't necessary.

Nagorno-Karabakh You need a visa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Stepanakert (obtainable on arrival there) or the Nagorno-Karabakh representative in Yerevan. Important: you will not be permitted to enter Azerbaijan if you have a Karabakh visa in your passport, so if you plan to visit Azerbaijan after Nagorno-Karabakh request that the visa be left outside the passport.

Abkhazia Apply online for visa clearance then collect your visa from the Abkhazia Foreign Ministry in Sukhumi. Allow about a week's lead time.

Visas for Onward Travel

Central Asia The situation changes frequently. A fine up-to-date source for latest reports is www.caravanistan.com. Kazakhstan can be visited visa-free by many nationals, and for many others visas are available without any awkward paperwork in three to five working days at the Kazakhstan embassies in Tbilisi, Yerevan and Baku. The procedure can prove quicker if you have a Letter of Invitation (LOI). Baku is relatively good for Uzbekistan and Tajikistan visas, though some nationals will require an LOI for Uzbekistan. Getting Turkmen visas at the Baku embassy can prove a frustrating dead end even with visa support. It's generally better to organise a Turkmen tourist visa on arrival through a reputable Turkmen tour agency.

Iran Untill recently obtaining a visa required a foreign ministry authorisation number obtainable through agencies such as Persian Voyages (www.persianvoyages.com). Happily for many European nationals, Iranian visas recently became a whole lot easier and are even available on arrival at Tehran airport. Hopefully things should also improve for US and UK nationals once the nuclear talks conclude but for now those nationals are required to engage a tour guide for a visit. Start the process a few weeks in advance. You can nominate the embassy at which you will collect your visa: Tbilisi is a convenient collection point, Baku can be more difficult.

China For years Chinese visas were not issued except to residents in the relevant South Caucasus country but during summer 2015 some travellers did manage to get a tourist visa in Baku when armed with an invitation from a friend in China. Don't count on it!

Turkey Most nationals need to apply online at www.evisa.gov.tr/en for an e-visa. It's a painlessly simple procedure costing US$20 and requiring minimal documentation.