Fire and rescue services
Two authorities work to maintain security — the Kosovo Police Force and the Kosovo Force, led by NATO.
Serious unrest exists between ethnic Serbs and Kosovo Albanians. Sudden, violent, armed conflict occurs. Reconsider travel to the city of Mitrovica and other places in the north.
Locals discharge firearms on holidays and other occasions. Be careful of celebratory gunfire, especially around major holidays, celebrations and after sporting victories.
Petty crime includes pickpocketing and bag snatching. Look after your belongings.
Bush and forest fires can occur from June to September. Large earthquakes are rare, but earth tremors are common. Monitor the news and follow the advice of local authorities.
Full travel advice: Safety
Air pollution is a problem, particularly in winter. If you have breathing difficulties, get medical advice before you travel.
Take care in forests. Tick-borne encephalitis and Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever are risks. Ticks are common from spring to autumn. Check for ticks and carefully remove the whole tick.
West Nile virus can occur. There's no vaccine to prevent it. Use insect repellent. Make sure your accommodation is insect-proof.
Outbreaks of hepatitis A, trichinellosis, brucellosis and rabies can occur. Drink bottled water. Avoid raw and undercooked food.
Medical facilities are poor. If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated. Make sure your travel insurance covers this.
Full travel advice: Health
It's illegal to take photos of military or police facilities and buildings.
Always carry photo ID.
Same-sex sexual activity is legal, but not widely accepted. Avoid public displays of affection.
Full travel advice: Local laws
You don't need a tourist visa to stay less than 90 days. You may need to show proof of the reason for your visit.
Security along the Kosovo-Serbia border is unpredictable. Serbia doesn't recognise entry points direct from Kosovo. Don't try to enter Serbia from Kosovo unless you initially travelled into Kosovo from Serbia.
Landmines are present. Don't travel off-road. Don't hike in woodlands.
You need compulsory third-party vehicle insurance to drive. If you hire a car in Kosovo, hire car companies might not let you cross the border.
Full travel advice: Travel
The Consular Services Charter details what we can and can't do to help you overseas.
Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in Kosovo. For consular help, contact the Australian Embassy in Vienna.
The British Embassy in Pristina can provide limited emergency consular help.
Full travel advice: Local contacts
The Kosovo Police Force works with the Kosovo Force (KFOR) to maintain security. KFOR is an international peacekeeping force led by NATO.
Check local developments before and during your journey.
Anti-government protests happen frequently and can turn violent.
Protests can happen in any region. They mostly happen in Pristina and Mitrovica.
Demonstrations can begin without warning or notice.
To protect yourself, avoid:
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Tensions and conflict exist between ethnic Serbs and Kosovo Albanians, particularly in the north. The independence of Kosovo, declared in 2008, is an ongoing issue.
The Serbian government doesn't recognise Kosovo's independence. Many ethnic Serbs agree with this position.
Towns in northern Kosovo have experienced sudden violent, armed, inter-ethnic conflict. This includes the northern part of the city of Mitrovica.
Violence happens along Kosovo's southern border with North Macedonia.
Unofficial roadblocks are sometimes set up at short notice.
If you travel to these areas despite the risks, hire a local guide, especially if you're travelling alone.
To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
make alternative plans in case the security situation deteriorates
check that your travel documents are valid for longer than you expect to travel
Kosovars traditionally discharge firearms into the air and release fireworks, during:
This can result in accidental injury.
Be careful of celebratory gunfire, especially around major holidays, celebrations and after sporting victories.
Petty crime can occur, including:
This mainly happens in crowded places, such as:
on public transport
Carjacking and car theft can also happen.
Assassinations and murders are often linked to organised crime. Violent criminal acts aren't normally directed at travellers.
Privately owned illegal small firearms are common.
To protect yourself from crime:
take care of your belongings, particularly in crowds
hold bags and backpacks in front of you, or in other ways that make them harder to snatch
always lock your car doors
check local media for news on crime
avoid trouble spots
use ATMs inside banks, shops and shopping centres
While there have been no recent terrorist attacks in Kosovo, there's still a threat of terrorist attack.
Terrorists have staged attacks in European cities in recent years. Targets include:
public transport, including train stations
places of worship
areas that attract large groups of people
places popular with foreigners
European security services have also disrupted some planned attacks.
Terrorists are likely to plan attacks targeting Kosovo and may carry out an attack with little or no warning.
To protect yourself from terrorist attacks:
be alert in public places
check the security of places you visit and whether they could be terrorist targets
check the media for new threats
take official warnings seriously
follow the advice of local authorities
Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Bush and forest fires can happen from June to September, especially in northern Kosovo.
Extreme hot and dry periods may lead to water shortages.
Large earthquakes are rare but earth tremors are common.
secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location
keep in contact with family and friends
monitor the media and other sources
follow the advice of local authorities
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
what activities and care your policy covers
that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
have a basic health check-up
ask if your travel plans may affect your health
plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Kosovo. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
what the medicine is
how much you'll take
that it's for personal use
Air pollution levels can be high in Kosovo.
