Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Reports (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Reports (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Postby marten568 » Wed May 02, 2018 8:00 am

I did not see a topic for this border. We crossed this border in our own vehicle in April 2018 from georgia to azerbaijan. Scenic drive and incredibly friendly border guards on the Azeri side. Very straightforward. Our car is a 2006 and we were given 30 days in the country, had to pay 80 Manats for insurance and road tax (which varies based on engine size I believe). Roads on Georgian side largely fine and varying quality on the Azeri side (started off with brand new asphalt but then deteriorated into uneven road with some potholes etc. but still as a whole decent roads). There is a restaurant with money exchanging facilities on the Georgian side 1km before the border ($100 = 169 Manat).
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Re: Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Reports (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Postby nomadichappiness » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:35 pm

We crossed this border from Georgia to Azerbaijan yersterday.

Exchange : we tried to change our remaining 110 GEL to Manats in Lagodekhi but failed, and the only (official) change desk who had manats only had a 100 Manats bill, so she asked 110 GEL + 20 € , meaning I would loose 10% commission... Then we headed to the border, and just before the Georgian customs, there was an exchange desk on the left side of the road, changing at (slightly) better rate than in Lagodekhi ...

Going Through : Georgian officers a bit brutal and not making much language efforts. Have your Azeri visa printed at hand, they asked for it to my Chilean wife, didn't for me (French).
On Azeri side, officers were very friendly. First question : Do you have a drone or Walky Talky? I didn't. Second Question : Have you been to Armenia? I didn't. That doesn't mean you would run into trouble, it's protocole.
One officer "seized" our passports with the printed visa page. He will only take it to the window number 1. Another seize your driving license and take it to window 3.
Some were looking in our car more interested about the car itself (old Renault 4 with rooftop tent) than in searching illegal stuff. They made me open the back door, and seeing the mess (a mix of clothes, food, camping gear), they didn't ask for more. Asked me to open the tarp protection of the roof-top tent but seeing it would take some time, then said OK. A Kazakhstan Map was in evidence on a seat, they opened it and tried to understand what it was about like they've never seen such thing!
After inspection, they send you to window 1 where you have your pasport stamped and picture taken, then window 3 where you hand your stamped passport and have your licence registered. Window 2 and 4 are for people coming from Azerbaijan to Georgia. Truck drivers, especially Georgians try to skip you at the queue so act as they do, press towards the window!

Our baby was having a nap in the car so they said she could stay, no need to take her out.

Taxes and fees : We did not need to pay for an insurance because we have the green card (French car insured in France). Check on your Green Card Insurance if you are covered in Azerbaijan (AZ) and show them. We were not asked about any road tax. The car is an old Renault 4 from 1981. The officers asked for the age merely by curiosity.
So we did not have to pay anything at the border.

After around 40 minutes we were out. The border was not too busy, at 4pm.
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Re: Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Reports (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Postby jogi_travels » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:24 pm

Crossed the border from Georgia to Azerbaijan 4 days ago with German registered motorcycle and German passport. No problem at all. The Azerbaijan guards checked my motorcycle bags only 'on top'. Asked me if I've been to Armenia (yes) and if I went to Karabakh (no). No further questions or consequences.
Had to pay 10 USD for insurance.

Cheers jogi :)
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Re: Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Reports (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Postby Graindum » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:43 am

We're a family in a van.

We crossed the border with no problem, we were just lacking 1 day of insurance in the Georgian side. He said we would pay the fine the next time we go in Georgia so we did not pay anything.
In Azerbaidjan we had to pay a road tax of something like 25$ - and nothing else. They had a little look to the van. They wanted to look at our maps to check if Nagornokarabagh was there written in Armenia or Azerbaidjan, but we had no maps, so they couldn't teach us...

We crossed in less than 2 hours.
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Re: Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Reports (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Postby Jurassic » Wed May 01, 2019 4:40 pm

Crossed from Georgia to Azerbaijan today with a 2L 2002 RHD Honda.

Very quick to leave Georgia.

Azerbaijan side there was admin to sort at the various windows and a lot of Asian style queuing (ie a free for all). However the border guards were super helpful and friendly, just seemed to want to talk about football and show us videos of them playing ping pong.

We had to pay $15 for insurance and 15AZN for tax (they accepted 10$). The guard said that the tax depends on engine size but don't know if that's true. They gave us 30 days for the car in the country.

Lots of questions about if we'd been to Armenia (we hadn't) and interest in the guide books they found, although they didn't get us far as the Caucuses book so don't know if that would have caused a lecture.

Total crossing time about 1 hour.
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Re: Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Reports (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Postby Semski » Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:25 pm

Crossed the border today from Georgia to Azerbaijan with an NL registered vehicle and passport. The Georgians had a quick look at my passport and vehicle and sent me on my way. The Azeri side took some time, but was relatively smooth.
They searched my car pretty thoroughly. They kept asking me if I had a drone (I do not) so it is not advised to bring one. They did not care about the Armenian stamp at passport control, they gave me water and we joked around and talked about football. Very friendly and helpful guys!

Be sure to bring cash (the last bank is in Lagodechi, can be dollars, euros or manat) with you as they do not take cards. I paid €35 for road tax and 30 days insurance.
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