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October 19, 2023

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January 10, 2024

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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Exercise increased caution in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to terrorism and land mines.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise increased caution in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to terrorism and land mines.

Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

Minefields and land mines are present throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. While suspected hazardous areas are normally clearly marked, several people are killed or injured each year.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

If you decide to travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina:   

  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Remain on hard-surfaced roads and stay out of abandoned buildings due to risks from land mines.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter
  • Review the Country Security Report for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

 

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

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

VACCINATIONS:


None required

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

U.S. Embassy Sarajevo

1 Robert C. Frasure Street
71000 Sarajevo
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
Email: SarajevoACS@state.gov

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.

Bosnia and Herzegovina will deny entry to U.S. passport holders who attempt to enter on expired U.S. passports or U.S. passports which were previously reported as lost or stolen.

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.

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. 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 are 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.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites

Safety and Security

Terrorism:  Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking soft targets and are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, rudimentary explosive devices, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)

  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

 Violent incidents:

  • Local criminals use firearms and explosives to settle disputes, with the majority of incidents involving improvised explosives in Sarajevo occurring after dark. The foreign community is rarely targeted, but collateral damage can occur.
  • See LGBTQI+ Travelers, below, for information regarding recent violent incidents targeting members of the LGBTQI+ community.

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Crime: The overall crime rate for the country is high, and Sarajevo has a high rate of property-related crime.

  • The most common criminal activities in Sarajevo are robberies, residential break-ins, vehicle break-ins and theft, and pickpocketing.
  • Pickpocketing occurs in areas frequented by tourists in Sarajevo.
  • Be alert at all times, especially after dark and in locations frequented by tourists, such as cafés, parking garages, shopping areas, and restaurants.
  • Take normal precautions to protect your property from theft and employ personal security measures, such as traveling in groups and staying in well-lit areas after dark.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money.
  • People wearing backpacks stand out and attract the attention of pickpockets.

Landmines:

  • Landmine explosions have injured over 1,200 and killed over 600 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995.
  • Minefields, active landmines, and unexploded ordnances are a threat throughout the country and deaths from explosions have occurred as recently as March 2023.
  • Stay on hard surfaced areas and out of abandoned buildings.  Observe mine warning signs throughout the country.  Consult with the latest landmine maps via the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center. Regardless of an area’s mine status, avoid unmarked trails.
  • For more information about landmines and unexploded ordinance, please visit the website of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center.

Demonstrations can occur anywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international or sporting events. 

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable. Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.
  • Large demonstrations, even if peaceful, can create traffic congestion and lead to closures of public transportation, roadways, and sidewalks.

Soccer matches:

  • Rival fans occasionally fight and cause property damage and physical injuries. Plan ahead to avoid the area.
  • Physical confrontations surrounding soccer matches have included  right-wing nationalist, racist, or anti-LGBTQI+ violence.
  • Large groups of soccer fans can quickly become violent. Avoid crowds and large groups.
  • Large crowds before and after matches can create significant traffic congestion, crowding at drinking and eating establishments, and problems for pedestrians. Road and sidewalk closures are common.

Feral dogs:

  • Avoid stray dogs. Packs or individual dog attacks occur in urban and rural areas and can be unpredictable.
  • Though emergency medical facilities can treat dog bites and rabies vaccines are available, travelers should consider a series of pre-exposure rabies vaccinations prior to arrival.
  • For further information, please consult the CDC’s information on rabies.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. 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.

Assistance the Embassy may be able to provide to crime victims:

  • 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

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance but should also report incidents to the police in the area where the incident occurred.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities are infrequent. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified. In the event of an injury, medical treatment may only be available in/near major cities. Outside of cities, first responders may not be available 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:  In Bosnia and Herzegovina, you are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, imprisoned, or deported. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

It is against the law to photograph military or secure installations, including airports, equipment, bridges, government checkpoints, troops, or embassies. If in doubt, ask permission before taking photographs.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, penalties are severe for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs. Courts impose long jail sentences and heavy fines.

