ARMENIA

Armenia Flag
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Armenia is a nation still emerging from its Soviet past. Armenia's borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan are closed due to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. Long transportation routes and economic difficulties limit the availability of imported goods. 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.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A passport and visa are required. For further information on entry requirements contact the Armenian Embassy at 2225 R St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 tel. (202) 319-1976, or the Armenian Consulate General in Los Angeles at 50 N. La Cieneja Blvd., Suite 210, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, tel. (310) 657-6102.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Since 1988, armed conflict has taken place in and around the self-proclaimed "Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh," a breakaway province 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.

MEDICAL INFORMATION: Medical care in Armenia is limited. 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. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.

Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via its home page at http://travel.state.gov and autofax service at (202) 647- 3000.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers' hotline, at tel: 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax: 1-888- CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or by visiting the CDC Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Armenia has a low rate of violent crime, but common street crime has increased, especially at night. Crime on board train service to Georgia is an increasing 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 "Tips 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.

DRUG PENALTIES: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

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 may be unreliable and uncomfortable. Travel at night is not recommended and winter travel can be extremely hazardous in mountain areas and higher elevations. Primary roads outside urban areas are frequently choppy, with sporadic stretches of missing pavement and large potholes. Secondary roads are normally in poor condition and should be avoided. Truck traffic is not heavy except on the main road linking Yerevan to the Iranian border.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service 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 oversight of Armenia's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.htm. 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 the Pentagon at (703) 697-7288.

Due to concerns regarding flight safety and reliability of service, U.S. diplomatic couriers are exempted from flying Armenian Airlines.

Y2K INFORMATION: U.S. citizens contemplating traveling or residing abroad in late 1999 or early 2000 should be aware of potential difficulties. They may wish to consider taking practical precautions against possible disruptions of services triggered by the Y2K computer phenomenon. Monitor the home page of the Department of State for updates on Y2K issues.

CURRENCY REGULATIONS: Armenia remains largely a cash-only economy, and credit cards are accepted at some businesses, but not by hotels. Limited facilities exist for cashing traveler's checks and wiring money into the country. Dollars are readily exchanged at market rates.

REGISTRATION AND EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans are encouraged to register at the consular section of the U.S. Embassy, 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 (3742) 151-551 and fax 011 (3742) 151-550.

Department of State travel information publications are available at Internet address: http://travel.state. gov. Travelers may hear recorded information by calling the Department at (202) 647-5225 from a touchtone telephone, or receive information by automated telefax by dialing (202) 647-3000.

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