is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Armenia.
For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Armenia country page for
original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of
which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC
current U.S. Department of State Travel
Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Armenia at Level
1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions. Do not travel to the
Nagorno-Karabakh region due to armed conflict. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the
Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and
U.S. Department of State has assessed Yerevan as being a LOW-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official
U.S. government interests.
Armenia is generally safe and relatively free of
random acts of violent crime. The overall crime rate throughout the country is
lower than those of the United States and many Western European countries.
Crimes committed against U.S. nationals remain relatively infrequent; most
involve petty theft (e.g. pickpocketing and vehicle break-ins to steal objects
left in plain sight). Violent crimes do occur, though the embassy does not
receive many reports of such crimes involving U.S. nationals. Vehicle break-ins
and theft are the most common crimes. Police indicate that there is a criminal
group in Yerevan that targets foreigners and burglarizes rented apartments when
the victims are away. Although organized crime does exist, it is not a
significant threat to U.S. nationals or interests. Review
OSAC’s reports, All That You Should
Leave Behind, Hotels: The Inns and
Outs, and Considerations for
Credit card fraud and ATM card skimming occurs. Review
OSAC’s reports, The Overseas Traveler’s
Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking Credit.
Although cybercrime is not a major concern, review and use
established cybersecurity best practices to protect personal and business
information systems. Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics, Best Practices for
Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, and Traveling with Mobile
Devices: Trends & Best Practices.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Except for the few main roads and portions of the immediate city
center, most roads are in relative disrepair, with large and deep potholes.
Damage to tires and suspensions along with wheel alignment issues commonly
result from poor road maintenance. Most roads do not have shoulders. Authorities
do not repaint road markings on a regular basis, and markings may not be
visible. In many places, especially outside cities, street lighting is
nonexistent, not maintained, or turned off. Street signs outside Yerevan are
not plentiful. Authorities only reliably remove snow from major thoroughfares. The
U.S. Embassy prohibits personnel from traveling outside Yerevan after dark
because of the extremely poor road conditions, lack of lighting, and the
inability of emergency service first responders to reach victims of accidents
in a timely manner.
Traffic is heavy in Yerevan. For the past few decades, the
increase in the availability of cars has outpaced the expansion of the road
system. Left turns are very difficult to make; they are either not allowed or
traffic lights are poorly timed, forcing drivers to run red lights in order to
make a turn. Instead of left turns, many drivers perform U-turns—without the
aid of traffic lights—at designated points on roads. This increases the chances
Many local drivers are aggressive, distracted, poorly trained, or
a combination of the three. Even where lane markings exist, drivers often do
not heed them. Cell phone use while driving is commonplace. Drivers will often
switch lanes without warning to avoid potholes or open manholes. Due to a lack
of shoulders, drivers also park or idle their vehicles in traffic lanes,
forcing other divers to change lanes quickly —often into the lane of opposing
traffic—at the last moment; buses and taxis routinely stop in traffic lanes and
change lanes without warning. Defensive driving is essential. When accidents do
occur, local law requires vehicles to stay in place, even if they are in the
middle of the road. The driver and passengers should move to a safe place and
wait for the insurance company representative or Traffic Police officers to
OSAC’s reports, Road
Safety Abroad, Driving
Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive
Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving
and road safety abroad.
Pedestrians should be vigilant when crossing major thoroughfares. In
Yerevan as well as in the countryside, pedestrians routinely cross streets –
even major thoroughfares – at undesignated points or against the light,
increasing the risk of accidents; the risk of striking a pedestrian increases
at night and in bad weather. Even when pedestrians cross the street at
designated points with the right of way, drivers frequently do not stop for
them if there is not a stoplight associated with the crossing. Light-controlled
crossings typically provide pedestrians with a minimum time necessary to cross
Public Transportation Conditions
The most common form of public transportation in Armenia is the
small, often owner-operated minibus or van (marshrutka). The Embassy
discourages travelers from using marshrutkas, which frequently are
overcrowded and lack proper maintenance. The vehicles generally lack seatbelts
and other safety equipment, drivers often have only basic driving skills, and
the threat petty theft poses is high.
While taxi usage is prevalent in Yerevan due to their ubiquity and
low cost, most lack seat belts and other safety features. To reduce the chances
for overcharging or other crime, find taxis through online apps (two of the
most widely used are GG and Yandexi) or by calling reputable taxi companies. When
hailing a taxi on the street, negotiate the price in advance. Most taxi drivers
do not speak English.
