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International Travel

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Country Information

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

Country Information

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Last Updated: April 25, 2017
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Three months past your planned date of departure

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under three months

VACCINATIONS:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

 None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Sarajevo

1 Robert C. Frasure Street
71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia & Herzegovina

Telephone: +(387) (33) 704 000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(387) (33) 704-000. If after dialing you receive a recorded 
message, press “0” and ask for the embassy duty officer.

Fax: +(387) (33) 221 837

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Destination Description

Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Bosnia and Herzegovina for information on U.S.–Bosnia and Herzegovina relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina website for the most current visa information.

  • You need a passport valid for at least three months past your planned date of departure.
  • U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days total within a period of six months
  • The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina does not issue visas to U.S. travelers prior to travel for any length of stay or purpose of travel, including diplomatic assignments.
  • If staying in a private residence for three or more days, you or your host must register your stay with the local police or field office of the Department for Foreigners within 24 hours of arrival.

Temporary Residence Permits:

  • U.S. citizens staying more than 90 days must apply for a temporary residence permit from the local field office of the Department for Foreigners of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Ministry of Security. The process is complex. Visit the Department for Foreigners of the Ministry of Security website for detailed information and requirements.
  • Gather the required documentation well in advance and submit the application as soon after arriving in-country as possible. You must submit your temporary residence permit application at least 15 days prior to the expiration of the initial 90-day visa-free period of stay.
  • You are required to submit a police report from your local, U.S. police department certifying you have no criminal record (bring it with you).
  • After all application requirements are met, a months-long delay can occur before a residence permit is issued.  U.S. citizens who submit complete applications may remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina while awaiting decisions.
  • The maximum duration of a temporary residence permit is 12 months (renewals possible).
  • Your U.S. passport must be valid for at least three months after the end of the requested temporary residence permit period.

Requirements for minors traveling to Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Notarized permission from the parents or guardians is required for minors under 18 traveling alone.   
  • If the child is accompanied by one parent, particularly if the parent has a different last name from the child’s, it is recommended, although not legally required, that the accompanying parent carry a notarized letter from the other parent giving permission to travel.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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

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Safety and Security

Terrorism: 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.

Landmines:

  • Incidents involving injury or death due to mines occur annually.
  • Minefields, active land mines, and unexploded ordnances are a threat throughout the country.
  • Many land mines are unaccounted for, due to excessive flooding and landslides throughout northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Stay on hard surfaced areas and out of abandoned buildings when near the former lines of conflict, including the suburbs of Sarajevo.
  • For more information about landmines and unexploded ordinance, please visit the website of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center.

Demonstrations:

  • Can occur spontaneously and be large and disruptive, involving property damage and injuries.
  • Exercise caution if you encounter large gatherings throughout the country.

Soccer matches:

  • Can be dangerous! Rival fans occasionally get into fights and cause property damage. Plan ahead to avoid the area.
  • Can draw large crowds before and after matches, creating significant traffic congestion and problems for pedestriansRoad closures are common.

Terrorist threats and violent incidents:

  • In 2015, a terrorist opened fire on several off-duty soldiers near a military base in Sarajevo, and another terrorist attacked a police station in Zvornik.  A 2011 terrorist attack targeted U.S. Embassy Sarajevo, wounding one local police officer.
  • Local criminals use firearms and explosives to settle disputes. In December 2016, individuals used explosives against three local businesses in Sarajevo.
  • The foreign community is rarely the target of violence, but collateral damage can occur.

Attacks by stray dogs:

  • Avoid stray dogs. Packs or individual dog attacks occur both in urban and rural areas and can be unpredictable.
  • Though emergency medical facilities are well-equipped for treating dog bites and rabies vaccines are available, it is recommended that visitors receive a series of pre-exposure rabies vaccinations prior to arrival.

Crime: The overall crime rate throughout the country remains moderate, although Sarajevo has a consistently-high rate of property-related crime.

  • The most common criminal activities throughout Sarajevo are armed robberies, residential break-ins, vehicle break-ins and thefts, and pick-pocketing.
  • Be alert at all times, especially after dark and in locations frequented by foreigners, such as cafés and restaurants.
  • Take normal precautions to protect your property from theft and exercise common sense personal security measures, such as traveling in groups and staying in well-lighted areas after dark.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money.
  • People wearing backpacks stand out and attract the attention of pickpockets who easily gain access without the owners’ knowledge.

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

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 122 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (387) 33 704 000.

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

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 United States.
  • 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.

The local equivalents to the “911” emergency lines in Bosnia and Herzegovina are:

  • Police – 122
  • Ambulance – 124
  • Fire – 123

For further information:

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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.  Possession of a U.S. passport will not prevent you from being arrested, prosecuted, or jailed overseas.

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

It is forbidden to photograph military or secure installations, including airports, equipment, bridges, government checkpoints, troops and embassies. If in doubt, ask permission before taking photographs. 

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Bosnia and Herzegovina are severe.  Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

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.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

Financial Services/Transactions:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina is still predominantly a cash economy.
  • Travelers should not expect to use credit cards to cover all expenses even though they are becoming accepted more widely.
  • Automated teller machines (ATMs) are available at the banks in Sarajevo and other major cities and towns.
  • Traveler’s checks can be cashed in every bank immediately.
  • Cash transfers from abroad may involve delays, but Western Union transfers are available in many banks and post offices throughout the country.
  • All official payments must be made in convertible marks (KM), the national currency.
  • Foreigners attempting to exchange money should be prepared to present their passport to complete the transaction.

