Gardabani (Georgia) to Qazax (Azerbaijan) border crossing: Note! You must go through the border on the main road. You cannot cross at Kesalo, and it is a long way back to Rustavi if you make this mistake (no bridge across the river to get back to the main road). We arrived at the Georgian border at about 10am and had finished both the Georgian exit and Azerbaijani entry formalities by 10.40am. On the Georgian side, you just join the queue and everything is processed at the same window by the same guard. On the Azeri side you have to show your passport (and visa) at the entry gate and then pull over to the left, just after the large administration building, but before the covered inspection area. Likely a nice guard will help you through the process, but here it is in any case: 1. You have to buy insurance at one of the middle rooms. There is a table of prices hung up on the wall, and the cost is calculated according to engine size. We paid €62 for one month, as we have the largest engine size, at 5000 cc and over. They accept payment in Azeri Manat, Georgian Lei, US dollars or Euros. You will need the car registration document and your passport. 2. You have to go to the next window to get road tax. This costs the equivalent of $15. They again need all of your details and the cars details. You will get a receipt with a bar code on it. 3. Drive your vehicle into the covered inspection area. Military and customs will inspect the car. 4. More or less at the same time, go to the first window with your passports and car papers. This is passport control and they will stamp you into the country. You will be given a small laminated card with “Giris” and a number on it. 5. Once you have your passports back, you will be asked to drive to the front of the inspection area and your car may be checked again. 6. You can now proceed to the exit gantry, where you hand the small card back to the guard.
New info (June 2016): Currently I am in Baku. I just want to tell you that the 72 hour rule for vehicles is still in place, so your information is wrong. I entered from Georgia/Lagodekhi. The customs officers said that three days are maximum, else I would have to deposit US $ 900. Not very tourist friendly. So tomorrow I have to be at the border before 11:13, it is that exact!
Since recently they started to give permits allowing to stay with your vehicle for up to 10-20 days, no deposit is taken if leave within this period. They issue you a special form from Customs indicating entry time and the latest time you should leave AZ (see on the right).
Outdated info: Transit is allowed for 72 hours only. Customs declaration and obligation to leave with vehicle the territory of Azerbaijan will be taken from you. Unless you leave a full-value cash deposit back at the border (which will be returned to you when you exit), you may only keep the car in for 72 hours since you enter Azerbaijan. $15 road tax have to be paid. Otherwise, for periods exceeding 72 hours a several thousands deposit for the car has to be paid, and you must use the same entry and exit points to get the deposit back. For example, for the motorbike the deposit is around $3500 USD. They don't accept credit cards obviously.
The rules can change a little depending on how the border officials are feeling on the day. The experience of one of our group in May 2012 was that the customs staff didn’t speak much English, but the crew went to the customs building to talk to them, then the customs officials came out to have a look at the truck and came on board a couple of times to have a look around. There was a bit of a wait while the documents were processed. They did not stamp the Carnet de Passage. We paid a total of USD185 to get the truck in (insurance, tolls and customs charges). They were very friendly on the border crossing. It took about 2 hours both sides. I got about 6 or 7 different and very beautiful papers on the Azeri part. We were then issued a 72 hour permit. We have never investigated staying longer as 72 hours suits us to get from the border to the customs depot at the port.
Read a post here on right hand drive vehicles. Despite the fact that officially RHD vehicles are banned in Azerbaijan most (if not all) tourists manage to cross Azerbaijan without any hassle.
Entering Azerbaijan through the Lagodekhi- Belakan border crossing (Mazim Çay):
I got a 30 days permit for the car. I had to pay $15 road tax and $5 (actually it is 2,5 AZN but they charge $5) for an insurance (third party liability of course). You must pay in USD. The insurance covered up to 1000 AZN of property damage and up to 5000 AZN of body harm. Azerbaijan was the only country of the Caucasus which had an (compulsory)insurance available at the border. I also had a secondary cover third party liability insurance with Ingosur (up to 1.000.000 USD).
Azeri law allows you to enter for up to 30 days without leaving a deposit (don't do this, because there is no bank to get your money back at the border) with a foreign-registered car IF:
- Your car is owned by yourself. (no leasing).
- It is a car (not a motorbike).
- It is a left-hand drive (no hand-drive cars are allowed in the country (like most UK cars)). (Which, BTW is illegal because it violates the provisions of the Vienna/Geneva Road Traffic Conventions, of which Azerbaijan is a signatory country).
- It has normal registration plates (no transit ones).
Transit is allowed for 72 hours only. Customs declaration and obligation to leave with vehicle the territory of Azerbaijan will be taken from you. Unless you leave a full-value cash deposit back at the border (which will be returned to you when you exit), you may only keep the car in for 72 hours since you enter Azerbaijan. $15 road tax have to be paid. Otherwise, for periods exceeding 72 hours a several thousands deposit for the car has to be paid, and you must use the same entry and exit points to get the deposit back. For example, for the motorbike the deposit is around $3500 USD. They don't accept credit cards obviously.
P.S. We would highly appreciate if you could share with us your experience of crossing Azerbaijan in your own vehicle when your stay there was over 72 hours.