Zvartnots, customs and iPhones
This was probably one of the smoothest (and cheapest) flights I have ever had to Armenia. Here’s some advice for anyone thinking of a one-way trip:
Fly with Transaero Airlines. They are at least 100-200 dollars cheaper than Aeroflot. The service is better and the layover is short. Best of all you get to checkin two pieces of luggage for free, each at 25kg (2kg more than the avg). Each additional luggage is cheaper too. The third piece is $50, the fourth is $100, and the 5th is $150…significantly less than any airline out there.
CustomsThis causes confusion (and concern) for a lot of people. There’s no clear set of rules or guidelines to follow regarding customs. In general, if you are moving to Armenia you should not be charged customs fees.
However, I have yet to find this law written anywhere. Every diasporan has at least one allowance to bring whatever they want into the country once without customs. Now, in general, you don’t have anything to worry about unless you have a suitcase full of brand new iPhones.
In fact, it seemed they were looking for iPhones everywhere. One box had some vitamins and protein powder in it and they suspected it to be a dozen iPhones, don’t ask how that’s possible I don’t really understand.
In any case, you will undoubtably be asked to go through customs if you have a lot of baggage. The important thing here is to be honest. They will ask if you have brand new items, computers, iPhones, etc. It really doesn’t matter if what you are bringing is new or used, what matters is that it is your property. The response to give them is that you are moving to Armenia and these are your belongings, somethings are new, some are old, but its all yours. You cannot be taxed for private property only commercial goods.