COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Armenia is a constitutional republic with a developing economy. Tourist facilities, especially outside the capital city of Yerevan, are not very developed, and many of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries may be difficult to obtain. Read the Department of State’s Factsheet on Armenia for more information on U.S.- Armenian relations.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Armenia, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. By enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.
U.S. citizens living in Armenia with no Internet access may register with the U.S. Embassy using Internet access terminals through American Corners. American Corners in Armenia are located in Yerevan (4/1 Nalbandanyan St, tel. 374 10 56 13 83), Gyumri (68 Shirakatsi St, tel. 374 312 2 21 53), Vanadzor (25, Vardanants St, tel. 374 322 2 16 72), and Kapan (6, Shahumyan St, tel. 374 285 2 21 51).
Local embassy information is available at the Department of State list of embassies and consulates.
U.S. Embassy Yerevan
1 American Avenue
Embassy switchboard: 374 10 46 47 00
Emergency after-hours telephone: 374 10 49 44 44
Facsimile: 374 46 47 37
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: You need a passport and a visa to enter Armenia. You may purchase visas online in advance for a stay of up to 120 days at the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Several different visas are available at Armenian ports of entry, though the most commonly issued types are a single-entry visa valid for 21 days for a fee of 3,000 Armenian Drams (approx. $8), a single-entry visa valid for 120 days for a fee of 15,000 Armenian Drams (approx. $40), or a multiple-entry visa valid for 60 days for a fee of 20,000 Armenian Drams (approx. $54). All holders of official or diplomatic passports must have a valid visa upon arrival at the port of entry. Visas for up to 120 days may be obtained at the Armenian Embassy in Washington, D.C. or at the Armenian Consulate General in Los Angeles, for a fee of $40. For further information on entry requirements, contact the Armenian Embassy at 2225 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 319-1976 and (202) 319-2982; or the Armenian Consulate General in Los Angeles at 50 N. La Cienega Blvd., Suite 210, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, tel. (310) 657-7320. Visit the Embassy of Armenia’s website for the most current visa fee schedule.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Armenia.
Please verify this information with the Embassy of Armenia before you travel.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be viewed on the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Additional information about Armenian citizenshipcan also be found on the Embassy of Armenia’s website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Separatists, with Armenia’s support, continue to control most of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other Azerbaijani territories. The final status of Nagorno-Karabakh remainsthe subject of international mediation by the OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by Russia, France, and the United States, and acease-fire has been in effect since 1994. Be extremely cautious near the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian positions in and around Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, as intermittent gunfire continues, often resulting in injuries and/or deaths. Because of the existing state of hostilities, consular services are not available to U.S. citizens in Nagorno-Karabakh. Please consult the Country-Specific Information for Azerbaijan for supplemental information.
Armenia has land borders with Turkey, Iran, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. The borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan remain closed and continue to be patrolled by armed troops and/or border guards who stop all people attempting to cross. Although de-mining operations have been largely completed, isolated land mines remain in some areas in and near the conflict zones with Azerbaijan and the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
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.
Political rallies often occur around elections and other political events; there have been no such violent confrontations since 2008. Visitors should be mindful that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful could turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. Information regarding demonstrations that have been brought to the attention of the U.S. Embassy can be found on the Messages for U.S. Citizens section of the Embassy website.
Armenia is an earthquake- and landslide-prone country. A Soviet-era nuclear power plant is located in Metsamor, approximately 30 kilometers southwest of Yerevan.
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CRIME: Crime against foreigners is relatively rare in Armenia. Break-ins-- particularly of vehicles-- and theft are the most common crimes, but there have been instances of violent crime. While the incidence of violent crime remains lower than in most U.S. cities, you should exercise caution. Several U.S. investors have also reported being involved in disputes over property ownership, and have had to seek legal recourse through long, and often unsuccessful, court proceedings.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
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:
There is an emergency hotline in Armenia that can be reached by dialing 911. In addition, in case of emergency, one can dial 101 for fire, 102 for police, 103 for medical emergencies, and 104 for gas leaks.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Armenia, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own, and criminal penalties vary from country to country. There are some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but 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 Armenia, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not where you are traveling.
Armenia strictly enforces its laws relating to the possession, trafficking, and use of illegal drugs, including marijuana. Further, Armenia prohibits receipt of packages that contain illegal drugs, including small amounts of marijuana. Persons arrested for violating Armenia’s drug laws may be detained for lengthy periods of time while the investigations proceed, and if convicted, face significant prison sentences.
Authorities of Armenia are required to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request that police or prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Armenia remains largely a cash-only economy. Credit cards are accepted at some businesses, including major hotels and restaurants in Yerevan, but rarely outside of the capital. Limited facilities exist for cashing traveler's checks and wiring money into the country. There are a number of ATMs in the center of Yerevan. Card skimming is on the rise at ATMs throughout Armenia. Dollars are readily exchanged at market rates. You may experience problems with local officials seeking bribes to perform basic duties. Armenian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Armenia of items such as firearms, pornographic materials, medication, and communications equipment. To export antiquities and other items that could have historical value, such as paintings, carpets, old books, or other artisanal goods, you need to get special authorization in advance from the Armenian Ministry of Culture. Please contact the Embassy of Armenia in Washington, D.C. or Armenia’s Consulate General in Los Angeles for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Dual nationals: Armenian legislation permits Armenian citizens to hold dual citizenship. U.S. citizens who emigrated from Armenia to the United States and subsequently acquired U.S. citizenship without explicitly giving up their Armenian citizenship are required by Armenian law to document their Armenian citizenship by obtaining an Armenian passport. Armenian citizens are entitled to certain rights, such as the right to vote in Armenian elections, though Armenian citizenship also entails specific legal obligations, including military service for certain males (see below). U.S. citizens interested in obtaining Armenian citizenship must register their dual citizenship with the Passport and Visa Department of the Police of the Republic of Armenia (formerly OVIR) by simply presenting proof of their other citizenship (e.g. passport). For more information, please consult with the Passport and Visa Department of the Police (tel.: 374 53 69 42) and/or the Foreign Ministry's website.
