Armenia - Consular Information Sheet
August 23, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Armenia, located in the southern
Caucasus Mountains, is the smallest of the former Soviet republics.
It is a nation still emerging from its Soviet past. Armenia's
borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan are closed due to the dispute
over the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
Long transportation routes and economic difficulties limit the
availability of imported goods, though the extreme shortages of
the early- and mid-1990s have eased significantly. Tourist facilities,
especially outside of Yerevan, the capital, are not highly developed,
and many of the goods and services taken for granted in other
countries may be difficult to obtain. Travelers frequently experience
problems with local officials seeking bribes to perform basic
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Passport and visa required. For further
information on entry requirements contact the Armenian Embassy
at 2225 R St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 tel. (202) 319-1976;
the Armenian Consulate General in Los Angeles at 50 N. La Cienega
Blvd., Suite 210, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, tel. (310) 657-6102
or visit the
Armenian Embassy's website at http://www.armeniaemb.org.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all
Armenian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also
be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Armenian
citizens. For additional information, see the
Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov
for our Dual
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Security personnel may at times place
foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones and
fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel
rooms may be searched. Taking photographs of anything that could
be perceived as being of national security interest may result
in problems with authorities.
Since 1988, armed conflict has taken place in and around the
self-proclaimed "Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh," a breakaway
autonomous republic of Azerbaijan. A cease-fire has been in effect
since May 1994, although there have been some reports of minor
violations. Travelers should exercise caution near the Armenia-Azerbaijan
border and consult the Consular Information Sheet for Azerbaijan
if considering travel to Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenian territory.
Armenia's land borders with Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the Nakhichevan
Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan remain closed and continue to
be patrolled by armed troops who stop all persons attempting to
cross. There are still land mines in numerous areas in and near
the conflict zones.
CRIME: Armenia has a low rate of violent crime, but common
street crime has increased, especially at night. Generally incidents
are limited to pickpocketing and other petty thefts. However,
expatriates have been victims of several attacks involving knives
in the last year. Robberies on board train service to Georgia
are a problem. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should
be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S.
Embassy or Consulate. The Department of State's pamphlet A
Safe Trip Abroad provides useful information on guarding
valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad.
Additional information on the region can be found in the brochure
for Travelers to Russia and the Newly Independent States.
Both publications are available from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su
docs, or http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Though there are many competent physicians,
medical care facilities in Armenia are limited, especially outside
the major cities. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of English
speaking physicians in the area. There is a severe shortage of
basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics,
and antibiotics. Elderly travelers and those with existing health
problems may be at risk due to inadequate medical facilities.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including
emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the u.s. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare
provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions, which differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Armenia is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of public transportation: Fair
Urban road condition/ maintenance: Fair
Rural road condition/maintenance: Poor
Availability of roadside assistance: Poor
Travel in Armenia requires caution. Public transportation, while
very inexpensive, may be unreliable and uncomfortable. Travel
at night is not recommended and winter travel can be extremely
hazardous in mountain areas and higher elevations.
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 even on recently
Secondary roads are normally in poor condition and are often
unpaved and washed out in places. Street and road signs are poor
to nonexistent. Truck traffic is not heavy except on the main
road linking Yerevan to the Iranian border.
Though crime on the roads is rare, the police themselves often
seek bribes at periodic checkpoints on main routes. Drivers in
Armenia often take great risks, and traffic laws are frequently
ignored. This problem is only slightly offset by the fact that
congestion on city streets is light.
Furthermore, pedestrians are as prone to risky behavior as the
drivers are. Travelers driving in towns at night should be especially
cautious. In the cities, a pedestrian dressed all in black crossing
an unlit street in the middle of the block is a common occurrence.
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.
additional general information about road safety, including links
to foreign government sites, see the Department of State,
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
road safety information from other sources in Armenia (http://www.international.fhwa.dot.gov/links/intl.cfm).
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority
to operate such service, between the U.S. and Armenia, the U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Armenia's
Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation
safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact
the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the
FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: 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. For export of antiquities
and other items, which could have historical value, such as paintings,
carpets or other artisan goods, a special authorization is required
in advance from the Armenian Ministry of Culture. It is advisable
to contact the Embassy of Armenia in Washington or consulate in
Los Angeles for specific information regarding customs requirements.
CRIMINAL PENATIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Person's violating
Armenian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Armenia are strict and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Armenia remains largely a cash-only
economy, and credit cards are accepted at some businesses, but
not at hotels. Limited facilities exist for cashing traveler's
checks and wiring money into the country. Dollars are readily
exchanged at market rates.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Armenia is an earthquake- and landslide-prone
country. In addition to these natural disasters, the possibility
of chlorine gas spills and radiation poisoning due to industrial
accidents exists. General information about natural disaster preparedness
is available via the Internet from the
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov.
All U.S. citizens visiting Armenia are advised to register at
the consular section of the U.S. Embassy upon arrival.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATION: Americans
are living in or visiting Armenia are encouraged to register at
the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Armenia and obtain
updated information on travel and security within Armenia. The
U.S. Embassy in Yerevan is located at 18 General Bagramian Street,
telephone 011 (3741) 151-551 and fax 011 (3741) 151-550. The consular
section is open from 9:00 AM until 5:30 PM, with time reserved
for American citizen services from 2:00 PM until 5:30 PM Monday
through Friday. For more information visit the
Embassy of Armenia's Internet home page at http://www.armeniaemb.org.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September
14, 1999 to add or update information on Entry Requirements, Crime,
Medical Facilities, Medical Insurance, Traffic Safety and Road
Conditions, Aviation Safety Oversight, Customs Regulations, Criminal
Penalties, Disaster Preparedness, Registration/Embassy and Consulate
Location and to remove Y2K Information.