Updated: Nov 8, 2019
Abkhazia is an ex-Soviet Unrecognized Country located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, in the Caucasus region. It has a unique sub-tropical climate, which made it a primary vacation spot for the Soviet elite during the years of the Soviet Union.
The country has no active international airport and as such, the only way to enter is through land crossings.
It is possible to enter Abkhazia from both Georgia and Russia, and getting a visa is not a problem. Travellers should know however, that depending on whether they decide to enter from Russia or Georgia, it will also change their visa situation.
Entering Abkhazia From Russia:
Travellers who enter Abkhazia from the Russian Federation will first and foremost need a Russian visa. Citizens of most North American and European countries require a Russian Visa in order to enter Russian territory.
If you are a citizen from a country that does not require a visa to enter Russia, than this does not affect you and you can proceed to applying solely for the Abkhazian Visa.
If travellers decide to enter the territory of Abkhazia from Russia, they must exit through Russia, as they cannot exit through Georgia. The reason is because Georgia views any crossing from Russia into Abkhazia as an illegal crossing into Georgian territory.
Entering Abkhazia From Georgia:
While most North American and European citizens do not require a visa to enter the Republic of Georgia, crossing the border into Abkhazia from here poses a new set of problems.
Because Georgia, and the international community for that matter, consider Abkhazia as part of Georgia, the border between the two states is not recognized on the Georgian side of the border.
This means that any crossing into Abkhazia from Georgia is viewed with suspicion and any Abkhazian visas or stamps visible in the traveller's passport are viewed as an offence.
This does not mean that travellers do not cross from Georgia, it just means that while most citizens do not need a visa for Georgia, there are still some added obstacles to this route.
In addition, the Abkhaz government has been known to close this border crossing without any prior notice.
In 2019, the crossing between Abkhazia and Georgia was closed for three months by Abkhaz authorities as a result of anti-Russian protests in Tbilisi, Georgia. As of November 2019, the border crossing is open for travellers.
Although, we continue to recommend making travel plans entering from Russia, as the border can close without advanced notice.
Only passport holders of countries that recognize Abkhazia as an independent state are allowed a visa-free stay of up to 90 days. The countries are both recognized and unrecognized countries. They are: Russia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru.
As such, all citizens of North American, European and other countries will need to obtain an Abkhazian visa before their arrival to the country.
Kodori Valley Permit
The Kodori Valley is a river valley in Abkhazia. The valley’s upper part is sparsely populated by Svans, and the only corner of post-1993 Abkhazia that is directly controlled by the central Georgian government.
On August 12, 2008 Abkhazian forces gained control of the Upper Kodori Valley and established a zone of special control with permit entrance. For now it is the most remote, wild and spectacular area of Abkhazia.
It is impossible for travellers to organize a permit for entering this region by yourself without a local guide.
The whole process involves 2 things: approval from the State Security Service (SGB), as well as a resident who lives/works in Kodori valley and can guide you through the entire visit.
Visa Types and Fees (USD)
The Abkhazian visa is date-specific. This means you can enter later than the date specified on your visa, but not earlier. It also means that if you are given a visa for a set amount of time, any later you enter counts towards your visa length.
Therefore if you have a 10 day visa, but enter 5 days late, you will only be allowed to stay for 5 days and not the total 10 days. The general rule is, the later you enter, the less days you have.
Single Entry Visa:
Up to 10 days: $10
Up to 30 days: $20
Up to 1 year: $30
Up to 12 hours: $5
Up to 24 hours: $10
Up to 48 hours: $20
Up to 72 hours: $30
Up to 10 days: $50
More than 10 days: $50 for each 10 days
Online Visa Process
The most common way of beginning the visa process is online. If you join a Political Holidays tour, you will have assistance for the visa process and won't need to worry.
Fill in the electronic application. You should receive an immediate confirmation to your email. The permit should within 5 business days.
The online visa can be accessed at : http://mfaapsny.org/en/consular-service/permission/
Have your confirmation letter printed to hand-in at the border. Print several, you will need another one for step 3.
Upon your arrival in Abkhazia you must visit the Consular Service within 3 working days in order to receive the visa of the Republic of Abkhazia.
The Entry Permit Letter (Clearance letter) only serves as an entrance permit to Abkhazia, it’s not the visa yet.
When travelling with us, we will make sure you complete all of these steps without any issues.
Updated: November, 2019