Kosovo Traveler Information — Travel Advice
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Kosovo Traveler Information guide.
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Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: Must be valid at time of entry.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: One page required for entry stamp.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Not required for visits less than 90 days in a six-month period.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: 10,000 euros or more in cash must be declared.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: 10,000 euros or more in cash must be declared.
Embassies and Consulates
U.S. Embassy Pristina
Rr. “4 Korriku” Nr. 25
10000 Pristina, Kosovo
Telephone: +(383) (38) 5959–3000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(383) (38) 5959–3000
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Kosovo for information on U.S. — Kosovo relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter Kosovo and may be asked to provide documentation stating the purpose of their visit.
§ No visa is required for tourist trips of up to 90 days within six months.
§ For work, study, or visits longer than 90 days within six months, you must apply for a temporary residence permit once in Kosovo at Pristina’s Division for Foreigners, Visa and Residence Permit. Please contact this office for additional information prior to arrival in Kosovo.
§ To apply for a temporary residence permit, you will need to provide proof of local health insurance and an official police background check report. See our Criminal Records checks page on our website. The U.S. Embassy cannot assist you in obtaining background checks, certificates of conduct, or fingerprints.
The U.S. Embassy cannot intervene on your behalf, obtain a background check report for you at the airport when applying for a visa, or assist if you are denied entry into Kosovo.
Kosovo law requires U.S. citizens to present photo identification (original ID, driver’s license or a passport) to prove identity when asked by an authorized official.
Additional Entry/Exit Requirements for Minors: Kosovo law requires unaccompanied children under 14, regardless of nationality, to have written, notarized permission from either both parents or legal guardians to depart Kosovo. Please review our website for more information on children’s issues.
Special note on travel to Serbia: If you wish to travel to Serbia after visiting Kosovo, you must have initially entered Kosovo through Serbia and have a valid, recent Serbian entry stamp. U.S. citizens entering Kosovo from a country other than Serbia, including from any other country via Pristina’s airport, will be barred from entering Serbia by Serbian border officials.
Visit the Embassy of Kosovo website for the most current visa information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Kosovo.
Safety and Security
For most visitors, Kosovo remains a safe country. Petty street crime is the most common safety concern for U.S. citizens. The Kosovo Police, assisted by the EU Rule of Law mission (EULEX) and the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR), are responsible for safety and security in Kosovo. The U.S. Embassy has no law enforcement authority.
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. Exercise caution at festivals and other public events. If you are in a crowd and the security situation begins to deteriorate, leave the area immediately. Remain aware of your surroundings and have a plan for escape should an emergency arise. Monitor instructions from the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Travel by U.S. Embassy personnel to North Mitrovica, Leposavic, Zubin Potok, and Zvecan is restricted due to incidents of violence and high tensions in these areas. The U.S. government strongly advises private U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to these regions as well. The U.S. Embassy has limited ability to assist U.S. citizens who encounter difficulties in these areas.
- Organized crime is present in Kosovo, occasionally resulting in violent confrontations between rival organizations. Most incidents are politically motivated and are not directed at tourists or foreigners.
- Sporting events may also trigger violence or protests.
- Celebratory gunfire and the use of low-quality fireworks are common during holidays and celebrations. Serious injuries and death have occurred as a result of stray bullets and accidents evolving fireworks. It is strongly advised to remain indoors when viewing fireworks displays.
U.S. citizens should avoid demonstrations, events involving political/ethnic/religious/social causes, or any other large groups. Demonstrations occur frequently, particularly in Pristina, often with little or no notice. Demonstrations can cause serious traffic disruptions or violent incidents. For more information, visit U.S. Embassy Kosovo’s alert and messages page.
Crime: Although violent crime against U.S. citizens is rare, remain cognizant of your profile in public and avoid drawing attention to yourself as a U.S. citizen. Theft and other petty street crimes do occur, particularly in areas where tourists and foreigners congregate.
- Do not leave anything of value in plain view in unattended vehicles. Park your vehicles in a secure, off-street location.
- Street crime and home invasion occur with some frequency. Criminals target those appearing vulnerable and/or wealthy and use periods of reduced police availability (e.g., holidays, unrest, and major events such as elections) to commit crimes of opportunity. Securely lock the windows and doors of your residence when not home and set your home alarm, if you have one.
