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 Azerbaijan. 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.
Ireland has no diplomatic representation in Azerbaijan. The Embassy of Ireland in Ankara, Turkey is accredited to Azerbaijan.
Irish citizens require a visa to enter Azerbaijan.
Since 15 October 2010, Irish citizens are no longer able to obtain a visa on arrival in Azerbaijan. Visas and information on entry requirements should be obtained in advance from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Azerbaijan.
It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
Safety and Security
Visitors to Azerbaijan are generally welcomed and serious crimes against foreigners are rare. However, there have been some violent muggings of foreigners since autumn 2005. Most incidents take place after dark in the centre of Baku around the western bars and clubs, however you should also take particular care when leaving and entering your hotel or apartment.
You should take sensible precautions: be vigilant, avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t walk alone at night. Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
Care should be taken if driving at night. Many roads are badly lit and are of poor quality. Driving conditions are stressful, and often confusing. Many cars are poorly maintained, and the standard of driving is erratic. Most older taxis do not have seat belts.
Like other countries in the region, Azerbaijan faces a threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate and against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners. We are not aware of any recent significant attacks.
We advise against all travel to Nagorno-Karabakh and the military occupied area surrounding it. This area is the subject of a continuing dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia and although a cease-fire has been in place since 1994 there are regular reports of exchanges of gunfire across the Line of Contact. Some areas may be heavily landmined.
You should not attempt to enter or leave Azerbaijan via the land borders with Russia (i.e. Dagestan) as these are closed to foreign nationals.
You are advised to avoid any gatherings or demonstrations.
Local Laws and Customs
Most of the population is Muslim. Azerbaijan is a largely secular society and religion is usually considered a private matter. Local and foreign women usually dress in western-style clothing. However, both men and women should avoid wearing shorts in the street as you could attract unwelcome attention.
Illegal drug use (no matter what you are using) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. The penalty for smuggling drugs carries a prison term of between three to seven years and/or heavy fines.
Homosexual activity is legal in Azerbaijan, but many Azerbaijanis disapprove of public displays of affection.
You should avoid 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 visit them. You should also be aware of cultural sensitivities when photographing mosques, churches and other religious sites. If in doubt, seek permission.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Azerbaijan is located in an active seismic zone; however it has not experienced any serious earthquakes recently.
The climate of Azerbaijan is varied.
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