Visitors to Azerbaijan can now enter without having to apply for a visa before arriving in the Caspian country. On Wednesday, the State Agency on Public Services and Social Innovations was given the green light by President Ilham Aliyev to begin issuing electronic visas to foreign nationals and stateless persons at the country’s international airports, using Azerbaijan’s state-of-the-art ASAN Visa processing system.
Prior to the announcement, ASAN visa managers operated a pilot program out of Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport to assist inbound travelers with navigating through what is a mostly automated processing system, clear up any discrepancies within their documents, and verify their eligibility for getting an e-Visa.
The Azerbaijan Service and Assessment Network, ASAN – which means “easy” in Azerbaijani – is a one-stop-shop civilian services platform, which provides more than 230 services to the country’s residents, including birth, death and marriage registration; identity cards; passports; driver licenses; real estate records and electronic visa processing for foreigners, known as ASAN Visa.
The government launched an electronic visa issuance system through the ASAN Service in December 2016, and in September of last year it began implementing an urgent visa option. The standard option provides for e-Visa issuance within three days following an online application, while an urgent e-visas takes only three hours to process.
For both types, foreign nationals and stateless persons must go through the same three-step process: apply online, pay the required fee electronically, and download their e-Visa.
Citizens and stateless persons residing in 94 countries across the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Brazil, and China are all eligible to get e-Visa to Azerbaijan for a single entry, for a maximum stay of 30 days.
Wednesday’s announcement comes after Azerbaijan received a record influx of tourists in 2017. According to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, roughly 2.7 million visitors came to Azerbaijan, and numbers are expected to rise this year with international sporting events like the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April and an International Shopping Festival in March.