LGBTI Travelers:

  • Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
  • While reports of physical attacks on people identified as LGBTI are rare, hate speech, especially on web portals, is much more common. 
  • There are some laws protecting the rights of the LGBTI community, but these laws are not universally enforced and the community has a relatively low profile.
  • There are no significant Pride events, and attempts to hold such events have not been supported by the Government. 
  • For further information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTI) travel, please read our LGBTI travel information page.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Bosnia and Herzegovina, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States.  The law mandates that all public buildings be retrofitted to provide access to persons with disabilities. However, in practice, buildings are rarely accessible to persons with disabilities.

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

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.

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Health

Medical Facilities and Medications:

  • Adequate medical facilities may not be available outside of Sarajevo and may not be up to U.S. standards.
  • Medications may not be obtainable in, or shippable to, Bosnia and Hercegovina. Bring your own supply of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. 
  • Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
  • All major surgery is performed in public hospitals.
  • Persons with mental health conditions may not be able to locate English-speaking mental health providers.
  • Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Medical Bills:

Air quality and allergens may pose problems for individuals with asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions, especially in Sarajevo. The air quality in the colder months, in particular, can be significantly worse than that found in the United States.

Feral dogs pose a potential health threat for the transmission of rabies. It is recommended that visitors receive series of pre-exposure rabies vaccinations prior to arrival.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For further health information, go to:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Many roads are poorly maintained and are sometimes blocked because of landslides, de-mining activity, and traffic accidents.
  • Two-lane roads between major cities are typically narrow, lack guardrails, and curvy.
  • Driving in winter is hazardous because of fog, snow, and ice.
  • Be alert for drunk drivers, drivers traveling at excessive speeds, heavy vehicles, and agricultural equipment.  Street lights are uncommon outside of major cities.

The emergency number for vehicle assistance and towing service is 1282 in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1285 in the Republika Srpska.

Traffic Laws:

  • The use of seat belts is mandatory.
  • Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal.
  • The legal blood alcohol limit is .03 percent.
  • Bosnian law requires a safety vest, spare tire, jack, first aid kit, safety triangle, tow rope, and spare light bulbs in the car at all times.
  • To drive legally in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you must have an international driving permit and a U.S. license.

During the winter months, flights into and out of Sarajevo are frequently delayed or canceled due to heavy fog. Be prepared for last-minute cancellations, schedule changes, lengthy delays, alternate routings, or time-consuming overland transportation.

See our road safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the country’s national tourist office.  The local automobile association (in Bosnian) is responsible for road safety.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina’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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci.  Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal select “broadcast warnings”.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Sarajevo

1 Robert C. Frasure Street
71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia & Herzegovina

Telephone: +(387) (33) 704 000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(387) (33) 704-000. If after dialing you receive a recorded 
message, press “0” and ask for the embassy duty officer.

Fax: +(387) (33) 221 837

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General Information

Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since December 1, 1991.

For information concerning travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website: travel.state.gov

 

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Central Authority (BCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).  The BCA has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications.  The BCA forwards completed Hague petitions to the competent municipal court within the jurisdiction of the child’s location. 

The BCA can be reached at:

Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Trg BiH br.1
71000 SARAJEVO
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Telephone number: +387 (33) 223 501/2/3/5/6
Fax number: +387 (33) 223 504/7
e-mail address: child_abduction_convention@mpr.gov.ba
Website

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the USCA encourages a parent or legal guardian to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at a the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the BCA.   All documents must be translated into Bosnian, including the Hague Abduction Convention application.  Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the BCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Bosnia and Herzegovina central authorities.  Attorney fees are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

The BCA requires parents or legal guardians to retain a private attorney in order to file a Hague Abduction Convention application to a court in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Parents who are unable to pay the fee for an attorney may apply for legal aid.    

The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Bosnia and Herzegovina is supportive of mediation programs to resolve international parental child abduction cases, however, courts cannot order cases into mediation.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Bosnia and Herzegovina is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).
                                                           
