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Moving to Azerbaijan

Expats moving to Azerbaijan will find a country rich in cultural heritage and sitting at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. The country is an oil-rich former Soviet republic lying on the Caspian Sea between Russia and Iran, offering expats a unique experience of life abroad.

Azerbaijan’s economy has seen steady growth in recent years. The country is rich in oil and gas reserves, which account for a large percentage of Azerbaijan’s GDP, and Western companies have invested millions in the development of its energy sector in recent years. Other important sectors in Azerbaijan’s economy include agriculture and mining (the country has rich deposits of gold, manganese, cobalt, silver, titanium and copper).

Most expats moving to Azerbaijan will find themselves employed in the oil and gas and mining sectors, while others find employment teaching English or within the humanitarian sector. The cost of living in Azerbaijan, particularly in the capital, Baku, is high, and expats are largely well-compensated.

Expats relocating to Azerbaijan with their children should consider the move carefully. While Azerbaijan has a sufficient public education system, expats don’t usually send their children to public schools, rather choosing to enrol them in international schools or send them to a boarding school abroad. International schools in Azerbaijan are all based in Baku. Places at these schools will be limited and parents will need to plan well ahead of time.

Expats living in Azerbaijan will find adequate medical care in Baku for most basic medical needs. However, for more serious medical requirements, expats will most likely need to travel abroad. Azerbaijani citizens are entitled to free medical care through a national health insurance scheme, but expats will need to ensure that they have private medical insurance. This is often covered by employers, and expats should ensure that they negotiate this as part of their employment package.

Although a secular state, the majority of the country’s 9 million people are Muslim, and it goes without saying that expats should respect the local customs and cultural etiquette. Nevertheless, religion is viewed as largely a private matter, with many Azerbaijanis not describing themselves as religious at all.

While polite, Azerbaijanis are generally known to be conservative and reserved. Azerbaijani is the official language, with Russian and Turkish also widely spoken. Expats will do well to ensure that they have a basic understanding of at least one of these languages.

Fast facts

Population: Around 10 million

Capital city: Baku

Neighbouring countries: Azerbaijan is bordered by Russia and Georgia to the north, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south.

Geography: Bordering the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan straddles Western Asia and Eastern Europe. The Greater Caucasus mountain range is in the north and the country's central region is characterised by extensive flatlands. Nearly half of all the world's mud volcanoes are in Azerbaijan.

Political system: Semi-presidential republic

Major religion: Islam

Main languages: Azerbaijani (also referred to as Azeri), with some Russian and Armenian spoken in some of the border regions.

Money: The Manat (AZN) is divided into 100 qəpik. ATMs and card facilities are readily available in all major urban centres, but rural areas often rely on cash.

Time: GMT+4 (GMT+5 from the last Sunday in March to the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz.  European-style plugs with two round pins are used.

Internet domain: .az

International dialling code: 994

Emergency contacts: 101 (fire), 102 (police), 103 (ambulance)

Transport and driving: Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road. Public transport can be unreliable, and most expats prefer to use their own private vehicle.

Weather in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan has an extremely diverse climate, with nine climatic zones present in the country. The three main climatic zones can be divided into the area north of the mountainous regions, the area south of the mountainous regions and the coast of the Caspian Sea.

There are substantial temperature variations between the coastal and mountainous regions, where it snows in the winter. Generally, Azerbaijan experiences hot summers and cold winters. Summers in the capital of Baku, which lies at the coast, are hot and humid and winters are cool and wet. 

Lightweight clothing is sufficient for summer, but it’s a good idea to always have a sweater for the cooler evenings. The winter months require more heavyweight clothing and an umbrella.

weather in Azerbaijan

Embassy contacts for Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani embassies

  • Azerbaijani Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 337 35 00

  • Azerbaijani Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7938 3412 

  • Azerbaijani Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 228 0497

  • Azerbaijani Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6290 5600

  • Azerbaijani Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 347 7969

Embassies in Azerbaijan

  • US Embassy in Azerbaijan: +994 12 488 3300

  • British Embassy in Azerbaijan: +994 12 437 7878

  • Irish Embassy in Turkey (also accredited to Azerbaijan): +90 312 459 1000

  • Canadian Embassy in Turkey (also accredited to Azerbaijan): +90 312 409 2700

  • New Zealand Embassy in Turkey (also accredited to Azerbaijan): +90 312 446 3333

