Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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SHappe
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby SHappe » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:27 am

We (two Australians) crossed the Astara/Astara border on Sunday 17th Feb.

We caught a bus from Baku (left at 07h30, there are ones that leave at 08h30, 09h30 too), and arrived in Astara at around 12h. We shared a cab with an Azeri couple (paid a manat each) that took us to the walking border.

It was very calm, quiet, and there were maybe 20 people leaving Azerbaijan when we did. The guards at the Azeri side were friendly and nice, and after we went through a metal detector, had our bags scanned, and passports checked, we were out. Maybe 15mins. While we were walking to the Iran side, we saw a giant line of people waiting to go into Azerbaijan, but it was mostly empty in Iran. There were a few people milling about, but the Iranian military stopped us just to talk and ask where we were from. They were very excited to practice their English. Once inside the Iranian bit, it was maybe 5min total - they looked at our printed eVisa, asked if we knew anyone in Iran (we don't), asked where we were going (the main tourist bits), suggested a couple of places for us to visit, and asked where we were leaving from (Turkmenistan).

Once out, we took a left and walked around 100 - 200m - there are a line of exchange places that do a pretty good rate (according to bonbast.com). Then it was a cab to the outskirts, another to Ardabil, and a bus to Tabriz. We arrived in Tabriz at around 20h.
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Graindum
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby Graindum » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:31 am

We (french family, 2 adults 1 baby and a van) crossed this border in february.

From the Azerbaidjan side, we had not so much problems, just waiting a lot (informatic system failures) but it was sunny so that was not a problem. I had a long waiting time though in the office where we get the stamps because we've been in Armenia - which they don't like. But we finally crossed the border, and they did not look too much to our van.

In the iranian side, it was really strange. They don't have uniforms, and the immigration service is closed on friday afternoon. There we waited a lot also because of an informatic failure (and the custom officer that was sleeping). They looked precisely to all of our van (registering our music instruments so we had no problem when exiting the country, which we hadn't). We didn't pay any additional tax. Just 10$ bakhcich so a guy from the immigration service could come and register us. (we had the CPD, which we made from abroad in Georgia and avoid the costly services of Hossein).

Then the inner traffic circulation is a mess with all of the trucks everywhere, but we finally got out of this border !
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davrunaway
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby davrunaway » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:29 pm

I’ve crossed this Astara land border (Azeri to Iran) by foot on 28th May.

I hitchhiked from Lankaran to Astara (Azeri) pedestrian border. I was questioned by the Azeri officer for awhile because I’ve been to Armenia. They are friendly and speak English.

It was less than 3 mins walk to Astara (Iran) border. Unfortunately, they had some problem with their computers and I don’t need visa for Iran (Malaysia Passport), so I had to explain it to them and it took around 30 mins to an hour.

At first, I was confused why they didn’t stamp on my passport but learnt that it’s the norm now.

After exiting the custom, you will encounter some people that offer to exchange money and they will use Google search to show the ‘official’ rate. Do not fall for this trap as the black market rate is 3 times higher and you could exchange at some shops ahead.
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Justintransit
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Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:06 pm

Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby Justintransit » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:11 pm

As anyone heard of a fuel surcharge for when you depart Astara to Azerbaijan? We have been told by our agent that there will be a fee on departure to the value of 50 euro, as fuel is so cheap in Iran they charge you a tax for the privilege and evaluate cost on size of fuel tank. Any information would be appreciated
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Tartine
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Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:45 pm
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby Tartine » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:12 pm

Crossed this border this summer; on foot.

From Iran to Azerbaidjan. Very easy, abeit chaotic and full "special price for you my friend" people around. On the Azeri side it did look VERY chaotic. I waited one hour I think; I had some UK guys in front of me where there was a lot of questions about what they did etc.
Iranians checked the pictures on my phone, I assume that's pretty standard. He didn't like some pictures I took with Iranian family (with ladies as well). I didn't want any endless discussions so I just told him to delete them. Bit disappointing but ok, now I have almost zero picture from my trip. Surprisingly the guy barely looked at my bag.
On the Azeri side the guy spoke French so communication was easy :D

Nothing that's not being said before but:
- This is a border town. On the Azerbaidjan side there's a train station that can take you to Baku (and further of course). There's also numerous bus/matrushka etc. Note though that on Azeri side the border is not -that- close from the city, it's still a few KMs. On the Iranian side there's shops and stuff very close to the border.
- I have heard that the border can become very chaotic on some days because of events where Azeri families from both side reunite.
- The traffic was HORRIBLE with millions of trucks blocking everything in the narrow streets; and it seems that the stuff on trucks and cars were throughly inspected. If you travel with a car you might spend quite some time; and I don't think you can really skip the queue in front of the trucks.
- Astara beach is not the nicest place in the world, but having a drink after Iran is always nice :)
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BartIna
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby BartIna » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:42 am

We, two cyclists with German and Dutch passports, crossed the Azerbaijan-Iran border at Astara, travelling towards Iran.