While there is nothing in Bosnian law that specifically prohibits foreigners from applying to adopt a Bosnian child, the law stresses that there must be overwhelming justification and exceptionally compelling reasons for a foreigner to be permitted to do so.  The definition of "overwhelming justification" is judged on a case-by-case basis.  The law says specifically that a foreign citizen may be an adoptive parent "if the adoption is in the best interest of the child and if the child cannot be adopted in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina have two distinct procedures for adoption: a full adoption implies a permanent relationship between the adopted child and adopting parents equal to a blood relationship.  Only a child up to the age of 10 can be adopted fully.  Partial adoption implies all the rights and duties that exist between the adopting parents and adopted children under the law, although it does not affect the rights and duties of the adopted child and his/her biological parents and other relatives.  A partial adoption does not irrevocably terminate the biological parent(s) – child relationship and, therefore, a partial adoption is not an adoption for U.S. immigration purposes.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Residency: While Bosnian law does not specifically prohibit foreigners from applying to adopt a Bosnian child, it does stress that there must be overwhelming justification and exceptionally compelling reasons for a foreigner to be permitted to do so. The definition of "overwhelming justification" is judged on a case-by-case basis. The law says specifically that a foreign citizen may be an adoptive parent "if the adoption is in the best interest of the child and if the child cannot be adopted in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
  • Age of Adopting Parents: Prospective adoptive parents must be between 25 and 45 years old and must be at least 18 years older than the child. If there are justified reasons, a prospective adoptive parent may be older than 45, but the age difference between the parent and child must not be greater than 45 years.
  • Marriage: In addition to married couples, common-law marriage partners who have lived together for at least 5 years or single prospective adoptive parents may adopt; however, the latter cases are the exception. Bosnia and Herzegovina law does not provide for the possibility of adoption by LGBT persons or same sex couples.
  • Income: This is not specified in the Family Law; however, it is considered by Social Services Centers when they conduct the home study.
  • Other: Persons falling into any of the following groups are prohibited from adopting Bosnian children:
    • persons whose parental rights have been taken away;
    • persons with a limited or no ability to work;
    • persons who provide insufficient guarantees that they will raise the child correctly;
    • persons who are mentally ill, or suffering from any illness that could endanger the health and life of the adopted child;
    • relatives of the first bloodline.
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Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Bosnia and Herzegovina has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:

  • Relinquishment: For adoption, the approval of both or one parent, if there is only one parent, is required. The parent(s) must state specifically whether he/she agrees to full or partial adoption. (Please see the top of this country information sheet for information on full and partial adoptions.)
  • Abandonment: A child whose parents are unknown may be adopted only after 3 months have passed since his/her abandonment.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: A child less than three months old cannot be adopted. A child of parents who are minors cannot be adopted under the age of one and may only be adopted after he/she reaches the age of one if there are no family members who may be able to raise the child. Only a child up to the age of 10 can be adopted fully. A child up to the age of 18 can be adopted partially. Children older than age 10 must give their approval for the adoption.
  • Sibling Adoptions: If possible, the centers for social work will facilitate sibling adoptions.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, with the intention of returning for the child when they are able to do so. In such cases, the birth parent(s) rarely would have relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.  

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How to Adopt

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Adoption Authority 

Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska. Family law governing adoption is within the competence of those entities, and, therefore, two ministries mentioned below are the adoption authorities for the relevant entity.

FOR FEDERATION OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA:
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

FOR REPUBLIKA SRPSKA
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Republika Srpska.

Please note that in Brcko District cases, the decision on adoptions by foreign citizens is the responsibility the District’s Department of Health, Sub-Division for Social Welfare.  This department is equivalent to a ministry in the entities.

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Bosnia and Herzegovina generally includes the following steps:

1. Contact a Social Services Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina
2. Apply to be found eligible to adopt
3. Be matched with a child
4. Adopt the child in Bosnia and Herzegovina
5. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
6. Bring your child home

1. Contact a Social Services Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The recommended first step in adopting a child from Bosnia and Herzegovina is to contact a Social Services Center in country. There are no U.S. adoption agencies operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Prospective adoptive parents may contact the Social Services Center in the area where they plan to adopt directly. However, U.S. citizens considering adopting from Bosnia and Herzegovina may choose to work with a U.S. adoption agency to assist them with the U.S. portions of the process. The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo also maintains a list of attorneys that may be useful. Prospective adoptive parents may contact the Embassy directly for a copy of that list.

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Bosnia and Herzegovina; you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the municipal Center for Social Work of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A home study conducted by the municipal Center for Social Work is required in all adoptions.

You must also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.

3. Be Matched with a Child 

If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority or other authorized entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.

4. Adopt (or Gain Legal Custody of) a Child in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Bosnia and Herzegovina generally includes the following: Prospective adoptive parents who wish to apply to adopt a particular child can do so by contacting the Center for Social Work of the municipality/district in which the child is a resident and submitting the documents listed below. [Note: The Center for Social Work is the Bosnian equivalent of the county or municipal social services department in the United States.] Prospective adoptive parents who do not have a particular child in mind can contact the Center for Social Work for a designated area to inquire if there are any children eligible for adoption.

If the Center affirms that a child is eligible for adoption, the Center will request the documents listed below to determine the eligibility of the prospective adoptive parent(s). It should be noted that Bosnian law gives absolute priority in adoption to citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who live in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who live abroad are potentially eligible, and foreign citizens only exceptionally (typically when there is a compelling medical need and the Social Work Center assesses that the child could get better care abroad).

Once the Center reaches a decision, they forward the application package to the appropriate entity’s adoption authority with their recommendation. The Ministry is supposed to reach a decision about a request for adoption within two months. Once the Ministry makes a decision, it is sent back to the Center that accepted the application. If the decision is favorable, the prospective adoptive parents must be personally present at the official ceremony (act) of adoption. This is an official act signed by the adoptive parents in person and representatives of the government. It takes place at the Center for Social Work. The court then issues an official decision or decree ratifying the proceedings conducted by the Center for Social Work. The court does not have the authority to overrule the Ministry's decision.

