Chapter 2 – Entering Armenia
This post is part of a book titled “The Essentials of Doing Business in Armenia”. This guide is designed to give general guidelines and inside knowledge of the most often asked about issues – from getting to Armenia to running your business. The information here is not legal advise.
The PDF version of the entire book and each chapter can be downloaded either at the bottom of every post/page or the the main page for The Essentials of Doing Business in Armenia.
VISAS AND PASSPORTS
A foreign citizen may enter the territory of the Republic of Armenia with a valid passport and a document attesting entry visa or residency status.
The citizens of the following states/countries are unilaterally exempt from the requirement of obtaining a visa to enter Armenia as of September 1, 2015:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Swiss Confederation, Vatican City State, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America. (For an up to date list of these countries please visit www.ArmeniaOne.com.)
Armenia has a visa-free regime with 56 other countries according to bilateral and multilateral agreements.
Citizens of these countries can stay in the Republic of Armenia for no more than 90 days during one year unless othewise permitted by an implemented international agreement. Citizens of countries not listed above are required to obtain entry visas.
Citizens of the United States of America are allowed visa-free entry to Armenia for up to 180 days per year. For visits lasting more that 180 days, visitors must apply for a residency permit through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A foreign citizen under the age of 18 may enter Armenia accompanied by his parents, or one of his parents (or other legal guardian/custodian), or alone, if he is visiting his parents, one of his parents (or other legal guardian/custodian), or other legal representative as attested by a valid document (the legal representative can be a member of a host organization).
TYPES OF VISAS
Visitor Visa (V) A visitor visa is issued when a foreign citizen wants to enter Armenia for a short-term stay for any purpose, such as: visiting relatives, travelling for sightseeing, doing business, getting medical treatment and so on. The visitor cannot stay in the RA for more than 120 days during a year. Visitor visas can be issued both for a single entry and for multiple entries. Visitor and Transit Visas are issued and extended by the Passport and Visa Department of the police of Armenia.
Official Visa (O) An official visa may be issued for a single entry or multiple entries. The visa is issued for holders of official or service passports. The visits of these people have an official (government or business) purpose. A visa may be issued for up to 1 year for foreign officials who arrive to Armenia upon invitation of the Armenian government. In addition, multiple entries visas may be issued for non-diplomatic employees of foreign diplomatic representations or international organizations and their families. These visas may be valid for up to 3 years. Official and Diplomatic visas are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia. Visitor and Transit Visas are issued and extended by the Passport and Visa Department of the police of Armenia.
Diplomatic Visa (D) A diplomatic visa is issued for holders of diplomatic passports or people with diplomatic mission. Members of official delegation and their families may be issued either a single entry visa or multiple entries visa with the validity period of 1 year. Moreover, multiple entries visas may be issued with the validity of 3 years for employees of foreign diplomatic representations or international organization and their families. Official and Diplomatic visas are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.
Transit Visa (Tr) If Armenia is the transition point while traveling to other countries, then a Transit Visa will be required. A foreign citizen with a Transit Visa may stay in Armenia for no more than 3 days during each stay (not including emergency situations).
• A passport or a valid travel document attesting personality
• A completed visa application form in English and/or Armenian
• A35x45mm sized color photo
• Invitation, if required
• A receipt certifying state duty payment
• Other documents, if required
VISA PROCESSING TIME Normally, a visa is processed at the diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Republic of Armenia within three (3) business days.
EXITING THE COUNTRY
The citizens of foreign countries can exit Armenia with a valid passport and a document attesting the legality of their stay in Armenia up untill the time of departure.
NOTE An entry visa will be considered invalid if a foreign citizen has started to work within the Republic of Armenia without acquiring a proper work permit.
If you are a citizens of Armenia then you have to obtain an Armenian passport before departing to any country. You must have an Armenian passport both when entering and when leaving the country. The law also applies to children considered Armenian citizens under Armenian law, including children born in the USA to two Armenian citizens, even if those children have never held an Armenian passport.
Any person who has reached the age of 18 can apply for Armenian citizenship. General requirements to do so are the following:
• Legal residence in the Republic of Armenia for the last 3 years,
• Proficiency in Armenian,
• Acquaintance with the Constitution of Armenia.
The procedure of acquiring Armenian citizenship has been simplified (the requirements of legal residence and knowledge of Armenian do not apply) for the following individuals:
• Ethnic Armenians,
• Spouses of Armenian citizens,
• Children of former Armenian citizens (must apply within 3 years after reaching adulthood, i.e. before reaching the age of 18),
• Persons who have terminated Armenian citizenship after 1995
NOTE Citizenship requirement may be waived for individuals who have provided exceptional service to the contry.
Armenian legislation permits citizens of Armenia to hold dual citizenship; however, citizens of Armenian have rights and obligations. For example: citizens residing within the country during elections have a right to vote and male citizens are obligated to undergo compulsory military service.
NOTE Male citizens of the U.S.A. over the age of 18 who are at the same time citizens of Armenia are subject to commpulsory military service upon arrival to Armenia.
Citizens of other countries who want to obtain Armenian citizenship must register their dual citizenship with the Passport and Visa Department of the Police of the Republic of Armenia (formerlyOVIR).
For more information visit: www.passportvisa.am
Special Residency Status is granted by the President of the Republic of Armenia to those distinguished individuals of Armenian descent who are citizens of another country. The procedure was once being regulated by the Law on Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Republic of Armenia, now it is regulated by the Law on Aliens that is the revised version of the aforementioned law. According to the law, only individuals who have provided significant services to Armenia and the Armenian nation will be eligible to get the Special Residency Status. This status is granted for a 10-year period. The recipients of this status are provided with Special Armenian Passports and are no longer required to obtain entry visas for visiting Armenia.
The following factors should be considered by the holders of Special Passports while in Armenia:
• They will be protected under the Armenian law,
• They will not have the right to vote, to run for a public office or enroll in political organizations,
• They will not be obligated to serve in the Armenian National Army.
The procedure of applying for the Special Residency Status is facilitated for the survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
How to Apply for the Special Residency Status? Certain documents need to be submitted to the Embassy or the Consulate of the RA in the country of residence of the applicant. If there is no Armenian diplomatic mission or consular post in your country, you could apply though another one that is most convenient for you to travel to. If you are already in Armenia, you must submit the documents to the Passport and Visa Department of the Police of the Republic of Armenia.
The following list of documents must be submitted by the applicant to meet the eligibility criteria of getting a Special Passport of the RA:
• Complete and file the appropriate application form SRS-20 that can be downloaded from the MFA website at www.mfa.am,
• Submit a letter addressed to the Ambassador or Consul General of Armenia, requesting Special Residency Status. The letter usually contains information about the present, past citizenship of the applicant, country of origin, nationality at birth, reason for applying for the Special Residency Status, the number of stays in Armenia, etc…
• Photocopies of your passport pages that show the photograph, validity and personal data,
• Six passport-size professional color photos with light background,
• Photocopy of birth certificate,
• Special Passport fee (Payment method may vary, hence you need to contact the respective Embassy or Consulate).
If the holder of the Special Passport has lost one, he can apply for a replacement by submitting certain documents and paying a replacement fee.
The Essentials of Doing Business in Armenia