Car rental companies like those found in Western Europe or the
United States are rare; when they are available, the vehicles are often very
expensive. For travel outside Yerevan, it often is more economical to hire a
car and driver.
Due to the poor condition of roads outside Yerevan, consider sturdy
vehicles (usually four-wheel drive vehicles) when traveling through the
countryside or between major cities.
There is a regional train from Yerevan to Tbilisi. If traveling by
train, reserve a private compartment that you can lock. Review
OSAC’s report, Security
In Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
Armenia has two international airports: Zvartnots (ENV) in Yerevan
and Shirak (LWN) in Gyumri. Zvartnots, a modern facility with good
infrastructure, handles the vast majority of commercial flights. Most
international flights to and from Europe or the United States depart and arrive
in the early hours of the morning.
Within the region, there are no direct flights from Yerevan to
Azerbaijan. There are 3 – 4 flights a week between Yerevan and Tbilisi and 2 –
3 flights a week between Yerevan and Istanbul. The frequency of flights between
Yerevan and other European destinations differs by season, but with the
exception of flights to Moscow, which occur daily, flights to Vienna, Warsaw,
Paris, Kyiv, Bucharest, and Athens each occur 2 – 5 times a week. For more
information, please review OSAC’s Report, Security
in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Yerevan as being a MEDIUM-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting
official U.S. government interests. While there is a heightened risk of terrorism
in Europe, there is no recent history of terrorism in Armenia. Attacks cannot
be ruled out, and travelers should be vigilant.
Religious, and Ethnic Violence
U.S. Department of State has assessed Yerevan as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting
official U.S. government interests.
While there is a history of civil unrest in post-Soviet Armenia,
with a few notable exceptions it has not been violent. In the past, most cases
of violence associated with protests were due to law enforcement response, and
not protesters. Since the “Velvet Revolution” of 2018, law enforcement
authorities have shown less inclination to use force against protesters. Avoid
large political rallies or demonstrations. Review OSAC’s report, Surviving
Armenia is in a zone of high seismic risk. The most recent
catastrophic earthquake was the 1988 Spitak earthquake. Small tremors occur
periodically; the risk of catastrophic earthquakes exists.
Critical Infrastructure Concerns
In 2006, the Armenian government passed new laws to ensure safer
building standards, particularly higher earthquake standards; however, many
older buildings remain unsafe from a seismic standpoint.
The Armenian Nuclear Power Plant is in the town of Metsamor, 36 km
west of Yerevan. The plant began operating in 1976. If there were to be a
release of radioactive material at the plant due to problems with the aging
systems or as the result of an earthquake, Yerevan lies in the projected
involving commercial and investment disputes can take months or years to
resolve as they work their way through the civil courts. The U.S.-Armenia
Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) provides that in the event of a dispute
between a U.S. investor and the Republic of Armenia, the investor may take the
case to international arbitration.
joined the World Trade Organization in 2003. The government has made improvements
in tax and customs administration in recent years, but anti-corruption measures
have been largely ineffective. Armenia will need to pursue additional economic
reforms and strengthen the rule of law in order to raise its economic growth
and improve economic competitiveness and employment opportunities, especially
given its economic isolation from Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Personal Identity Concerns
Informal taxis or mini-buses pose particular threats to people
unfamiliar with local conditions, especially to women traveling alone. There
have been occasional reports of taxi drivers sexually harassing single, female
travelers. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for female
Armenia in general is a conservative country. There are no laws
protecting LGBTI+ individuals, though at the same time there are no legal
impediments to organizing LGBTI+ events. Due to traditional cultural attitudes,
LGBTI+ individuals often face de facto discrimination and harassment by state
and private actors. LGBTI+ U.S. nationals have been subject to threats and
harassment. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+
Although Armenia signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities in 2007, Armenian authorities have yet to enforce it.
Facilities with accommodations for individuals with disabilities are rare and,
in rural areas, usually nonexistent. Review the State Department’s
webpage on security for travelers
is primarily a drug-transit country, with moderate domestic drug use and
increasing transportation through its borders, namely at the Meghri crossing
point with Iran. Legal and law enforcement officials are attempting to improve
drug investigation and prosecution strategies, and add resources and support to
further large-scale investigations, often through the assistance of U.S.
agencies. Law enforcement and legal professionals are slowly becoming more
adept at investigating and prosecuting drug-related crimes, though some still
lack the expertise and experience to conduct counternarcotic operations and
combat sophisticated drug-trafficking and money-laundering organizations. Some
courts are not equipped to conduct lengthy narcotics distribution and
money-laundering trials nor able to prosecute cases requiring the introduction
of testimony and evidence from multiple foreign nations at trial.
