Bosnia and Herzegovina - Traveler Advice
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Bosnia and Herzegovina Traveler Information guide.
At AARDY we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following Bosnia and Herzegovina Traveler Information should help you make the most of your trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: Three months past your planned date of departure.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: One page required for entry stamp.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Not required for stays under three months.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: Amounts exceeding 10,000 Euros or equivalent must be declared on arrival.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: Amounts exceeding 10,000 Euros or equivalent require a bank certificate that the amount has been taken out from currency savings or bought from an authorized bank.
Embassies and Consulates
1 Robert C. Frasure Street
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Telephone: +(387) (33) 704 000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(387) (33) 704-000. If after dialing you receive a recorded
message, press “0” and ask for the embassy duty officer.
Fax: +(387) (33) 221 837
Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Bosnia and Herzegovina for information on U.S.–Bosnia and Herzegovina relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
Visit the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina website for the most current visa information.
- You need a passport valid for at least three months past your planned date of departure.
- U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days total within a period of six months from the date of first entry.
- The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina does not issue visas to U.S. travelers prior to travel for any length of stay or purpose of travel, including diplomatic assignments.
- Airlines may deny boarding to travelers on a one-way ticket or a ticket with a return date beyond three months from the date of arrival. Verify with the airline before travel.
- If staying in a private residence for three or more days, you or your host must register your stay with the local police or field office of the Department for Foreigners within 24 hours of arrival.
Temporary Residence Permits:
- U.S. citizens staying more than 90 days must apply for a temporary residence permit from the local field office of the Department for Foreigners of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Ministry of Security. The process is complex. Visit the Department for Foreigners of the Ministry of Security website for detailed information and requirements.
- Gather the required documentation well in advance and submit the application as soon after arriving in-country as possible. You must submit your temporary residence permit application at least 15 days prior to the expiration of the initial 90-day visa-free period of stay.
- You are required to submit a police report from your local, U.S. police department certifying you have no criminal record (bring it with you). This must be issued within 6 months of the application.
- After all application requirements are met, a months-long delay can occur before a residence permit is issued. U.S. citizens who submit complete applications may remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina while awaiting decisions.
- The maximum duration of a temporary residence permit is 12 months (renewals possible).
- Your U.S. passport must be valid for at least three months after the end of the requested temporary residence permit period.
Requirements for minors traveling to Bosnia and Herzegovina:
- Notarized permission from the parents or guardians is required for minors under 18 traveling alone.
- If the child is accompanied by one parent, particularly if the parent has a different last name from the child’s, it is recommended, although not legally required, that the accompanying parent carry a notarized letter from the other parent giving permission to travel.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Safety and Security
Terrorism: Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
Terrorist threats and violent incidents:
- In 2017 and 2018, suspected lone wolf operators were arrested with explosives and weapons in Sarajevo. In 2015, a terrorist opened fire on several off-duty soldiers near a military base in Sarajevo, and a terrorist attacked a police station in Zvornik.
- Local criminals use firearms and explosives to settle disputes. In 2017, there were ten reports of individuals using explosives against local businesses and private properties in Sarajevo.
- The foreign community is rarely the target of violence, but collateral damage can occur.
- Incidents involving injury or death due to mines occur annually.
- Minefields, active land mines, and unexploded ordnances are a threat throughout the country.
- Stay on hard surfaced areas and out of abandoned buildings when near the former lines of conflict, including the suburbs of Sarajevo.
- For more information about landmines and unexploded ordinance, please visit the website of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center.
- Can occur spontaneously and be large and disruptive, involving property damage and injuries.
- Exercise caution if you encounter large gatherings throughout the country.
- Can be dangerous! Rival fans occasionally get into fights and cause property damage. Plan ahead to avoid the area.
- Can draw large crowds before and after matches, creating significant traffic congestion and problems for pedestrians. Road closures are common.
Attacks by stray dogs:
- Avoid stray dogs. Packs or individual dog attacks occur both in urban and rural areas and can be unpredictable.
- Though emergency medical facilities are well-equipped for treating dog bites and rabies vaccines are available, travelers should consider a series of pre-exposure rabies vaccinations prior to arrival.
Crime: The overall crime rate throughout the country remains moderate, although Sarajevo has a consistently high rate of property-related crime.
