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Summary

Entry and exit

Visas

You need a visa to enter Azerbaijan. Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Azerbaijan before you travel for up-to-date information.

Electronic visas (e-visa) for single entry, 30 day stays are available online through Azerbaijan's State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations. Allow at least three business days for online applications to be processed and ensure your passport is valid for at least three months from the expiry date of the e-visa.

If your passport contains visas/stamps from the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, you'll likely encounter difficulties at Azerbaijan border control points and could be refused entry into Azerbaijan.

In Azerbaijan, applications for visa extensions and renewals can be made through Azerbaijan's State Migration Service. Carry a photocopy of your passport and existing Azerbaijan visa while your application for a new or renewed visa is being processed. Ministry of Interior Police conduct random checks of foreign citizens for their documentation. See Laws.

More information:

Other formalities

By law, all foreign citizens staying in Azerbaijan for longer than ten days must register with local police within ten days of arrival. If you don't register, you'll be fined and you could be denied permission to depart Azerbaijan until you pay the fine and secure an exit permit from the State Migration Service.

Travel restrictions may apply to Australians planning to travel overland from Azerbaijan to neighbouring countries. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Azerbaijan and those of neighbouring countries for up-to-date information on travel restrictions and visa requirements that may apply.

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception. If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible. You can either:

Money

You must declare the import of any foreign currency into Azerbaijan. You can export up to US$10,000 without documentation. Contact the Embassy or Consulate of Azerbaijan for more information.

The currency of Azerbaijan is the Azerbaijani Manat (AZN). Azerbaijan is a cash-based economy, and most goods and services require payment in the local currency. US dollars and the Euro are widely used and are easily exchanged for local currency, provided notes are in good condition.

Credit cards are becoming more prevalent in major cities, but may not be accepted in smaller restaurants and stores. Travellers cheques aren't widely accepted, except in major hotels, some restaurants and banks. ATMs are available in major cities.

Safety and security

Civil unrest and political tension

Police have used force to break up demonstrations and protests throughout Azerbaijan. 

  • Avoid demonstrations, protests and political rallies as they may turn violent.
  • Monitor media and other sources for advice of possible unrest and avoid those areas.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Do not travel in the area of the closed Armenia-Azerbaijan border and ceasefire line.

Do not travel to the western region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding military-occupied areas.

There are regular armed clashes in the area of the closed Armenia-Azerbaijan border and ceasefire line and the western region of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding military-occupied areas. Clashes in both areas have resulted in several deaths and injuries. Both conflict zones contain anti-personnel landmines. Insurgent forces occupy part of Azerbaijan territory in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. A ceasefire has been in place since 1994 but regular breakdowns occur, including very serious clashes in early April 2016 in which hundreds died.

It's a criminal offence to enter Nagorno-Karabakh without permission from Azerbaijani authorities. The Australian Government is extremely limited in its capacity to provide consular assistance in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas, and in the Armenia-Azerbaijan border areas.

Crime

Violent crime is rare in Azerbaijan. However, serious crimes against foreigners, including home burglaries, robbery and assault, have been reported.

There have been reports of foreigners being robbed after consuming "spiked" drinks in bars and nightclubs in Baku. Never accept food or drinks from strangers or new acquaintances. Never leave food or drinks unattended.

Petty crime, including robbery and pick-pocketing, can occur at outdoor markets and on public transport, including the Baku Metro.

There have been reports of thieves posing as police officers while demanding money from tourists and expatriate residents. 

  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras.
  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly at markets and on public transport.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Be vigilant when walking after dark, including near hotels and in residential areas.
  • Avoid using unofficial taxis. Use taxis that are accredited to your hotel, from official taxi ranks or that are familiar to you.
  • Use ATMs in controlled areas such as within banks, shops and shopping centres. Avoid ATMs that open onto the street, especially at night.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Road travel

Driving in Azerbaijan can be dangerous. Roads and vehicles are often poorly maintained. Traffic signals and rules are often ignored. High-speed vehicle accidents, resulting in serious injury or death, are common. Rural roads often lack adequate lighting and signage and may be shared with pedestrians, slow moving farm equipment and livestock.

Right-hand drive cars aren't permitted in Azerbaijan. Driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is illegal.

  • Check your travel insurance will cover you before driving in Azerbaijan.
  • Familiarise yourself with local road rules.
  • Drive defensively, and to the weather and road conditions.
  • Look out for pedestrians, livestock and farm equipment, particularly in rural areas.
  • Don't drink and drive.

More information: Road safety and driving

Driver's licence

You can drive in Azerbaijan with a current Australian driver's licence, however an International Driving Permit may be required for travel and vehicle insurance purposes. Before you drive in Azerbaijan, speak to your insurance and vehicle providers to confirm licensing requirements. 

