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Bosnia and Herzegovina

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​Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travel conditions.
  • An influx of asylum seekers into Europe has caused some localised disruption to cross-border road and train services in recent years. More disruptions are possible so have back-up plans. See Local travel.
  • Terrorism is a threat in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities in recent years. See Safety and security
  • Lethal unmarked landmines and other unexploded ordnances are a hazard. See Local travel.
  •  Australian Embassy in Vienna provides full consular assistance to Australians in Bosnia and Herzegovina. See Where to get help.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Visas

You don't need a visa for stays of up to three months. If you plan to stay for longer than three months, you'll need a temporary residence permit.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Bosnia and Herzegovina for up-to-date information.

Other formalities

Ensure your passport is stamped when you enter the country. If it isn't stamped, you could face difficulties when trying to leave.

You need to register with the local police within 48 hours of arrival. Hotels will usually organise this for you on arrival. Confirm this when you check in.

Children (under 18 years of age) travelling alone or with one parent may need to produce a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent(s) and a copy of the child's birth certificate on arrival. This is in addition to the child's passport. Check requirements with an Embassy or Consulate of Bosnia and Herzegovina before you travel.

Passport


Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

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.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Bosnian Mark (KM or BAM).

ATMs are common in major centres. Credit cards and debit cards are increasingly accepted outside Sarajevo but you'll still need cash on hand, particularly outside of the major cities.

Travellers cheques can be cashed for KM at some banks but are otherwise only rarely accepted.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe. In recent years, terrorists have staged attacks 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.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places
  • Exercise particular caution around locations known to be possible terrorist targets.
  • Report any suspicious behaviour and unattended bags to police. .
  • Monitor the news for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Civil unrest and political tension

Protests and demonstrations can occur with little or no warning.

There are serious ethnic and religious tensions in the country, which occasionally result in demonstrations or conflict.

  • Avoid demonstrations, protests and political rallies as they could turn violent and foreigners could be targeted.
  • Monitor local media and other sources for advice of possible unrest and avoid those areas.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Crime

The crime rate is moderate.

Home robbery and vehicle theft occur throughout the country. The rate of vehicle theft is particularly high in Sarajevo.

Pickpocketing, bag snatching and other petty crime is common. It can happen at markets, bars, train and bus terminals, and on public transport.

Firearms are 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.

  • Lock your house and vehicle doors, including when you are inside.
  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras.
  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly on public transport and in crowds.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Use ATMs in controlled areas such as within banks, shops and shopping centres. Avoid ATMs that open onto the street, especially at night.
  • Keep an eye on the news for any areas where there is gun violence and avoid those areas.

Local travel

Delays at borders

There has been a significant increase in asylum seekers into Europe in recent years. In some cases, police have been deployed to prevent asylum seekers from crossing borders and accessing transport. There has been localised disruption to some cross-border road and rail services. More disruptions to transport services and delays at borders are possible. 

  • Keep up-to-date on border conditions by checking local news sources and asking transport providers directly.
  • If travelling by road or train, allow additional time to cover any disruption and make contingency plans.
  • Avoid large groups.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Unexploded ordnance

Unmarked landmines and other unexploded devices are widespread throughout the country, particularly in forests and isolate areas.

Road travel

Driving can be dangerous. Roads and vehicles are poorly maintained and road lighting is inadequate. Drivers regularly ignore road rules. Black ice, fog and landslides can make roads particularly hazardous in winter and spring. Unmarked landmines and UXO, including on some minor roads, are an additional threat.

To enter Bosnia and Herzegovina in a vehicle, you'll need to show your insurance. If you don't have the correct insurance cover, you can purchase insurance on entry. Where available, border police will direct you to an insurer's offices located at the border crossing. If travelling by car, research the relevant border crossing and prepare accordingly - not all border crossings have an insurer's office and credit card payments are not always possible.

Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws, including:

  • use winter tyres or tyres with snow chains from 15 November to 15 April
  • when driving, always have your headlights on, even during the day
  • the blood alcohol limit is 0.03%; for drivers under 21 years of age or with less than three years driving experience, the blood alcohol limit is 0.00%
  • police can collect traffic fines on the spot.

Speed limits aren't always marked in rural areas. Urban roads have a speed limit of 50km/h, outside urban areas the limit is 80 km/h or 100km/h and motorways are 130km/h.

  • Check your travel insurance will cover you before driving.

More information:

Driver's licence

You'll need a valid international driving permit (IDP) along with your current Australian driver's licence to drive a vehicle. Driving without an IDP could void your travel and vehicle insurance.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Always wear a helmet.

Taxis

Taxis are available in most towns and for inter-city travel. Use only registered taxis whose licence plates begin with 'TA'. Ensure the meter is used and running throughout your trip - pay particular attention at the airport.

Public transport

Public transport is usually reliable but it can be crowded and standards vary.

Air travel

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 Bosnia and Herzegovina.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

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.

Drug laws

Penalties for the possession, use or trafficking of drugs, including cannabis, include heavy fines and imprisonment.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

You must carry personal ID at all times.

It is illegal to photograph military and police personnel, establishments, vehicles or equipment.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Bosnia and Herzegovina recognises dual nationality in certain circumstances only. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to dual nationals who are arrested or detained.

If you are an Australian – Bosnia and Herzegovinian dual national, travel on your Australian passport to avoid possible barriers to accessing consular assistance.

For information about your citizenship status or on your position under local laws regarding access to consular assistance, contact the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Department of Citizenship and Travel Documents of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

More information: Dual nationals

Local customs

Homosexual activity is not illegal but the local community is generally intolerant of same sex relationships. Avoid public displays of affection by persons of the same sex.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

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 your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you’re travelling to. Find out if any restrictions apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel.

Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information:

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases

There is a risk of tick-borne encephalitis in forested areas. Ticks are very common in the country side and are active from spring to autumn. 
West Nile Virus (WNV) cases have been reported in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is no vaccine to prevent WNV.

Protect yourself against insect-borne illnesses by:

  •  Avoiding insect bites, using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  •  ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • checking your body for ticks during and after visiting forested areas
  • Being careful to remove the whole tick as soon as possible
  •  monitoring for any signs of infection.

Other infectious diseases

Outbreaks of food-borne and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, trichinosis, brucellosis and rabies) occur from time to time.

  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Avoid unpasteurised dairy products.
  • Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms – see Infectious Diseases

More information

  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
  •  World Health Organization 

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not up to Australian standards.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuations can be very expensive.

Natural disasters

Flooding and landslides can occur.

Bush and forest fires can occur during summer. They are usually limited to uninhabited areas.

Bosnia and Herzegovina experiences earthquakes.

If there is a natural disaster:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it in a waterproof bag
  • contact friends and family in Australia regularly to let them know you're safe
  • closely monitor the media, other local sources of information and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities.

More information:

Where to get help

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

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire: 123
  • Medical emergencies: 124
  • Criminal issues, contact police: 122.

For non-emergency criminal issues, contact the local police. Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia does not have a consulate in Sarajevo, contact the Australian Embassy in Vienna for consular assistance.

You can get full consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Vienna, Austria:

Australian Embassy, Vienna

Mattiellistraße 2
A 1040 Vienna
AUSTRIA
Phone: + 43 1 506 740
Fax: + 43 1 504 1178
Website: austria.embassy.gov.au
Twitter: @AusAmbVIE

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

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

Additional information

Additional resources