During winter, heavy smoke from coal and wood burning heaters can linger for days or weeks.
Accidental emission of toxic substances from factories can happen.
Public health warnings aren't always issued.
If you have asthma or any other breathing difficulties, seek medical advice before you travel.
Ticks are active from spring to autumn.
If you travel to forest areas, you may be exposed to tick-borne diseases such as:
To protect yourself from disease:
check your body for ticks during and after a forest visit
if you have a tick, be careful to remove the whole tick
Get medical help if you develop a fever.
Cases of West Nile virus (WNV) have been reported. There's no vaccine to prevent it.
To protect yourself from disease:
ensure your accommodation is insect-proof
use insect repellent
wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
Outbreaks of foodborne and other infectious diseases can occur, including:
To protect yourself from illness:
drink bottled water with sealed lids
avoid ice cubes
avoid raw and undercooked food, such as salads
avoid unpasteurised dairy products
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Medical facilities in Kosovo are severely under-equipped.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
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.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include long jail sentences and heavy fines.
In Kosovo, it's illegal to take photos of military or police:
Always carry photo ID.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Same-sex sexual activity is legal, but not widely accepted.
Avoid public displays of affection.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
As a tourist, you won't need a visa for stays of less than 90 days.
You may need to provide documents showing the reason for your visit when entering.
Border authorities issue a 90-day entry stamp. You can renew your stamp for longer stays.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. For details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules, contact:
The security situation along the Kosovo-Serbia border is unpredictable.
Political violence happens often at the border crossings of Jarinje and Brnjak, also called Gates 1 and 31.
To protect yourself from possible violence:
avoid these border crossings
take an alternative route
Serbian authorities can react aggressively when asked about documents needed for travel to Kosovo.
Don't attempt to enter Serbia from Kosovo unless you initially travelled into Kosovo from Serbia.
Entering Kosovo from Serbia at Merdare and Dheu i Bardhë, also known as Gates 3 and 5 can mean:
long waiting times
long vehicle queues
If you want to travel from Kosovo to Serbia, you need a valid, recent Serbian entry stamp in your passport. If not, you'll need to transit via a third country.
Montenegro and North Macedonia are transit options for travel by road. See Safety
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The official currency of Kosovo is the Euro. In some places in northern Kosovo, the Serbian Dinar (RSD) is accepted.
You need to declare amounts over 10,000 euros or equivalent when you arrive. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash. If you don’t, you may be fined.
Kosovo's economy is largely cash-based. Expect to make payments in cash, especially in small establishments.
Some hotels, shops and restaurants accept credit cards.
ATMs and international banks are becoming more common, but aren't widespread. Bring enough cash with you to meet your needs.
Landmines and unexploded remnants of war are present in Kosovo. The main areas of risk include:
To protect yourself in these areas:
keep to the main roads
look out for hazardous areas, marked by red 'MINES' signs
ask locals about ways to stay safe
don't travel off-road
don't hike in woodland areas
To drive in Kosovo, you need to carry your valid Australian licence.
We recommend also getting an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Get your IDP before leaving Australia.
If you break traffic laws, authorities may take your driver's licence.
Driving can be dangerous.
poorly maintained roads and vehicles
poor local driving skills
pedestrians and farm animals in rural areas
landslides, particularly on the main route between Pristina and Skopje in North Macedonia
Roadworks are common and traffic conditions change frequently.
Heavy snowfalls can severely disrupt road travel.
You must have third-party vehicle insurance to drive. You can buy insurance when you enter.
You must pay any road tolls and fines in cash in the local currency.
Speed limits are strictly enforced.
If you hire a car, the hire company may not let you cross the border to and from Kosovo.
To reduce your risks when travelling by road:
check your travel insurance will cover you before driving
understand local road rules
avoid travelling at night
always carry identification and vehicle registration papers
Check whether your travel insurance policy covers you for riding a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Use only authorised taxi and limousine services. Arrange these through your hotel.
Unofficial taxis may overcharge.
Buses connecting Pristina with other major cities are frequent.
Standards aren't the same as Australian buses.
Trains operate regular services:
from Skopje to Pristina via Hani i Elezit
from Pristina to Peja/Pec
Trains are slow, but generally reliable.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Kosovo's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
family and friends
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Australia doesn't have a resident embassy or consulate in Kosovo. The Australian Embassy in Vienna, Austria provides consular assistance to Australians in Kosovo.
A1040 Vienna, Austria
Phone: +43 1 506 740
Fax: +43 1 506 741 85
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
The British Embassy in Pristina can provide limited emergency consular assistance to Australians in Kosovo. This doesn't include passport or visa services.
Lidhja e Pejes 177
Telephone: (+381 0) 38 254 700
Fax: (+381 0) 38 606 662
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.