Experts: ‘Simplification of Border Regime to Apply to All Foreigners Arriving in Azerbaijan’

Simplification of the border regime with Russia, Turkey, Iran and Georgia will affect not only the citizens of these countries, but also all foreigners crossing the border of Azerbaijan, experts say.

As Turan has already reported, President Ilham Aliyev has ordered the facilitation of the passage procedures at the checkpoints on the borders with Russia, Turkey, Iran and Georgia.

The ordinance provides for measures to accelerate the passage of foreigners and persons without citizenship at the border crossings.

At the same time, experts note this does not mean simplification of visa procedures, the more so since Azerbaijan does not have such a regime with Russia and Georgia.

It can be assumed that the created system will be similar to Georgia, where all border procedures are carried out on the principle of “single window”. The difference between the Azerbaijan and Georgia border systems can be seen clearly, moving from one side to the other, when the same procedure on the Georgian side takes much less time than in Azerbaijan.

It should be noted that until 2016 the Azerbaijani authorities tightened visa and border procedures for foreigners. Relative relief was made only at the time of the Baku song contest Eurovision-2012, as well as at the time of the first European Games (2015), which still remain the last ones.

With the sharp decline in oil prices and, respectively, revenues of Azerbaijan, the government is trying to compensate for the loss by developing tourism. In this regard, since the beginning of 2016, visa procedures for citizens of several Arab countries have been simplified, resulting in the significant growth of the influx of Arab tourists to Azerbaijan. According to official statistics, in 2015, Azerbaijan was visited by over 2 million tourists. In 2016 it has been visited by 25,000 tourists from the Gulf countries, including 11,028 people from Iraq and 10,086 from the United Arab Emirates.     -75B-