Foreign travel advice

Armenia

Important COVID-19 travel guidance

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.

Safety and security

Military activity

Military activity has been taking place along the Line of Contact around Nagorno-Karabakh since 27 September. There have been some reports of Azerbaijani attacks in the province of Vardenis during the week of 28 September that have caused casualties and destroyed civilian infrastructure.

On 4 October, the Azerbaijani government said that it may launch attacks against military installations within Armenia and not just Nagorno-Karabakh. You should avoid areas around military bases and installations. The military situation is fast moving and subject to change, you should monitor local media and follow all instructions from local authorities.

Armenia declared a nationwide state of emergency on 27 September following widespread military activity on the Line of Contact in Nagorno-Karabakh. Among other restrictions, this prohibits mass gatherings, introduces curbs on the spread of information about the situation from unofficial sources, and provides extra powers for police and other civil authorities to enforce public safety and order.

We advise against all travel within 5km of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Crime

Crime levels are low. But there are occasional incidents of pick pocketing, bag snatching, theft from cars and burglary involving British or other foreign nationals. Although tourists and foreigners have not been targeted, there is a risk of being caught up in such events and you should remain vigilant at all times.

  • don’t carry your passport, credit card, travel tickets and money together.
  • leave spare cash, passports and valuables in a safe place. Always carry a copy of your passport with you but separate from other items such as credit cards.
  • take the same personal safety precautions on the street and when using ATMs as you would in the UK. 
  • take particular care if using an ATM after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.

Never part with money or share personal information including date of birth, address or financial information to someone that you have never met.

Local travel

The FCDO advise against all travel within 5km of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Tavush and Gegharkunik regions, and along the M16/H26 road between the towns of Ijevan and Noyemberyan.

The border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is closed. There are frequent violations of the 1994 ceasefire between these countries from military emplacements along the border. There have been periods of increased tension which can make the security situation in border regions unpredictable.

Visitors travelling from Yerevan into Georgia should do so via the towns of Vanadzor/Alaverdi or Gyumri.

The land border with Turkey is also closed, although there are occasional direct flights between Yerevan and Istanbul.

Travelling in the South Caucasus can be unpredictable and infrastructure is sometimes in a poor state of repair. You should plan your travel carefully.

Road travel

From 28 March 2019, you will need to have a 1968 International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Armenia. From 1 February 2019, you can only get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

The local standard of driving is poor. Be prepared for drivers who drive recklessly and flout traffic laws. Roads are in a poor state, particularly in the coldest months (November to February). If possible you should avoid driving outside of cities and towns in the dark because of the poor condition of the roads and lack of street lighting. If you are walking, be careful when crossing roads and use subways where available.

Avoid using local buses or minibuses as they are often poorly maintained and overcrowded.

Rail travel

Public transport is often overcrowded and poorly maintained. If you have to travel by train, secure your valuables, do not leave the compartment unattended, and lock the door from the inside. 

Air travel

A list of incidents and accidents in Armenia can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

You can see a list of airlines banned from operating within the EU on the  European Commission website. The list is based on random inspections on aircraft of airlines that operate flights to and from EU airports. The fact that an airline is not included in the list does not automatically mean that it meets the applicable safety standards.

The FCDO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

Political situation

The dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh remains unresolved. Consular support is not available in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Although a ceasefire has been in place since May 1994, the borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani territory occupied by Armenian forces are closed.

There are no peacekeeping forces separating the sides. There are regular exchanges of sniper fire and some skirmishes. The border areas between Armenia and Azerbaijan also contain mines and unexploded ordnance. Any foreigners venturing within 5km of these borders are liable to be stopped by the police or the military.

Telephone and internet communications

Communication by telephone and e-mail can sometimes be difficult especially in the regions. Not all British mobile phones work in Armenia; check for coverage before leaving the UK if you intend to rely on it.

Access to wifi in cafes and restaurants in Yerevan is generally widespread. Outside major cities access to wifi in public places is not guaranteed. Most hotels offer a wifi service but it can sometimes be unreliable. Make sure family and friends who expect regular contact are aware of this to avoid unnecessary worry.