Cookies on the DFA website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site while also complying with Data Protection requirements. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

Skip to main content

Azerbaijan

If you’re travelling to Azerbaijan, 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.

Latest travel advice

We advise against all travel to Nagorno-Karabakh and the military occupied area surrounding it.

You should not attempt to enter or leave Azerbaijan via the land borders with Russia (i.e. Dagestan) as these are closed to foreign nationals.

For further information please read the Safety and Security section of this page.

Emergency Assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Azerbaijan, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Ankara in Turkey.

In an emergency, you can call the following numbers:

  • Fire brigade – 01
  • Police – 02
  • Ambulance - 03

Other EU embassies

You can try contacting the Embassies, Consulates of other EU countries represented in Azerbaijan 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

Unrest

The political situation in Azerbaijan is reasonably stable but there can be occasional outbreaks of social unrest. Demonstrations occasionally take place, mainly in Baku. Opposition rallies are usually heavily policed and there has been violence on occasions. Keep well away from any large gatherings.

We advise against all travel to Nagorno-Karabakh and the military occupied area surrounding it. This area is the subject of a continuing dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia and although a cease-fire has been in place since 1994 there are regular reports of exchanges of gunfire across the Line of Contact. Some areas may be heavily land mined.

You should not attempt to enter or leave Azerbaijan via the land borders with Russia (i.e. Dagestan) as these are closed to foreign nationals.

Anyone who has visited Nagorno-Karabakh without the permission of the Azerbaijani authorities will be refused entry to Azerbaijan.

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. Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational. 

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Azerbaijan is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreign nationals such as international hotels, restaurants and pubs. Take sensible precautions and be vigilant.

Crime

Crime rates are relatively low in Azerbaijan but occasional muggings do take place, particularly around the western bars and clubs and near dimly lit entrances of private apartments. 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.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Azerbaijan, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Ankara if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Azerbaijan, you should take care, especially if driving at night. Driving conditions are stressful and often confusing and the standard of driving is poor with many traffic accidents. Roads tend to be badly lit and of poor quality and many cars are poorly maintained. If you want to drive, bring your international driving licence 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 are 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).

Taxis

Be aware, most old taxis do not have seat belts.

Local laws and customs

Illegal drugs

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

Local culture & religion

Local and foreign women usually dress in western-style clothing. However, both men and women should avoid wearing shorts in the street as you could attract unwelcome attention.

Azerbaijan is a largely secular society and religion is usually considered a private matter. Most of the population is Muslim. Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. In 2017, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start at sundown on 26 May and finish on 25 June.

Homosexuality

Homosexual activity is legal in Azerbaijan, but many Azerbaijanis disapprove of public displays of affection. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.

Photography

You should 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 visit them.

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

Visas and additional information

Visas

Irish citizens need a visa to enter Azerbaijan. You cannot get a visa on arrival in Azerbaijan so you will need to check out visa and other entry requirements in advance from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Azerbaijan.

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish nationals staying in Azerbaijan for longer than 3 days must register with the nearest police station within 3 working days of arrival. Hotels may provide this service for their guests, but visitors staying in apartments or private residences will have to register by themselves. Each traveller is responsible for ensuring that the registration has been completed. Guidance on the process can be found on the English language pages of the State Migration Service’s website. Those staying longer than 30 days are required to register for a residence card.

Fines are applied if registration is not done on time.

Passports

It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry your passport at all times as police often operate identity checks. Ensure that you keep it secure and leave a photocopy of the details page separately in a safe place.

Earthquake

Azerbaijan is located in an active seismic zone; however, it has not experienced any serious earthquakes recently.

Health

Vaccinations

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

Medical facilities

Medical facilities outside Baku are very limited. Even in Baku serious illness or injury may require evacuation to Turkey or Western Europe. Make sure your travel insurance covers this.

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.