Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

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

Postby steven » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:35 am

Please read and post reports on the Astara - Astara border crossing between Azerbaijan and Iran below.

We summarize all info on the Azerbaijan border crossings and Iran border crossings pages.
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Rapp Scallion
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Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby Rapp Scallion » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:57 am

Didn't find any of this in the forums, so here is a recent update

We (two German passport holders) crossed this border in May 2015 coming from Iran. The name of the border towns, Astara, is the same in both countries.

Although we saw pictures on the internet that depicted an extremely crowded border, we were almost alone when we got our passports checked by the Iranian border guards. The Azeri side was also pretty straight forward. Even the 14 or so Armenian stamps in my passport didn't cause any further interrogation. All in all it took us less than 30 Minutes to transit.

Another good thing about this border is that you literally walk from one town into the other. There is no no man's land in between, so you don't need to pay for an expensive taxi to get to the border posts.
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mar
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby mar » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:51 am

Does anyone have information on the opening days respectively hours of the Astara-border?
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby steven » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:07 am

Please let us know if you find out when crossing!
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby luczkak » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:02 pm

Hi there!

Been there about a few weeks ago. It's swift and smooth (10-15 minutes) when crossing from Iran into Azerbaijan, but an utter nightmare if you try to cross by foot from Azerbaijan to Iran. I arrived at the border 9.15 a.m. Huge crowd squished in front of the gates of the border processing building, under an iron roof (can get really hot). When the border guards opened the gates at 10, people went crazy and were nearly killing each other to get past the gates, but most people (including myself) didn't manage to get past. At 12.30, lunchtime was declared, so the border got closed. People said it would reopen at 14.30, so I went to have lunch, came back at 14.10 or smth, but they had already opened and re-closed the gates earlier, so I was waiting in front of the gates again. At this point, since the border closes at 18.00, if you're not past the gates, GIVE UP, the Azerbaijani border guards PURPOSEFULLY process everyone slower so as to be sure they can go home at 6 p.m.

To sum up, since the border is open from 10.00 (might open earlier, but can't guarantee) to 18.00 with a lunch break in the middle, if you come early in the morning, you have a chance of getting past in 4 hours, if not, plan 6 hours. Arriving at the border after 2 p.m. is pointless.

If you absolutely need to get past the same day, you can pay 8-10 dollars for someone to drive you up to the road border crossing (no lines), though it's obviously annoying to pay this much for a 5 minute car ride. Also, there's a big business of LEGAL clothes smuggling through the border: employees of some company pay 15 manat (about 7-8 dollars) to anyone who is crossing into Iran by foot to take a pack of clothes across the border, with some random guy picking up the pack on the other side. If you are stuck at the border in the afternoon and out of options, you can wait until say 5.30 p.m., when some of the company's employees will (or will not, these things happen spontaneously) propose to drive you to the border for free (no lines) if you take the pack of clothes with yourself: I did this and this saved me waiting till next morning in Astara. All the Azeris in the line do it, and the border guards are so used to it that they completely ignore this, so honestly, no risks.

The border is really a pain in the ass, but at least it's really simple on the way back. Enjoy!
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mar
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby mar » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:41 am

I can confirm luczkak's report. Although we arrived very early in the morning, nothing seemed to move on at the border. We were totally lost, with no one speaking any English and dubious dealers pushing us into carrying even more dubious packages. In the end, we took the short taxi ride and carried a package of clothes over the border - worked out just fine...
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roro
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby roro » Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:43 am

And about crossing this border with his own car, some reports?
RR.
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby fema » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:47 pm

I was crossing this border from Azerbaijan to Iran a few days ago on a bicycle with a German passport and a printed out electronic Azerbaijani visa as well as a regular Iranian visa.

On the Azerbaijani side I took the road M3 though some guys told me I should take the pedestrian's crossing, which is located at another road. The border officials were friendly and helpful, although they were looking somehow sceptical at me. One of them spoke English quite well. The paperwork took some time, then they took a quick look into some of my bags.

On the Iranian side I had to take the pedestrian's crossing. After stamping my passport I was led to an interpreter who asked some questions - like my occupation, the purpose of my visit, which cities I was going to visit and when I was going to leave Iran - and translated it to the border police. After that my baggage was x-rayed and I had to take place for a few minutes, while my passport was being checked.

All in all it took less than an hour to cross the border. I'm sorry I didn't check the opening hours, but to be honest I was too nervous to think of it.

Getting out of the border, there were lots of people who offered money exchange with quite reasonable exchange rates so I exchanged the rest of my Azerbaijani Manats there. A few meters down the road in southward direction there are some exchange offices which offered much better rates for changing US Dollars than the official bank rates. Almost at the end of this road (last but one or two entrance on the right side), less than 500 m from the border, I was offered an apartment for 500000 Rials (approx. 13 US$ at that time), which was quite okay, and the owner also got me a SIM Card, topped it up with the desired amount and booked an internet flatrate for me. I was very happy with that and that I could stay there, so I could acclimatise to this new and very different country a little bit.
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roro
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby roro » Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:20 am

Thanks, but always no report about crossing this border with his own car, so bad....
RR.
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roro
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Re: Iran-Azerbaijan Border Crossing in Astara

Postby roro » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:46 am

But I've found this info from a 2016 trip in Daghestn:

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/r ... post553094

Sounds good :)

RR.
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