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I was just talking to a bunch of cyclists outside the Azeri embassy or consulate here in Batumi Georgia. Everybody was waiting for it to open so they could get their Azeri visas and we were talking about how the visa is a bit of a pain compared to the neighbouring countries. I brought up the point that I expected Azerbaijan to change their picky visa rules to encourage people to go there due to them being the 2012 hosts of Eurovision.

One of the guys in the queue was telling me that there is a whole different procedure for a visa if you're going to this event, which seems odd. None of the people in the group were attending though so I couldn't find out more about it.

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Oh my, it's been a year already! I was in Berlin when all that was decided, how time flies... –  Mark Mayo May 4 '12 at 8:13

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

There are special rules for it, the official site has a special page for this. Basically as long as you have an invitation or ticket for the event, you get a visa on arrival.

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Apparently the visa on arrival is only for people from the countries participating in Eurovision. Not for anybody from some other country that just wants to go look at Eurovision 2012. –  hippietrail May 4 '12 at 10:06
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@hippietrail Australia's not a Eurovision country?!? –  Andrew Grimm May 6 '12 at 13:41
    
@AndrewGrimm: Well we're not a European country... even less so than Azerbaijan... –  hippietrail May 6 '12 at 17:03

Check the relevant page on most Azeri embassy websites. Here's the one for the embassy in Holland:

http://www.azembassy.nl/index.php?options=news&id=13&news_id=178

In short:

  • With an invite (press, say) or ticket (the public), you can get a visa for Azerbaijan upon entering the country through one of the international airports. You can not get a visa, this way, when entering the country overland. You will be issued your visa immediately (but it seems it will still cost you).

  • With an invite or ticket, you can get a visa for Azerbaijan at any Azeri embassy. Depending on the embassy, this can take anything from 'a few' to 10 days.

  • Citizens from non-participating countries still have to get visas 'the old way', that is, through Azeri embassies.

See you in Baku!

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Pro-tip: Here in Batumi, Georgia where I am now there is an Azeri consulate where a letter of invitation is not required to get an Azeri visa. A Spanish friend is just picking his up now. It only takes two days here and the embassy official is apparently very friendly. –  hippietrail May 7 '12 at 7:33
    
Argh! If only I had known... (I switched my itinerary to fly into Azerbaijan instead of entering overland.) –  MastaBaba May 7 '12 at 8:40

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