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. You should also be aware that failure to declare any pre-existing medical conditions would invalidate insurance cover.
Please note that as Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a member of the EEA, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) cannot be used to access healthcare services there. The officially sanctioned payment arrangements for medical services can vary across the country. Comprehensive medical insurance should also be tailored to the individual's medical condition.
In some towns such as Medugorje, first-aid centres often operated by medical volunteers provide first-aid treatments.
Holders of Irish passports do not need visas for short stay visits of up to 90 days. Please note, however, that the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities require that passports must be valid for a minimum period of 90 days from the date of departure from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation
General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:
In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.
Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:
Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.
If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:
Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).
The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.
Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling. Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.
What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:
The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.
Where to go for more information:
We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.
Avoid non-essential travel.
Security Status Last Updated: 16 March 2020
Latest Travel Alert
There have been a number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.
HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
There continues to be confirmed cases of coronavirus across Bosnia and Herzegovina and restrictive measures in respect of public gatherings and catering facilities have now been extended.
The national regulations in relation to crossing the borders with neighbouring countries, including Croatia and Serbia, are being regularly amended as the epidemiological situation develops.
If you are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities, as regulations can change at short notice. Call 124 for medical emergencies.
See links below for details.
The airports in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the start of June reopened to scheduled flights. Links to Sarajevo Airport, Tuzla Airport, and Banja Luka Airport
Entry requirements into Bosnia and Herzegovina from 16 July for citizens of most EU member states (including Ireland) include a requirement for a medical certificate confirming a negative test result for coronavirus that had been issued within the previous 48 hours.
The links to relevant institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (local language):
Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a member of the EU/EEA. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) cannot be used to access healthcare services in this country. The medical service can be limited in parts of the country. In some towns, first-aid centres often operated by medical volunteers provide only basic first-aid treatments. In addition, the officially sanctioned payment arrangements for medical services can vary across the country.
Before travelling to Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is very strongly recommended that comprehensive travel insurance is obtained which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. People intending to travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, including to Medjugorje, with an existing medical condition are advised to consult a doctor before making travel plans and travelling. The comprehensive medical insurance taken out should also be tailored to the individual's medical condition.
It is important to check for any exclusions and, in particular, that the policy covers the person for the activities that they would undertake. Failure to declare any pre-existing medical conditions would invalidate insurance cover.
As political and other demonstrations can take place in BiH at short notice, you should remain aware in public spaces of the surroundings and respond accordingly.
It is strongly recommended not to leave valuables in parked vehicles. In particular in larger towns, the usual precautions should be taken in respect of valuables such as wallets, cameras, and travel documents when taking public transport. Prudence is also recommended in areas where there can be a large number of people such as close to the Stari Most in Mostar and in Medugorje.
Roughly 2% of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina remains unsafe due to landmines and other unexploded ordnance dating back to the conflicts of the 1990s. The more densely populated areas are generally safe, but material can be dislodged during periods of heavy rainfall. It is therefore advisable not to wander from well-established paths and roadways. Local advice should also be sought on this matter.
In many of the larger cities and towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the air quality can be quite low between November and March. People with, in particular, respiratory conditions or with other health situations should consult and monitor advisory websites such as the World Air Quality Index: https://waqi.info/
As elsewhere in Europe, terrorist attacks may occur with no advance notice. Irish citizens are therefore advised to monitor local media and follow the advice of the local police and local authorities. It is important to exercise increased vigilance, especially when travelling on public transport, if attending large public gatherings or visiting other crowded locations, particularly ones that have a large concentration of foreign citizens. Attacks could occur at any time and could target tourist attractions, restaurants, transport hubs or other public areas. Citizens should remain aware of their surroundings and ensure they have access to exits or escape routes at all times.
As the heat can become quite intense, particularly during the period June-September, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, visitors are strongly advised to remain hydrated by regularly drinking water, to keep their heads suitably covered, and to keep their eyes hydrated.
If you require emergency assistance locally, you can call the numbers below for specific services:
- 122 for the police
- 124 for an ambulance
Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you may contact the Irish Embassy in Ljubljana in Slovenia on +386 (0)1 300 8970.
If you contact the Embassy outside of office hours, you will be requested to leave your name, telephone number and a brief message outlining the nature of the emergency. An Embassy staff member will subsequently make contact with you. The out of hours service is strictly for genuine emergencies only. Queries or requests that would be best processed during normal office hours would not be dealt with by the duty officer.
Alternatively, you may contact the Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin at (+353) 1 408 2000.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
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
Safety and Security
Safety and security
Protests, often at short notice, can be expected across major cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Protests have remained largely peaceful but there remains a small risk of violence. Keep up-to-date with developments, be vigilant, and avoid protests.
