- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. You should exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
- There has been a significant influx of asylum seekers into Europe, causing localised disruption to cross-border road and train services. Travellers should be aware of the possibility of further disruptions, make appropriate contingency plans and follow the instructions of local authorities. See Local travel.
- There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. Targets have included public transport and transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners. See Safety and security.
- Widespread danger from unmarked landmines and other unexploded ordnance continues throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Australia has a Consulate in Sarajevo headed by an Honorary Consul which provides limited consular assistance. The Australian Embassy in Vienna provides full consular assistance to Australians in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued
- follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Entry and exit
You do not require a visa for stays of up to three months. If you are intending to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina for longer than three months you should obtain a temporary residence permit.
You are required to register with the local police within 48 hours of arrival in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hotels will usually organise this for you on arrival.
As visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or visit their website for the most up to date information.
For children (under 18 years of age) travelling alone or with one parent, local immigration authorities, may require a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent(s) and a copy of the child's birth certificate, in addition to the child's passport. You should check these requirements with an Embassy or Consulate of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Safety and security
There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. Targets have included public transport and transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners. In addition, a number of planned attacks have been disrupted by European security services in recent years, underscoring the continuing interest of terrorists in attacking European locations.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin for more information.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance
Widespread danger from unmarked landmines and other unexploded ordnance continues throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly on minor roads, unpaved surfaces and in abandoned or derelict buildings. Floods in 2014 reportedly moved some land mines and minefield markings.
Civil unrest/political tension
Protests can occur, often at short notice, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Serious ethnic and religious tensions remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina and occasionally result in demonstrations or conflict.
You should avoid protests, demonstrations, and large public gatherings as they have the potential to become violent and foreigners could be targeted.
You should monitor the media for information about possible safety and security risks.
The crime rate remains moderate in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Home robbery and vehicle theft occur throughout the country, with vehicle theft consistently high in Sarajevo. Petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag snatching is also prevalent, particularly at markets and bars, at train and bus terminals, and on public transport. Firearms are still widely available. Foreigners may not be the target, but there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time especially late at night in clubs and cafes.
Money and valuables
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, cash payment in local currency (the Bosnian Mark) is often expected. ATMs are common in major centres. Credit cards and debit cards are increasingly accepted outside Sarajevo, however, it is advisable to carry enough cash with you if travelling outside of the major cities. Travellers' cheques can be cashed at some banks.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are 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.
There has been a significant influx of asylum seekers into Europe. In some cases, police have been deployed to prevent asylum seekers from crossing borders and accessing transport. As a result, there has been localised disruption to some cross-border road and rail services. You should be aware of the possibility of further disruption to transport services and monitor the local media and other information from transport providers for up to date information. If travelling by road or train, you should allow additional time to cover any disruption, remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities. Australians travelling across affected borders, either by road or rail, should make appropriate contingency plans to cover any disruption to travel plans.
In May 2014, areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina experienced heavy flooding and landslides. There are still some road works being undertaken on regional roads and landslides have reportedly moved some land mines and minefield markings.
Black ice, fog and landslides can make roads particularly hazardous in winter and spring. It is a legal requirement that winter equipment (winter tyres or tyres with snow chains) is used on all vehicles from 15 November to 15 April each year.
It is a legal requirement to have your driver's license with you at all times when driving in, or through, Bosnia and Herzegovina. You need valid insurance to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina in a vehicle. If you do not have the correct insurance cover, you will be required to purchase insurance when you enter the country. Border police will direct you to an insurer's offices located at the border crossing. Credit card payments are not always possible.
Driving can be dangerous due to local driving practices, poorly maintained roads and vehicles, and inadequate road lighting. When driving, headlights must be on at all times. Speed limits may not be clearly shown in rural areas. Most roads have a speed limit of 50km/h, with some roads having a higher limit of 80 km/h. Highways are generally 100km/h. Police can collect traffic fines on the spot. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.03 percent.
Taxis are available in most towns and for inter-city travel. Use only registered taxis whose licence plates begin with “TA”. Ensure that the meter is used and running throughout your trip - pay particular attention at the airport.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including ones 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.
Penalties for the possession, use or trafficking of drugs, including cannabis, include heavy fines and imprisonment. See our Drugs page.
Photography of military and police personnel, establishments, vehicles and equipment is prohibited.
Homosexual activity is not illegal, however the local community is generally intolerant of same sex relationships. Overt public displays of affection by persons of the same sex should be avoided. See our LGBTI travellers page.
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 Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
Information for dual nationals
Bosnia and Herzegovina only recognises dual nationality in certain circumstances. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to dual nationals if arrested or detained. We strongly recommend you travel on your Australian passport to avoid any issues with the provision of consular assistance. For more information you should contact the Bosnian and Herzegovina Ministry of Civil Affairs, Department of Citizenship and Travel Documents.
Our Dual nationals page provides further information.
We strongly recommend that you 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 is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to 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 page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
Medical facilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, even in city centres, may not be up to Australian standards. In the event of a serious accident or illness, medical evacuation to a destination with the appropriate facilities may be necessary. Costs could be considerable.
Outbreaks of food-borne and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, trichinosis, brucellosis and rabies) occur from time to time. We recommend you avoid raw and undercooked food, and avoid unpasteurised dairy products. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are active from spring to autumn. We recommend you take measures to avoid tick bites, particularly in rural areas.
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.
In an emergency, contact the local police on 122, Ambulance on 124, and Fire on 123.
The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can't do to assist Australians overseas. Australia has a Consulate in Bosnia and Herzegovina headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular assistance, but does not include the issue of Australian passports. Contact details are:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Telephone: +387 33 206 167 (voicemail only)
Mobile: +387 61 183 395
Passport application lodgement is by appointment only.
You can obtain full consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Austria at:
Australian Embassy, Vienna
A 1040 Vienna
Telephone: + 43 1 506 740
Facsimile: + 43 1 504 1178
See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
If you are travelling to Bosnia and Herzegovina, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to 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.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Flooding can occur throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in an active seismic zone and is subject to earthquakes.
Information on natural disasters, including earthquakes, can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.