  • Role of Adoption Authority: The entity Ministry will make the final decision, upon the referral (proposal) of the Center for Social Work.
  • Role of the Court: The court will issue an official decree ratifying the proceedings conducted by the Center for Social Work.
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no U.S. adoption agencies operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Adoption Application: There is no specific application form. Prospective adoptive parent(s) must write a signed letter to the relevant Center for Social Work providing basic information about themselves. It may be submitted by mail or through an authorized representative.
  • Time Frame: It can take several years for a prospective adoptive parent to be matched with a child. After both the prospective adoptive parents and the child have met the requirements for adoption, the child and the prospective adoptive family have an adaptation period of six months. This is mandatory and must take place on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During this time, a social worker visits the family regularly. In cases involving children with special needs, who need special medical care, exceptions to this rule may be made but on a case by case basis. Only after the assessment of the social worker is complete will the final decision on adoption be made.
  • Adoption Fees: None
  • Documents Required: The application must be accompanied by the following documents about each of the adoptive parents:
    • Certified Birth certificate;
    • Certified Marriage certificates (if applicable). Medical certificate of good health, preferably provided by a hospital or general practice clinic, rather than a private physician;
    • Proof of citizenship (naturalization certificate, certified copy of a birth certificate, or passport);
    • Police certificate (i.e., certificate that no criminal record exists) issued by local law enforcement authorities from every place of residence where the applicant has lived for more than a year since the age of 18;
    • Court certificate (i.e., certificate proving that the prospective adoptive parent is not under any court investigation at the present time);
    • Certificate about capacity for gainful employment. This should take the form of a resume of previous employment records, and an original letter (on official stationery) signed by the current employer, stating the job title, if the position is full- or part-time, how long the person has been employed and the salary;
    • Certificate proving that the prospective adoptive parent has never been charged with child neglect or abuse. This may take the form of an official letter from the local department of child welfare;
    • Documents identifying the prospective adoptive parent's income and property;
    • Home study (social worker's analysis) about the prospective adoptive family, including its ability to care for a child. For non-Bosnian applicants, including Americans, the social services department of the applicant's country must conduct the study.

All original documents and the application letter must be in English and each must be accompanied by a translation into Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian with a certified translation. The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo can provide a list of court translators. The Embassy itself cannot, however, do the translations.

Note: Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents: The United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.

5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status

After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

6. Bring Your Child Home

Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:

Birth Certificate
If you have finalized the adoption in Bosnia and Herzegovina you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.

In order to obtain a new birth certificate for your child, take the adoption decree and the child's original birth certificate to the Municipality - Registrar's Office in the town where the child was born (where his/her original birth certificate was issued). The adoptive parent's marriage certificate and identification cards (or passports) are required.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

To apply for a Bosnia and Herzegovina Passport, adoptive parents will need to apply with the office of the cantonal Ministry of Interior. The required documents include:

  • Child's birth certificate not older than 6 months;
  • Parents’ I.D.’s or passports;
  • Payment of KM 40;
  • Old passport, if applicable;
  • Passport application can be submitted in person only; the child has to be present as well; both parents have to sign the application and present their I.D. cards or passports at that time.

The legal deadline for issuance of a passport from the day of application is 30 days; in practice, it usually takes about two weeks.

U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the United States Embassy in Sarajevo. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the Embassy in Sarajevo’s website.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizardwill help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Bosnia-Herzegovina, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll your trip with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

We strongly urge you to comply with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s positive experiences with American parents.

Post-Adoption Resources
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

 Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Address: 1 Robert C. Frasure Street, 71000 SARAJEVO
Tel: +387 33 704-000
Fax: +387 33 221-837
Email: rws@state.gov
Internet: ba.usembassy.gov/embassy/sarajevo

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Adoption Authority

FOR FEDERATION OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA:
Ministarstvo rada i socijalne politike Federacije Bosne i Hercegovine
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Address: Vilsonovo setaliste 10, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tel: +387 33 661 782
Fax: +387 33 661 783
Email: info@fmrsp.gov.ba
Internet: fmrsp.gov.ba

FOR REPUBLIKA SRPSKA
Ministarstvo zdravlja i socijalne zastite Republike Srpske
(Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Republika Srpska)
Address: Trg Republike Srpske 1, 78000 Banja Luka
Tel: +387 51 339 486
Fax: +387 51 339-652
Email: ministarstvo-zdravlja@mzsz.vladars.net
Internet: vladars.net/sr-SP-Cyrl/Vlada/Ministarstva/mzsz/Pages/Default.aspx

Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Address: 2109 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
Tel: (1 202) 337-1500
Fax: (1 202) 337-1502
Email: info@bhembassy.org
Internet: bhembassy.org/index.html

Bosnia and Herzegovina also has a consulate in Chicago, Ill

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
SA-29
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
 
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 12 Months
C-2 None Multiple 15 Days
C-3 None Multiple 48 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 12 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 24 Months
F-2 None Multiple 24 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None One 6 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
I None Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 24 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 24 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 12 Months
L-2 None Multiple 12 Months
M-1 None Multiple 12 Months
M-2 None Multiple 12 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 12 Months
R-2 None Multiple 12 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents
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Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth ("Izvod iz maticne knjige rodenih") and death ("Izvod iz maticne knjige umrlih") certificates are available from the civil registrar ("maticar") having jurisdiction over the locality where the event occurred. If the event occurred abroad, the BiH citizen may report it to the BiH authorities and is then issued the corresponding document, listing the foreign country as the place of occurrence of the event. 

