Mistakes expats make in Azerbaijan

Hello everyone,

Did you make any mistakes when you first moved to Azerbaijan? What were they?

How did you address your mistakes? Did you learn anything from them?

With hindsight, what would you do differently?

Are there any tips you could give future expats in Azerbaijan to help them avoid these kinds of mistakes?

We look forward to hearing from you!


Just before I arrived back in November 2010 Azerbaijan had just recently changed its visa regulations for non-ex-CIS state citizens, meaning Europe, Britain, the Americas and the rest of the world. When I enquired as to why the change, nobody could answer this simple question. It is still to be answered. Anyway, I got my work visa and then started the process of acquiring visas for my wife and daughter. This process started in late December 2010 and, exactly 16 weeks later, their visas eventually came through - I'll repeat that, 16 weeks!

Okay, this is not the time or place to delve into what was a morass in terms of dealing with the Azeri embassy in London, but I feel it is warranted to report on where this country stands with issuing visas. There was an attempt early in June 2011 to introduce an e-visa system but this great innovation fell apart. It was discovered that nobody at the Azeri Embassy in London new what was happening and that nobody knew how long it would take to resolve the problem.

The authorities have made it clear that they want to attract more tourists to Azerbaijan; in fact they named 2011, The Year of Tourism. But there's one main problem with this, to get a visitor's visa to enter the country, you need a LOI, a Letter of Invitation. But wait for it . . . this will set you back 400 manats (about £450.00), and this is a cost you won't read about on Internet websites. So be warned. Now, should you go ahead with this extravagant cost, here is another warning. The LOI only lasts for 30 days. Now, should there be some disruption in processing the LOI, and it runs over 30 days, then you will require another one and that will cost you another 400 manats.

So, unless you are going there to work, in which case your company will take care of everything, then think twice and good luck!

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