- The most common criminal activities throughout Sarajevo are armed robberies, residential break-ins, vehicle break-ins and thefts, and pick-pocketing.
- Be alert at all times, especially after dark and in locations frequented by foreigners, such as cafés and restaurants.
- Take normal precautions to protect your property from theft and exercise common sense personal security measures, such as traveling in groups and staying in well-lighted areas after dark.
- Avoid carrying large sums of money.
- People wearing backpacks stand out and attract the attention of pickpockets who easily gain access without the owners’ knowledge.
The local equivalents to the “911” emergency lines in Bosnia and Herzegovina are:
Police – 122 Ambulance – 124 Fire – 123
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 122 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (387) 33 704 000. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States.
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Possession of a U.S. passport will not prevent you from being arrested, prosecuted, or jailed overseas.
It is forbidden to photograph military or secure installations, including airports, equipment, bridges, government checkpoints, troops and embassies. If in doubt, ask permission before taking photographs.
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Bosnia and Herzegovina are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
- The official currency in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Convertible Mark (KM or BAM), which is pegged to the euro at approximately 2 KM = 1 euro.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina is still predominantly a cash economy.
- Travelers should not expect to use credit cards to cover all expenses even though they are becoming accepted more widely.
- Automated teller machines (ATMs) are available at the banks in Sarajevo and other major cities and towns.
- Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted and cannot be cashed in every bank immediately.
- Cash transfers from abroad may involve delays, but Western Union transfers are available in many banks and post offices throughout the country.
- All official payments must be made in convertible marks (KM), the national currency.
- Foreigners attempting to exchange money should be prepared to present their passport to complete the transaction.
- Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- While reports of physical attacks on people identified as LGBTI are rare, hate speech, especially on web portals, is more common.
- There are some laws protecting the rights of the LGBTI community, but these laws are not universally enforced and the community has a relatively low profile.
- There are no significant Pride events, and attempts to hold such events have not been supported by the Government.
- For further information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTI) travel, please read our LGBTI travel information page.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Bosnia and Herzegovina, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. The law mandates that all public buildings be retrofitted to provide access to persons with disabilities. However, in practice, buildings are rarely accessible to persons with disabilities.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.
Medical Facilities and Medications:
- Adequate medical facilities may not be available outside of Sarajevo and may not be up to U.S. standards.
- Medications may not be obtainable in, or shippable to, Bosnia and Hercegovina. Bring your own supply of prescription drugs and preventive medicines.
- Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
- All major surgery is performed in public hospitals.
- Persons with mental health conditions may not be able to locate English-speaking mental health providers.
- Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- We do not pay medical bills, and U.S. Medicare does not pay claims overseas.
- You should ensure that your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.
- Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.
- We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage
Air quality and allergens may pose problems for individuals with asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions, especially in Sarajevo. The air quality in the colder months, in particular, can be significantly worse than that found in the United States.
Feral dogs pose a potential health threat for the transmission of rabies. For further information, please consult the CDC’s information on rabies.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For further health information, go to:
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety:
- Many roads are poorly maintained and are sometimes blocked because of landslides, de-mining activity, and traffic accidents.
- Two-lane roads between major cities are typically narrow, lack guardrails, and curvy.
- Driving in winter is hazardous because of fog, snow, and ice.
- Be alert for drunk drivers, drivers traveling at excessive speeds, heavy vehicles, and agricultural equipment. Street lights are uncommon outside of major cities.
The emergency number for vehicle assistance and towing service is 1282 in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1285 in the Republika Srpska.
- The use of seat belts is mandatory.
- Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal.
- The legal blood alcohol limit is .03 percent.
- Bosnian law requires a safety vest, spare tire, jack, first aid kit, safety triangle, tow rope, and spare light bulbs in the car at all times.
- To drive legally in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you must have an international driving permit and a U.S. license.
- Snow tires are required for all automobiles from November 15 through April 15.
During the winter months, flights into and out of Sarajevo are frequently delayed or canceled due to heavy fog. Be prepared for last-minute cancellations, schedule changes, lengthy delays, alternate routings, or time-consuming overland transportation.
See our road safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the country’s national tourist office. The local automobile association (in Bosnian) is responsible for road safety.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
International Parental Child Abduction
Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.”
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