  • Australian Embassy in Turkey (also accredited to Azerbaijan): +90 312 459 9500

  • South African Embassy in Turkey: +90 312 405 6861

Public Holidays in Azerbaijan




New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

Women's Day

8 March

8 March


20-24 March

20-24 March

Victory Day

9 May

9 May

Republic Day

28 May

28 May

National Day of Salvation

15 June

15 June

Armed Forces Day

26 June

26 May

Ramazan Bayrami*

15 June*

13 May*

Gurban Bayrami*

31 July*

20 July*

Independence Day

18 October

18 October

State Flag Day

9 November

9 November

World Azerbaijanis' Solidarity Day

31 December

31 December

*Islamic holidays are subject to change based on sightings of the moon.

Safety in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a safe country and there are no major risks for expats relocating here. However, tensions on the border with Armenia and the ongoing conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region are cause for concern; the area should be avoided, and expats should also avoid discussing the matter. Corruption is another ongoing issue, and something that many expats working in Azerbaijan are likely to be faced with at some point.

Crime in Azerbaijan

Crime rates are low in Azerbaijan, although petty criminals are known to operate in and around popular tourist spots and crowded public locations. Women have also been subject to unwanted male attention and should be cautious when travelling alone, especially at night. Credit card fraud is another concern and expats should be careful when using bank cards.

Human rights issues in Azerbaijan

Numerous international organisations have expressed their concerns over the Azerbaijani government’s human rights record, particularly when it comes to freedom of speech. There have been numerous reports of journalists being arrested or harassed for criticising the government. It is an offence to criticise the government and the ruling Aliyev family, and it’s best for expats to avoid discussing politics altogether.

Corruption in Azerbaijan

Corruption is an unfortunate reality in Azerbaijan and has affected virtually all aspects of life in the country. Expats in Azerbaijan, particularly those working there, should be wary of any potentially corrupt dealings.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Azerbaijan

Due to ongoing insecurity in the Nagorno-Karabakh region in the southwest of the country, many governments, including the UK and US, advise their citizens to avoid travel to the region. Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has been ongoing since the collapse of the Soviet Union when the predominantly Armenian population in the region stated their intention to secede from Azerbaijan.

War broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenians backed by neighbouring Armenia. Despite a ceasefire in 1994, numerous violations have taken place in the region, with violence occasionally flaring up. The issue of Nagorno-Karabakh remains a sensitive topic in Azerbaijan and it's best for expats not to discuss the issue.

Working in Azerbaijan

In recent years Azerbaijan has had one of the fastest growing economies in the world and its rich oil and gas reserves have welcomed foreign investment. Although Azerbaijan is not a popular expat destination in relation to elsewhere in Europe, the energy sector has seen an influx of foreigners seeking opportunities to work. 

All foreigners working in Azerbaijan are required to have a valid work permit, which is usually arranged through an employer.

The job market in Azerbaijan

While the majority of expats working in Azerbaijan are employed in the oil and gas industry, the government has been on a positive drive to diversify the economy and other sectors such as tourism, communications, agriculture and education have also presented opportunities for foreigners seeking employment. Agriculture remains the largest employer, while growth in the energy sector has also created opportunities in related secondary industries, such as the services sector.

Construction in Azerbaijan is also booming. Infrastructure development projects and increased demand for housing have seen increased opportunities in the construction industry, leading to plenty of job opportunities. 

Finding a job in Azerbaijan

The most popular way for expats to find work in Azerbaijan is online. There are numerous job portals where companies advertise in both English and Azerbaijani. Alternately, there are a number of recruitment companies that specialise in the oil and gas sector, while large corporate enterprises may have direct steady recruitment drives for projects in Azerbaijan.

The capital, Baku, is the centre of commerce and where most expats working in Azerbaijan are based. Communication will likely be the biggest challenge facing expats in Azerbaijan. Although some Azerbaijanis may understand and speak English, particularly in the oil and gas sector, Azeri and Russian are the most common languages of business and expats would do well to learn at least a few key phrases in one or both of these languages.

