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Armenia travel guide

About Armenia

It might be a small nation, but Armenia is big on character. Its 20th century history was troubled and relations with neighbouring Turkey are still fractious to put it mildly – although a visit to the country today is more likely to be dominated by its medieval treasures than its more recent past.

The welcome is rarely anything less than warm – and usually accompanied by brandy – and the countryside itself is often breathtakingly beautiful. Tourist numbers are generally low, but you’ll find yourself wondering why.

This is a country with serious historical legacy. Christianity arrived in AD 301 and Armenia proudly calls itself the world's oldest Christian nation. Religion still tends to play a large part in visitor itineraries – from the centuries-old monasteries that stud the hilly Lori region to the mists-of-time bibles at the wonderful Museum of Ancient Manuscripts – but Armenia is changing.

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the country has re-embraced its traditions while moving on. Much of this progress is focused on the capital city of Yerevan. Loomed over on clear days by Mount Ararat across the border, it is the nation's hub of cultural activity and progressive thought, with a lively modern arts scene and plenty of large-scale redevelopment.

Armenia has a large diaspora population – there are thousands of Armenian Americans – and a lot of wealth has been brought back into the country as a result. But the passions that underpin life here, from patriotism to religion, chess to cognac, aren’t the sort that cost millions. Cafe culture has been perfected and it's de rigueur to spend inordinate amounts of time lingering over a conversation. Armenian food is another treat – expect mounds of grilled meats and vegetables straight from the nearest garden.

Around the country, travel highlights include the charming little town of Goris and the arty mountain settlement of Dilijan, but exploration anywhere in Armenia is likely to reap rewards.

Key facts

Area:

29,743 sq km (11,484 sq miles).

Population:

3,026,048 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

102.8 per sq km.

Capital:

Yerevan.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President Armen Sarkissian since 2018.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan since 2018.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Armenia on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Commercial flights to and from Armenia remain limited. Check with your travel company for the latest information.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Armenia.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Armenia

You must wear a facemask in all public or private transport, and in all public spaces. Breaches of mask-wearing protocols are subject to a 10,000AMD fine.

You should follow the advice of the Armenian authorities on permitted activities.

Accommodation

Hotels and private rental accommodations are able to operate in Armenia during the pandemic, though several hotels remain closed from the earlier suspension of international tourism. You should check with accommodation providers before travel. Hotels are subject to government protocols on social distancing and the wearing of facemasks.

Public places and services

Shops, restaurants/cafes and manufacturing industries are currently able to operate in Armenia, with restrictions governing social distancing and the wearing of facemasks. Schools and universities have now reopened.

Health

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Armenia

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Armenia

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. As further information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. Sign up to get email notifications.

The Armenian Health authorities are administering vaccines free of charge through its extensive network of Polyclinics. Foreign nationals can also receive vaccines free of charge. Vaccine availability may fluctuate. Contact a convenient Polyclinic to register interest.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organization COVID-19 vaccines page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Military activity

A ceasefire agreement has been signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan to end the military action in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. As part of the agreement a Russian peacekeeping operation has been deployed to the area and will monitor Armenian populated areas of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin Corridor.

We advise against all travel within 5km of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Crime

Crime levels are low. But there are occasional incidents of pick pocketing, bag snatching, theft from cars and burglary involving British or other foreign nationals. Although tourists and foreigners have not been targeted, there is a risk of being caught up in such events and you should remain vigilant at all times.

  • don’t carry your passport, credit card, travel tickets and money together.
  • leave spare cash, passports and valuables in a safe place. Always carry a copy of your passport with you but separate from other items such as credit cards.
  • take the same personal safety precautions on the street and when using ATMs as you would in the UK. 
  • take particular care if using an ATM after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.

Never part with money or share personal information including date of birth, address or financial information to someone that you have never met.

Local travel

The FCDO advise against all travel within 5km of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and along the M16/H26 road between the towns of Ijevan and Noyemberyan.

The border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is closed. There have been frequent violations of historical ceasefires between these countries from military emplacements along the border. There have been periods of increased tension which can make the security situation in border regions unpredictable.

The land border with Turkey is also closed, although there are occasional direct flights between Yerevan and Istanbul.

Armenia’s borders with Iran and Georgia are currently closed to passenger traffic due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Travelling in the South Caucasus can be unpredictable and infrastructure is sometimes in a poor state of repair. You should plan your travel carefully.

Road travel

From 28 March 2019, you will need to have a 1968 International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Armenia. From 1 February 2019, 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.

The local standard of driving is poor. Be prepared for drivers who drive recklessly and flout traffic laws. Roads are in a poor state, particularly in the coldest months (November to February). If possible you should avoid driving outside of cities and towns in the dark because of the poor condition of the roads and lack of street lighting. If you are walking, be careful when crossing roads and use subways where available.

