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Armenia

If you’re travelling to Armenia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution.

We advise against all travel near the border of Azerbaijan, particularly to the areas of Tavush and Gegharkunik. 

Irish travellers are advised not to travel to Nagorno Karabakh.

Latest Travel Alert

We advise against all travel near the border of Azerbaijan, particularly to the areas of Tavush and Gegharkunik.

Emergency Assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Armenia, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Honorary Consul in Yerevan or the Irish Embassy in Sofia.

If you require emergency assistance you can call the below numbers for specific services:

  • 101 for fire department.
  • 102 for police.
  • 103 for ambulance.

Other EU embassies

You can try contacting the Embassies, Consulates of other EU countries represented in Armenia for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and security

Border areas

The borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan remain closed. There has been an escalation of incidents in recent months and because of this we advise against any travel near the border of Azerbaijan, particularly the areas of Tavush and Gegharkunik.

Armenia’s land border with Turkey is closed.

Irish travelers are advised not to travel to Nagorno Karabakh.

Demonstrations

Irish citizens should avoid demonstrations and large gatherings of people if at all possible. Political demonstrations may take place in central Yerevan, particularly close to the Opera Square, and in other cities and towns around the country.

Sometimes such demonstrations, even if intended to be peaceful, can turn confrontational. If it’s necessary to be in the vicinity of a demonstration or gatherings, you should be extremely vigilant at all times.

Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Armenia is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Armenia but you should take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Armenia, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Sofia or the Irish Honorary Consul in Yerevan if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Armenia, you should be extremely careful. Roads outside the principal cities can be bad and the local standard of driving is poor, with drivers commonly flouting traffic laws. Driving in Armenia is on the right-hand side of the road. If you want to drive, bring your full Irish and international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Public transport

Public transport tends to be crowded and poorly maintained. Buses run at irregular times and may be difficult to negotiate if you don’t speak Armenian or Russian.

Taxis

Taxis are relatively cheap and accessible in Yerevan. They can be hailed easily on the street. Check that the meter is running. If there’s no meter, negotiate a price for the journey before you start. Average prices for journeys in the city centre are in the region of 500-1000 dram.

Air safety

We recommend flying to Armenia on a scheduled international flight. Western airlines currently serving Armenia are Aegean, Air France, Austrian Airlines, Ukrainian International Airlines and LOT.

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Religion

Armenia is an orthodox Christian country and women can usually dress in normal western-style clothing, although they may be expected to cover their heads when in Church. Outside the capital however, people are more conservative.

Photography

Avoid photographing sites such as military bases, equipment and installations in whatever condition. These are considered sensitive areas and visitors have been detained and questioned while attempting to photograph them.

You should also be aware of cultural sensitivities when photographing churches and other religious sites. If in doubt, ask permission.

Homosexuality

Homosexuality was decriminalised in August 2003 but it’s still an unacceptable lifestyle for the majority of Armenians. We advise travellers to exercise discretion on visits to Armenia.

Health

Medical facilities

Medical facilities outside Yerevan are generally poor and treatment isn’t recommended for anything other than minor ailments. In case of medical need and for advice and assistance contact the Irish Honorary Consul in Yerevan.

Vaccinations

Check with your doctor a minimum of eight weeks in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Armenia.

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

Additional information

Entry requirements

EU passport holders no longer require a visa to visit Armenia. The entrance stamp is valid for a period of 90 days only. Children arriving on an Irish passport with parents entering Armenia on an Armenian passport will require an Armenian passport to leave the country; this is stated in Armenian law.

If you intend to stay in Armenia longer than 90 days, you must register with the OVIR (Administration Department for Passports and Visas):

Address: Mashtots Ave. 13A,

Yerevan,

Armenia

Tel: 00 374 10 536 932/ 941

Travelling with children

Dual national passport holders entering Armenia using their Armenian passport and travelling with children on an Irish passport should be aware of Armenian nationality law before entering the country.

Under Armenian law, a child of an Armenian passport holder is automatically regarded as Armenian. This can have implications if you’re applying for visa extensions or when you’re leaving Armenia, as the Armenian authorities may request that an Armenian passport be produced. It may particularly effect young men of military age who have not carried out their compulsory Armenian military service.

Banking

Cheques aren’t used within Armenia. Prices for goods and services are often quoted in US Dollars, but by law, payment must be made in the Armenian Dram. Many ATMs can be found in the cities and most towns. Foreign currency exchanges are also available in branches of the major banks, exchange bureaus and in some supermarkets. We recommend that you avoid exchanging money on the street.

Earthquakes

Armenia is in an active seismic zone. The last serious earthquake, in 1988, was centred in the Lori region in the north, killing between 25,000 and 50,000 people, injuring thousands and leaving several cities in ruins. Always follow the instructions of local authorities in case of an emergency.