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Latest updates: This travel advice was thoroughly reviewed and updated.
Azerbaijan - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Azerbaijan. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution as crime, such as pickpocketing and attacks on foreigners, occurs.
Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas - Avoid all travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas due to the tense political situation. The Government of Canada does not recognize the sovereignty of Nagorno-Karabakh. You cannot enter this area from Azerbaijan, and Canada’s ability to provide consular services there is extremely limited.
See Safety and security for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Nagorno–Karabakh, the surrounding areas and border with Armenia (see Advisory)
The Government of Canada does not recognize the sovereignty of Nagorno–Karabakh.
Despite a ceasefire, tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia remain high, due to a dispute over this territory. Armed clashes occur regularly along the ceasefire line. The Nagorno–Karabakh region is a heavily mined area. There are numerous landmines and unexploded ordnance within the conflict zone.
Learn about this region’s entry/exit requirements.
Border with Armenia (see Advisory)
Azerbaijan’s border with Armenia is a closed military zone because of unresolved disputes between the two countries. Tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia remain high, and armed clashes along the border with Armenia may continue.
Landmines hidden along the border that have caused injuries and deaths.
Crime is relatively low. Most reported crimes involve burglary, assault or petty crime, such as pickpocketing. Be careful in areas that attract large crowds and areas that are very isolated or dimly lit.
Thieves sometimes pose as police officers and demand that tourists pay on-the-spot fines. If faced with this situation, offer to follow the officer to the nearest police station to pay the fine.
Avoid walking alone after dark, do not carry large amounts of cash and do not display signs of affluence. Keep valuables and passports and other travel documents in a secure place.
Spiked food and drink
There have been incidents of drink spiking, resulting in victims being robbed. Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media.
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time. Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings in public places.
Stay at hotels that have robust security measures; however, keep in mind that even the most secure locations cannot be considered completely free of risk.
Highways and major city roads are well-maintained, but driving can still be dangerous due to poor driving standards and poorly maintained cars. Insufficient street lighting and signage make travel dangerous outside of Baku. The risk increases on certain roads that are shared with pedestrians and livestock.
Authorities do not enforce traffic rules consistently.
Pedestrians should exercise caution.
Buses are poorly maintained, often overcrowded and unsafe, particularly outside of Baku. Baku Metro is reasonably maintained and has basic safety equipment. Expect to see security cameras throughout the platforms and a police presence at each metro station, particularly at night.
Only use officially marked taxis, which are metered, have seatbelts and are cheaper than unmarked taxis. Avoid shared taxis and unofficial taxis as there have been incidents passengers being assaulted.
If you must travel by train, store personal belongings in a safe place and do not leave your compartment unattended. Ensure the door is secured from the inside.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
General safety information
Tourist facilities are limited outside of Baku, Kuba, Lenkoran and the Absheron Peninsula.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Azerbaijani authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan for up-to-date information.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Azerbaijan, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Azerbaijan.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Transit visa: Required
If you plan to visit Azerbaijan, you must have a visa before arriving in the country. As a tourist, you can apply for an e-visa through Azerbaijan’s online visa portal. You should do so at least 3 days before your planned arrival date.
If you require any other type of visa, you must apply for it from the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan prior to departure.
To obtain any type of visa, you must present a letter of invitation from a contact in Azerbaijan, such as an employer or educational institution. If you do not have a contact in Azerbaijan, the invitation letter should be submitted by the travel agency in Azerbaijan.
If you plan to stay for more than 10 days, you must register with police upon arrival and ensure that your passport is stamped with a residency stamp. You may also register your stay online through the State Migration Service. Failure to register could result in a fine. You may be stopped from leaving Azerbaijan until the fine is paid.
You may encounter long delays or be denied entry at the Azerbaijani border if your passport contains a stamp from the disputed Nagorno–Karabakh region.
It is illegal to enter Nagorno–Karabakh from Azerbaijan without permission from Azerbaijani authorities. Violations of entry and exit regulations to and from this area can result in serious penalties.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
- Avian Influenza (H5N1): Global Update - April 21, 2015 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country.
Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds. In rare cases, it can infect people.
- avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets
- avoid areas where poultry may be slaughtered
- avoid contact with birds (alive or dead)
- avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them
- ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Service standards are different than those in Canada. Avoid older medical clinics as they often lack basic drugs and equipment and have poor hygiene standards. Medical facilities outside Baku are very limited. Some medical clinics require upfront payment for treatment. Medical evacuation, which can be very expensive, may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers all medical expenses, including hospitalization abroad and medical evacuation, in case of illness or injury.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Carry your passport at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place in case of loss or seizure. If you are a resident, you must provide proof of residency status. Police checks in public areas are common. You could be fined if you fail to provide proper identification on request from an official.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Azerbaijan. If local authorities consider you an Azerbaijani citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present an Azerbaijani passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Canadians with Azerbaijani citizenship may be subject to national obligations, such as taxes and military service, and should check their status with the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Canada prior to travelling.
Military service is mandatory for male Azerbaijani citizens between the ages of 18 and 35. Those who have not completed their military service could face fines or arrest.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is required.
There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving.
Traffic stops are common. Always carry your licence, IDP, proof of insurance and vehicle registration.
You must have the following documents in the car:
- vehicle registration document
- passport and driver’s licence
- proof of insurance
- first aid kit
- proof that the car is roadworthy (check-up card)
If you own a car, you must get an annual roadworthiness test done between January 1 and October 31. You will be given a check-up card each year after the inspection.
Illegal or restricted activities
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
It is strictly forbidden to take pictures of military installations and equipment. Trespassing on military sites can lead to arrest. Visitors have been detained and questioned when attempting to photograph military bases, equipment and installations as these are considered sensitive.
Promoting religion and trying to convert others is not permitted.
Although the laws of Azerbaijan do not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, homosexuality is not socially tolerated.
See Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians abroad for more information.
Imports and exports
Customs authorities strictly enforce regulations concerning the import or export of firearms, religious materials, pieces of art and antiquities.
You must declare foreign currency upon entry and you cannot leave with more than you brought in.
Dress and behaviour
Azerbaijan is a secular state, but some people closely adhere to Islamic practices and beliefs. Behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2018, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 15.
The currency is the Azerbaijani manat (AZN).
The economy is mostly cash-based. Credit cards are accepted at banks in Baku and in major hotels and restaurants. Few establishments accept credit cards outside of Baku. Several automated banking machines in major cities dispense both U.S. dollars and Azerbaijani manat.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Azerbaijan is in an active seismic zone.
Heavy rains may trigger floods and landslides, but there are also periods of drought.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 102
- medical assistance: 103
- firefighters: 101
The Police Office of Crimes By and Against Foreigners offers service in English. You can reach the office at +944 12 590 9966.
There is no resident Canadian government office in Azerbaijan.You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the Embassy of Canada in Ankara, Turkey.
Ankara - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada in Ankara and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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