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Armenia

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Armenia. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local conditions.
  • Do not travel to or near the closed Armenia-Azerbaijan border and ceasefire line because of sporadic clashes. See Safety and security.
  • Do not travel to the Armenian-occupied enclave of Azerbaijan known as Nagorno-Karabakh and the military occupied area surrounding it because of the risk of armed conflict. A major violation of the ceasefire in April 2016 resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries. See Safety and security.
  • Some medications available in Australia, such as sleeping tablets and medication containing codeine, are illegal in Armenia, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor. See Laws.
  • Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in Armenia. The Australian Embassy in Russia provides consular assistance to Australians in Armenia. See Where to get help.
  • See Travel smart for general advice for travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

You can visit Armenia without a visa for up to 180 days per year.

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 Armenia or the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for up-to-date information.

Other formalities

Some medications available in Australia are illegal in Armenia, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor. If you plan to take medication into Armenia, first contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Armenia to confirm it is legal under Armenian law.

You must declare amounts greater than USD10,000 to Customs officials on entry to Armenia. Make sure your customs declaration is stamped by a customs official. You may need your stamped customs declaration to prove you imported currency legally. See Laws.

There are strict regulations covering the import and export of firearms, pornographic materials and communication equipment.

You need approval from the Armenian Ministry of Culture to export antiquities or other items that could have historical value, such as paintings, old books and carpets. Keep receipts of any such purchases. You may need to provide receipts to customs officials when you leave Armenia.

More information: Armenian Customs Service

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 Australian Embassy in Russia for advice.

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

Money

The local currency is the Armenian Dram (AMD). Declare on arrival and departure all amounts in excess of USD10,000 (or foreign currency equivalent).

USD and Euros are readily exchanged at banks. ATMs and credit card facilities are available in Yerevan, but are less common outside major towns.

Safety and security

Civil unrest and political tension

Protests and demonstrations can occur in Yerevan, Gyumri and other major cities. They are generally peaceful but can escalate. Avoid large gatherings, monitor the local media and follow the advice of local authorities.  

The Armenia-Azerbaijan border is closed. A ceasefire agreement exists but there are sporadic clashes along the 5 kilometre buffer zone between the border and the ceasefire line. Vehicles travelling along the road from Kayan or Ijevan to Noyemberyan are vulnerable. The conflict zone contains unmarked anti-personnel landmines.

  • Do not travel to or near the closed Armenia-Azerbaijan border and ceasefire line.

The Armenian-occupied enclave of Azerbaijan known as Nagorno-Karabakh and the military occupied area surrounding is unstable. Possession of the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is disputed by Armenia. Unmarked landmines are located near the front line. A ceasefire agreement exists but has been broken on several occasions. A major violation of the ceasefire in April 2016 resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries.

  • Do not travel to Nagorno-Karabakh or the military occupied area surrounding it.

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.    

In other parts of Armenia:

  • keep an eye on the news and other sources for information about possible demonstrations
  • avoid crowds, protests and demonstrations, where possible
  • follow the advice of local authorities.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Crime

Pickpocketing, petty crime and theft from vehicles are common. Robberies have been reported on train services from Armenia to Georgia.

There have been reports of harassment, mistreatment and extortion by police and other local officials.

  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras.
  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly in crowded places.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Keep vehicle doors locked at all times.
  • Use a secure car-parking facility wherever possible.
  • Monitor local sources for information on crime.

Local travel

Armenia's land borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed. Travel in the region can be difficult and requires careful planning.

Road travel

Driving in Armenia can be dangerous. Roads and vehicles are often poorly maintained. Traffic rules are often ignored. Cars don't always give way to pedestrians and pedestrians cross roads without warning. There are very few road signs. According to the World Health Organization, you're three times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Armenia than in Australia.

  • Check your travel insurance will cover you before driving in Armenia.
  • Familiarise yourself with local road rules.
  • Drive defensively and to the road conditions.
  • Look out for pedestrians.
  • Don't drink and drive.
  • If you're walking, be very careful when crossing streets. Don't expect cars to give way to you.

The main road between Armenia and Georgia (Yerevan-Vanadzor-Alaverdi-Bagratashen) is closed for maintenance. If travelling by road, seek local advice on alternative routes.

More information: Road safety and driving

Driver's licence

You need an International Driving Permit (IDP), along with your current Australian driver's licence, to drive a vehicle. Driving without an IDP could void your travel and vehicle insurance.

Taxis

Only use registered taxis and authorised limousines, preferably those arranged through your hotel. Avoid flagging down taxis in the street and consider sitting in the back seat rather than the front.

Public transport

Public transport is overcrowded and poorly maintained. Minibuses are particularly dangerous and are frequently involved in accidents.

Air travel

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 Armenia.

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 in local jails.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

Some medicines available in Australia, such as some sleeping tablets and medicines containing codeine, are illegal in Armenia, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor. Penalties for possession of illegal medicines include fines, detention and/or imprisonment. If you plan to take medicine into Armenia, first contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Armenia to confirm it's legal under Armenian law.

If you're travelling with an amount greater than USD10,000 in cash or travellers cheques, you'll need proof that it was imported and declared or legally obtained in Armenia. Customs declarations are only valid when stamped by a customs official.

Carry a photocopy of your passport as identification at all times. Police can stop you to check your documents.

It's illegal to photograph military installations, government buildings, monuments and uniformed officials.

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

Dual nationals

Armenia recognises dual nationality and automatically grants Armenian citizenship to any child born to one or more parents who hold Armenian citizenship at the time of the child's birth, regardless of the place of birth. Read about Armenia's citizenship legislation on the website of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Under Armenian law, Armenian dual nationals must enter and exit Armenia using their Armenian passports. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian-Armenian dual nationals.

If you're a male Australian-Armenian dual national between the ages of 18 to 27, you could be subject to military conscription in Armenia. Check your obligations with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Armenia well in advance of travel.

More information: Dual nationals

Local customs

Same-sex relationships are legal in Armenia but aren't widely accepted by society. There have been incidents of 'hate speech' from public figures directed at the LGBTI community. Discrimination against the LGBTI community is widespread.

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

It's important to 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 medicines available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some medicines available in Australia are illegal in Armenia, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

If you are on medication, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Armenia to confirm it's legal under Armenian law. If it's illegal, consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of your travel.

Take legal prescription medicine with you 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.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases

Malaria is a risk in the western border areas of Armenia. Other insect-borne diseases are also a risk to travellers. 

Protect yourself against malaria and other insect-borne diseases:

  • 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.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a risk for travellers. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Other infectious diseases

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

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

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities and care is limited, especially outside Yerevan.

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.

Natural disasters

Armenia is in an active earthquake zone. Landslides may occur.

If there is 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 information sources and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities.

More information: Earthquakes

Where t​o 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.

Emergency phone number

  • Unified emergency number: 911
  • Fire and rescue: 101
  • Medical emergencies: 103
  • Police: 102 or contact the nearest police station

Always get a police report when reporting a crime. 

Armenian emergency services may take a long time to reach remote regions.

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 or Consulate in Armenia. Contact the Australian Embassy in Moscow, Russia for consular assistance.

Australian Embassy Moscow

Podkolokolny Pereulok 10a/2,
Moscow, RUSSIA
Phone: +7 495 956-6070
Fax: +7 495 956-6170
Website: russia.embassy.gov.au
Twitter: @PosolAustralia

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

If you're unable to contact the Embassy 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

Additional resources