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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Kosovo. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. See Safety and security.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to the northern part of the city of Mitrovica and Kosovo's three northern municipalities of Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan due to the high threat of violence and security incidents.
  • There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe, including Kosovo. Terrorists may attempt to carry out attacks in the Balkans, including against crowded venues or places frequented by foreigners, such as religious sites, entertainment venues and transport hubs. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
  • The overall security situation in Kosovo is generally calm. There have been anti-government protests mainly in Pristina and Gjakova. Protests have the potential to turn violent, as they did in January 2016.
  • Avoid public gatherings, political rallies, demonstrations and protests as they may turn violent.
  • Avoid travelling between Kosovo and Serbia at the northern Kosovo border crossings of Jarinje (Gate 1; Leposavic municipality) and Brnjak (Gate 31; Zubin Potok municipality). If you intend to travel between Serbia and Kosovo, consider alternative routes.
  • Serbia does not recognise entry points directly from Kosovo. Do not attempt to enter Serbia from Kosovo unless you initially travelled into Kosovo from Serbia.
  • Australia does not have a resident Embassy or Consulate in Kosovo. The Australian Embassy in Vienna, Austria provides consular assistance to Australians in Kosovo.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for travellers.

Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. For more information on visa requirements, visit the Kosovo Foreign Ministry's website, or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Kosovo.

Currently, Australians do not need a visa to enter Kosovo. You may be required to provide documentary evidence giving a reason for your visit when entering Kosovo. Upon entry, authorities issue a 90-day entry stamp, which is renewable for longer stays.

Serbia has not recognised Kosovo's statehood and does not recognise direct entry points from Kosovo into Serbia. You should not attempt to enter Serbia from Kosovo unless you initially travelled into Kosovo from Serbia. Australians wishing to enter Serbia from Kosovo must transit via a third country unless they have a valid, recent Serbian entry stamp in your passport. Road travel from Kosovo to Serbia is possible if transiting via Montenegro or the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Tensions may rise along the Kosovo-Serbia border. Avoid travelling between Kosovo and Serbia at the northern Kosovo border crossings of Jarinje (Gate 1; Leposavic municipality) and Brnjak (Gate 31; Zubin Potok municipality), where political violence has occurred on many occasions. If you intend to travel between Serbia and Kosovo, consider alternative routes. See Safety and security.

Long waiting times and vehicle queues are common when entering Kosovo from Serbia at Gates 3 and 5 (Merdare and Dheu i Bardhe).

For further information, see the website of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ensure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia. Carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Civil unrest and Political tension

The overall security situation in Kosovo is generally calm.

There have been anti-government protests mainly in Pristina and Gjakova. Demonstations occur frequently, and often without warning. Avoid public gatherings, political rallies, demonstrations and protests as they may turn violent. Check local developments before and during your journey, including on the following website and the daily headlines published by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.

In the past, violent, inter-ethnic clashes have occurred, in northern Kosovo, including the northern part of the city of Mitrovica. Security incidents along the southern border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have occured. Consult a local guide when travelling as an individual, in particular if travelling to the three northern municipalities of Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan, and the northern part of the city of Mitrovica.

The Kosovo Police Force, together with the Kosovo Force (KFOR), a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) led international force, are responsible for maintaining security in Kosovo.

Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan municipalities and North Mitrovica: Reconsider your need to travel to the northern part of the city of Mitrovica and the northern municipalities of Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan due to the threat of violent clashes and security incidents there. Unofficial roadblocks are sometimes erected at short notice to block the movement of organisations such as the European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX).

Kosovo-Serbia Border: Following incidents in January and June 2012, and September 2013, the security situation along the Kosovo-Serbia border remains unpredictable. There were a number of security incidents at the northern Kosovo border crossings of Jarinje (Gate 1; Leposavic municipality) and Brnjak (Gate 31; Zubin Potok municipality) in 2012/2013. If you intend to travel between Serbia and Kosovo, consider alternative routes.

Crime

Travellers should be aware of pick-pocketing and bag snatching, particularly in crowded places, including airports and on public transport. Carjacking and car theft also occur. Several hundred thousand small firearms are believed to be privately owned in Kosovo.

Violent criminal incidents and vehicle explosions are often linked to organised crime and are not normally directed at foreigners.

Terrorism

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe, including Kosovo. In recent years terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Terrorists may attempt to carry out attacks in the Balkans, including against crowded venues or places frequented by foreigners, such as religious sites, entertainment venues and transport hubs.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.

Money and valuables

Kosovo's economy is largely cash-based. The Euro is Kosovo's official currency. The Serbian Dinar (RSD) may occasionally be accepted in the Serb-majority area of northern Kosovo. Banks with international ties and automated teller machines (ATMs) are becoming more common, but are not yet fully developed throughout Kosovo. Credit cards are accepted in some hotels, shops and restaurants. Cash payment in local currency is expected, especially in small establishments.

