In-country conversions to work visas now restricted
18 Oct 17
IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? Azerbaijan is now requiring that all foreign nationals entering the country for the purpose of work must apply for a work/labor visa before traveling.
What does the change mean? Foreign employees and assignees are no longer permitted to enter on a business visa or e-visa or visa-on-arrival and convert to a work visa in-country.
- Implementation time frame: Immediate.
- Visas/permits affected: Work/labor visas.
- Who is affected: Foreign nationals planning to work in Azerbaijan.
- Impact on processing times: Business visas take six to 10 weeks, whereas work visas take 18 to 20 weeks.
- Business impact: Foreign employees planning to work in Azerbaijan can no longer rely on business visas and should anticipate having to apply for and obtain a work visa before travel. Those intending to perform activities under the work permit exemption should continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Background: Previously, foreign nationals were allowed to enter the country with an electronic tourist visa (e-visa) or a business visa and then apply for a work permit and temporary residence permit while in-country. Additionally, nationals of 13 countries and those flying directly from certain locations into Baku were able to obtain a 30-day single-entry visa-on-arrival, and Turkish nationals were able to obtain a 60-day single-entry visa-on-arrival. Under a new policy, all entry visas must match the purpose of stay. As such, all foreign nationals intending to work in Azerbaijan must apply for a work/labor visa before entering. Family members of foreign workers must apply for a private visit entry visa before travel.
BAL Analysis: Companies sending employees or assignees to Azerbaijan to conduct work activities, including heads or deputy heads of branch or representative offices and heads or deputy heads of legal entities established in Azerbaijan with a foreign founder must obtain a work/labor visa ahead of travel. Travelers are reminded that activities considered permissible under a business visa are limited to attending business meetings, finalizing a contract, attending conferences or trade shows, or touring a facility, and should not be used to conduct work activities.
This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Azerbaijan. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.
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