KosovoOfficial Name: Republic of Kosovo
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
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
Travelers entering Kosovo with more than 10,000 euros in cash must declare all currency upon entry.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Travelers leaving Kosovo with more than 10,000 euros in cash must declare all currency upon exit.
Embassies and Consulates
30 Nazim Hikmet Street (Dragodan area)
Telephone: +(381) (38) 5959-3000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(389) (2) 310-2000
Fax: +(381) 38-549-890
Kosovo has been an independent state since 2008. While Kosovo’s government and institutions have sole responsibility for administration of the state. However, the international presence remains active, including police and NATO military forces. The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) transferred rule of law functions to the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) in 2008. The Government of Kosovo extended the EULEX mission until 2016 and EULEX transferred some of its competencies to Kosovo authorities. Civilian institutions, including the criminal justice system, are not yet fully functioning at a level consistent with Western standards. Kosovo has a cash economy, with the euro used nationwide. Tourist facilities are not highly developed in much of the country. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet for additional information on U.S.-Kosovo relations
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
U.S. citizens need a passport to enter Kosovo. No visa is required for tourist trips of up to 90 days. Visitors may be asked to provide documentation stating the purpose of their visit. If you intend to work, study, or visit for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a temporary residence permit with the Directorate for Migration and Foreigners in Pristina.
To apply for a temporary residence permit, you will need to provide proof of local health insurance and an official police background check report from your U.S. state of residence in the United States or from law enforcement authorities in the country where you normally reside. The U.S. Embassy is not able to assist with obtaining background checks, certificates of conduct, or fingerprints for this purpose. Please review our information on how to obtain your criminal records from the U.S.
You may contact the Directorate for Migration and Foreigners at (+(381) 38-200-190-26; +(381) 38-200-190-27; or +(381) 38-200-190-17) or by email prior to your arrival in Kosovo to obtain complete information about current requirements. Visit the website of Embassy of Kosovo in the United States, for additional information on how to apply for a residency permit.
It is your personal responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate permission to enter or remain in Kosovo. The U.S. Embassy cannot intervene on your behalf when applying for a visa, nor can we obtain one for you at the airport. The Embassy cannot assist if you are denied entry into Kosovo.
The Law on Foreigners stipulates that a foreigner is obliged to present photo identification to prove his or her identity when asked by an authorized official. However, a driver’s license or a copy of your passport is sufficient. You do not have to carry an original passport with you at all times while in Kosovo.
SPECIAL NOTE ON TRAVEL TO SERBIA: Kosovo is an independent, sovereign country, but Serbia and several other countries still consider it to be part of Serbia. As a consequence, Serbian border officials will prevent foreigners, including U.S. citizens, from entering Serbia from Kosovo without a valid, recent Serbian entry stamp obtained from a Serbian point of entry that is not on the Kosovo-Serbia border. For example: if travelers enter Serbia from Belgrade airport, or neighboring Macedonia or Montenegro, and receive a Serbian entry stamp upon entry, they may travel through Serbia into Kosovo and then back into Serbia without difficulty. However, if they first enter Kosovo from a country other than Serbia, including from any country through the airport in Pristina, and then try to cross into Serbia from Kosovo, the Serbian authorities will not allow the traveler to enter Serbia. Serbia does not recognize entry stamps by Kosovo border authorities at Kosovo ports of entry, including Pristina Airport. In rare cases, Serbian border guards have defaced existing Kosovo entry/exit stamps by covering them with an “invalid” stamp. This does not affect the validity of your U.S. passport or ability to re-enter Kosovo.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Kosovo.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page. You can also go to Kosovo’s Customs Information page for specific information about Kosovo.
Residency requirements: For U.S. citizens considering residing in Kosovo, please refer to Kosovo’s residency requirements webpage.
Safety and Security
The Kosovo Police, assisted by NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) and EULEX police, are responsible for safety, security and stability in Kosovo. Although the overall security situation has improved, interethnic tensions and sporadic incidents of violence continue to occur.
For security reasons U.S. Embassy personnel travel to North Mitrovica, Leposavic, Zubin Potok, and Zvecan, is restricted for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Government strongly advises U.S. citizens to avoid travel to these regions. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in these regions is limited. Tensions remain high and incidents of violence have occurred in these areas. U.S. citizens should be especially cognizant of security conditions at borders between northern Kosovo and Serbia—specifically Gates 1 and 31 at Jarinje and Brnjak—where political violence has occurred on many occasions in the past.
Public demonstrations occur frequently throughout Kosovo, often with little or no notice, and can cause serious traffic disruptions or violent incidents. U.S. citizens should stay up to date with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Information regarding demonstrations in Kosovo can be found on the U.S. Embassy Pristina website.
U.S. citizens should avoid demonstrations and other sites, such as roadblocks, where large crowds are gathered. U.S. citizens should particularly try to avoid events involving political/ethnic/religious/social causes, and should be aware of important political/ethnic/religious holidays and observances, when the likelihood of violence increases. Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable.
While de-mining programs have proven effective, unexploded ordnance and mines remain in some areas. Telecommunications, electricity, and water systems remain unpredictable.
For additional updates and in-depth information regarding safety and security in Kosovo, please see the following resources:
Visit the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo site for up-to-date messages for U.S. citizens.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Pristina on Facebook and visit the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: High unemployment and other economic factors encourage criminal activity. Petty crime - in particular thefts and purse snatchings - is a serious problem in Kosovo. Criminals commit crimes while armed, often with handguns. Foreigners can be targets of crime, as criminals assume that they carry cash. Likewise, foreigners’ homes and vehicles have been targeted for burglaries.
Pick-pocketing, theft, and other petty street crimes are widespread, particularly in areas where tourists and foreigners congregate. Pickpockets use various diversionary tactics to distract victims, and panhandlers may become aggressive. U.S. citizens have reported the theft of their passports and portable electronic devices by pick-pockets and home burglaries. Victims of crime should report the crime to the police and cancel their credit cards as soon as possible. Exercise caution in bars and clubs in Kosovo, where violent incidents, some involving the use of firearms, have occurred in the past. Don’t leave your drink unattended in bars and nightclubs, to reduce the possibility of it being spiked. Organized crime is present in Kosovo; organized criminal activity occasionally results in violent confrontations between members of rival organizations. Wins or losses in sporting events can also trigger violence or protests. We urge U.S. citizens to be vigilant if attending, or in the vicinity of, sporting events.
Take some time before travel to learn how to improve your personal security—here are some useful tips for personal security. You should take the same precautions regarding crime as you would in any U.S. city. Do not leave valuables, including cell phones and electronic items, in plain view in unattended vehicles. You should securely lock the windows and doors of your residence when it is not occupied. Vary your times and routes, especially from places of residence to work locations. Maintain a low profile – do not carry large amounts of cash or otherwise draw unnecessary attention to yourself. Report any security-related incidents such as suspicious vehicles, individuals, or activities, to the Kosovo authorities as soon as possible, and you may wish to also inform the U.S. Embassy.
The Kosovo Police (KP) carry out normal police functions. EULEX personnel mentor, advise, and monitor both the police and other local authorities and institutions; they also have a limited policing role on certain issues. The judicial system is still developing with international support.
Due to poor and inconsistent road conditions, the U.S. Embassy recommends that you travel during daylight hours only and provide a travel itinerary and contact telephone numbers to someone before you go. Personal vehicles and established (clearly marked) taxis and public transportation are generally safe for overland travel in Kosovo. However, crowded, isolated, or “off the beaten path” conditions can increase passengers’ vulnerability to robbery.
U.S. citizens have reported occurrences of sexual assault in Kosovo, including date or acquaintance rape. Women should avoid being alone in isolated areas with people whom they do not know well. Avoid traveling alone in a private taxi or a mini-bus, especially after dark. Victims of sexual assault should first get to a safe location and then call the local police to report the incident and the U.S. Embassy, if they wish. For further information visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.
Travelers should take standard safety precautions when using Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Try to use ATMs located inside banks and check for any evidence of tampering with the machine before use. Be cautious when using publicly available Internet terminals, such as in Internet cafes, as sensitive personal information, account passwords, etc., may be subject to compromise. Theft of personal items from hotel rooms can also occur.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police first and then you may wish to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency dispatch in Kosovo is 112.