Armenian law requires that all Armenian citizens enter and depart Armenia on their Armenian passports. If you are an Armenian citizen according the law of the Republic of Armenia, you will be required to obtain an Armenian passport prior to departing Armenia. The law applies to children considered Armenian citizens under Armenian law, including children born in the United States to two Armenian citizens, even if those children have never held an Armenian passport. Individuals who are dual citizens, or could be dual citizens, should inquire with the Armenian Embassy in Washington, D.C. prior to traveling to Armenia to determine if they will be required to obtain an Armenian passport to depart Armenia at the end of their visit. The full text of the Armenian Law on Citizenship is available online.
Compulsory military service: In addition to being subject to all Armenian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals are also subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Armenian citizens. Male U.S. citizens over the age of 18 who are also considered to be Armenian citizens are subject to conscription and compulsory military service upon arrival, and to other aspects of Armenian law while in Armenia. Armenian authorities have regularly detained U.S. citizens on these grounds upon their arrival in or attempted departure from Armenia. In most cases, ethnic-Armenian travelers over the age of 18 accused of evading Armenian military service obligations are immediately detained and later found guilty of draft evasion. Penalties for those convicted are stiff and include jail time or a substantial fine. Those who may be affected are strongly advised to consult with Armenian officials at an Armenian embassy or consulate regarding their status before traveling.
LGBT RIGHTS: There are no specific laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Armenia, though there are no legal impediments to the organization of LGBT events. However, traditional cultural attitudes result in LGBT individuals often facing de-facto discrimination and harassment by state and private actors. For further information on LGBT travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Though there are many competent physicians in Armenia, medical care facilities are limited, especially outside the major cities. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of English-speaking physicians in the area. Most prescription medications are available, but the quality varies. Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities.
Good information on vaccinations and other health precautions can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Accessibility: While in Armenia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what they find in the United States. Although Armenia signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007, Armenian authorities have yet to enforce it. Therefore, assistance for handicapped individuals’ needs, i.e., handicapped parking and/or wheelchair ramps, is nonexistent. This can make it difficult to frequent restaurants, stores and clubs.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You cannot assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It is very important to find out BEFORE you leave. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover visits to doctors and hospitals in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip, including medical evacuation insurance coverage. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Armenia, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Travel in Armenia requires caution. Public transportation, while very inexpensive, may be unreliable and uncomfortable. Minibuses are more dangerous than other forms of public transportation. These vehicles are often overcrowded and poorly maintained, commonly lack safety measures, including seatbelts, and are frequently involved in accidents.
Drivers in Armenia frequently ignore traffic laws, making roadways unsafe for unsuspecting travelers. Those driving in towns at night should be especially cautious. Pedestrians often fail to take safety precautions, and in cities at night, it is common for pedestrians in dark clothing to cross unlighted streets in the middle of the block. “Road rage” is becoming a serious problem on Armenian streets and highways. To reduce your risk of being a victim of aggression, yield to aggressive drivers. Though crime along roadways is rare, the police sometimes seek bribes during traffic stops and sometimes harass drivers using U.S. or international driver’s licenses.
We recommend that U.S. citizens not travel at night due to poor road conditions. Winter travel can also be extremely hazardous, especially in mountain areas and higher elevations. Areas near the line of contact with Azerbaijan remain potentially dangerous. The previous restriction on travel via the Ijevan-Noyemberyan Highway by U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. Government and their family members was recently lifted. Individuals traveling between Nerkin Voskepar and Baghanis should use the “new road,” which is about 5 km longer.
On weekends, the number of intoxicated drivers on Armenian roads increases. Be extra careful on the main highway from Yerevan to the resort areas of Tsaghkadzor and Sevan. Traffic police will attempt to stop individuals driving erratically and dangerously, but the police presence outside of Yerevan is limited.
With the exception of a few major arteries, primary roads are frequently in poor repair with sporadic stretches of missing pavement and large potholes. Some roads shown as primary roads on maps are unpaved and can narrow to one lane in width, while some newer road connections have not yet been marked on recently produced maps. Secondary roads are normally in poor condition and are often unpaved and washed out in certain areas. Signage is poor to nonexistent. Truck traffic is heavy on the main roads linking Yerevan to Iran and Georgia. Police and emergency medical services may take considerable time to reach remote regions.
The quality of gasoline in Armenia ranges from good at some of the more reliable stations in cities to very poor. The gasoline and other fuels sold out of jars, barrels, and trucks by independent roadside merchants should be considered very unreliable.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Armenia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Armenia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Armenia dated November 13, 2012 to Country Description, Entry/Exit Requirements for U.S. citizens, Threats to Safety and Security, Criminal Penalties, LGBT Rights, and Aviation Safety Oversight.