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Bosnia & Herzegovina

If you’re travelling to Bosnia & Herzegovina, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Latest Travel Alert

Given recent terrorist attacks in European cities, Irish citizens are advised to follow the advice of police and local authorities and to exercise increased vigilance, especially when travelling on public transport, if attending large public gatherings or other crowded locations. Attacks could occur at any time and could target tourist attractions, restaurants, transport hubs or other public areas. Citizens should remain aware of their surroundings and ensure they have access to exits or escape routes at all times.

Emergency Assistance

If you require emergency assistance locally, you can call the numbers below for specific services:

  • 122 for the police
  • 124 for an ambulance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you may contact the Irish Embassy in Ljubljana in Slovenia on +386 (0)1 300 8970.

If you contact the Embassy outside of office hours, you will be requested to leave your name, telephone number and a brief message outlining the nature of the emergency. An Embassy staff member will subsequently make contact with you. The out of hours service is strictly for genuine emergencies only. Queries or requests that would be best processed during normal office hours would not be dealt with by the duty officer.

Alternatively, you may contact the Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin at (+353) 1 408 2000.

Other EU embassies

You can also contact the Embassies or Consulates of other EU countries for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and security

Political Situation

Protests, often at short notice, can be expected across major cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Protests have remained largely peaceful but there remains a small risk of violence. Keep up-to-date with developments, be vigilant, and avoid protests.

There is a small risk of isolated violence linked to the return of displaced persons or the arrest of war crimes suspects. This can occur without warning anywhere in the country.

Landmines

Landmines remain a very real danger in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Highly populated areas and major routes are now clear of mines and are safe to visit. However, isolated areas in the mountains and countryside, including Sarajevo’s immediate hinterland, have not all been cleared.

We recommend that you don’t stray from roads and paved areas without an experienced guide and that you avoid the open countryside, especially destroyed or abandoned buildings and villages. Never enter areas that are taped off. For further information, please visit the Mine Action Centre.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Bosnia and Herzegovina but you should take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • There have been a number of thefts from 'locked’ compartments on trains so make sure that the compartment door is properly locked and that all valuables are placed out of sight or well away from the door.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Bosnia and Herzegovina, report it to the local police immediately and get a report. You can call the police on 122, and you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Ljubljana if you need help on +386 1 300 8970.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Bosnia and Herzegovina, be aware that driving after dark is especially dangerous and street lighting is uncommon outside the larger towns. Conditions can also be hazardous due to poorly maintained roads, and morning and evening fog in the mountains. Remember, traffic laws and regulations are similar to those in other Western European countries and vehicles drive on the right hand side of the road. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your international driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught. The blood alcohol limit is 0.03.
  • Be aware of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s traffic laws, such as speed limits. Traffic police have the power to impose on-the-spot fines for any traffic offence.
  • Driving with dipped headlamps is required at all times in Bosnia and Herzegovina and not just after dark.
  • Between 15 November and 15 April, it’s obligatory to have winter tyres on your vehicle. Alternatively, you may use summer tyres with a minimum thread of 4mm as long as you have snow chains in the vehicle and you can demonstrate, if asked, how to fit them correctly.
  • You can get more information on traffic and safety from the Automobile Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Car documentation

Make sure you bring all of the relevant ownership/rental and registration information as border guards may ask to see them.

If you’re driving to, or through, Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the 9.5km road section at Neum on the Dalmatian Coastal Highway, you should ensure that your Green Card includes cover for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Health

Vaccinations

Check with your doctor a minimum of eight weeks in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish passport holders don’t need visas for short stay visits of up to 90 days. If you’re planning to stay for a longer period, please contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Bosnia and Herzegovina for advice.

Passports

Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of 90 days from the date of your departure from Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

Registration

All foreign nationals must register with the police within 48 hours of arrival. Hotels will usually arrange this for their guests. If you’re intending to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina for more than six months you must apply for temporary residence as well as registering with the local police.

You can get more information on entry and stay of foreign nationals from the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Travelling with children

A person under 18 who has his/her own passport can cross the Bosnia and Herzegovina border if he/she is accompanied by one or both parents, custodian or a legal guardian. A minor travelling without one or both parents, custodian or legal guardian must have a notarised statement from them stating that they permit the minor to cross the border.

The statement must contain the following data:

  • Personal information of the minor (name, date and place of birth, passport number, current address).
  • Personal information of both parents or legal guardians.
  • Personal information of the person accompanying the minor (if the minor is travelling with another adult).
  • Dates and reason for travel to and from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Time period for which the statement is valid.
  • Signature of both parents, custodian or legal guardian.

The statement must be in one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian) or in English and must be notarised by a person authorised by law to take oaths, such as a notary public. For more information, please contact the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in London.

Money

Most transactions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are made in cash. The local currency is the Konvertible Mark, and although some businesses may accept Euro notes in place of these, the Euro is not legal tender in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

It’s also possible to cash travellers’ cheques at most banks. However, it’s still advisable to bring enough cash with you when you are travelling outside large cities.

ATMs

ATMs are increasingly available and credit and debit cards are accepted in Sarajevo, and increasingly, elsewhere across the country. If you have an ATM card bearing a Maestro or Cirrus symbol, you should be able to withdraw funds from your Irish account.

Public transport

English isn’t widely spoken in Bosnia and Herzegovina but travelling around the country isn’t difficult. Local rail, bus and tram services are generally reliable.

Taxis

Please note that taxi drivers from the two political entities in the country (the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) may be unwilling to travel from one entity to another.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes aren’t uncommon in Bosnia and Herzegovina and small tremors are recorded throughout the year without consequences.