I write this blog post on the Georgia to Azerbaijan train (Tbilisi to Baku), it’s been a busy and somewhat stressful few days in the travel lifestyle and I’ve been at a low ebb a few times, but we managed to get our Azerbaijan Visa in a short space of time and are now heading there. This is a guide on how to get an Azerbaijan Visa in Batumi, Georgia.
Where is Batumi, Georgia?
Batumi is a seaside resort in Georgia. It lies on the west coast, overlooking the Black Sea and not far north of the border with Turkey. Batumi is connected by train and bus to Tbilisi. In the Summer months Batumi becomes a very popular seaside resort. By October time, it shuts down . It’s a town with an international flavour about it – English menus in restaurants, a load of hotels and hostels, a German bar in a town with typical Georgian food, hospitality and charm.
Getting to Batumi, Georgia
OK so the route we took to Batumi was from Tbilisi. From Didube Bus Station in Tbilisi there are frequent buses running to various parts of Georgia, one of which is Batumi. Get to Didube Bus Station in Tbilisi and just ask around. For sure you will easily find a bus heading for Batumi. There are no signs in English and not many locals who speak English, but getting the bus sorted was a breeze. You find the driver for Batumi and his bus – normally a white mini-bus like our one (pictured).
You bargain with him – we paid 20 Lari for the bus, if you’re a hard bargainer or you speak a bit of Georgian you will get it for 15 Lari. You can buy some food and drinks at Didube bus station before you get on the bus. The bus will leave when it’s full or whenever the driver wants to. There is absolutely no online booking or advance booking for these buses. Just turn up, wait and you’ll be on your way. It took us about 7 hours to get to Batumi, which included a lunch stop. Batumi also has a seaport and an airport so these are two options you may also want to consider.
Why get the Azerbaijan Visa in Batumi and not Tbilisi?
Good question and the short answer is that we were pushed for time and heard it would be quicker to sort from Batumi. This turned out to be correct, so if you are pushed for time, get the Azerbaijan Visa done in Batumi. It’s quicker, easier and less busy. You can of course, also get it in Tbilisi.
Where is the Azerbaijan Consulate in Batumi?
It’s very easy to find. It’s situated on the far side of Europe Square in the town centre. You can’t miss it with its Azerbaijan flag flying outside it. Officially it’s on Dumbadze Street. Europe Square is one of the main points of interest in Batumi and runs along Abashidze Avenue.
What are the opening hours of the Azerbaijan Consulate in Batumi?
You will have to check closer to the time as things always change, but in general it’s open from 10am – 4pm weekdays. There may be a lunch break from 12 – 2pm so factor that into your plans.
What do you need to get the Azerbaijan Visa in Batumi?
OK so here is what we took for our application in order to get it processed quicker (within 24 hours).
A valid passport with at least six months left on it
2 passport photos
2 completed and signed application forms (fill these in when you’re there, just in case you have any questions)
The money to pay for the Visa (this will vary depending on your nationality)
A photocopy of our passports
Proof of our hostel booking
OK so arrived at the Consulate at 9.55am, we went inside at 10am, filled in the forms and handed them all the required documents. We got the opinion that proof of our hostel booking wasn’t really needed. As for why they needed two passport photos, again we don’t know why, or what they did with the photos, as you don’t even get a photo on your visa that goes in your passport. So make sure you have all those things above before you go there, except the application form which they will have. They will probably also ask for the reason for your visit. In our case we were mixing backpacking/tourism with a chance to watch a football match – Northern Ireland were playing Azerbaijan.
How much does it cost to get an Azerbaijan Visa in Batumi, Georgia?
For the basis of this post, and for most of my visa and border posts, we’re talking about a tourist visa. The price of a tourist visa will depend on your nationality. As a dual national, I possess both a British and an Irish passport. For Azerbaijan, I used my Irish passport and it cost 150 Lari. I have found the Irish passport to be cheaper for most of my Visa applications, including China. The current price for an Azerbaijan Visa on a British passport is 210 Lari, while Australians can get it for as low as 100 Lari. Of course, like all things related to travel, the money won’t ever be wasted as you will cherish the memories of visiting a country such as Azerbaijan!
How to pay for your Azerbaijan Visa in Batumi, Georgia
The only way to pay for your Azerbaijan Visa in Batumi is by direct bank transfer. This means you don’t hand over any money at the Azerbaijan Consulate itself. They will give you a slip/piece of paper with your name on it and the amount you know as well as the Bank that needs to be credited. You then head to that bank – TBC – which is close to the Azerbaijan Consulate on Rustaveli Avenue. Wait in line, hand over the cash (in Georgian Lari) and get a receipt for it. Then present that receipt to the Azerbaijan Consulate and you’ll get your visa.
How long does it take to get an Azerbaijan Visa in Batumi, Georgia?
Short answer and as a general rule, 3 days. However we were in a hurry and we asked if possible if it could be issued on that day (i.e. hand in the application at 10 am, pick up the visa at 4 pm). Despite our demands, they said no but that we could get it the very next day, which we obviously settled for. So we booked another night in the hostel, hung around in Batumi for another day and by 10.35 am the next morning we had our visa in our hand.
The process of getting an Azerbaijan Visa in Batumi, Georgia
Day 1 – Turn up at Azerbaijan Consulate with everything you need. Hand in all the things they ask for. As they have a photocopy of your passport, you get to take your passport with you, ready for the collection on either Day 2 or Day 3 (depending on how lucky you are).
Day 2 – Turn up at Azerbaijan Consulate with your passport and the money. They’ll give you a piece of paper which you take to the TBC bank to pay in cash directly into their bank account. You will get a receipt for that. Take the receipt back to the Azerbaijan Consulate and they’ll give you your visa!
How many days is the visa valid for?
To be honest, this really depends. We weren’t sure how long to stay in Azerbaijan so we just put down 10 days, and they granted us a 10 day visa. If you write down 30 days, they’ll probably give you 30 days, but I’d imagine that’s the limit.
All in all, Batumi is a friendly and easy place to get your Azerbaijan Visa sorted, so if you’re in Georgia trying to get that visa, head on over to Batumi, get your visa and get ready to explore Azerbaijan!
A few videos of the Azerbaijan Visa experience will follow when time, internet and decent computers (avoid APPLE at all costs they’re shit) allows me.