Tourism is an important part of Azerbaijan’s economy. They started having visitors in 1980, but it stopped after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Nagorno – Karabakh War in the 1990s. Fortunately, it has resumed in the 2000s and continues to grow as the government has declared tourism a top priority. That is why they changed their visa policy and made it more accessible. Nowadays, you can even get a visa online, but for now, not all nationalities have access to it. Looking at how things are going, surely that is about to change.
The general requirements have nothing special in particular. You are required to have a passport that has at least another three months of validity after your visa expires. If that is not the case, your visa will be declined, and you need to renew your passport. Also, you need to make sure that you have enough blank pages in your passport. However, that is a requirement many countries implemented.
There are many countries in the world that can provide a visa upon arrival. Azerbaijan is one of them. However, it does not apply to all nationalities. There must be treaties in place for that to happen. For now, only citizens from 14 countries ( Bahrain, China, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates) can enjoy that privilege, and they can get it at any international airport.
There are special cases as well. It is called limited visa on arrival, and it can only be allowed in certain conditions. For example, citizens from Iran can get a 15-day visa on arrival but just for the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. United States citizens can also obtain an Azerbaijan visa on arrival, but only for 30 days, and the requirement is to take a direct flight of Azerbaijan Airlines from New York City.
In January 2017, Azerbaijan allowed the release of electronic visas to the citizens of 66 countries and EU citizens (93 countries in total.) This was possibly their smartest move since people tend to want to do everything online these days. That is why there are many companies, such as iVisa, that can help you get your visa online following a few simple and quick steps. The system implemented by Azerbaijan is called the ASAN visa, and the document is valid for 30 days with a single entry.
The processing time usually takes up to three days, but iVisa can also get it for you in just 24 hours. Once you receive the e-visa, you print it out, and you present it at the border check together with your passport. The rule that your passport needs to maintain its validity for another 3 months after your visa expires still stands.
The best thing about the online system is that Azerbaijan is still working on facilitating the process of getting a visa. At the moment, the Azerbaijan Government plans to reduce the number of required documents that justify your trip’s purpose, and they envision the implementation of multiple entries. For now, that is only valid for countries in the European Union (except Denmark, the UK, and the Republic of Ireland,) but surely you can see that this is just the beginning. That is how all things grow. Little by little. There is no doubt that Azerbaijan will continue to improve its already acceptable visa policy for the development of their tourism. It is a good strategy that will bring people from all over the world.