The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Armenia. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
Irish passport holders do not require a visa to enter Armenia. Irish passport holders can remain in Armenia for up to 180 days per year.
Pursuant to the Governmental Decree of the Republic of Armenia No. 1255-N dated October 4, 2012, the citizens of the EU member-states and the Schengen Acquis states shall be exempted from the visa requirement for travel to and stay in the Republic of Armenia beginning from January 10, 2013. As of the specified date the citizens of the above mentioned countries shall be entitled to stay in Armenia without a visa within a period of up to 180 days per year.
If you wish to stay longer than 180 days, you should apply for a temporary or permanent residency permit from the OVIR office (Administration Department for Passports and Visas) in Yerevan. Overstaying a residency permit can result in immediate deportation and a ban on re-entering Armenia territory for up to one year.
For further immigration information and visa requirements for Armenia, please contact the Embassy of Armenia to Ireland which is located in London. Details are as follows:
Dual national passport holders entering Armenia using their Armenian passport and travelling with children on an Irish passport should make themselves aware of Armenian nationality law before entering the country.
Under Armenian Law a child of an Armenian passport holder is automatically regarded as Armenian. This can have implications for applications for visa extensions or when leaving Armenia, as the Armenian authorities may request that an Armenian passport be produced.
Safety and Security
We advise against non-essential travel near the border of Azerbaijan, particularly the areas of Tavush and Gegharkunik. The border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is closed. We advise against travelling on the road from Ijevan to Noyemeryan and on the roads beyond Berd. The dispute over Nagorno Karabakh remains unresolved. Although a ceasefire has been in place since May 1994, the borders between Azerbaijan and both Armenia and Armenian occupied territory remain closed. There are still occasional exchanges of fire and the border areas contain mines and unexploded ordnance. Any foreigners venturing within 20 kilometres of these borders are likely to be stopped by the police or the military.
Political demonstrations may take place in central Yerevan, particularly close to the Opera Theatre, and in other cities and towns around the country. We recommend that you avoid demonstrations and large gatherings of people if at all possible. Sometimes such demonstrations, even if intended to be peaceful, can turn confrontational. If it is necessary to be in the vicinity of a demonstration or gatherings, we advise you to exercise vigilance and caution at all times.
The land border with Turkey is closed, but there are direct flights from Yerevan to Istanbul with Armavia.
Crime remains relatively low in Armenia but tourists should take sensible precautions. You should not carry your passport, credit card, travel tickets and money together. We advise you to leave spare cash, passports and valuables in a safe place. We also advise that you take the same personal safety precautions on the street and when using ATMs as you would at home. Avoid using them after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
Local Laws and Customs
Armenia is an orthodox Christian country and women can usually dress in normal western-style clothing. Outside the capital however, people are more conservative.
Common sense should dictate that you refrain from photographing sites such as military bases, equipment and installations in whatever condition. These are considered sensitive areas and visitors have been detained and questioned while attempting to photograph them.
You should also be aware of cultural sensitivities when photographing churches and other religious sites. If in doubt, seek permission.
Homosexuality was decriminalised in August 2003 but it is still an unacceptable lifestyle for the majority of Armenians. We advise travellers to exercise discretion on visits to Armenia.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Armenia is in an active seismic zone. The last serious earthquake, in 1988, was centred in the Lori region in the north, killing between 25,000 and 50,000 people, injuring thousands and leaving several cities in ruins.
Additional Country Info
The local standard of driving is poor and roads can be bad. If you plan to drive in Armenia, you should be prepared for drivers who drive recklessly and flout traffic laws. If you are walking, you should be careful when crossing roads.
Driving in Armenia is on the right-hand side of the road.
Irish learner permits are not valid outside of Ireland. You should hold a full driving licence to drive in Armenia. An international driver’s licence, obtainable from the AA, is also recommended.
Public transport tends to be crowded and poorly maintained. Buses run at irregular times and may be difficult to negotiate if you do not speak Armenian or Russian.
Taxis are relatively cheap and accessible in Yerevan. They can be hailed easily on the street. Check that the meter is running. If there is no meter, negotiate a price for the journey before starting your journey. Average prices for journeys in the city centre are in the region of 700-1000 dram.
We recommend flying to Armenia on a scheduled international flight. Western airlines currently serving Armenia are Air France, Austrian Airlines, BMI, CSA Czech Airlines and Lufthansa.
Medical facilities are generally poor and treatment is not recommended for anything other than minor ailments. You are strongly advised to obtain comprehensive medical as well as travel insurance before travelling. This should include cover for medical air evacuation in the event of serious injury or illness. We recommend that you check with your doctor for any vaccinations that you may need.
Cheques and credit cards are not generally used within Armenia. Prices for goods and services are often quoted in US Dollars, but by law, payment must be made in the Armenian Dram. Many ATMs can be found in Yerevan from which you can draw money using Maestro or Visa cards. Foreign currency exchanges are also available in branches of the major banks, exchange bureaus and in some supermarkets. We recommend that you avoid exchanging money on the street. You can use Maestro credit and debit cards to pay in some of the big shops or restaurants in Yerevan.
DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATION IN ARMENIA
Irish Diplomatic and Consular Relations with Armenia are handled by the Embassy of Ireland in Sofia, Bulgaria.
We strongly advise all Irish citizens travelling to or resident in Armenia to register their details with the Consular Section of the Irish Embassy in Sofia at the link above. Further information and contact details are available on the Embassy's website at www.embassyofireland.bg
Irish citizens requiring emergency assistance or advice in Armenia can make contact with the Embassy in Sofia on +359 2985 3425.Top