Doing Business in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan has experienced impressive economic growth over the past two decades and foreign investment has been encouraged and welcomed. Expats doing business in Azerbaijan will, therefore, find themselves in a friendly and hospitable business environment. 

The economy is centred on the country’s oil and gas industry and it is within this sector that most foreigners will find themselves working in Azerbaijan. However, the government has tried to diversify the economy in recent years, and other business opportunities exist within the agricultural, construction, education, communications and tourism sectors. 

The capital, Baku, is the centre of business in Azerbaijan. It’s viewed as the most Western of Azerbaijan’s cities, and where most expats working in Azerbaijan are based. Despite high oil revenues, the gap between rich and poor has widened and wealth is increasingly held in the hands of a small elite. Despite regulatory improvements and legislative reforms, corruption also continues to plague the country and can affect business dealings. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan has seen much development of its infrastructure and experienced improved services in recent years.

Azerbaijan is viewed as a relatively easy destination in which to do business and in recent years has fared well in international business surveys. The country achieved a rank of 25 in The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey for 2019. There was a slight improvement on factors such as starting a business and dealing with construction permits.

Fast facts

Business hours

Business hours are usually Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm. Some government offices are open on Saturdays. Azeris have an alternate view of punctuality and it’s not unusual to start meetings late.

Business language

Azerbaijani (Azeri) is the official language of business in Azerbaijan. Russian is also widely spoken. Although English is increasingly being used in business, it is not common and it’s best to hire an interpreter when doing business in Azerbaijan.


It is customary for men to greet each other with a handshake. Businesswomen may also greet with a handshake, but it’s best to wait for a woman to extend her hand first.


Both men and women usually dress in Western-style clothing. Business attire is formal and conservative.


Gifts generally won’t be opened immediately.

Gender equality

Although Azerbaijan practises gender equality, there are still few women in high-level corporate positions. The country remains quite traditional in terms of gender roles. 

Business culture in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a hierarchical society and status is important. This is carried through into business dealings. Decision-making can be a time-consuming affair, so expats doing business in Azerbaijan should learn patience. 


Building relationships is essential to doing business in Azerbaijan. Azeris will always do business with those they know well and trust. Networking is therefore essential as many business deals are done through personal recommendations. It’s therefore important to first strike up a rapport with local business associates in order to build their trust.


Although English is becoming more common in business circles, the two main languages are Azeri and Russian, and expats seeking to do business in Azerbaijan would do well to try to learn at least a few key phrases in these languages. An interpreter may be necessary when conducting business meetings in Azerbaijan.


It is customary to begin a meeting with casual conversation about work and family before getting to the formal side of things. Azeris are tough negotiators, so be prepared to bargain and haggle. But first, establishing a friendly relationship is paramount to doing business in Azerbaijan. Time is viewed differently in Azerbaijan, and it’s not unusual for business meetings to begin late.


Although there has been a privatisation drive in recent years, many businesses are still state-owned, so expats are likely to deal with government officials at some point or another during their business dealings in Azerbaijan. Corruption remains an unfortunate reality of business in Azerbaijan, and expats should be wary of any corrupt dealings while conducting their business.

Dos and don’ts of business in Azerbaijan

  • Don’t discuss politics with local business associates; criticism of the leading regime should be avoided at all costs. The issue of Azerbaijan’s relationship with Albania and ongoing conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region should also be avoided.

  • Do be punctual for meetings, even though local associates may not have the same attitude towards punctuality.

  • Do learn a few key phrases in either Azeri or Russian, as English is not widely spoken outside of the oil and gas sector, and an interpreter may be required when conducting business in Azerbaijan.

  • Do begin meetings with friendly talk about issues other than business such as family; this can go a long way to building a good relationship and trust before any business is dealt with.

Cost of Living in Azerbaijan

The cost of living in Azerbaijan is quite high in relation to many expat destinations and has increased exponentially in recent years, particularly in Baku. The country is often considered a hardship destination and expats, therefore, are well-compensated to make the move. However, expat salaries in Azerbaijan are still relatively low in comparison to other countries in the region, such as Russia.

