On September 17th, 2016 we left Georgia behind and traveled across the Georgia Armenia border at the crossing near Sadakhlo. This is the main road between Tbilisi and Yerevan, we chose it mainly because it also leads into Debed Canyon, a must-see destination in Armenia.
Nice and quick as always. Heiner collected his eighth Georgian passport stamp here. 🙂
The border was very busy and there were officials everywhere. Everything seemed to be going as it is supposed to be, not as corrupt as expected.
You need to have a Georgian exit stamp in your passport, otherwise they will not let you inside! We tried to get in with our second passport, which was basically new, as we have not only Georgian exit stamps but also Azerbaijan visa in the other passport. They would not accept that we entered Georgia on our German ID card and made us go back to Georgia to get an entry and exit stamp. They, of course would not let us in without an Armenian stamp, so we told them the truth and ended up entering Armenia with those passports that hold the Azerbaijan visa. This was not a problem at all! But we caused quite some confusion on both sides of the border.
Otherwise pretty friendly and some of them are English speaking.
The customs officers opened one or two drawers quickly and asked if we carry any medication. Then, he told us to go to the customs broker’s office. The office holds two desks with two brokers, a desk for a customs officer and a small bank counter. We made our way to one of the broker’s desks and said that we want to stay for 30 days. He wrote down two numbers on a random piece of paper: import fee of 29,600 AMD, payable at the bank counter and 2,000 AMD service fee payable at his desk.
We went to the bank counter with this sheet of paper, other people in the line (yes, there was a real line!) had comparable numbers written on their papers. You can either change money at the counter or get Armenian Dram from the ATM outside. We chose the latter and payed those 29,600, for which we received official receipts. They were completely in Armenian, so we have no idea, what they said.
Back to the brokers desk. Common practice seems to be, giving them 2,000 AMD which then vanish in the broker’s pocket. We just handed him the receipt from the bank counter and our vehicle documents. He issued an import paper and printed a nice, official looking receipt over 2,000 AMD, so we handed him the money. Just one stamp on the import paper from the customs officer and we were free to leave the border grounds with our vehicle.
Right after the border, there are around 15 shops that sell insurances and SIM cards. We asked around for a while, how much 30 days insurance (liability only, minimum coverage) cost. The first offer was 18,000 AMD, we ended up buying one for 7,000 AMD.
Although the price tags on vehicle import and insurance seem to be quite random, we payed prices comparable to what other travelers and the people that crossed the border with us, payed. The receipts looked quite official, as well. So we are pretty confident that we did not overpay. We hope that this little guide helps you, when you are planning to cross into Armenia with your own vehicle. Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section!