While ATM use is generally safe, be aware there is a risk of fraud. ATM skimmers have been found on keypads in Kosovo.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place. You're required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Local travel

Kosovo has been cleared of most land mines, but there are still land mines and unexploded ordnance, particularly in regions bordering Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, including the Dulje Pass area close to Prizren. Use only roads and paths labelled as cleared by a competent de-mining authority.

Driving in Kosovo can be dangerous due to poorly maintained roads and vehicles. Roads are sometimes shared with pedestrians and farm animals in rural areas. Frequent roadworks contribute may contribute to continually changing traffic conditions. Avoid travelling at night if possible. See our road travel page.

An International Driving Permit is recommended. Always carry identification and vehicle registration papers. Third-party automobile insurance is mandatory and can be purchased upon entry in Kosovo. Drivers of vehicles bearing foreign licence plates must pay for compulsory third-party Green Card insurance.

Some Serbian car rental companies will not allow their vehicles to be driven in Kosovo, and vice-versa. There have been some incidents where Serbian registered cars have been targeted in more isolated areas of Kosovo.

Road tolls must be paid in local currency. Posted speed limits are strictly enforced.

There is a risk of landslides on the main route between Pristina and Skopje in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Heavy snowfalls can severely disrupt travel in Kosovo.

Taxi

Taxis are a generally inexpensive and reliable. Official taxi companies are preferable over personally owned vehicles converted to taxis. Check the taxi has a meter, which is operational.

Rail

Rail transportation is limited and unreliable, and safety equipment is often lacking or outdated

Air safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Kosovo.

More information:  Air travel.

Laws

You're subject to the local laws of Kosovo, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

There are no legal restrictions on same-sex relations in Kosovo. However, LGBTI travellers should be aware of local sensitivities, especially with regard to public displays of affection. See our LGBTI travellers page for more information.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography and child sex tourism, apply to Australian overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas can be prosecuted in Australia.

Taking photographs of military/police installations, personnel or vehicles may lead to difficulties with the local authorities.

You must carry photographic identification with you at all times, and must present it if asked by local authorities. Keep your Australian passport in a safe location.

Health

Take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It's important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

Get vaccinated before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health pages also provide useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Medical facilities in Kosovo are severely under-equipped. Hospitals lack specialised equipment and there is a widespread shortage of medicines and essentials.

In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. Costs for a medical evacuation could be considerable.

Outbreaks of food-borne and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis A, trichinosis, brucellosis and rabies) occur from time to time. Tap water is not potable or safe to drink. Avoid raw and undercooked food, drink bottled water and avoid unpasteurised dairy products.

Kosovo is susceptible to high levels of air pollution, particularly in winter when heavy smoke from coal and wood burning heaters can linger for days or even weeks. Accidental emission of toxic substances from factories is not uncommon; public health warnings after such accidents are not always issued. Travellers with asthma or other bronchial conditions should seek medical advice.

Travel in forested areas in Kosovo brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis, which can become fatal in some cases. Another tick-borne infection, Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), is endemic to Kosovo. Ticks are common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn. Ensure you take measures to avoid tick-bites, particularly in rural areas. Mosquito-borne diseases are also present, including West Nile Virus. Travellers who suffer from a fever during their visit in Kosovo should seek immediate medical attention.

More information:  WHO website.

Where to get help

Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and cannot do to assist Australians overseas.

Australia does not have an Resident embassy or consulate in Kosovo. Australians can contact the Australian Government at the Australian Embassy in Vienna, Austria for consular assistance in Kosovo.

Contact details are as follows.

Australian Embassy, Vienna

Mattiellistrasse 2
A1040 Vienna
Telephone: +43 1 506 740
Facsimile: +43 1 513 1656
Email: austemb@aon.at
Website: austria.embassy.gov.au

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

The British Embassy in Pristina can provide limited emergency consular assistance to Australians in Kosovo. This does not include passport or visa services. Contact details are as follows.

British Embassy, Pristina

Lidhja e Pejes 177
Pristina
Telephone: +381 (0) 38 254 700
Facsimile: +381 (0) 38 606 662
Email: britishembassy.pristina@fco.gov.uk

If you're travelling to Kosovo, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency; whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Bush and forest fires can occur in summer months (June to September), particularly in northern Kosovo. Extreme hot and dry periods may lead to water shortages.

Kosovo is located in an active earthquake zone. Tremors are not uncommon. Information on natural disasters, including earthquakes, can be obtained from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities, and monitor local media and other sources for information.

Additional Resources