Cost of accommodation in Azerbaijan

Accommodation in Azerbaijan is expensive and likely to be an expat’s greatest expense if not already included as part of a corporate relocation package. Many companies, particularly in the energy sector, will provide accommodation or an accommodation allowance (including for utilities) for their expat staff, so it’s important to confirm this prior to arriving in the country.

Cost of food in Azerbaijan

Thanks to Azerbaijan’s favourable climate, there is always local fresh produce available, so it’s unnecessary for expats to buy expensive imported foods. Eating out in Baku is expensive in relation to other European cities.

Cost of transport in Azerbaijan

The cost of transport in Azerbaijan is very affordable due to the country’s low fuel prices. Running a car in Azerbaijan is very cost-effective. For expats with children, it’s often more practical to have a private vehicle for getting around. Some companies will provide their foreign staff with a car as well as a driver.

Cost of education in Azerbaijan

Expats don’t usually send their children to public schools in Azerbaijan, choosing to rather enrol them at international schools. Fees at these schools, as with elsewhere in the world, are very expensive, and expats with children should ensure that their relocation package caters for this.

Cost of living in Azerbaijan chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Baku in June 2019.

Accommodation (monthly rent in good area)

Furnished one-bedroom flat in Baku

1,000 AZN

Furnished two-bedroom flat in Baku 

1,700 AZN


Eggs (dozen)


Milk (1 litre)


Rice (1kg)


Loaf of white bread


Chicken breasts (1kg)


Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)


Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)




Bottle of local beer


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

43 AZN


Mobile to mobile call rate (per minute)

0.10 AZN

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

28 AZN

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

75 AZN


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

0.70 AZN

Bus/train fare in the city centre

0.30 AZN

Petrol/Gasoline (per litre)

0.90 AZN


Culture Shock in Azerbaijan

Although expats are not likely to experience severe culture shock in Azerbaijan, there are a few challenges that they may face.

Azerbaijani culture is a true blend of East and West, with influences predominantly from Middle Eastern, Russian and Turkish cultures. Most of the population are Azerbaijani, with minority groups including Russians, Turks, Kurds, Lezgians and Talysh. These cultures have all contributed to Azerbaijan’s rich history and its unique traditions, language and cuisine.

Language barrier in Azerbaijan

The language barrier in Azerbaijan is likely to be one of the biggest obstacles expats will face. Azerbaijani (also known as Azeri) is the official language. It is a Turkic language and, as with the culture, closely related to Turkish. Russian and Turkish are also widely spoken. 

While English is increasingly used in business circles, particularly in the energy sector, the majority of the population cannot speak or understand it. Therefore, in general, everyday dealings with the local population, if unable to speak one of the local languages, communication will likely be challenging. Azerbaijani can be a complex language to learn, but attempting at least a few key phrases will go a long way to interacting positively with the local population.

Food and drink in Azerbaijan

As with Azerbaijani culture, food in Azerbaijan is largely influenced by Turkish, Russian and Asian flavours. Meat and rice are popular and spices are commonly used to create rich and intense flavours. Azerbaijani cuisine is hearty and portions are generous. The country’s favourable climate also means that fresh produce is readily available throughout most of the year.

A popular dish in Azerbaijan is plov, a rice dish flavoured with saffron and enriched with meat or vegetable stuffing. Kebabs and shashlik (skewered meat) are also popular dishes.

Black tea flavoured with spices is a traditional drink offered as a welcome before a meal, and also usually served afterwards. Although the majority of the population is Muslim, alcohol is widely available and readily consumed in Azerbaijan.

Meeting and greeting in Azerbaijan

Men typically greet each other with a handshake. Women will also greet each other with a handshake, or if they’re very familiar with each other, a kiss on the cheek. If greeting a woman, it’s best to wait for her to make initial contact. The usual greeting in Azerbaijan is “salaam”, meaning “hello”.

While Azerbaijanis are generally friendly to newcomers, they are often misinterpreted as unfriendly as they very seldom smile at strangers. Smiling is usually reserved for relatives and close friends.

