AzerbaijanOfficial Name: Republic of Azerbaijan
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
Two pages are required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
Travelers may bring in any amount of foreign currency into Azerbaijan, as long as they declare it on their customs declarations form upon arrival. Further information may be found on the website of the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Travelers may depart Azerbaijan with up to $50,000 in cash as long as they previously declared it on their customs declaration form upon arrival. Further information may be found on the website of the information Azerbaijani State Customs Committee.
Embassies and Consulates
111 Azadliq Prospecti
AZ1007 Baku, Azerbaijan
Telephone: (994-12) 488-3300
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:(994-12) 488-3300
Fax: (994-12) 488-3695
Azerbaijan is a constitutional republic with a developing economy. Western-style amenities are found in the capital, Baku, but infrastructure and access to goods and services outside the city, while improving, are less well developed. Read the Department of State’s Fact sheet on U.S.–Azerbaijan relations for further information.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
You need a passport and a visa to enter Azerbaijan. Get your visa before you travel, and make sure the visa validity dates correspond with your travel. With limited exceptions (persons with invitations from high-ranking officials of the Government of Azerbaijan), you cannot get a visa upon arrival at an airport in Azerbaijan, nor can you get a visa at the land borders with Georgia, Russia, Turkey, or Iran.
Currently, U.S. citizens may apply for a single- or double-entry visitor’s visa valid for up to 90 days or a one-year multiple-entry business visa. Both cost $160. For either type of visa, you must have an invitation from a person or company in Azerbaijan. That invitation must be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan in Baku. U.S. citizen tourists booking accommodations through a licensed Azerbaijani travel agency may receive a voucher that entitles them to receive a single-entry tourist visa valid for 30 days which cost $20. The Embassy of Azerbaijan in Washington, D.C. uses a visa courier service that charges $21 for processing and service fees in addition to the basic cost of the visa. Visa applicants are required to use this service. Please see the website of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Washington, D.C. for more details. The Embassy of Azerbaijan states that visas take 10 business days to process, but travelers are encouraged to apply for their visas early to avoid possible delays, especially in the summer months.
Azerbaijan requires foreign visitors to register with the State Migration Service (SMS) of Azerbaijan within three days of arrival. Visitors staying fewer than three days need not register. You must submit a completed registration form, a copy of the biographic page of your passport, and a copy of your visa to the SMS either in person, by mail, or via e-mail. The required form (available only in Azerbaijani) should be e-mailed to email@example.com. Mailing the form via local mail may result in a delay in processing the registration. The form and additional information about the registration process may be found at the State Migration Service website (www.migration.gov.az).
Major hotels assist their guests with the registration process, but travelers staying in personal homes, private apartments, or smaller hotels must register themselves. Every individual traveler is responsible for ensuring that the registration has been done. Registration is free, but failure to register or registering late may result in a fine of between 300-400 AZN ($380-$500). Travelers may be denied permission to depart Azerbaijan until they pay the fine and secure an exit permit from the State Migration Service. Exit permits are valid for 48 hours.
A valid visa is required in order to depart Azerbaijan. If your visa is expired, or you have exceeded the duration of stay authorized by your visa, you must pay a fine of between 300 – 400 AZN ($380 – $500). Travelers may be denied permission to depart Azerbaijan until they pay the fine and secure an exit permit from the State Migration Service.
Travelers may apply for exit permits at several State Migration Service locations. The main branch is located at 202 Binagadi Highway, 3123 Block, Binagadi District, Baku; tel: (994-12)562-56-23. The Baku regional branch is located at 53 Ataturk Avenue, Baku; tel: (994 12) 561 87 54. There is also a branch office at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku that is open 24 hours. Travelers departing Azerbaijan overland via train to Georgia should secure an exit visa in Baku, or they will be removed from the train and must visit the regional office in Agstafa, located at 4 Heydar Aliyev Prospekti, Agstafa; tel: (994 022) 225 2736.
We recommend you carry at least a photocopy of your current passport and valid visa with you at all times if you do not normally carry your passport.
If you plan on staying in Azerbaijan more than the duration of stay indicated on your visa or wish to work in Azerbaijan, you must apply for a residency permit and work authorization card through the State Migration Service. Part of the application process is the submission of translated copies and originals of many state-issued civil documents like birth certificates and marriage certificates, as well as university diplomas. In order to translate such documents, local notaries require an apostille with these documents. Each state has its own procedures for providing an apostille. Please note that the U.S. Embassy is unable to provide an apostille or certify university transcripts.
U.S. citizens of Armenian ancestry - or even those with Armenian last names – have had their visa applications denied by the Government of Azerbaijan on the grounds that their safety cannot be guaranteed. In 2013, a traveler with an Armenian visa in his passport had his Azerbaijani visa application refused to be accepted for processing.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any restriction on entry to Azerbaijan for travelers with HIV/AIDS. However, medical tests, which must be performed at designated clinics in Azerbaijan, are required for those applying for temporary or permanent residence permits. Applications by people with health issues, including HIV/AIDS, are reviewed by the State Migration Service and approved on a case-by-case basis.
