Current as of: 22 September 2023 Last Updated: 17 April 2023 Latest Update: Azerbaijan has lifted all COVID-19 entry restrictions.
Civil Unrest and Political Tension
Demonstrations and Protests
Public gatherings can turn violent, with police sometimes using force to disperse crowds.
Stay safe by avoiding public protests and rallies.
Keep an eye on local media and heed advice from local authorities during periods of unrest.
While a ceasefire was established between Armenia and Azerbaijan in November2020 after military clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh, tensions remain.
It's advisable to avoid travel to Armenia-Azerbaijan border areas, Nagorno-Karabakh, and surrounding military-occupied regions.
Beware of unmarked landmines in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Note that entering Nagorno-Karabakh without a permit is illegal.
Azerbaijan generally has low rates of violent crime, but there have been reports of serious incidents such as home burglaries, robberies, and assaults.
Be cautious, especially when walking after dark, near hotels, and in residential areas.
Drink and Food Safety
Be aware of drink and food spiking, especially in Baku's bars and nightclubs, where there is an increased risk of theft if you are drugged.
Never accept food or drinks from strangers or leave them unattended.
Petty Crime and Scams
Petty crimes like pickpocketing can occur, particularly in outdoor markets and on public transport, including the Baku Metro.
Beware of individuals posing as police officers who demand money; request to follow them to the nearest station to pay any supposed fines.
Use official taxis rather than unofficial ones. Arrange a taxi through your hotel or go to an official taxi rank.
Use ATMs in secure areas, such as banks and shopping centers, especially at night.
Remain cautious in areas where foreigners tend to gather.
Report any suspicious activities or items to the police.
Keep an eye on the media for updates on potential threats.
Follow instructions from local authorities, and if an attack occurs, evacuate the area when it's safe to do so.
Climate and Natural Disasters
Earthquakes can happen in Azerbaijan.
To protect yourself during natural disasters or severe weather:
Safeguard your passport in a secure, waterproof location.
Stay in contact with friends and family.
Monitor local media for updates.
Comply with guidance from local authorities.
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive major disaster alerts.
Obtain comprehensive travel insurance before your trip.
Ensure your policy covers all overseas medical expenses, including medical evacuation.
Remember that the Australian Government does not cover these costs.
Confirm what activities and care your insurance covers, and make sure it covers the entire duration of your trip.
Physical and Mental Health
Consider your physical and mental health before traveling, particularly if you have pre-existing medical conditions.
Schedule a basic health check-up with your doctor or travel clinic.
Consult with them at least eight weeks before departure for health advice and necessary vaccinations.
If you have immediate concerns for your welfare or that of another Australian, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre.
Not all medications available in Australia are accessible in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or controlled substances abroad, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Carry a letter from your doctor stating details about your medication, including purpose, dosage, and that it's for personal use.
Malaria is a risk in southern lowland areas of Azerbaijan, especially during the summer months (June to August).
Protect yourself by ensuring your accommodations are insect-proof, using insect repellent, wearing long, light-colored clothing, and considering malaria prevention medication.
HIV/AIDS is prevalent. Take precautions if engaging in activities that may expose you to the virus.
Other Health Risks
Foodborne, waterborne, and other infectious diseases are common, including typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and rabies.
Serious outbreaks of diseases, including COVID-19, can occur.
To safeguard your health:
Consume boiled or bottled water with sealed lids.
Avoid ice cubes.
Steer clear of unpasteurized dairy products and undercooked food, like salads.
Seek medical advice if you experience fever or diarrhea.
Private hospitals in Baku offer adequate medical facilities.
However, government hospitals and medical services in other areas of the country may have limitations and shortages of essential medical supplies.
Serious illnesses or injuries might require evacuation to Turkey or Western Europe, and it's essential to ensure your insurance covers this, as medical evacuation can be costly.
Be prepared to make upfront payments before receiving medical treatment.
Keep in mind that critical care standards for Australians who become seriously ill may be lower than those available in Australia.
Adhere to all local laws and regulations, even if they seem stringent compared to Australian standards. Familiarize yourself with local laws before traveling.
Drug-related offenses are met with severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines.
Always carry a copy of your passport and visa, as routine police checks are common in public and tourist areas. Failure to present valid travel documents when requested may result in fines or imprisonment.
In Azerbaijan, it is unlawful to:
Visit or photograph military equipment and sites.
Photograph military personnel.
Purchase antique or cultural artifacts without a permit.
Export antiques or cultural artifacts without an official certificate and purchase receipt.
Attempt to convert someone to another faith.
Export rules extend to religious objects, carpets, artworks, and caviar. Consult local authorities before exporting any items.
If you are suspected of a crime, you may be required to stay in Azerbaijan while your case is investigated.
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas, and violations may lead to prosecution in Australia.
Azerbaijan does not recognize dual nationality.
If you hold dual citizenship, be aware that this may limit the consular services available to you if you are arrested or detained.
Always travel on your Australian passport.