When arriving at an Azeri’s home, it’s customary to remove one’s shoes. It’s also polite to bring a gift; avoid giving alcohol as a gift.

Religion in Azerbaijan

Although the majority of Azerbaijan’s population is classified as Muslim, very few Azeris would describe themselves as religious. Azerbaijan is a secular state and religion is viewed as a very private matter. The country observes freedom of religion and besides Muslims, there are Christian, Orthodox and Jewish minorities. 

Women in Azerbaijan

While the country ascribes to gender equality, Azerbaijan is still a traditional society with traditional gender roles. Family is at the centre of Azerbaijani society, with men viewed as the main breadwinners and women traditionally looking after the home and children. Nevertheless, women are not prevented from succeeding in any way, with some women achieving success in high-level positions within both the political and corporate arenas.

Tips to overcome culture shock in Azerbaijan

  • Although Azeri is a difficult language to learn, expats should try learning at least a few key phrases in order to communicate with the local population.

  • Don’t take it personally if Azeris do not smile at you. It doesn’t mean they are not welcoming, it’s just not customary to smile at strangers.

  • Never insult the president, Ilham Aliyev, or the ruling Aliyev family as this is an offence. In fact, it’s best to avoid discussions about politics altogether. This includes discussing the sensitive issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Azerbaijan’s relations with Armenia.

  • It’s best to avoid discussing religion. Although most people are Muslim, religion is viewed as a very private matter.

Accommodation in Azerbaijan

Accommodation in Azerbaijan, while plentiful, is expensive. It is likely to be an expat’s biggest expense, so those relocating to Azerbaijan should ensure that their employment package is sufficient to cover this.

Most expats living in Azerbaijan are based in Baku. A construction boom in the city in recent years has meant that there are plenty of options when it comes to finding accommodation in Baku. This has also meant that expats have access to better, more modern housing than what was previously available.

Types of accommodation in Azerbaijan

Accommodation in Baku is mostly in the form of apartments in high-rise buildings. Many new, modern apartment blocks have sprung up in the post-Soviet era, and these generally offer better facilities and are more expensive than older Soviet-style blocks. 

The closer one moves to the centre of Baku, the more expensive accommodation will be. Apartments close to the metro are also more pricey.

There are both long-term and short-term options available in Baku. Short-term options are mostly offered by hotels with designated suits that are rented out. There are also some furnished and serviced apartments that are usually cheaper than hotels.

Some expats living in Baku are accommodated in housing compounds associated with their company. These compounds usually offer large houses or villas with gardens. They are secure and have modern communal facilities such as entertainment areas, tennis courts and swimming pools.

Finding accommodation in Azerbaijan

The most common method of finding property to rent in Azerbaijan is to go through a rental agency. The classifieds of local newspapers also have property listings.

Many expats moving to Azerbaijan on a corporate package have their accommodation arranged and provided for by their employer so it’s best to confirm this before arrival.

Renting property in Azerbaijan

When renting a property in Azerbaijan, expats should do so through a reputable agency. 

Rental agreements are usually signed for a one-year period. Expats will also have to pay a deposit of between one and three months' rent. Water, gas and electricity are not normally included in the rental cost and are for the tenant’s own account.

It’s a good idea to visit a potential rental property with an estate agent or trusted associate as most landlords are unlikely to speak or understand English.

Landlords in Baku have a reputation for being neglectful of their tenants and their properties, so one should ensure that a proper rental contract is in place and that the responsibilities of the tenant and landlord are all clearly defined.

Healthcare in Azerbaijan

The government, with the assistance of The World Bank, has worked to improve Azerbaijan’s healthcare system in recent years. Projects have seen the construction of new medical facilities, the introduction of new equipment and the training of medical staff.

However, healthcare in Azerbaijan remains largely underdeveloped compared to most European countries, and Azerbaijan suffers from a shortage of skills in the medical sector. Most expats seeking serious medical care, therefore, travel abroad, mostly to Turkey or elsewhere in Europe.

Public healthcare in Azerbaijan

Despite positive changes in recent years, public healthcare in Azerbaijan remains inefficient and underfunded. Public hospitals in Azerbaijan are state-run and offer free medical care to Azerbaijani residents.