Taxis

Only use registered taxis and authorised limousines, preferably those arranged through your hotel. Avoid flagging down taxis in the street. If you need a taxi when away from your hotel, use one from an official taxi rank. Consider sitting in the back seat rather than the front.

Public transport

Public transport, especially buses, can be overcrowded and may not meet Australian safety standards. Take care of your valuables as petty crime occurs.

Rail travel

The Baku Metro is reasonably maintained, and has basic safety equipment and procedures. Metro signs are only in Azerbaijani.

If you travel by overland train, secure your valuables, don't leave the compartment unattended and lock the door of your compartment from the inside.

Air travel

The aircraft and maintenance of aircraft used by Azerbaijan's domestic airlines may not always meet international aviation standards. Flights may be overbooked, resulting in the dangerous overloading of aircraft. Domestic flights can be subject to prolonged delays or unexplained cancellation of service.

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Azerbaijan.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy imprisonment and heavy fines.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

Carry a copy of your passport and visa at all times. Routine police checks in public and tourist spots are common. If you fail to produce a valid travel document when asked, you could be detained and/or face substantial fines.

The following activities are illegal in Azerbaijan:

  • visiting or taking photographs of military equipment and sites
  • taking photographs of military personnel
  • purchasing any antiquity or cultural artefact of Azerbaijan without authorisation
  • exporting any antiquity or cultural artefact of Azerbaijan without an official certificate and receipt of purchase
  • religious proselytizing by foreigners.

The export of items, such as religious materials, carpets, artworks and caviar, are also regulated. Check restrictions and requirements with local authorities.

If you're suspected of committing a crime, you could be prevented from leaving Azerbaijan while your case is investigated.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Information for dual nationals

Azerbaijan doesn't recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian-Azerbaijani dual nationals who are arrested or detained. Travel on your Australian passport at all times.

Nationals of Azerbaijan may be subject to compulsory military service obligations. If you're an Australian-Azerbaijani dual national, get advice on your service obligations from the Embassy or Consulate of Azerbaijan before you travel.

More information: Dual nationals

Local customs

Azerbaijan is a secular country, but many Azerbaijanis observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is expected to occur between mid-May and mid-June 2018. Take particular care during Ramadan to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, and avoid eating, drinking and smoking in the presence of people who are fasting.

More information: Ramadan

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in most parts of Azerbaijan. Public displays of affection may not be acceptable. Take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.

Homosexuality isn't illegal in Azerbaijan, but it's not widely accepted. Intolerance, discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been a problem in Azerbaijan.

More information: LGBTI travellers  

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
  • that you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take prescription medicine so you remain in good health. Always carry a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.

Before you leave Australia, contact an Embassy or Consulate of Azerbaijan to check if your medication is legal and to get advice on any restrictions that may apply.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Mosquito-borne illnesses

Malaria is a risk in the southern lowland areas of Azerbaijan, especially in summer. 

Protect yourself against malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • consult your doctor about taking prophylaxis against malaria.

More information: Infectious diseases

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, brucellosis and rabies) are prevalent, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. 

  • Boil drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes. 
  • Avoid unpasteurised dairy products.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Private medical clinics with facilities comparable to those in Western countries operate in Baku.

Medical facilities in other areas of Azerbaijan, and in government facilities generally, are often inadequate. Shortages of basic medical supplies are common.

Doctors and hospitals will usually require up-front payment before commencing treatment.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergencies

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 101
  • Medical emergencies: 103
  • Criminal issues, contact police: 102 or, for English speaking staff, call the Police Office of Crimes By and Against Foreigners on +944 12 590 9966

Always get a police report when reporting a crime. 

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular services charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia doesn't have an Embassy in Azerbaijan. For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Turkey.

Australian Embassy, Ankara

MNG Building, 7th Floor
88 Uĝur Mumcu Caddesi
Gaziosmanpaşa, Ankara, Turkey
Telephone +90 (312) 459 9500
Facsimile +90 (312) 446 4827
Website turkey.embassy.gov.au
Email: consular.ankara@dfat.gov.au

Check the Australian Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

In an emergency, you can get limited consular assistance (not including notarial services or the issue of Australian passports) from the British Embassy in Baku.

British Embassy, Baku

45 Khagani Street
Baku 1010, Azerbaijan
Telephone: +994 12 437 7878
Facsimile: +994 12 497 7434
Website: www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-baku

If you're unable to contact these embassies in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 (or 1300 555 135 within Australia).

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Azerbaijan is prone to seismic activity.

More information: Earthquakes

If there's a natural disaster or severe weather:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag)
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts
  • closely monitor the media, other local sources of information and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following link: