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Kosovo
Official Name:

Republic of Kosovo

Last Updated: July 18, 2017

Embassy Messages

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Pristina

30 Nazim Hikmet Street (Dragodan area)
Pristina, Kosovo

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Must be valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Not required for visits less than 90 days in a six-month period

VACCINATIONS:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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10,000 euros or more in cash must be declared

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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10,000 euros or more in cash must be declared

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U.S. Embassy Pristina

30 Nazim Hikmet Street (Dragodan area)
Pristina, Kosovo

Telephone: +(381) (38) 5959-3000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +381 (38) 5959-3000

PristinaACS@state.gov

 

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Kosovo for information on U.S. - Kosovo relations.

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 Directorate for Migration and Foreigners (+381 38-200-190-22/17) or email here or here for 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 (driver’s license or passport copy) 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 both parents or both legal guardians to depart Kosovo without both parents. 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.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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. Please see the U.S. Department of State’s travel alert for Europe.

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 European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) police and the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR), are responsible for safety, security, and stability in Kosovo. The U.S. Embassy has no law enforcement authority.

  • 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.
  • Incidents with grenades, including threats with grenades, as well as other forms of violence, occur regularly throughout Kosovo, including in major towns.  However, most incidents are politically motivated and rarely result in death or severe injuries.

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 safety and security message page.

Crime: Although violent crime against U.S. citizens is rare, the expatriate community can be a target of crime, as criminals assume expats are wealthy.  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.
  • Securely lock the windows and doors of your residence when not home.
  • Organized crime is present in Kosovo, occasionally resulting in violent confrontations between rival organizations.
  • Sporting events can also trigger violence or protests.
  • ATM use is generally safe. However, fraud is increasing; ATM skimmers have been found on keypads and are utilized by criminals in Kosovo.
  • Be aware when using public Internet cafes and open WiFi connections, as your sensitive personal information, account passwords, etc. can be stolen.
  • Taxis are generally an inexpensive, safe, and reliable means of transportation. We recommend you 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.
  • 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. Don’t leave drinks unattended in bars and nightclubs.
  • Kosovo has seen a rise in Islamic extremism in recent years. Be aware of local security developments, and be vigilant. If you are concerned for your security or witness suspicious behavior, remove yourself from the situation, relocate to a secure area, and file a police report.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

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 +381 (38) 5959-3000 (avaialble 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 2017 Crime and Safety Report - OSAC.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.  See Embassy Pristina’s Victim’s Assistance Information Sheet.

We can:

  • 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 our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide local information on victim compensation programs 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 passport

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Medical facilities in Kosovo consist of private medical clinics and the government-sponsored University Clinical Center. Medical facilities outside Pristina have very limited capabilities. Quality controls are lacking, services are very basic, hygiene may be insufficient, and medical care is below Western European or U.S. 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.

If you are planning on traveling from Kosovo to Mecca please be aware of the MERS Corona Virus Advisory. For more information please see our Hajj Fact Sheet and the Saudi Ministry of Health website.

Further health information:

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

The U.S. Embassy’s ability to assist dual U.S.-Kosovo citizens may be limited. Dual nationals may be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Kosovo citizens. Contact the Embassy of Kosovo for further information.

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.

Special Circumstances:

  • Power  outages, which can occur frequently 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. ATMs are readily available throughout Kosovo, but users should exercise caution with regards to theft. Although improving, banking services in Kosovo remain underdeveloped.

  • Western Union and MoneyGram exist throughout Kosovo. 
  • Credit cards are typically only accepted in larger stores, hotels, and in most restraurants in larger cities.
  • 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 all funds.

Climbing and Hiking: If you are a hiker and skier, you should always 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.   Seek additional information for marked and unmarked contaminated areas with leftover mines and unexploded ordnances.

  • 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. Kosovo law provides lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersexed (LGBTI) individuals with full legal rights. LGBTI individuals are protected by anti-discrimination laws. 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.
  • Individual police officers may have limited experience or knowledge of the specific concerns of LGBTI individuals or the LGBTI community.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our  Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States. The Kosovar 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.

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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.

  • Drivers routinely ignore speed limits and traffic regulations (illegal left turns from the far right lane, passing on blind curves, and driving into oncoming lanes of traffic without yielding).
  • Many vehicles lack standard front or rear lights.
  • Roads frequently flood and are impassible during rainy months. Mud and road slides occasionally shut down main throughways.
  • Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution when crossing the street, even when using crosswalks. Drivers generally do not slow down or stop for pedestrians.
  • Crowded or isolated locations can increase travelers’ exposure to robbery.
  • 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.
  • 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 the Kosovo traffic safety law 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.
  • Drivers may be limited to three months of driving on a 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.

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 
  • Many local residents frequently walk in the roadway and wear dark clothing, making it difficult to see them at night. You should watch out for stray dogs during day and night.
  • 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, Macedonia.  Airlines typically bus passengers to the Pristina airport, which takes approximately 2 hours.

See our Road Safety page for more information.  Visit the website of Kosovo’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

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. 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.

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