Public facilities include policlinics, which offer outpatient services, and hospitals and specialised clinics, which offer both outpatient and inpatient services. However, most of these facilities are located in Baku and public healthcare is almost non-existent outside the city. Those facilities that do exist suffer an extreme lack of services, equipment and medical staff.

Private healthcare in Azerbaijan

Private medical facilities offer much higher standards of care, including modern equipment and well-qualified staff, and most expats living in Azerbaijan choose to use private hospitals. The private healthcare sector has undergone expansion in recent years, leaving expats with more choice when it comes to their health.

Although basic emergencies may be attended to in Baku, it may be necessary to be evacuated outside Azerbaijan for any serious medical care. Expats should ensure that they have comprehensive medical insurance to cover any medical evacuations from Azerbaijan.

Pharmacies in Azerbaijan

There are plenty of pharmacies (aptek) in the main cities in Azerbaijan. Many pharmacies in Baku are open 24/7. 

Health insurance in Azerbaijan

Medical insurance is mandatory in Azerbaijan. All Azeris are covered by a national health insurance plan and are entitled to free medical care. Expats in Azerbaijan should ensure that they have private health insurance, which is typically arranged through their employer. 

Expats should note that as of January 2016 a reciprocal healthcare agreement between the UK and Azerbaijan is no longer in effect.

Health hazards in Azerbaijan

There are few serious health hazards for Azerbaijan that expats need to be aware of. Malaria is present in some southern regions and prophylaxis may be required.

Water quality is very low in Azerbaijan and expats should avoid drinking tap water. Expats should ensure that all their routine vaccinations are up to date.

Emergency services in Azerbaijan

Emergency services are available in Baku, but are very limited outside the city. For an ambulance, expats can dial 103.

Education and Schools in Azerbaijan

While public schools in Azerbaijan offer an adequate level of education, expats don’t usually send their children to local schools, rather choosing to enrol them in an international school or sending them to boarding school back home.

Public schools in Azerbaijan

Schooling in Azerbaijan is compulsory for children between six and 15 years old. The basic public education system is divided into three stages: primary, general secondary and full secondary. The primary language of education is Azerbaijani, with the use of Russian in schools declining in the post-Soviet era.

Azerbaijan boasts very high literacy rates and public schools in Azerbaijan are of an adequate standard. However, due to the language barrier, expats don’t usually send their children to public schools in Azerbaijan.

The school year in Azerbaijan runs from September to June.

Private schools in Azerbaijan

A number of private schools have opened in Azerbaijan since the end of the Soviet regime. These schools have mostly been established with the support of international organisations and large corporations, with some following the local curriculum, and others offering an international curriculum.

These schools are usually more expensive than public schools, but offer a more extensive range of extracurricular activities and a more personalised approach to education. 

International schools in Azerbaijan

International schools in Azerbaijan offer a very high standard of education. Expats should also expect to pay high tuition fees at these schools and should ensure that their expat relocation package caters adequately for this.

International schools in Azerbaijan don’t all follow the Azerbaijani school year, but may rather follow that of their home country. 

All international schools have their own admission requirements and parents should contact the school directly for further information. Space at international schools may be very limited so parents should plan well ahead of their arrival in Azerbaijan.

International Schools in Azerbaijan

There are a few international schools in Azerbaijan and these schools ascribe to high standards. They are largely based on European schooling systems and/or offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum. These schools are all based in Baku. 

Some of the international schools in Azerbaijan are listed below.

International schools in Azerbaijan

Baku International School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Quality Schools International Curriculum
Ages: 2 to 18

Baku Oxford School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Cambridge International 
Ages: 6 to 18

British School in Baku

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: English National Curriculum
Ages: 6 to 18

European Azerbaijan School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Cambridge International, International Baccalaureate
Ages: 4 to 18

The International School of Azerbaijan 

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate 
Ages: 2 to 18

Transport and Driving in Azerbaijan

As with most infrastructure in the country, transport in Azerbaijan has undergone much development in recent years. Azerbaijan’s transport network consists of trains, buses, taxis and a metro system in Baku. 