Note: The practice in BiH has been that changes in civil status, such as divorce or name change are entered onto birth certificates. Thus, the BiH authorities usually require submission of a recently issued (within the past six months) birth certificate when BiH citizens request issuance of government documents.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Marriage ("Izvod iz maticne knjige vjencanih") certificates are available from the civil registrar ("maticar") having jurisdiction over the locality where the event occurred. If the event occurred abroad, the BiH citizen may report it to the BiH authorities and is then issued the corresponding document, listing the foreign country as the place of occurrence of the event. The fact that a marriage took place by proxy is not usually evident from the marriage certificate. Only civil marriages are legal in BiH.

Divorce Certificates

Copies of divorce judgments are available from the court which decided the case. A divorce certificate is typewritten with the initial phrase, "In the name of the people" ("U ime naroda!"). Only divorces obtained through the civil courts are legal.

Adoption Certificates
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Identity Card

As of October 31, 2005 the "old" identity cards (those issued based on the entity and cantonal regulations in BiH or those issued at the time of the former Yugoslavia) ceased to be valid. All BiH citizens over the age of 18, whose place of residence is in BiH, must carry an identity card ("licna karta"), which is issued by the CIPS (Citizens' Identification Protection System) office in their place of residence.

 

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. A certificate (Uvjerenje) issued by the Ministry of Interior (Ministarstvo unutrasnjih poslova) shows whether the applicant has been convicted of any crimes and the articles of law involved. A similar document is issued by the Municipal Court (Opstinski Sud) of the district in which the applicant last resided, and shows whether the applicant is currently under investigation in any criminal matter. Visa applicants are required to obtain both documents.

Court certificates issued by some courts in the region of Herzegovina may be handwritten and certified with a court stamp.  These certificates are considered valid in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Prison Records

May not be available. A statement of the time spent in a correctional institution can be obtained from the prison in which a person was confined. It does not contain a report of his demeanor during imprisonment.

Military Records

As of January 1, 2006, obligatory military service in BiH has been discontinued (BiH now has only a professional army). All men who in the past completed their obligatory military service (including the service in the former Yugoslav People's Army, "JNA") are in possession of so-called "military record books" ("vojna knjižica"), which lists the dates of their mandatory service, reserve duty, participation in wars, etc.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Passports

The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina issues tourist, official and diplomatic passports. Following the Swiss example, the text throughout is in four languages: Bosnia and Croatian (Latin alphabet), Serbian (Cyrillic), and English.

The passports are machine-readable and contain anti-fraud technology. The photo page is safeguarded by a colorful hidden image of the Bosnian crest in a diminishing left to right repetitive series that is visible only under a black light. The bearer's photo is photo-digitized and doubly protected from tampering by a global image imprinted on the lower left corner and initials "BiH" appear above the applicant photo. A watermark of the Bosnian crest is visible over the date and place of issue.

The front cover is dark blue with gold lettering and features a gold and blue version of the national crest bisected by a diagonal row of seven stars. The inside back and front cover are printed in multicolored ink that fluoresces, and the binding threads are fluorescing blue and yellow, the colors of the Bosnia and Herzegovina flag. Micro printing is included in the wavy design which is carried over from the front to the back cover.

There are 32 pages; each page number is incorporated into the design and printed at the lower right corner on each page. The passport number is perforated into the top of all the pages. When viewed under ultraviolet light, the letters "BiH" in Cyrillic and Latin alphabets appear in the center of the page, the page number appears on the left and right edges on each page, and a random pattern of confetti also appears.

The pages are imprinted with a stylized map of southern Europe and a diagonal line of stars in the pattern of the Bosnia and Herzegovina flag. The words "Bosna i Hercegovina" repeat in both Latin and Cyrillic script, across the pages. An oval is incorporated into the lower center of the page, with the words "Bosna i Hercegovina" in a smaller size font. Since November 2005, the practice of minor children being entered (on pages 30 and 31) in a parent's passport has been discontinued. However, this may still be seen in passports issued prior to that date which are still valid. Adult passports are valid for 5 years, and minor passports are valid for 2 years.

Other Records
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Visa Issuing Posts

Sarajevo, Bosnia (Embassy) -- Nonimmigrant, including K, and Immigrant visas

NIV and IV services for citizens and permanent residents of Bosnia only are processed by the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo.

Visa Services
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Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 337-1500 (202) 337-1502

Chicago, IL (312) 951-1245 (312) 951-1043

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Sarajevo
1 Robert C. Frasure Street
71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Telephone
+(387) (33) 704 000
Emergency
+(387) (33) 704-000
Fax
+(387) (33) 221 837
Bosnia and Herzegovina Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Three months past your planned date of departure

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under three months

VACCINATIONS:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

 None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Sarajevo

1 Robert C. Frasure Street
71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia & Herzegovina

Telephone: +(387) (33) 704 000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(387) (33) 704-000. If after dialing you receive a recorded 
message, press “0” and ask for the embassy duty officer.

Fax: +(387) (33) 221 837

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Destination Description

Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Bosnia and Herzegovina for information on U.S.–Bosnia and Herzegovina relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina website for the most current visa information.