Information about dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. Azerbaijan does not recognize dual citizenship, and dual U.S.-Azerbaijani citizens could encounter problems living and traveling in Azerbaijan. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
In light of ongoing global and regional threats against U.S. and foreign interests, U.S. citizens are advised to remain vigilant, particularly in public places associated with Western communities. U.S. citizens should be aware that spontaneous demonstrations and riots have happened in the past and have been suppressed with force. In January 2012, the Azerbaijani National Security Ministry disrupted a terrorist plot, reportedly backed by Iran, to attack prominent foreigners in Baku.
You should avoid travel to the region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding occupied areas, as well as regions along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian positions. Because of the existing state of hostilities, we cannot offer consular services to U.S. citizens in Nagorno-Karabakh.
U.S. citizens of Armenian ancestry considering travel to Azerbaijan should remain particularly vigilant when visiting the country, as the government of Azerbaijan has claimed it is unable to guarantee your safety. However, the U.S. Embassy is unaware of such U.S. citizen travelers recently experiencing threats to their safety based solely on their Armenian heritage or name.
Traveling to the region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding occupied areas via Armenia without the consent of the Government of Azerbaijan could make you ineligible to travel to Azerbaijan in the future.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan on Twitter and Facebook and visiting the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Most of the crime in Baku affects local residents, with burglary and assault being the most common crimes. Foreigners are at a greater risk in areas attracting large crowds or in very isolated areas. Although not common, petty theft and assault against foreign citizens does occur in Baku. Pick-pockets tend to frequent tourist sites, public transportation (especially minibuses), and pedestrian streets or large public squares where people congregate. Travelers should be mindful of their wallets, purses, and computer bags, as they make for tempting targets.
Avoid traveling alone at night. Late-night targeted attacks against lone males, while not common, are the most common crimes committed against foreigners; these usually involve victims who have been drinking.
There are reports of racial, religious, or lifestyle-based crime in Azerbaijan. Residents of rural communities, particularly in the far northern part of the country, can be significantly less tolerant of differences than Baku residents. Discretion in dress and behavior is therefore recommended when visiting the country.
You should be very cautious about allowing unknown people to enter your hotel room or apartment. There have been reports of criminals posing as maintenance workers to gain entry and rob unsuspecting travelers.
Female travelers have reported incidents of unwanted male attention, including groping and other offensive behavior, while walking on the streets alone or with only female companions.
U.S. citizens have reported new internet friends requesting help to pay a “return guarantee fee” to the Azerbaijani Immigration Service before a short trip abroad. There is no such law requiring Azerbaijani citizens to post a deposit for foreign travel. The internet friends requesting help to pay this fee were later determined to have fraudulent Azerbaijani identification cards. Please see this website for information about avoiding Internet financial scams.
Credit card fraud is an increasing problem in Azerbaijan. Criminals sometimes modify ATM machines to capture credit card and PIN information. There have been some reports of travelers having credit cards charged after their visit to Azerbaijan has been completed. It is recommended that travelers inform their financial institutions of their planned dates of travel to Azerbaijan. Many debit cards do not offer the same protection as credit cards. If possible, avoid using a debit card that is tied directly to your bank account. If unavoidable, it is better to use debit cards at main bank branches, as these locations are more easily monitored and protected by the banks. After returning from your trip to Azerbaijan, monitor your credit and debit cards closely for subsequent transactions and immediately inform your banking institution of any suspected discrepancies.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport;
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape;
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities and, if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The Azerbaijani Ministry of Internal Affairs established a special Office of Crimes By and Against Foreigners at which English-speaking officers are available until 8:00 PM at (994 12) 590-99-66. The Ministry of Internal Affairs also has a Duty Officer available after hours, at 590-93-31 or 590-94-31.
The local equivalents of the “911” emergency lines in Azerbaijan are: 101 - Fire Brigade; 102 - Police; 103 - Ambulance; 104 - Gas services; and 112 - Ministry of Emergency Situations. The Ministry of Internal Affairs maintains English-speaking operators 24 hours a day at 102.
Please see our Information on Victims of Crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Azerbaijan, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws, legal systems, and criminal penalties can be vastly different from our own; for instance, religious proselytizing by foreigners is illegal in Azerbaijan, and possession or use of illegal drugs of any kind carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.
There are also some things that might be legal in Azerbaijan but are still illegal in the United States; for instance, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Azerbaijan, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know the local laws of your destination.
Azerbaijan’s security apparatus is sensitive to photography, so both professional and tourist photographers have been stopped for taking photographs of facilities that may not appear to be sensitive, including oil fields, buildings, and public squares. It is strictly forbidden to take pictures of military installations and of military equipment. Photographing or visiting military depots or equipment can lead to arrest. If police stop you for taking photographs, you should cooperate. If your photographic equipment is confiscated, you should contact the U.S. Embassy to report the incident.