We arrived there early (9am) to evade the anticipated chaos. On the Azerbaijani side, we could pass quite easily. We were explicitly asked if we carried alcoholic beverages or a drone, possibly to prevent problems at entry into Iran.

On the Irani side, we were led to the passengers stamp office, where it was pretty crowded with people pushing themselves towards the officers. We realized that getting through this line with a bicycle would be difficult, but were helped by someone (not wearing a uniform) to skip the queue. He did not need a tip. It felt a bit strange passing all these people, but at the same time standing in the queue with the bike would have been pretty painful.

We got the stamp (on the visum paper, not in the passport), and had to scan all our bags. Upon exiting, we were told not to exchange money after the gate, but there was an exchange office before the gate. Make sure you know where to go when you exit that gate, because many people might rush towards you to exchange money at whatever exchange rate.

We exchanged money (Azerbaijan Manat) in Astara, at an exchange office. Check out the current exchange rates on bonbast.com before entering, it is blocked in Iran. Right now, the rate is about 12,000 Toman = 120,000 Rial for 1 euro.

If you want to use blocked online services, which are many more than just Facebook, install and pay for a VPN app before entering Iran. It is apparently more difficult to do in the country itself.

All in all we had not too many problems, but it was good to be prepared.
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Plutos Tour
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby Plutos Tour » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:47 am

English below

Aserbaidschan nach Iran, 2 Schweizer mit Camper

Wir haben die Grenze gestern um ca. 8 Uhr überquert. Ausreise Aserbaidschan dauerte 1 Stunde. Wir mussten die Versicherungspapiere von der Einreise vorlegen. Kurze Fahrzeugkontrolle.

Dann fährt man über eine Brücke auf die iranische Seite. Armee kontrolliert die Pässe und schaut kurz ins Auto. Dann kommt links ein Haus mit diversen Fenstern, die nacheinander besucht werden müssen. Dort hat es viele inoffizielle Helfer, die man freundlich ignorieren kann. Die Helfer fragen immer nach dem Carnet. Ja nicht aushändigen! Leider tragen die Beamten keine Uniform oder Namensschildern. Daher die Dokumente immer nur den Personen hinter den Glasfenstern aushändigen.
Nochmals kurze Fahrzeuginspektion. Beim letzten Fenster muss das Carnet gezeigt werden, es wir aber noch nicht gestempelt.

Danach fährt man weiter über das große Zollgelände. Überall stehen Lastwagen. In einem länglichen weissen Gebäude mit blauen Fensterumrandungen und Antenne auf dem Dach wird das Carnet gestempelt, beim letzten Schlater. Auf dem Gebäude steht etwas Transit. Die Herren wollen nochmals das Auto anschauen und die Stammnummer wird verglichen. Das Carnet wird in ein Buch eingetragen. Der Herr will 20$ für den Stempel. Eigentlich sollte das nichts kosten. Er hat uns dann eine handgescheiebene Quittung ausgehändigt. ACHTUNG: unser Carnet wurde falsch gestempelt. Der Entry Stempel ist bei der Ausreise. Daher klebt doch vorgängig den mittleren Teil des Carnets mit Postits ab.
Danach fährt man weiter Richtung Ausgang. Die Lastwagen kann man links überholen. Zuvorderst ist ein Durchgang für Autos offen. Vor dieser letzten Schranke befindet sich links ein kleines Häusschen. Dort wird das Carnet nochmals auf der Rückseite gestempelt und erneut in ein Buch eingetragen. Nach 2 Stunden auf iranischer Seite heisst es: Welcome to Iran!

English:
Azerbaijan to Iran, 2 Swiss with camper

We crossed the border at about 8:00 yesterday. Departure from Azerbaijan took 1 hour. We had to present the insurance papers from the entry. Short vehicle control.

Then you drive over a bridge to the Iranian side. Army checks the passports and looks briefly into the car. Then on the left comes a house with various windows that have to be visited one after the other. There it has many unofficial helpers, which can be ignored friendly. The helpers always ask for the carnet. Don't hand it over! Unfortunately the officials do not wear uniforms or name badges. Therefore hand over the documents always only to the persons behind the glass windows.
Again short vehicle inspection. At the last window the carnet has to be shown, but not stamped it yet.

Then you drive on over the big customs area. There are trucks everywhere. The carnet is stamped in an elongated white building with blue window frames and an antenna on the roof, at the last desk. On the building there is somethinh with "transit" written. The gentlemen want to have another look at the car and the number of the car is compared. The carnet is registered in a book. The gentleman wants 20$ for the stamp. Actually this should cost nothing. Then he gave us a hand-sheeled receipt. ATTENTION: our carnet was stamped wrong. The entry stamp is on the way out. Therefore i recommend to cover the middle part of the carnet is covered with Postits.
Then you drive on in the direction of the exit. The trucks can be overtaken on the left. At the end there is a passage open for cars. Before this last barrier there is a small house on the left. There, the carnet is stamped again on the back and again entered into a book. After 2 hours on the Iranian side it says: Welcome to Iran!
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