  • You need a passport valid for at least three months past your planned date of departure.
  • U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days total within a period of six months
  • The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina does not issue visas to U.S. travelers prior to travel for any length of stay or purpose of travel, including diplomatic assignments.
  • If staying in a private residence for three or more days, you or your host must register your stay with the local police or field office of the Department for Foreigners within 24 hours of arrival.

Temporary Residence Permits:

  • U.S. citizens staying more than 90 days must apply for a temporary residence permit from the local field office of the Department for Foreigners of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Ministry of Security. The process is complex. Visit the Department for Foreigners of the Ministry of Security website for detailed information and requirements.
  • Gather the required documentation well in advance and submit the application as soon after arriving in-country as possible. You must submit your temporary residence permit application at least 15 days prior to the expiration of the initial 90-day visa-free period of stay.
  • You are required to submit a police report from your local, U.S. police department certifying you have no criminal record (bring it with you).
  • After all application requirements are met, a months-long delay can occur before a residence permit is issued.  U.S. citizens who submit complete applications may remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina while awaiting decisions.
  • The maximum duration of a temporary residence permit is 12 months (renewals possible).
  • Your U.S. passport must be valid for at least three months after the end of the requested temporary residence permit period.

Requirements for minors traveling to Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Notarized permission from the parents or guardians is required for minors under 18 traveling alone.   
  • If the child is accompanied by one parent, particularly if the parent has a different last name from the child’s, it is recommended, although not legally required, that the accompanying parent carry a notarized letter from the other parent giving permission to travel.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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

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Safety and Security

Terrorism: 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.

Landmines:

  • Incidents involving injury or death due to mines occur annually.
  • Minefields, active land mines, and unexploded ordnances are a threat throughout the country.
  • Many land mines are unaccounted for, due to excessive flooding and landslides throughout northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Stay on hard surfaced areas and out of abandoned buildings when near the former lines of conflict, including the suburbs of Sarajevo.
  • For more information about landmines and unexploded ordinance, please visit the website of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center.

Demonstrations:

  • Can occur spontaneously and be large and disruptive, involving property damage and injuries.
  • Exercise caution if you encounter large gatherings throughout the country.

Soccer matches:

  • Can be dangerous! Rival fans occasionally get into fights and cause property damage. Plan ahead to avoid the area.
  • Can draw large crowds before and after matches, creating significant traffic congestion and problems for pedestriansRoad closures are common.

Terrorist threats and violent incidents:

  • In 2015, a terrorist opened fire on several off-duty soldiers near a military base in Sarajevo, and another terrorist attacked a police station in Zvornik.  A 2011 terrorist attack targeted U.S. Embassy Sarajevo, wounding one local police officer.
  • Local criminals use firearms and explosives to settle disputes. In December 2016, individuals used explosives against three local businesses in Sarajevo.
  • The foreign community is rarely the target of violence, but collateral damage can occur.

Attacks by stray dogs:

  • Avoid stray dogs. Packs or individual dog attacks occur both in urban and rural areas and can be unpredictable.
  • Though emergency medical facilities are well-equipped for treating dog bites and rabies vaccines are available, it is recommended that visitors receive a series of pre-exposure rabies vaccinations prior to arrival.

Crime: The overall crime rate throughout the country remains moderate, although Sarajevo has a consistently-high rate of property-related crime.

  • The most common criminal activities throughout Sarajevo are armed robberies, residential break-ins, vehicle break-ins and thefts, and pick-pocketing.
  • Be alert at all times, especially after dark and in locations frequented by foreigners, such as cafés and restaurants.
  • Take normal precautions to protect your property from theft and exercise common sense personal security measures, such as traveling in groups and staying in well-lighted areas after dark.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money.
  • People wearing backpacks stand out and attract the attention of pickpockets who easily gain access without the owners’ knowledge.

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

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 122 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (387) 33 704 000.

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

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 United States.
  • 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.

The local equivalents to the “911” emergency lines in Bosnia and Herzegovina are:

  • Police – 122
  • Ambulance – 124
  • Fire – 123

For further information:

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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.  Possession of a U.S. passport will not prevent you from being arrested, prosecuted, or jailed overseas.

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

It is forbidden to photograph military or secure installations, including airports, equipment, bridges, government checkpoints, troops and embassies. If in doubt, ask permission before taking photographs. 

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Bosnia and Herzegovina are severe.  Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

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.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

Financial Services/Transactions:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina is still predominantly a cash economy.
  • Travelers should not expect to use credit cards to cover all expenses even though they are becoming accepted more widely.
  • Automated teller machines (ATMs) are available at the banks in Sarajevo and other major cities and towns.
  • Traveler’s checks can be cashed in every bank immediately.
  • Cash transfers from abroad may involve delays, but Western Union transfers are available in many banks and post offices throughout the country.
  • All official payments must be made in convertible marks (KM), the national currency.
  • Foreigners attempting to exchange money should be prepared to present their passport to complete the transaction.