- Robberies, thefts, and burglaries often increase dramatically around the year-end holidays as criminals tend to target shoppers carrying cash and gifts and storing these items in their vehicles. If possible, avoid carrying and/or displaying large amounts of cash or packages.
- To avoid the risk of sexual assault, anyone traveling alone in taxis or mini-buses should exercise caution, especially after dark. Avoid being alone in isolated areas with unfamiliar people. Do not leave drinks unattended in bars and nightclubs.
Victims of Crime:
Victims of crime and sexual assault should go to a safe location, call the local police to report the incident, and then contact the U.S. Embassy.
Report crimes to the local police by dialing 192 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +383 (38) 5959–3000 (available 24/7 for emergencies). Police responsiveness to criminal reports varies greatly. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
Kosovo’s Victims’ Advocacy and Assistance Office (VAO) has a 24-hour, toll-free, operational help line available at 0800 11 112. The VAO provides information and guidance, can help refer cases to appropriate institutions, and allows the general public/victims to report crimes. The VAO may also assist with medical exams, obtaining protection orders, or case status updates.
Additional in-depth information regarding safety and security in Kosovo can be found at: Kosovo 2019 Crime and Safety Report — OSAC.
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide information on victim compensation programs in the U.S. and in Kosovo
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost U.S. passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
The Kosovo criminal justice system does not function at a level consistent with Western standards. Lengthy detentions are common before and during judicial proceedings. The U.S. Embassy cannot expedite legal/court proceedings, secure releases, nor facilitate preferential conditions for detained U.S. citizens.
- Power outages, which can occur throughout Kosovo, may also disrupt other public utilities, including water service, and interfere with traffic lights, normal business activity, and public services.
- Kosovo is a cash economy based on the euro, although credit card use is increasingly prevalent. ATMs are readily available throughout Kosovo, and users should take normal precautions when using ATMs to safeguard their PIN.
- Be aware when using public Internet cafes and open WiFi connections, as your sensitive personal information, account passwords, etc. can be stolen.
- Travelers must complete a customs declaration at their port of entry when bringing in or taking out cash in amount of 10,000 euros or more. Failure to comply may result in the confiscation of a percentage of the funds.
Potential for Natural Disasters: Kosovo is located in a seismically active area of the world making it susceptible to earthquakes. The best way to cope with an earthquake is to make preparations in advance. For information on what to do before and during a natural disaster, see:
Explosive devices: While de-mining programs have proven effective, unexploded ordnance and mines remain in some areas. Seek additional information for marked and unmarked contaminated areas with leftover mines and unexploded ordnances. Further, improvised explosive devices (IED) and Molotov cocktails have been used in Kosovo. Any suspicious item should be reported to the local authorities.
Climbing and Hiking: For outdoor activities, you should seek a local guide’s informed advice, maintain communication with your family and friends, and provide route and contact details to someone not travelling with you.
- The weather in Kosovo can change quickly, even in the summer months.
- Temperatures can drop overnight and snow can fall unexpectedly.
- If in trouble, call the local emergency number at 112. Local authorities will help to the best of their ability.
Athletes: We have received reports that some Kosovo sports clubs have allegedly not honored contracts for foreigners. Before signing a contract or relocating:
- Consult the Embassy’s information page.
- Ensure you are able to financially support your trip and return home to the United States, should problems arise.
Property and Other Private or Commercial Disputes: The Government of the United States does not have jurisdiction over property or private disputes in Kosovo.
- The U.S. Embassy cannot protect personal property and cannot take sides in legal disputes.
- Information about the legal system in Kosovo is available on the Government of Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) website.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Kosovo. LGBTI individuals are protected by anti-discrimination laws, and there are no legal impediments to organizing LGBTI events. In practice, however, LGBTI persons face discrimination.
- LGBTI travelers should exercise caution when visiting Kosovo, especially with regard to expressing affection in public.
- Despite existing legal protections, LGBTI travelers may find that individual police officers are unfamiliar, or have limited experience, with the needs or concerns of the LGTBI community.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. The Kosovo Constitution and legislation prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, and in the provision of other state services.
- Only limited measures exist to support disabled persons.
- Law mandates access for disabled persons to official buildings; however, it is not enforced, and such access is rarely available.
- Most public buildings and many residential or commercial facilities remain inaccessible.