Arrest notifications in Azerbaijan: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in that country, others may not. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Azerbaijan has compulsory military service for males ages 18 to 35. Men who currently have U.S. citizenship and who previously held Azerbaijani citizenship and have not completed their military requirement could face fines or arrest unless they have officially renounced their Azerbaijani citizenship. Dual citizens may renounce their Azerbaijani citizenship at any Azerbaijani Embassy or Consulate.
Azerbaijan has a mostly cash economy. Traveler’s checks are accepted only in some hotels and banks. Credit cards are becoming more widely used, but as their usage rises, there has been a corresponding increase in credit and debit card-related crime (see Crime section).
Azerbaijani customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Azerbaijan of items such as firearms, religious materials, antiquities (including carpets), medications, and caviar, and any amount of currency over $1,000 USD. Visitors who purchase carpets will generally require an export permit issued by the State Museum of Azerbaijan Carpet and Applied Art; many carpet-selling shops will obtain that permit for the buyer for a fee. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Please see our Customs Information for additional information.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals are not specifically enumerated in antidiscrimination laws. While there are no legal impediments to the organization of LGBT events, strong societal discrimination generally prevents these events from being organized. LGBT individuals have reported that although the law prohibits dismissal of employees for reasons related to sexual orientation, employers find other reasons to dismiss them. An Azerbaijani non-governmental organization reported at least eight police raids directed at LGBT persons in the first 10 months of 2013. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Azerbaijan, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Azerbaijan, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. Many older buildings, including buildings visited by tourists, do not have elevators or facilities to accommodate handicap access. Outside of major international hotels in Baku, there are few handicap- accessible toilets. Accessibility for those with disabilities, including stores, sidewalks, road crossings, most tourists spots, and public transportation is lacking throughout the country. There are no laws mandating access to public or other buildings, information, or communications for persons with disabilities.
There is one Western-type medical clinic operating in Baku, run by International SOS, which provides 24-hour care of quality comparable to that in Western countries. It is adequate for urgent care and minor acute medical problems only. Surgeries, unless urgent for life-saving problems, are not advisable here. Bring adequate amounts of prescription medicines for the duration of your visit, as pharmacies often do not carry all brands or doses.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information. Tuberculosis (TB), especially in multi drug-resistant forms, is an increasingly serious health concern in Azerbaijan. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Azerbaijan, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Fatalities from traffic accidents are high and continue to rise each year. The information below concerning Azerbaijan is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Azerbaijan is rebuilding its roadway system. Although the newer sections of the road system are a marked improvement, the older sections are poorly constructed and poorly lighted. There are unfinished road sections that are extremely dangerous due to lack of proper construction and hazard signage.
Driving hazards, such as open manholes, debris, and potholes are common in Baku. Many drivers do not pay attention to traffic regulations, signals, lane markings, pedestrians, or other drivers. Drivers often travel at extremely high speeds, and accidents are frequent and often serious. Pedestrians often do not use crosswalks to cross the street and often stand in the median between lanes of traffic, even at night. Driving in Baku should be considered extremely hazardous. Outside the city, even where roads are present, conditions are similar. Roads are often in poor repair and unlighted, and they lack lane markings, traffic signs, and warnings. Many rural roads are largely unpaved.
Throughout Azerbaijan, traffic police enforce traffic laws inconsistently, and routine traffic stops are common. If stopped, drivers should have all required documents with them, including passport or local registration documents, driver’s license, vehicle registration documents, and proof of insurance. Talking on a cell phone while driving carries a fine of AZN 50 ($64 USD). Driving under the influence carries a fine of AZN 80-100 ($102-$128 USD) and 5 points. If you get 10 points in one year, the fine is AZN 120-150 AZN ($153-$191 USD) and 2 years’ suspension of your driver’s license.
Most taxis in Baku are unregulated and not metered. Older Russian-produced cars used as private taxis are widely regarded as unsafe. Visitors must negotiate the fare before entering a taxi. A fleet of new, London-style, purple taxis was deployed in Baku two years ago. They are metered and can be found near most places catering to tourists.
Although the city of Baku has invested in new buses, and the quality of its underground metro system is very good, public transportation throughout the remainder of the country remains overcrowded and poorly maintained.
Sidewalks and pedestrian plazas often use marble paving stones. Marble is particularly slippery when wet and during icy conditions. Falling on the paving can cause serious injury. Therefore, extreme care should be taken when walking during rainy or icy conditions.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Azerbaijan’s State Civil Aviation Administration is in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Travelers on regional airlines in the Caucasus may experience delays and sudden cancellations of flights. Even basic safety features such as seat belts are sometimes missing. Air travel to Azerbaijan on international carriers via Europe is typically more reliable.