Landmines remain a very real danger in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Highly populated areas and major routes are now clear of mines and are safe to visit. However, isolated areas in the mountains and countryside, including Sarajevo’s immediate hinterland, have not all been cleared.
We recommend that you don’t stray from roads and paved areas without an experienced guide and that you avoid the open countryside, especially destroyed or abandoned buildings and villages. Never enter areas that are taped off. For further information, please visit the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre.
Crime remains relatively low in Bosnia and Herzegovina but you should take sensible precautions:
- 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.
- There have been a number of thefts from 'locked’ compartments on trains so make sure that the compartment door is properly locked and that all valuables are placed out of sight or well away from the door.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Bosnia and Herzegovina, report it to the local police immediately and get a report. You can call the police on 122, and you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Ljubljana if you need help on +386 1 300 8970.
If you’re planning to drive in Bosnia and Herzegovina, be aware that driving after dark is especially dangerous and street lighting is uncommon outside the larger towns. Conditions can also be hazardous due to poorly maintained roads, the effects of harsh winter weather and morning and evening fog in the mountains. Remember, traffic laws and regulations are similar to those in other Western European countries and vehicles drive on the right hand side of the road. If you want to drive:
- Bring your international driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught. The blood alcohol limit is 0.03.
- Be aware of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s traffic laws, such as speed limits. Traffic police have the power to impose on-the-spot fines for any traffic offence.
- Driving with dipped headlamps is required at all times in Bosnia and Herzegovina and not just after dark.
- Between 15 November and 15 April, it’s obligatory to have winter tyres on your vehicle. Alternatively, you may use summer tyres with a minimum thread of 4mm as long as you have snow chains in the vehicle and you can demonstrate, if asked, how to fit them correctly.
- You can get more information on traffic and safety from the Automobile Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Make sure you bring all of the relevant ownership/rental and registration information as border guards may ask to see them.
If you’re driving to, or through, Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the 9.5km road section at Neum on the Dalmatian Coastal Highway, you should ensure that your Green Card includes cover for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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).
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
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 drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.
Check with your doctor a minimum of eight weeks in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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.
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.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
The entry requirements are that holders of Irish passports do not need visas for short stay visits of up to 90 days. Please note, however, that the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities require that passports must be valid for a minimum period of 90 days from the date of departure from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Entry is generally being denied during this crisis or quarantine imposed for fourteen days.
Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of 90 days from the date of your departure from Bosnia and Herzegovina. 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.
A number of airlines during the checking-in process require that a passport would also be valid on the date of the return flight. It is therefore advisable to renew a passport to ensure validity of the passport for the entire period of travel and any visa or other requirements.
All foreign nationals must register with the police within 48 hours of arrival. Hotels will usually arrange this for their guests. If you’re intending to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina for more than six months you must apply for temporary residence as well as registering with the local police.
You can get more information on entry and stay of foreign nationals from the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Travelling with children
A person under 18 who has his/her own passport can cross the Bosnia and Herzegovina border if he/she is accompanied by one or both parents, custodian or a legal guardian. A minor travelling without one or both parents, custodian or legal guardian must have a notarised statement from them stating that they permit the minor to cross the border.
The statement must contain the following data:
- Personal information of the minor (name, date and place of birth, passport number, current address).
- Personal information of both parents or legal guardians.
- Personal information of the person accompanying the minor (if the minor is travelling with another adult).
- Dates and reason for travel to and from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Time period for which the statement is valid.
- Signature of both parents, custodian or legal guardian.
The statement must be in one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian) or in English and must be notarised by a person authorised by law to take oaths, such as a notary public. For more information, please contact the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in London.
Most transactions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are made in cash. The local currency is the Konvertible Mark, and although some businesses may accept Euro notes in place of these, the Euro is not legal tender in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It’s also possible to cash travellers’ cheques at most banks. However, it’s still advisable to bring enough cash with you when you are travelling outside large cities.
ATMs are increasingly available and credit and debit cards are accepted in Sarajevo, and increasingly, elsewhere across the country. If you have an ATM card bearing a Maestro or Cirrus symbol, you should be able to withdraw funds from your Irish account.
Local rail, bus and tram services are generally reliable, but are currently not operating or severely restricted.
The taxis service is also currently very limited and in addition please note that taxi drivers from the two political entities in the country (the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) may be unwilling to travel from one entity to another.
Earthquakes aren’t uncommon in Bosnia and Herzegovina and small tremors are recorded throughout the year without consequences.
In the event of an emergency situation in Slovenia or Bosnia and Herzegovina, you can contact the Embassy in Ljubljana on +386 (0)1 300 8970.
The mobile telephone number of the officer on duty will be available on the answering machine.
Embassy of Ireland
Palača Kapitelj, 1st floor
Poljanski nasip 6
Monday to Friday 09h00-12h30 and from 14h30-16h00
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.