- Public transportation for persons with disabilities is very limited.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Medical facilities in Kosovo consist of the government-sponsored University Clinical Center and private medical clinics. Medical facilities outside Pristina have limited capabilities. Quality controls are lacking, services are very basic, hygiene may be insufficient, and medical care is below U.S. or Western European standards.
- United States or Western European-licensed physicians and specialists are not available in Kosovo. If you encounter corruption while obtaining medical care, please report it to the local authorities.
- Kosovo has few ambulances. Ambulances will take you to the public hospital. Injured or seriously ill U.S. citizens may be required to take taxis or other immediately available vehicles to the nearest major hospital rather than waiting for ambulances to arrive.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Kosovo to ensure the medication is legal in Kosovo. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
- Some prescription medication may not be available locally.
- Tap water is not potable or safe to drink. Take care that food is cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.
- Air pollution is a severe problem in the greater Pristina area, particularly during the winter. Travelers with upper respiratory ailments or asthma-like symptoms should consult their doctor prior to travel.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The following CDC-recommended vaccines for children are not available in Kosovo: Hib, Rotavirus, Inactivated Polio, Pneumococcal, and Varicella.
Further health information:
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety:Road conditions in Kosovo are hazardous. Although some modern highways exist, most roads remain narrow and crowded and are used by a variety of vehicles, from NATO-KFOR armored personnel carriers to horse-drawn carts. Mountain roads can be narrow and poorly marked, lack guardrails, and quickly become dangerous in inclement weather. Dense fog can obscure visibility while driving.
- Driving in Kosovo is difficult for many reasons: unfamiliar traffic patterns, largely unobserved traffic laws (e.g., illegal left turns from the far right lane, passing on blind curves, driving into oncoming lanes of traffic without yielding), oddly-shaped road signs in a foreign language, stray livestock, horse-drawn carts, infrastructure problems and the construction projects implemented to fix them.
- Roads frequently flood and are impassible during rainy months. Mud and road slides occasionally shut down main throughways.
- Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution, whether on the sidewalk or crossing the street, even when using crosswalks. Drivers generally do not slow down or stop for pedestrians. For situational awareness, pedestrians are strongly advised not to use headphones.
- Local residents often walk in the roadway and wear dark clothing, making it difficult to see them at night. Additionally, stray dogs often lay or run in the roadway and are often difficult to see when driving.
- The U.S. Embassy recommends that you travel during daylight hours. Leave a travel itinerary and contact telephone numbers with someone before you go.
Traffic Laws: Drivers with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.05 percent are considered intoxicated and will be arrested and prosecuted.
- The use of seat belts and headlights is mandatory at all times.
- It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving unless it is hands-free.
- It is the law that all accidents, including minor fender-benders, be reported to police. If you are involved in any type of accident, it is recommended that you not move your vehicle until police arrive to take a full report.
- When police impose a fine or penalty, they may legally confiscate your driver’s license and vehicle documents until the penalty is paid. The U.S. Embassy is not able to retrieve these documents.
- Review Kosovo traffic safety laws for complete information on driver’s licenses and imported or foreign-tagged vehicle registration requirements.
- Drivers of motor vehicles registered outside of Kosovo may need to purchase liability insurance at the border. Kosovo is not a member of the European motor vehicle third party liability (“green card”) system.
Public Transportation: Taxis are generally an inexpensive, safe, and reliable means of transportation. It is recommended to use established taxi companies instead of a personally-owned vehicle converted to a taxi. Make sure the taxi has a meter and that the driver activates it upon departure.
- Rail transportation is very limited and unreliable, and safety equipment is often lacking or outdated.
- There has been some improvement with new buses introduced in Pristina, but generally buses can often become overcrowded
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety and Oversight: Pristina has a modern airport terminal and control tower. International airlines fly to Pristina on a regular basis. Flights can experience significant delays and/or cancellations due to weather conditions, especially during the winter. When heavy fog or smog is present, flights may be diverted to Skopje, North Macedonia or Tirana, Albania. Airlines typically bus passengers to the Pristina airport, which takes approximately 2 hours.
As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Kosovo, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Kosovo’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Kosovo is not a member of ICAO. Flights are frequently delayed or cancelled due to poor visibility as a result of heavy fog. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
For additional travel information
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Originally published at https://www.aardy.com.