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Kosovo

If you’re travelling to Kosovo, 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

Security status

We advise you to take normal precautions.

Latest travel alert

While the overall security situation remains calm in most of the country, there are ongoing tensions in northern Kosovo and violence can flare up in the city of Mitrovica without warning. Avoid non-essential travel to northern Mitrovica and to the northern municipalities of Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan as there is an increased risk of disturbance in these areas.

For more information read the safety and security section of this page.

Latest Travel Advice

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Kosovo, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Budapest.

You can contact the emergency services in Kosovo by dialling 94.

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 unrest

The Republic of Kosovo formally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Ireland, and the majority of our EU partners, fully recognise the Republic of Kosovo as an independent nation.

However, the government of Serbia and many Serbs in Kosovo reject Kosovo's declaration of independence and this has led to increased tensions. Although the overall security situation in much of Kosovo remains calm there’s a danger that it could deteriorate.

Northern Kosovo

The situation in the north of the country is especially unpredictable. Avoid non-essential travel to northern Mitrovica and to the northern municipalities of Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan as there’s an increased risk of disturbance in these areas and violence can flare up in the city of Mitrovica without warning. You shouldn’t try to enter Kosovo from Serbia via Leposavic and Zubin Potok at present.

Border posts

A number of police and customs border posts between Kosovo and Serbia have been attacked and border control points may close as a result of disorder. You should therefore consider alternative routes of travel to Serbia. 

Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. And avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational.  

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Kosovo is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. 

Landmines

There are still residual mines and other unexploded ordnance in Kosovo and you should be particularly careful in the areas of the Dulje Pass (central Kosovo), the west and south of the province, the border with Albania and the region between South Serbia’s Presevo Valley and Kosovo. Don’t stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and always check with your local contact or tour operator before travelling to affected regions.

Crime

Take normal, sensible precautions while in Kosovo:

  • 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.
  • Be aware of mugging, bag snatching and pick-pocketing, particularly on busy public transport, in train stations, markets and other places frequented by tourists. You should also be aware that the incidence of car-jacking and car theft continue to increase, particularly in the city of Pristina

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Kosovo, report it to the local police immediately and get a report. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Budapest if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Kosovo, you should be extremely careful. The general standard of roads is poor with conditions worsening in rural areas, particularly in bad weather. There are risks of landslides on the main route between Pristina and Skopje.  We strongly recommend that you avoid driving at night. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance. European Green Card vehicle insurance is not valid in Kosovo. You should buy local insurance at the border or, if not available, the nearest town

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).

Serbian cars

You should be aware that many Serbian car hire firms will not allow their vehicles to be driven in Kosovo due to concerns about the security situation. There have been some incidents where Serbian registered cars have been targeted in more isolated areas of Kosovo.

You should check local developments before starting your journey particularly if you plan to cross a land border with Serbia.

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.

Entry requirements

Visas

You don’t need a visit visa to enter Kosovo for periods of up to 90 days. However, you may have to provide documentary evidence stating the purpose of your visit. A 90-day entry stamp will be issued and this can be renewed for longer stays. 

If you’re unsure of the entry requirements for Kosovo, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Kosovo. You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

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.

Serbia entry requirements

As there are ongoing difficulties in travelling between Serbia and Kosovo, we advise you to make alternative arrangements. Serbian authorities will not allow you to travel into Serbia, from Kosovo, unless you began your journey in Serbia and are returning there directly. In 2008, the Serbian government took the decision not to recognise the Republic of Kosovo’s exit/entry stamps, cancelling these at the entry point into Serbia and replacing them with a Serbian border stamp.

Health

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.

Vaccinations

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

Medical facilities

The standard of medical care in Kosovo is not comparable to that in Western Europe and you should take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover any medical evacuation.

Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever

Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), a tick-borne infection, is endemic to Kosovo.  Although most cases of CCHF occur in the region around Malishevo (central Kosovo), during summer months the other rural areas of Kosovo can be affected. 

If you’ve visited Kosovo and are suffering from a fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, red rash (which does not fade when pressed under a glass), bleeding on the roof of the mouth or any other unexplained symptoms, you should seek medical advice immediately.

Tick-borne encephalitis

There’s also a risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis in forested areas.