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Is it possible currently (November 2011) to visit the rebel province of Abkhazia from the rest of the Republic of Georgia? (Russia regards it as independent since 2008 but most or all other countries regard it as still part of Georgia)

I had heard that it was not allowed by the Georgian government and that soldiers would actively prevent anyone trying to do so.

But that was a while ago and things can and do change quickly and this is not a part of the world where such news quickly becomes known in western countries.

So can I now enter from Georgia and if so what kind of visa/permit would be needed?

If not I assume I can visit from Russia with of course a Russian visa but would I need any other kind of paperwork. And would Georgia let me back in with an Abkhazia stamp in my passport?

(See also my similar but not identical question about South Ossetia)

PS

I'm not asking about whether any western country issues travel advisories asking me not to visit. I'm aware it's unstable to some degree or other. If there are documented killings or kidnappings of western tourists in the last year that may be relevant however.

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My answers are quite similar. Maybe we can join these questions. –  VMAtm Jul 18 '11 at 10:11
    
Also see my answer for your old question –  VMAtm Jul 18 '11 at 10:31
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VMAtm: I decided to ask as separate questions because it seems Abkhazia is a lot more visitable than South Ossetia and also since they are separately run they are bound to have different paperwork. But I'm finding lots of fuzzy, conflicting, and changing information so I thought asking the experts here might get more definitive answers. –  hippietrail Jul 18 '11 at 10:43
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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted
+100

The situation is very complicated. Georgia says that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are Georgian territories, and you can go there from Georgia by this border crossing:

  • to Abkhazia from Zugdidi - my friends from Germany made such trip this year. But they say that they got some local help for the border-crossing, because Abkhazia trying to close the border to stop the Georgian spies.

My frieds made a trip into the Georgia to visit this territories. Georgian liked fact that they didn't hide this plans from officials. As for the stamps in passports - they made a deal with rebel provinces officials not to stamp the passport, but some paper instead of it.

If you get into these territories not by these points, you would have some problems (fee from $1200 or jail up to 5 years!) during your next visit to Georgia, according to Georgian law (sorry, only in russian), because you'll get stamps from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
You can only try to get new passport before visiting the Georgia.

From Russia you can visit these territories by this border crossing:

There is not much problem to get a visa from Abkhazia consulate in Moscow See also official website

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Are you saying you know for a fact that foreign tourists can definitely cross at Zugdidi and will not be prevented by Georgian military or such, and that foreigners and not just Abkhaz, Georgian, and Russians residents can cross? –  hippietrail Nov 6 '11 at 10:21
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@hippietrail I know the foreigners who crossed the border this way in this year –  VMAtm Nov 6 '11 at 20:47
    
You got the prize on the South Ossetia question, if you have the missing key details to edit into this answer I can award it to you as well (-: –  hippietrail Nov 7 '11 at 8:49
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@hippietrail Added the info. Unfortunetely, it seems that visit in Abkhazia is much more complicated than to the South Osetia. –  VMAtm Nov 7 '11 at 9:11
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@hippietrail Yes, they made a trip into the Georgia to visit this territories. Georgian liked fact that they didn't hide this plans from officials. As for the stamps in passports - they made a deal with rebel provinces officials not to stamp the passport, but some paper instead of it. –  VMAtm Nov 7 '11 at 9:30
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You can also get a visa in Transnistria, which might be an interesting place to visit for you as you seem to be keen on countries with legal definition problems. The Wikipedia article seems not to be totally up-to-date with that information as it says there are only 2 embassies abroad (Russia and Venezuela). Although I must admit that I didn t see it myself but was told by somebody travelling there.

And concerning the answer before - that is exactly what I got to know about it, too.

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I was thinking about going to Transnistria a couple of months ago to get from Romania to Ukrain but I was put off by needing too many messy visas and now I'm in Georgia anyway. But a nice suggestion nonetheless so +1! –  hippietrail Nov 5 '11 at 10:58
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I can confirm there's an Abkhazia consulate in Transnistria. Clever solution! In fact, the Abkhazia consulate is in the same building as the South Ossetia consulate: flickr.com/photos/mastababa/6038934950 –  MastaBaba Jul 12 '12 at 19:58
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In April 2012 I entered Abkhazia from Zugdidi on EU passport with a printed Abkhazian permission from their Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You just have to e-mail them and you should get it back within few days. There's a bridge over the Ingur river. You have to walk 1km or so between the checkpoints and then you can catch a local bus forward on. I left to Sochi afterwards, despite that at the abovementioned Ministry they told me that I couldn't do that (you gotta go there to buy your visa which you need when you leave). I might just have problems re-entering Georgia for that reason. There are plenty travel relations to be found online from people who did the same as me (although most of them came back to Georgia).

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What was the protocol as you were crossing on the Georgian side? –  hippietrail Apr 12 '13 at 9:09
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I was with a friend. They just looked into our passports, asked 2 or 3 very basic questions about our plans so I lied that I had intended to go back to Georgia. That's it. They didn't even wanna see the Abkhazian permission. Took 3 minutes :) On the Abkhazian side it took maybe 10 minutes. Unfortunately, they took the permission so it's best to have 2 copies so that you can have one for later, since in Abkhazia most people think it is impossible to cross the border with Georgia, incl. some policemen. –  rozwal Apr 12 '13 at 9:19
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protected by Ankur Banerjee Apr 23 '13 at 4:52

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