Armenia has little tolerance for recreational drug use. Even
though marijuana grows naturally, possession of even small amounts of the drug
may result in prison sentences of five years or more. U.S. nationals found with
marijuana have faced significant prison sentences.
Since 2013, there have not been any reported cases of kidnappings
of U.S. nationals. Though rare, when criminally oriented kidnappings take
place, they usually only last for a short duration. Review
OSAC’s report, Kidnapping:
Do not travel to the Nagorno-Karabakh region due to armed
conflict. Despite the declaration of a cessation in hostilities,
casualties continue to occur in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Intermittent gunfire and the occasional use of artillery systems, land mines,
and mortars result in deaths and injuries each year. Avoid roads near the
‘line of contact’ and roads near the international border between Armenia and
Azerbaijan. The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services
to U.S. citizens in Nagorno-Karabakh as U.S. government employees may not
travel there. Engaging in any commercial activities
in Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding territories, whether directly
or through business subsidiaries, can result in criminal
prosecution and/or other legal action being taken by the
Azerbaijani government against individuals and/or businesses, and
might make a traveler ineligible to visit Azerbaijan in the future.
The police emergency line in Armenia is 102. Police response times generally are
slower than in Western countries. Law enforcement officials often lack the
sensitivity training required to investigate crimes such as domestic violence
and rape. Many law enforcement officers do not speak English, although a
special division of police who patrol downtown on foot do speak English.
The Police is a national police force, spread throughout the
country’s 10 mars (districts). It maintains public order, and responds to and
investigates general crimes. The Traffic Police has a similar structure. Unlike
in the United States, where a single law enforcement entity in each geographic
area is typically responsible both for public order and the enforcement of
motor vehicle laws, Armenia separates the responsibilities of the two agencies.
The Traffic Police handle violations of the law related to the nation’s roads
and does not become involved in the enforcement of other laws; the reverse is
true for its sister agency.
Armenian police departments lack a Western-style patrol mindset.
They respond to crimes or accidents once reported, rather than trying to
prevent them or maintaining a continuous presence throughout the geographic
area of responsibility. As a result, response times are longer than in the
United States or Western Europe. Armenia’s government has made police reform a
major government priority with the aim of establishing citizen-friendly law
enforcement that responds quickly and effectively to crimes or accidents. This
will include the establishment of a modern patrol police based on Western
The National Security Service (NSS) is the government’s domestic
security as well as domestic and international intelligence agency. In its law
enforcement role, the NSS functions in a manner analogous to the U.S. Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Most private security companies provide little professional
training and pay their staffs low salaries.
the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.
The medical emergency line in Armenia is 103. Medical care is limited, and emergency
services may be slow to respond to calls for assistance. Although basic medical
supplies (e.g. disposable needles, anesthetics, standard antibiotics) are
generally available, advanced medical care is not available outside Yerevan.
Individuals with existing health problems may be at risk due to inadequate
medical facilities and services. Emergency medical responses to traumatic
accidents or injuries may arrive too late to provide necessary lifesaving
treatment. Find contact information for available medical services and
available air ambulance services on the U.S. Embassy
Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health
services on a “pay as you go” system, and often will not release persons from
the hospitals without payment in full. Patients must arrange food delivery
services separately. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing
international health insurance before traveling internationally. Review the
State Departments webpage on insurance
Armenia is home to numerous, sometimes aggressive, stray animals,
particularly dogs and cats. Do not feed or pet stray animals. If bitten,
contact Nairi Medical Center. Pre-exposure rabies vaccine is recommended only
for those subject to occupational exposure. Even those already immunized should
seek post-exposure prophylaxis due to the large number of feral animals and the
inability of the local health system to provide immunizations. Review OSAC’s
Remain up to date on immunizations, including vaccines for
hepatitis A and B. The CDC recommends receiving a tetanus/diphtheria booster every
five years. Carry a copy of your immunization records. The CDC offers additional
information on vaccines and health guidance for Armenia.
OSAC Country Council
The OSAC Country Council remains in the development stage. Contact
OSAC’s Europe team for more information
or to join.
U.S. Embassy Contact
1 American Ave.,
Regular Hours: 0900 –
1800, Monday – Friday, excluding U.S. and Armenian holidays
Embassy Operator: +374
Post One Marine Guard:
+374 (10) 49-44-44
you travel, consider the following resources: