Bosnia and Herzegovina

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Wednesday, 15 October 2014.   This advice has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina overall

Summary

  • We advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities, such as Glasgow, London, Madrid, and Moscow. 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.
  • 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.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

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 for the most up to date information.

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. 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.

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. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities, such as Glasgow, London, Madrid, and Moscow. 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. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.

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. Protests occurred in a number of towns in February 2014 with associated acts of violence. Small peaceful demonstrations continue to take place and can cause disruption to traffic and limit access to public buildings.

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.

Crime

We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.

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.

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.

Money and valuables

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, cash payment in local currency (the Bosnian Mark), or in Euros, is often expected. ATMs are becoming more 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. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Local travel

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.

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. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Airline safety

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.

Laws

When you are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

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

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.

Health

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 the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.
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 which does not include the issue of Australian passports. You can obtain full consular assistance from the Australian Embassy with consular responsibility for Bosnia and Herzegovina which is in Vienna:

Australian Embassy

Mattiellistrasse 2-4
1040 Vienna
AUSTRIA
Telephone: + 43 1 506 740
Facsimile: + 43 1 504 1178
Webpage: www.austria.embassy.gov.au

Contact details for the Honorary Consulate are:

Australian Consulate

Titova 6/III
71000 Sarajevo
BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA
Telephone: +387 33 206 167
Facsimile: +387 33 251 238
Email: australian.consulate.sa@gmail.com
See the High Commission/Embassy/Consulate-General website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

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.

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.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

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.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.