Bosnia and Herzegovina

Summary

There is an underlying threat from terrorism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Tensions between ethnic and religious groups occasionally result in demonstrations. Since Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 there have been a number of demonstrations in various locations across the Republika Srpska, some have targeted Western interests. There also continues to be a risk of further, smaller demonstrations. You should remain vigilant and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.

Unexploded landmines remain a real danger, particularly in isolated areas in the mountains and countryside. You should therefore be careful not to stray from roads and paved areas without an experienced guide. See the Local Travel section of this advice for more details.

An increasing number of British tourists visit Bosnia and Herzegovina each year. Most visits are trouble-free. The main type of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2007 was for replacing lost or stolen passports. You should be aware of pickpockets in the tourist and pedestrian areas of Sarajevo and on public transport.

We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. This insurance should cover medical evacuation by air ambulance. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.

Country Profile 

There is also a small risk of isolated violence linked to the return of displaced persons or the arrest of war crimes suspects. This can occur without any warning anywhere in the country.
 
Following Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008 there have been a number of small demonstrations across the Republika Srpska, some targeted at Western interests. A larger protest took place in Banja Luka on 21 February, which was successfully controlled by the police. On 26 February there was a large demonstration in Banja Luka and another large demonstration took place in Banja Luka on 27 March. There remains a risk of further, smaller demonstrations across the Republika Srpska. You should remain vigilant and avoid large crowds or public demonstrations.

Local Travel 
 
There continues to be a widespread danger of landmines and other unexploded ordnance from the 1992-95 war. Highly populated areas and major routes are now clear of mines and are safe to visit. But although the tarmaced roads themselves may be clear on major routes, there are many landmines close to the edge of roads. You should therefore be careful not to stray from roads and paved areas without an experienced guide. Unless you have an experienced guide, you should also avoid the open countryside and especially avoid destroyed or abandoned buildings and abandoned villages. Abandoned buildings, even in the towns or cities may be booby trapped with mines. 

Road Travel 

You must have a valid international driving licence with your image and signature to drive in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

If you are driving to, or through, Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the 9.5 km road section at Neum on the Dalmatian Coastal Highway, you should ensure that your Green Card includes cover for Bosnia and Herzegovina. If this is not the case, temporary third-party insurance can be purchased at the main border posts, or in Split and other large Croatian cities. Insurance cannot be obtained at the Neum border. You should also ensure that you have all original registration and ownership papers relating to your vehicle with you as border guards, customs or the insurance company may want to see them.

Traffic laws and regulations in Bosnia and Herzegovina are similar to those of other western European countries. Details are available on AA and RAC websites. Drivers should familiarize themselves with these before commencing their journey. Apart from the outskirts of Sarajevo there are no dual carriageways in the country. You should exercise caution when travelling outside the main towns and cities, especially in winter when road conditions can deteriorate rapidly.

From 15th November to 15th of April next year you are legally required to use winter equipment on your vehicle. This means: all tyres on a vehicle should have MS, M+S or M&S mark on a side of a tyre as well as stylised symbol of a snowflake; the thread of tyre should be at least 4 mm deep
summer tyres with minimum 4 mm deep thread, but the set of chains for a driving wheels should be carried in a vehicle and used in winter conditions (snow and/or ice).

You should exercise extreme caution when driving at night as many roads are badly lit or have no lighting at all. Long-distance travel at night should therefore be avoided. You should take care when overtaking and when approaching traffic lights as local drivers have a habit of breaking suddenly when traffic lights change to amber. If you are involved in an accident you should remain at the scene of the accident until the police arrive. The police may breathalyse those involved. Traffic police have the power to impose on the spot fines for any traffic offence.

You should keep to surfaced roads and not stray off-road without an experience local guide as there continues to be a widespread danger of landmines and other unexploded ordnance.

Air Travel 

Bosnia's only International airport at Sarajevo is particularly prone to fog during the winter months – October until March and particularly during December and January. If travelling into or out of Sarajevo during the winter, ensure that you have sufficient finances if you are forced to extend your stay, as most airlines will no longer take responsibility for accommodation due to delays caused by adverse weather.

Visas

British nationals do not need a visa to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina as a visitor for a total period of no longer than 90 days within the period of six months following their first entry.

Passport validity

You must ensure that your passport is in good condition and valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected departure from the country.

Registration

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

Insurance 

We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. This insurance should cover medical evacuation by air ambulance. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. 

Money 

Most transactions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are in cash. The local currency is the Bosnian Mark, although Euro notes - but not coins - are also widely accepted. Cashing travellers’ cheques is possible at some banks. Cashpoints are available in increasing numbers in the larger cities. The acceptance of credit and debit cards outside of Sarajevo is also becoming more widespread. It is still advisable to carry enough cash with you when you are travelling outside major cities.

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