LGBTI Travelers:

  • Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
  • While reports of physical attacks on people identified as LGBTI are rare, hate speech, especially on web portals, is much more common. 
  • There are some laws protecting the rights of the LGBTI community, but these laws are not universally enforced and the community has a relatively low profile.
  • There are no significant Pride events, and attempts to hold such events have not been supported by the Government. 
  • For further information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTI) travel, please read our LGBTI travel information page.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Bosnia and Herzegovina, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States.  The law mandates that all public buildings be retrofitted to provide access to persons with disabilities. However, in practice, buildings are rarely accessible to persons with disabilities.

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

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for women travelers.

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Health

Medical Facilities and Medications:

  • Adequate medical facilities may not be available outside of Sarajevo and may not be up to U.S. standards.
  • Medications may not be obtainable in, or shippable to, Bosnia and Hercegovina. Bring your own supply of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. 
  • Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
  • All major surgery is performed in public hospitals.
  • Persons with mental health conditions may not be able to locate English-speaking mental health providers.
  • Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Medical Bills:

Air quality and allergens may pose problems for individuals with asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions, especially in Sarajevo. The air quality in the colder months, in particular, can be significantly worse than that found in the United States.

Feral dogs pose a potential health threat for the transmission of rabies. It is recommended that visitors receive series of pre-exposure rabies vaccinations prior to arrival.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For further health information, go to:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Many roads are poorly maintained and are sometimes blocked because of landslides, de-mining activity, and traffic accidents.
  • Two-lane roads between major cities are typically narrow, lack guardrails, and curvy.
  • Driving in winter is hazardous because of fog, snow, and ice.
  • Be alert for drunk drivers, drivers traveling at excessive speeds, heavy vehicles, and agricultural equipment.  Street lights are uncommon outside of major cities.

The emergency number for vehicle assistance and towing service is 1282 in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1285 in the Republika Srpska.

Traffic Laws:

  • The use of seat belts is mandatory.
  • Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal.
  • The legal blood alcohol limit is .03 percent.
  • Bosnian law requires a safety vest, spare tire, jack, first aid kit, safety triangle, tow rope, and spare light bulbs in the car at all times.
  • To drive legally in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you must have an international driving permit and a U.S. license.

During the winter months, flights into and out of Sarajevo are frequently delayed or canceled due to heavy fog. Be prepared for last-minute cancellations, schedule changes, lengthy delays, alternate routings, or time-consuming overland transportation.

See our road safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the country’s national tourist office.  The local automobile association (in Bosnian) is responsible for road safety.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina’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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci.  Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal select “broadcast warnings”.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Sarajevo

1 Robert C. Frasure Street
71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia & Herzegovina

Telephone: +(387) (33) 704 000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(387) (33) 704-000. If after dialing you receive a recorded 
message, press “0” and ask for the embassy duty officer.

Fax: +(387) (33) 221 837

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General Information

Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since December 1, 1991.

For information concerning travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website: travel.state.gov

 

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Central Authority (BCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).  The BCA has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications.  The BCA forwards completed Hague petitions to the competent municipal court within the jurisdiction of the child’s location. 

The BCA can be reached at:

Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Trg BiH br.1
71000 SARAJEVO
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Telephone number: +387 (33) 223 501/2/3/5/6
Fax number: +387 (33) 223 504/7
e-mail address: child_abduction_convention@mpr.gov.ba
Website

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the USCA encourages a parent or legal guardian to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at a the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the BCA.   All documents must be translated into Bosnian, including the Hague Abduction Convention application.  Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the BCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Bosnia and Herzegovina central authorities.  Attorney fees are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

The BCA requires parents or legal guardians to retain a private attorney in order to file a Hague Abduction Convention application to a court in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Parents who are unable to pay the fee for an attorney may apply for legal aid.    

The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Bosnia and Herzegovina is supportive of mediation programs to resolve international parental child abduction cases, however, courts cannot order cases into mediation.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Bosnia and Herzegovina is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).
                                                           
While there is nothing in Bosnian law that specifically prohibits foreigners from applying to adopt a Bosnian child, the law stresses that there must be overwhelming justification and exceptionally compelling reasons for a foreigner to be permitted to do so.  The definition of "overwhelming justification" is judged on a case-by-case basis.  The law says specifically that a foreign citizen may be an adoptive parent "if the adoption is in the best interest of the child and if the child cannot be adopted in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina have two distinct procedures for adoption: a full adoption implies a permanent relationship between the adopted child and adopting parents equal to a blood relationship.  Only a child up to the age of 10 can be adopted fully.  Partial adoption implies all the rights and duties that exist between the adopting parents and adopted children under the law, although it does not affect the rights and duties of the adopted child and his/her biological parents and other relatives.  A partial adoption does not irrevocably terminate the biological parent(s) – child relationship and, therefore, a partial adoption is not an adoption for U.S. immigration purposes.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Residency: While Bosnian law does not specifically prohibit foreigners from applying to adopt a Bosnian child, it does stress that there must be overwhelming justification and exceptionally compelling reasons for a foreigner to be permitted to do so. The definition of "overwhelming justification" is judged on a case-by-case basis. The law says specifically that a foreign citizen may be an adoptive parent "if the adoption is in the best interest of the child and if the child cannot be adopted in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
  • Age of Adopting Parents: Prospective adoptive parents must be between 25 and 45 years old and must be at least 18 years older than the child. If there are justified reasons, a prospective adoptive parent may be older than 45, but the age difference between the parent and child must not be greater than 45 years.
  • Marriage: In addition to married couples, common-law marriage partners who have lived together for at least 5 years or single prospective adoptive parents may adopt; however, the latter cases are the exception. Bosnia and Herzegovina law does not provide for the possibility of adoption by LGBT persons or same sex couples.
  • Income: This is not specified in the Family Law; however, it is considered by Social Services Centers when they conduct the home study.
  • Other: Persons falling into any of the following groups are prohibited from adopting Bosnian children:
    • persons whose parental rights have been taken away;
    • persons with a limited or no ability to work;
    • persons who provide insufficient guarantees that they will raise the child correctly;
    • persons who are mentally ill, or suffering from any illness that could endanger the health and life of the adopted child;
    • relatives of the first bloodline.
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Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Bosnia and Herzegovina has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:

