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)

Post by marten568 »

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)

Post by nomadichappiness »

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)

Post by jogi_travels »

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)

Post by Graindum »

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)

Post by Jurassic »

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)

Post by Semski »

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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Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Report: from Telavi to Sheki (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Post by Mignon_travels »

In September 2019, we went from Telavi to Sheki crossing the Matsimi/Balakan border.

- We firstly took a direct marshrutka to Lagodekhi border crossing at 8:30am from the Old bus station of Telavi, which is behind/within the bazaar (it’s not the bus station on the street but the one on the back of the bazaar, almost inside of it). It took almost three hours to get to the border because the marshrutka stops several times and it makes a long round.

- Arrived at the border, we exchanged money and queued for passport control. It took quite a long time, actually.

- From the border, we then got a taxi to the bus station of Zagadala where are arrived at 2pm

- From Zagatala we took a marshrutka, which left at 3pm and cost 6 manat. However, there are several marshrutkas so it shouldn’t be difficult to find another one at different time.

- We arrived around 5pm at Sheki

It all went quite smoothly but it took a while to cross the border. If you want to have more information about our journeys between Georgia and Azerbaijan, have a look at our website:
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Re: Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Reports (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Post by drivingthefareast »

date: 12 - 1 -2020 around noon.
Driving a VW beetle 1971, dutch plates, dutch passport

Georgian side:
- 5 minutes, no questions asked.

Azerbaijan side:
- wanted to check my luggage compartment, motor compartment(probably just out of interest), extra storage on the roof.
- Checked my backpack in the car,
- Asked if i had a gun, Drugs or a drone. For me: NO, NO, NO
- stamped my passport
- Had to pay 20 euro for insurance and roadtax (seems its depending on engine size, they asked it specific since its not stated on my car papers)

Ready to go! everything and all maybe half an hour at the border.

Great and friendly border crossing. the police officers where busier with taking selfies with my car then checking other cars!

In a few weeks my video of crossing the border will be online. check youtube> Drivinghthefareast
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Re: Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Reports (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Post by »

We passed the Lagodechi - Balakan-boarder yesterday. The georgian side was no problem at all, just make sure you have your visa for Azerbaijan ready.

On the Aserbaijan side it took us about 90 minutes to get the passport checked, the car inspected (and they really inspect it. Be prepared to open all closets and get the bags x-ray scanned). They asked us at least five times by three different persons if we carry a drone with us. Luckily we sent it home from Georgia. And we got asked about beeing in Armenia. As we weren't we don't know what would happen if so.
They very kindly told us what to do, where to go, how much to pay (although we didn't have a great overview about that costs, we payed 55 manat at the end, you can pay in AZN or USD or GEL) and welcomed us in the country. After telling them we need the car in for 30 days like the visa, we got this very easely. It was more difficult to get the heart defibrillator in which we carry with us. We ended up with a special paper for it and we'll have to make sure we export it when leaving the country. So some of the money could be because of that.

In Balakan we found the registration office at the following coordinates: 41.725725 / 46.409482. Just look out for a blue sign.
The first two days we spent in Lekit and Sheki, we met plenty of very friendly people, got invited for chai, people showed us places and restuarants and no problem with officals at all. Hope this will stay that way...
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Re: Matsimi - Balakan Border Crossing Reports (Georgia - Azerbaijan)

Post by onTheRox »

We crossed the borders with 2 bikes the 29th of February 2020.
Coronavirus cases had been declared by the time.
They sprayed our tires with disinfectant, asked if we had been in Iran or China recently, if we had been in Armenia. Asked if we were carrying a drone or a talkie walkie. All panniers were scanned through X-rays, asked to check our paper books and paper maps (don't know why) and if we had stuff from Armenia. They scanned our body temperature 3 times. They accepted our visa on the smartphone (we had a printed version just in case).
Still friendly and polite, thanks God Coronovirus didn't mess this!
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