See our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

Financial Services/Transactions:

  • 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 predominantly a cash economy.
  • Some businesses accept credit cards, but travelers should not expect to use credit cards to cover all expenses.
  • Automated teller machines (ATMs) are available at the banks in Sarajevo and other cities and towns.
  • Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted and cannot be cashed in every bank.
  • 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).
  • Foreigners attempting to exchange money or claim a wire transfer should be prepared to present their passport to complete the transaction.

LGBTQI+ Travelers: There are no current legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTQI+ events in Bosnia and Herzegovina, although elected officials in the Republika Srpska have proposed banning LGBTQI+ rights activists from holding events at, visiting, or working in educational institutions.  Elected officials have also said that they will not permit any LGBTQI+ events in the Republika Srpska entity.

  • Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is widespread in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
  • Acts of violence and harassment targeting LGBTQI+ individuals or organizations supporting LGBTQI+ rights have occurred, and police were sometimes slow to respond or failed to investigate the incidents and prosecute perpetrators.
  • Government officials have made derogatory comments about LGBTQI+ persons and about organizations promoting human rights.
  • While the laws at the state, entity, and Brcko District levels prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, authorities have not fully enforced them. Some elected officials have proposed laws to restrict the activities of LGBTQI+ rights groups.
  • Pride event participants have been threatened in the past and participants should expect a heavy police presence.
  • See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section six of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities:  Bosnia and Herzegovina’s laws prohibit discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities, but the law is only partially enforced, and discrimination continues.  

  • Social acceptance of persons with disabilities is not as prevalent as in the United States. The most common type of accessibility is wheelchair accessibility to public buildings.
  • Accessibility is limited in urban public transportation, lodging, and communication/information and generally unavailable outside urban areas.
  • There is limited availability of sign language interpreters, personal assistants, or other related services. Access to special rental, repair, or replacement equipment is very limited.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.

Health

Medical Facilities and Medications:

  • The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
  • 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 Herzegovina. 
  • You may consider bringing your own supply of prescription drugs and preventive medicines, but you should confirm with a medical professional before you travel that medications are legal for use or importation to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some medications which are legal for use in the United States may not be legal in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Marijuana-derived compounds, such as cannabidiol (CBD), are not legal in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Travelers are limited to a seven-day supply of any medications that are considered controlled substances in the United States.
  • Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your relevant medical documentation, such as a recent doctor’s prescription and transcript of medical history.
  • All major surgery is performed in public hospitals.
  • English-speaking health providers (including mental health services) may not be available.
  • Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For Emergency Services in Bosnia and Herzegovina, dial: Police – 122, Ambulance – 124, Fire – 123

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Agency for Medicines to ensure the medication is legal in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Vaccinations:  Although no vaccinations are required to enter BiH, be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additional Health Information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates. 

Air pollution is a significant problem in most cities in BiH. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.

The air quality varies considerably and fluctuates by season. It is at its worst in the winter. People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure are:

  • Infants, children, and teens
  • People over 65 years of age
  • People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • People with heart disease or diabetes
  • People who work or are active outdoors

Adventure Travel: Visit the CDC website for more information about Adventure Travel.

Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Many roads are poorly maintained and are sometimes blocked because of landslides, public gatherings, and traffic accidents.
  • Two-lane roads between cities are often narrow, lack guardrails, and curvy.
  • Winter driving can be 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 cities.
  • See the Department of State’s road safety page for more information.

Visit the websites of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national tourist office and the local automobile association (in Bosnian) road safety information.

The emergency number for vehicle assistance and towing service is 1282 in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1285 in the Republika Srpska.

Traffic Laws:

  • Seat belt use is mandatory.
  • Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal.
  • The legal blood alcohol limit is .03 percent.
  • BiH 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.
  • You must have an international driving permit and a U.S. license to drive in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Snow tires are required from November through April.

Public Transportation: Public transportation such as buses, taxis, trams, and trains operate in and between major cities. These operators should be licensed and clearly post fares.

During the winter months, flights at Sarajevo’s airport 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.

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: BiH has a small port in the town of Neum. Mariners planning travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts, U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and NGA broadcast warnings

For additional travel information

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.

Last Updated: July 26, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Sarajevo
1 Robert C. Frasure Street
71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Telephone
+(387) (33) 704 000
Emergency
+(387) (33) 704-000
Fax
+(387) (33) 221 837

Bosnia and Herzegovina Map