The direct emergency lines in Kosovo are:
Police: 192 from a landline; 192 from VALA (044) cellular carrier, 192 from IPKO (049) cellular carrier;
Fire Department: 193 from a landline, 193 from VALA, 193 from IPKO; and
Ambulance: 194 from a landline, 194 from VALA, and 194 from IPKO.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Kosovo, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from those in the United States, and criminal penalties vary from country to country. Persons violating Kosovo's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Kosovo are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
If you break local laws in Kosovo, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
The Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Kosovo who are also Kosovar citizens may be limited. The Kosovo Government considers most individuals in Kosovo who have at least one Kosovar parent to be a Kosovo citizen. In addition to being subject to all Kosovo laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Kosovar citizens. Please contact the Embassy of Kosovo in Washington, D.C. for further information. Also see additional information pertaining to dual nationality.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
Arrest notifications in Kosovo: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in that country, others may not. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Civilian institutions, including the criminal justice system, are not presently functioning at a level consistent with Western standards. Pre-trial detention periods are often excessive, commonly years long, as the judicial system develops. The U.S. Embassy is not able to expedite legal or court proceedings or to secure the release or preferential conditions for detained U.S. citizens.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: U.S. Embassy Pristina provides services to U.S. citizens. U.S. Embassy Skopje, Macedonia, also provides consular services for those who find it convenient.
U.S. Embassy Skopje
Samoilova 21, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
Telephone: +(389) (2) 310-2000
Emergency after-hours telephone: +(389) (2) 310-2000
Facsimile: +(389) (2) 310-2299
Email address: ConsularSkopje@state.gov
Tourist facilities outside of Pristina are limited. Power outages occur frequently throughout Kosovo. Regular outages may also disrupt other public utilities, including water service, and interfere with traffic lights and the provision of normal business and public services.
Kosovo is a cash economy. The currency used throughout Kosovo is the euro. Banking services are available in Pristina and other major towns, although they are not fully developed. There are a number of banks with international ties that offer banking services, including ATMs, in Pristina and other major towns. If you need emergency funds from abroad, Western Union and MoneyGram have offices throughout Kosovo. While credit cards are accepted in larger stores and in some restaurants, you may need euros for purchases in small establishments.
Travelers entering or exiting Kosovo by air or land with more than 10,000 euros in cash must declare all currency upon entry/exit. Travelers must also obtain and complete a declaration form from the customs officials at the port of entry. This declaration form must be presented upon departure from Kosovo. Failure to comply may result in the confiscation of all funds.
Climbing and Hiking: If you intend to hike in Kosovo, always seek local guides’ expert advice and maintain communication with your family and friends. The weather in Kosovo can change quickly, even in the summer months, and temperatures can get very low overnight and snow can fall unexpectedly. If in trouble, call the emergency number “112” and the local authorities will help you to the best of their ability. Provide route and contact details to someone not travelling with you, maintain adequate cell phone battery charge, and familiarize yourself with landmarks and accommodations in the area before heading out on your trip. You should use caution and common sense when engaging in adventure sports. Never participate in these sports alone, always carry identification, and let someone else know where you are at all times. When hiking, rappelling, or climbing, carry a first aid kit, your identification, and know the location of the nearest rescue center and weather conditions.
WOMEN TRAVELER INFORMATION: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: Kosovo law provides lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals with full legal rights, but LGBT persons face frequent discrimination in practice. LGBT individuals are protected by anti-discrimination laws, and there are no legal impediments to the organization of LGBT events.
U.S. citizens should be aware that there have been attacks on LGBT individuals and the premises of LGBT organizations in Kosovo in the past. U.S. citizens should exercise caution when attending LGBT events, as with any other protests, demonstrations, or political events, as they could turn violent.
LGBT travelers should consider exercising caution when visiting Kosovo, especially with regard to expressing affection in public. Many LGBT Kosovars do not reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity, and avoid reporting incidents to police. As a result, individual police officers may have limited experience or knowledge with regard to specific concerns of LGBT individuals or the LGBT community more broadly.
For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Kosovo you may review the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Kosovo, 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; however, the situation for persons with disabilities remains difficult. Although the relevant law mandates access to official buildings, it is not enforced and such access is rarely available in practice. Only limited measures exist to support disabled persons. Most public buildings remain inaccessible and public transportation for persons with disabilities is very limited.