Australian-Azerbaijani dual nationals should seek advice regarding their service obligations from the Azerbaijani embassy or consulate well in advance of travel.
Cultural Dates and Events
Azerbaijan observes the Islamic holiday month of Ramadan. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws during this period.
During Ramadan, public eating, drinking, and smoking during daylight hours may be prohibited. If you are not fasting, refrain from these activities around those who are observing Ramadan. Seek local advice for guidance.
Dress and Behavior
Outside of Baku, dress codes tend to be conservative. Public displays of affection may not be well-received. Dress modestly to avoid causing offense, and seek local advice if uncertain.
Same-sex relationships are legally allowed but are not widely accepted.
Discrimination, intolerance, and violence against LGBTI individuals occur in Azerbaijan. Exercise discretion and avoid public displays of affection.
Visas and Border Measures
A visa is required for entry into Azerbaijan.
Apply for an electronic visa (e-visa) online through Azerbaijan's Official Electronic Visa Portal, which is valid for 90 days. Allow at least 3 business days for processing.
Note that visa requirements and other entry and exit conditions can change rapidly. Contact the nearest Azerbaijani embassy or consulate for up-to-date information regarding visas, currency regulations, customs, and quarantine regulations.
Ensure that your passport remains valid for at least 3 months beyond the expiration date of your e-visa.
You can request an extension or renewal of your visa through Azerbaijan's State Migration Service. Retain a copy of your passport and existing visa while your application is being processed, as you may be asked to provide these documents by the Ministry of Interior Police.
Travel via Nagorno-Karabakh
If your passport bears visas or stamps from Nagorno-Karabakh, you may face entry denial into Azerbaijan.
Travel via Neighboring Countries
Travel restrictions may apply to Australians planning overland journeys from Azerbaijan to neighboring countries. Verify travel restrictions with the nearest Azerbaijani embassy or consulate and review the rules of the neighboring nations.
Some countries require a passport to be valid for at least six months beyond the intended departure date. This rule may apply even during transits or stopovers.
Passport validity requirements can be enforced inconsistently by foreign governments and airlines, leading to confusion among travelers. To prevent being stranded, confirm your passport's expiration date before travel and consider renewing it if needed.
Lost or Stolen Passport
Safeguard your passport as it is a valuable document that may be targeted by identity thieves.
In the event of a lost or stolen passport:
In Australia, contact the Australian Passport Information Service.
Abroad, contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate.
The official currency of Azerbaijan is the Azerbaijani Manat (AZN).
Declare any amount of foreign currency upon arrival, including various forms of currency, not just cash.
You may export up to $US10,000 without documentation. Consult the Azerbaijani embassy or consulate for specific regulations.
Azerbaijan predominantly operates on a cash-based economy, with most transactions requiring payment in local currency.
US dollars and euros are widely accepted and can be exchanged for Azerbaijani Manat.
Credit cards are increasingly accepted in major cities but may not be recognized at smaller establishments.
Traveler's checks are not commonly used, except in major hotels, select restaurants, and banks.
ATMs are accessible in major urban centers.
An Australian driver's license is generally valid for driving in Azerbaijan.
For stays exceeding one month, foreigners may need to obtain a local driver's license through ASAN Service Offices.
International Driving Permits (IDPs) might be necessary for travel and car insurance. Verify these requirements with your insurer and car rental provider before driving.
Traveling by road in Azerbaijan poses certain risks due to subpar road conditions, disregard for traffic rules, high-speed accidents, unlit rural roads, and sharing the road with pedestrians, slow-moving agricultural machinery, and livestock.
Note that right-hand drive vehicles are prohibited in Azerbaijan.
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration above 0% is illegal.
Before embarking on a road trip in Azerbaijan:
Ensure that your travel insurance covers you adequately.
Familiarize yourself with local traffic regulations.
Exercise caution when driving, especially in rural areas, watching out for pedestrians, livestock, and farm equipment.
Public transportation, particularly buses, can be crowded and may not adhere to Australian safety standards.
Be vigilant about your belongings, as petty theft is not uncommon.
The Baku Metro is generally reliable, with basic safety measures in place. Metro signage is in Azerbaijani.
If traveling by train, take precautions such as securing your valuables and not leaving your compartment unattended. Lock the compartment door from the inside.
Be aware that some aircraft in Azerbaijan may not meet international maintenance standards.
Overbooking, overcrowding, flight cancellations, and delays can occur without notice.
Review Azerbaijan's air safety record with the Aviation Safety Network for additional information.
Depending on your needs, contact the following services:
Family and friends
In case of:
Fire and rescue emergencies: Dial 101.
Medical emergencies: Dial 103.
Police assistance: Dial 102.
General emergency hotline: Dial 112.
Always obtain a police report when reporting a crime.
Your insurance provider should offer a 24-hour emergency contact number.
Familiarize yourself with the Consular Services Charter to understand the assistance the Australian Government can provide during your overseas travels.
Note that Australia does not maintain an embassy in Azerbaijan. For consular assistance, get in touch with the Australian Embassy in Turkey.