Azerbaijan Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Azerbaijan
How safe is Azerbaijan?
Threat level: Low-Medium
Visits to Azerbaijan for the most part are relatively safe. It is advised to remain cautious and be aware that there are currently some threat of terror attacks. Travellers should be aware that tourists are possibly the main targets for the next large scale attack.
Crime levels in Azerbaijan are relatively low, but there have been some reports of tourists being targeted by pick-pockets and other criminals. This often takes place late at night in the centre of the capital town of Baku, where there are many western bars and clubs.
Further to this, Martial Law has been declared on the 28th of September 2020 due to fierce fithing erupting between Azerbaijani and Armenian's military forces over the disputed enclave Nagorno-Karabakh, in which thousands lost their lives. As a result of this, a curfew is in place between 21:00 and 06:00. Although, a ceasefire was agreed between Azerbaijan and Armenia late October, the situation is volatile and fast-moving so travellers are recommended to avoid all non-essential travel to the area and monitor local news.
The 2016 Armenian–Azerbaijani conflicts, which is also referred to as the Four-Day War was a conflict between the Nagorno-Karabakh Defence Army and Armenian Armed Force. This was fought by the Azerbaijan armed forces over territory, controlled by the Armenia supported by the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Ten civilians were killed during the conflict, and an estimated 340 military personnel were killed. Future clashes have not been ruled out and so tourists should be cautious and try to avoid travelling near the South Caucasus border area.
On January the 31st, Security forces killed 4 persons suspected of terrorist activity. The exact location where this took place is unconfirmed due to the tightly controlled former Soviet republic not releasing much information on the incident.
The current political situation in Azerbaijan is stable. Be aware that political demonstrations and opposition rallies often take place in the towns and cities that can often turn violent. In recent years, there have been medium-scale protests in some regional towns with the most recent being early 2016. Protests are always heavily policed and there has been violence on occasions from both the police and protestors.
Visitors should keep away from any large gatherings when possible, as they can turn violent in a short period of time.
COVID-19 Situation in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan has declared a "special quarantine regime" until at least the 1st of April 2021. In parts of the country, people are required to have an SMS message granting permission to leave residences. To tackle the spread of the virus, lockdown restrictions are in place including a ban on entry to the country for foreign travellers and the suspension of public transport services (metro and buses). Local lockdowns have been imposed in towns and cities where the infection rate is high and can be applied to other areas at short notice. The use of facemasks is also compulsory in enclosed public places and outdoor in places where the 1.5 meter social distancing rule cannot be applied. To avoid contracting the disease, wear a facemask, sanitise your hands regularly, maintain social distancing and avoid public gatherings.
Azerbaijan's International Relations
Azerbaijan is a member of the United Nations and also has formal links with U.S. government officials. The country is one of the few that have a predominantly Muslim population that shares a strategic alliance with Israel. They also have strong diplomatic ties with many other European countries.
The relationship between Azerbaijan and Armenia remains tense over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Travelling around Azerbaijan
Right-hand drive cars are not permitted in Azerbaijan. The standard of driving is particularly poor and is made worse with insufficient lighting outside of Baku making visibility difficult, particularly at night. Accidents are quite common due to poor or dangerous driving and none existent enforcement of traffic rules.
The official taxi colour is purple and it is often advised not to share taxis with other strangers.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency services in Azerbaijan
Police emergency: 102
Fire emergency: 101
Medical emergency: 103
Currency: Azerbaijani manat
Time now in Baku:
Consular information for Azerbaijan
U.S. Embassy Baku
111 Azadlig Avenue,
Telephone: +994 12 310 3010
British Embassy Baku
45 Khagani Street,
Telephone: +994 12 4377878
Visa requirements for Azerbaijan
All EU and US visitors to Azerbaijan are required to obtain a visa a month prior to travel. You can apply online for a visa, using the Asan Visa website. Visas cannot be obtained on arrival. All passports should be valid for a minimum period of 3 months from the expiration date of your Azerbaijani visa. Any stays longer than ten days need to be registered on arrival.
Cultural advice for visiting Islamic countries
If you have never visited an Islamic country before, you maybe have some unanswered questions the culture, what you can wear and general dos and don'ts. Intelligent Protection International Limited is highly experienced at working in Islamic countries and has done so for the past decade. We have written a guide that will help you understand what is culturally acceptable and hope you find it useful. See our page: Guide to Islamic culture for travellers.
Health Care and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Azerbaijan are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider vaccinations for Hepatitis B, Rabies and Typhoid. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
There have been reported cases of coronavirus in Azerbaijan and as there is no vaccination against this disease, precautionary measures such as the use of face masks in public places, washing hands and maintaining social distancing must be applied when visiting the country.
Medical facilities outside the Azerbaijani Capital of Baku are very limited. You should carry a comprehensive first aid kit for any trips out of Baku. Even in Baku serious illness or injury may require evacuation to Turkey or Western Europe. Travellers are advised to make sure that they have the correct level of travel insurance to cover medical costs.