Avoid using local buses or minibuses as they are often poorly maintained and overcrowded.

Rail travel

Public transport is often overcrowded and poorly maintained. If you have to travel by train, secure your valuables, do not leave the compartment unattended, and lock the door from the inside. 

Air travel

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

You can see a list of airlines banned from operating within the EU on the  European Commission website. 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 can’t 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 doesn’t necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

Political situation

The dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh remains unresolved. Consular support is not available in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Although a ceasefire exists, the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is closed, as is the boundary between those parts of Nagorno-Karabakh controlled by Armenians and by Azerbaijan.

Russian peacekeepers have been deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh, but tensions remain. The border areas between Armenia and Azerbaijan also contain mines and unexploded ordnance. Any foreigners venturing within 5km of these borders are liable to be stopped by the police or the military.

Telephone and internet communications

Communication by telephone and e-mail can sometimes be difficult especially in the regions. Not all British mobile phones work in Armenia; check for coverage before leaving the UK if you intend to rely on it.

Access to wifi in cafes and restaurants in Yerevan is generally widespread. Outside major cities access to wifi in public places is not guaranteed. Most hotels offer a wifi service but it can sometimes be unreliable. Make sure family and friends who expect regular contact are aware of this to avoid unnecessary worry.

Although there is no recent history of terrorism in Armenia, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Carry a photocopy of your passport as identification at all times.

The use of illegal drugs carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. The penalty for smuggling drugs carries a prison term of between 4 to 10 years.

Outside Yerevan, social attitudes can be conservative, including with regards to what is appropriate dress for women.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in 2003 but is still viewed with disapproval by many Armenians. LGBT people in Armenia tend to be discreet about their sexuality. Local LGBT groups occasionally suffer from verbal and physical harassment. Physical contact between members of the same sex, such as holding hands and kissing, are common signs of friendship in Armenian culture, and not necessarily an indicator of sexual orientation. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Don’t photograph sites such as military bases, equipment and installations. These are considered sensitive areas and visitors have been detained and questioned while attempting to photograph them.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Restrictions in response to coronavirus

Arrivals are subject to self-isolation and/or testing requirements (see following section). Face-masks must be worn in all public spaces.

Testing / screening on arrival

You can now enter Armenia with a negative PCR test certificate issued a maximum of 72 hours prior to arrival or a certificate of complete COVID-19 vaccination with the second dose taken at least 14 days before entering the country. You should not use the NHS PCR testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

If you arrive without a certificate, and have no symptoms, you can pay for a PCR test at Zvartnots airport or the land border crossing from Georgia. You must then isolate until you receive a negative result.

More information on the process for taking a PCR test, and a list of COVID-19 testing laboratories in Armenia, is available on the Zvartnots International Airport website.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status

Armenia has not yet confirmed that it will accept the UK solutions for demonstrating your COVID vaccination status. You should follow guidance for alternative entry requirements. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination.

Entry borders to Armenia

On 12 January 2021, Armenia reopened its land borders with Georgia and Iran to foreign nationals. However, both neighbouring countries retain their own strict border controls in response to COVID-19. You should check Georgia and Iran entry/exit requirements before attempting to cross land borders to/from Armenia.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

British Citizen passport holders can stay in Armenia without a visa up to 180 days per year.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Armenia.

Dual nationality

Under Armenian law, children who travel to Armenia on a British passport with parents who enter on an Armenian passport will require an Armenian passport to leave the country. The child may be detained on departure if he/she can’t produce one. For further details, check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Armenia website.

Registration

If you intend to stay in Armenia longer than 180 days, you must register with the OVIR (Administration Department for Passports and Visas):

Address: Davtashen, 4th District, 31/2 Building, Yerevan, Armenia 0054

Tel: 00 374 11 361394, 00 374 11 369140

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Armenia.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Armenia on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Armenia.

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 reciprocal healthcare agreement between the UK and Armenia terminated on 1 January 2016.

Medical facilities are generally poor, particularly outside Yerevan, and treatment is not recommended for anything other than minor or straightforward ailments. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

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.

Armenia is in an active seismic zone. The last serious earthquake was in 1988 in the Lori region in the north. It killed between 25,000 and 50,000 people, injured thousands and left several cities in ruins.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Cash can be changed at banks and in exchange bureaux. British pounds may be less readily accepted outside Yerevan than US dollars or Euros.

Most major credit cards and UK debit cards are accepted at stores and restaurants in Yerevan but far less so outside the capital. Prices for goods and services are sometimes quoted in US dollars, but by law payment must be made in Armenian Dram.

There are many ATMs in Yerevan. They accept major credit cards and debit cards with the Maestro/Cirrus or Visa sign displayed on the card.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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