Azerbaijan Travel Information

Last modified: August 28, 2023
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Passengers having a connection flight within the European Union member states or USA, are not permitted to carry any previously purchased duty-free products (over 100ml) as hand luggage even in sealed bags. Duty-free liquids bought on the plane or purchased after the security checkpoint at last point of departure are allowed.

The FCDO advise against all travel to:

  • Nagorno-Karabakh
  • The rayons of Zengilan, Jabrayil, Qubadli, Lachin and Kelbajar. Western areas of Khojavand, Fuzuli and Aghdam rayons.
  • within 5km of the border with Armenia
  • A ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan was signed on 10 November 2020. However, tensions remain and you should monitor local developments and announcements closely. You are advised against all travel to the above mentioned areas and restrictions on accessing some of these areas are in place.

Crime

Crime levels in Baku are generally low, but muggings do occur from time to time after dark in the centre of town around the western bars and clubs and near dimly lit entrances of private apartments. Take sensible precautions: be vigilant, avoid carrying large sums of money and don’t walk alone at night. Try to arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible by a private/company driver, or a known taxi firm.

You can report a crime at any local police station or by telephoning the police on 102. English speaking staff are available on the telephone, but when reporting a crime at a police station take someone with you who can interpret. Don’t sign any documents you don’t understand.

We are aware of ad hoc reports of foreign national residents being asked to make undocumented payments while making car journeys or seeking medical treatment. If you think you have been mistreated by an official then you should report your case to the relevant government department.

Local travel

The FCDO advise against all travel to Nagorno-Karabakh as well as a number of surrounding rayons. See Safety and security page for full details. Consular support is not available in the areas of Nagorno-Karabakh region not under Azerbaijani control. The Nagorno-Karabakh area is the subject of a continuing dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and although the latest cease-fire was signed on 10 November 2020, tensions remain and you should monitor local developments and announcements closely. Some areas may be heavily land mined or littered with unexploded ordnances (UXOs). If you come across an UXO do not approach it, or touch it. Make a note of where it was spotted, and notify the authorities on 102 or 112. Be aware that there may be more UXOs nearby.

According to Azerbaijani legislation, entering Nagorno-Karabakh without the permission of the Azerbaijani authorities constitutes a criminal offence. There have been some recent reports that the government of Azerbaijan has started criminal proceedings against foreign citizens, including British nationals, for visiting and working in Nagorno-Karabakh without official permission. It’s possible that these proceedings could include requests for individuals who are outside Azerbaijan to be extradited to Azerbaijan to stand trial.

The borders between Iran and Azerbaijan, and Georgia and Azerbaijan are temporarily closed.

The land border between Azerbaijan and Russia (Dagestan) is also closed. The FCDO continues to advises against all travel to Dagestan (for further details, see our travel advice page for Russia.

Road travel

You need to have a 1968 International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Azerbaijan. 1949 IDPs previously issued by the UK may no longer be accepted for use in Azerbaijan. 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.

If you’re temporarily or permanently resident in Azerbaijan, after one month of your residence permit being issued you will only be able to drive with an Azerbaijan-issued driving licence. Driving licences are issued through ASAN Service Offices.

If you’re planning to hire a car, check with your car hire company for information on their requirements before you travel
Right hand drive cars are not permitted in Azerbaijan.

Many cars are poorly maintained, and the standard of driving is erratic. Accidents are common, mainly due to poor or reckless driving and inconsistent enforcement of traffic rules. One-way only signs are often ignored and road closures and diversions are not marked. Traffic lights are often switched to flashing amber at night, which means both directions can proceed with caution.

There are a variety of taxi options available in Baku including private hire, app-based, and London-style metered cabs. Some visitors have reported being severely over-charged by local taxis. When using taxis you should agree a fare up front, or make sure the taxi meter is switched on. You should also check that the taxi has working seatbelts.

Take care when driving particularly at night. Many roads are of poor quality and badly lit.

Drink driving laws are strict and there is a zero limit on drinking alcohol and driving. Observe the speed limit and make sure you have adequate insurance.

If you’re in a vehicle that’s travelling at an unsafe speed you should instruct the driver to slow down.

In the winter months snowfall often causes problems. Keep a blanket, shovel, torch, snacks and old carpet (to help if you get stuck in snow) if you intend to travel out of Baku in the winter months, or if heavy snowfall is forecast in Baku.

See the RAC guide on driving in Azerbaijan.

Rail travel

The Baku Metro is reasonably maintained and has basic safety equipment and procedures. Signs are in Azerbaijani and English. There are police at each station and security checks of bags and belongings.

If you travel by overland train, secure your valuables, don’t leave the compartment unattended, and lock the door from the inside.

Air travel

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

In 2020, an International Civil Aviation Organisation audit of aviation safety oversight found that the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in Azerbaijan was generally above the global average.

The European Commission publishes a list of airlines banned from operating within the EU. 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 is unable to 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 does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

Political situation

The political situation in Azerbaijan is generally calm, but demonstrations and opposition rallies can occur.
You should avoid large gatherings and any demonstrations. These could escalate without warning. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible safety or security risks and be alert to local and regional developments, which may trigger public disturbances. British media representatives should make sure they are clearly identifiable.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Healthcare

The UK does not have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Azerbaijan.

Medical facilities outside 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. Make sure your insurance covers this.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 103 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

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