Medical facilities in Kosovo consist of private medical clinics and the government sponsored University Clinical Center. Quality controls are lacking in many medical facilities and their services are very basic. Medical care is below Western European or U.S. standards. U.S. or Western European licensed physicians and specialists are not available in Kosovo. Clinics frequently lack medical supplies and may not follow U.S. hygiene standards. The KFOR Medical Division does not provide care or medical evacuation for non-military personnel. Routine vaccinations are recommended for travel to Kosovo, and include Hepatitis A vaccination, Hepatitis B vaccination, Polio, up to date Tetanus, Measles Mumps and Rubella. The CDC recommended vaccines for the children such as Hib, Rotavirus, Inactivated Polio, Pneumococcal and Varicella are not available in Kosovo.
Medical facilities outside Pristina have very limited capabilities. Emergency and major medical care requiring surgery and hospital care is often inadequate because of a lack of medical specialists, diagnostic aids, medical supplies, and prescription drugs. There are very few ambulances in Kosovo and the ambulance will automatically take you to the public hospital; therefore, 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. If you have been previously diagnosed with a medical condition, please consult your personal health care provider before travel. As some prescription drugs may not be available locally, you may also wish to bring extra supplies of required medications along with your prescription documentation. U.S. citizens should be alert of public corruption reports involving medical institutions. Both public and private medical institutions have been the target of such allegations. If you encounter requests which appear to be corrupt while obtaining medical care, please report them to the local authorities and you may wish to provide the police report to the U.S. Embassy as well.
Electricity shortages result in sporadic blackouts throughout the country, which can affect food storage capabilities of restaurants and shops. While some restaurants and food stores have generators to store food properly, you should take care that food is cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. Tap water is not considered potable or safe to drink. You should purchase bottled water or drinks while in country. Air pollution is also a problem, particularly in Pristina and during the winter months. Travelers with previous history of upper respiratory ailments or asthma like symptoms should consult their doctor prior to travel and consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on them.
If you have pre-existing medical problems you should carry a letter from the attending physician, describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of prescribed drugs. Any medications you carry overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled. Some U.S. prescription medications are illegal in foreign countries and may subject you to arrest. Be sure to check with the foreign embassy of the country you are visiting or transiting en-route to make sure your medications are not considered to be illegal narcotics in that country.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Kosovo, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
In Kosovo, road conditions are hazardous. Most roads are narrow, crowded, and used by a variety of vehicles, from KFOR armored personnel carriers to horse-drawn carts. Many vehicles are old and lack standard front or rear lights. Mountain roads can be narrow and poorly marked, and lack guardrails, quickly becoming dangerous in inclement weather. Dense fog can obscure visibility while driving.
Many drivers routinely ignore speed limits and other traffic regulations, such as stopping for red lights and stop signs. Drivers routinely make illegal left turns from the far right lane, pass on blind curves, or drive into oncoming lanes of traffic without stopping or yielding. The combination of speeding, unsafe driving practices, poor vehicle maintenance, the mixture of new and old vehicles on the roads, and poor lighting contributes to unsafe driving conditions. Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution when crossing the street, even when using crosswalks, as local drivers sometimes do not slow down or stop for pedestrians.
A valid U.S. driver’s license is required for U.S. citizens to drive in Kosovo, but is valid only for up to one year, sometimes less depending on the car registration of the vehicle. For most stays of more than one year, foreigners are required to obtain a Kosovo driver license. The use of seat belts and headlights is mandatory at all times. A driver with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.05 is considered intoxicated and will be prosecuted by fine and/or imprisonment. Travelers entering Kosovo by road must purchase local third-party insurance. In Kosovo, it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving unless you are using a hands-free device. When traffic police impose a fine or penalty, they may under local law confiscate the driver’s license and/or vehicle documents of the driver until the penalty is paid. The U.S. Embassy is not able to retrieve these documents and U.S. citizenship does not exempt drivers from this requirement. Please review the Kosovo Traffic safety law for complete information on driver license and imported or foreign tagged vehicle registration requirements.
Drivers entering Kosovo with a non-Kosovo-registered motor vehicle may need to purchase Kosovo liability insurance at the border crossing point. They may be limited to three months of driving on their U.S. license before needing to obtain a Kosovo license. Kosovo is not a member of the European motor vehicle third party liability (“green card”) system, but does have bilateral insurance agreements with Macedonia and Albania.
Drivers traveling from Kosovo to Serbia with a Kosovo-registered motor vehicle may use any border-crossing per a 2011 Freedom of Movement agreement and must purchase Serbian liability insurance and pay temporary Serbian licensing fees at the border. Rules regarding entering Serbia from Kosovo, described above, apply.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: 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. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.