Azerbaijan Risk Report
Security travel advice for 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.
Recent security risk events
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.
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.
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.
Currency: Azerbaijani manat
Time now in Baku:
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.
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.
Other health risks
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.
U.S. Embassy Baku
111 Azadlig Avenue,
Telephone: +994 12 310 3010
British Embassy Baku
45 Khagani Street,
Telephone: +994 12 4377878
Other useful info
Police emergency: 102
Fire emergency: 101
Medical emergency: 103