If living in central Baku it is relatively easy to get around without owning a vehicle, by either walking or taking taxis, but it’s worth getting a car if living further out. The metro system also offers a good means of getting around in Baku.

Public transport in Azerbaijan


Azerbaijan has an established rail network connecting Baku to other main towns and regional neighbours. The railway system is largely in a state of disrepair and is undergoing major reconstruction.  The Central Railway Station in Baku is the focal point of rail transport in Azerbaijan.


Baku Metro connects the city centre to the suburbs and is reasonably well maintained, clean and efficient. It offers the least expensive option for getting around Baku and tickets are managed via a card system. Expats can buy metro cards at counters at metro stations.

Security is usually quite tight in and around railway stations, and it’s not unusual for security guards to check bags. Tokens are required to ride the metro and these can be purchased from ticket windows at metro stations.


Buses and minibuses connect most cities within Azerbaijan as well as with cities in neighbouring Georgia, Turkey, Iran and Russia. 

Both public and private buses operate in Baku. Buses to the suburbs are relatively cheap but overcrowded, while private services are more expensive but more comfortable. Tickets can generally be bought directly from the driver.


Taxis are widely available in major urban centres. They are not normally metered, so it’s best to negotiate the fare before embarking on a journey. In Baku, the state-owned Baku Taxi Company has a fleet of taxi cabs that are metered.

Driving in Azerbaijan

New freeways are under construction and the country’s oil wealth has meant many new cars are on the roads. While most roads in Baku are paved and maintained, travel outside the city may require a four-wheel drive vehicle due to the poor quality of the roads.

Traffic accidents are common in Azerbaijan as local drivers have a reputation for disobeying the rules of the road. Expats driving in Azerbaijan should exercise defensive driving techniques; it may be worth attending an advanced driving course before arriving in the country to be better prepared for the poor driving conditions.

It’s possible to drive in Azerbaijan with an International Driving Permit. EU driver’s permits are also accepted.

Air travel in Azerbaijan

Haydar Aliyev International Airport, located just outside Baku, is the main air hub in Azerbaijan. The airport connects Baku to cities throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia via numerous international carriers, including the country’s national airline, Azerbaijan Airlines.

Banking, Money and Taxes in Azerbaijan

Despite reforms in recent years, Azerbaijan’s banking system remains somewhat unstable. The Central Bank of Azerbaijan regulates all monetary policy and banks in the country. While some banks in Azerbaijan remain state-owned, a privatisation drive has been in effect in the post-Soviet era, and a number of international banks have also opened local branches.

Azerbaijan currency

The local currency of Azerbaijan is the Manat (AZN), which is divided into 100 qapik.

  • Notes: 100,000 AZN, 50,000 AZN, 10,000 AZN, 1,000 AZN, 500 AZN, 250 AZN, 100 AZN and 50 AZN.

  • Coins: 50 qapik, 20 qapik, 10 qapik, 5 qapik, 3 qapik and 1 qapik.

Banking in Azerbaijan

There are numerous options for expats when it comes to banking in Azerbaijan. Although there are many local banks, a number of international banks have entered the market in the post-Soviet era, and these offer the best and most reliable option for expats.

Opening a bank account in Azerbaijan

Expats are able to open a bank account in Azerbaijan, and it’s usually free to do so. Azerbaijan’s banking system is somewhat unstable and expats wanting to open a bank account in Azerbaijan should try to open one with a well-established international bank.

Credit cards in Azerbaijan

Although credit cards are becoming more popular, Azerbaijan remains mostly a cash-based society. Most major hotels and restaurants in Baku will accept international credit cards. 

ATMs in Azerbaijan

ATMs are available in Baku and other major towns, and these usually accept foreign-issued bank cards. Most ATMs are inside banks, but some can be found in supermarkets and hotels.

It’s possible to pay most utility bills at an ATM in Azerbaijan.

Taxes in Azerbaijan

All residents in Azerbaijan are taxed on their worldwide income, while non-residents are taxed only on their income derived in Azerbaijan. A resident is defined as an individual who has been physically present in Azerbaijan for a period of 180 days or more in a calendar year.

The tax year in Azerbaijan runs from 1 January to 31 December.