  • Relinquishment: For adoption, the approval of both or one parent, if there is only one parent, is required. The parent(s) must state specifically whether he/she agrees to full or partial adoption. (Please see the top of this country information sheet for information on full and partial adoptions.)
  • Abandonment: A child whose parents are unknown may be adopted only after 3 months have passed since his/her abandonment.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: A child less than three months old cannot be adopted. A child of parents who are minors cannot be adopted under the age of one and may only be adopted after he/she reaches the age of one if there are no family members who may be able to raise the child. Only a child up to the age of 10 can be adopted fully. A child up to the age of 18 can be adopted partially. Children older than age 10 must give their approval for the adoption.
  • Sibling Adoptions: If possible, the centers for social work will facilitate sibling adoptions.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, with the intention of returning for the child when they are able to do so. In such cases, the birth parent(s) rarely would have relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.  

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How to Adopt

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Adoption Authority 

Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska. Family law governing adoption is within the competence of those entities, and, therefore, two ministries mentioned below are the adoption authorities for the relevant entity.

FOR FEDERATION OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA:
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

FOR REPUBLIKA SRPSKA
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Republika Srpska.

Please note that in Brcko District cases, the decision on adoptions by foreign citizens is the responsibility the District’s Department of Health, Sub-Division for Social Welfare.  This department is equivalent to a ministry in the entities.

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Bosnia and Herzegovina generally includes the following steps:

1. Contact a Social Services Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina
2. Apply to be found eligible to adopt
3. Be matched with a child
4. Adopt the child in Bosnia and Herzegovina
5. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
6. Bring your child home

1. Contact a Social Services Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The recommended first step in adopting a child from Bosnia and Herzegovina is to contact a Social Services Center in country. There are no U.S. adoption agencies operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Prospective adoptive parents may contact the Social Services Center in the area where they plan to adopt directly. However, U.S. citizens considering adopting from Bosnia and Herzegovina may choose to work with a U.S. adoption agency to assist them with the U.S. portions of the process. The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo also maintains a list of attorneys that may be useful. Prospective adoptive parents may contact the Embassy directly for a copy of that list.

2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Bosnia and Herzegovina; you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and U.S. immigration law. You must submit an application to be found eligible to adopt with the municipal Center for Social Work of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A home study conducted by the municipal Center for Social Work is required in all adoptions.

You must also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.

3. Be Matched with a Child 

If you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority or other authorized entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina will provide you with a referral. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s requirements, as described in the Who Can be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.

4. Adopt (or Gain Legal Custody of) a Child in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Bosnia and Herzegovina generally includes the following: Prospective adoptive parents who wish to apply to adopt a particular child can do so by contacting the Center for Social Work of the municipality/district in which the child is a resident and submitting the documents listed below. [Note: The Center for Social Work is the Bosnian equivalent of the county or municipal social services department in the United States.] Prospective adoptive parents who do not have a particular child in mind can contact the Center for Social Work for a designated area to inquire if there are any children eligible for adoption.

If the Center affirms that a child is eligible for adoption, the Center will request the documents listed below to determine the eligibility of the prospective adoptive parent(s). It should be noted that Bosnian law gives absolute priority in adoption to citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who live in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who live abroad are potentially eligible, and foreign citizens only exceptionally (typically when there is a compelling medical need and the Social Work Center assesses that the child could get better care abroad).

Once the Center reaches a decision, they forward the application package to the appropriate entity’s adoption authority with their recommendation. The Ministry is supposed to reach a decision about a request for adoption within two months. Once the Ministry makes a decision, it is sent back to the Center that accepted the application. If the decision is favorable, the prospective adoptive parents must be personally present at the official ceremony (act) of adoption. This is an official act signed by the adoptive parents in person and representatives of the government. It takes place at the Center for Social Work. The court then issues an official decision or decree ratifying the proceedings conducted by the Center for Social Work. The court does not have the authority to overrule the Ministry's decision.

  • Role of Adoption Authority: The entity Ministry will make the final decision, upon the referral (proposal) of the Center for Social Work.
  • Role of the Court: The court will issue an official decree ratifying the proceedings conducted by the Center for Social Work.
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: There are no U.S. adoption agencies operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Adoption Application: There is no specific application form. Prospective adoptive parent(s) must write a signed letter to the relevant Center for Social Work providing basic information about themselves. It may be submitted by mail or through an authorized representative.
  • Time Frame: It can take several years for a prospective adoptive parent to be matched with a child. After both the prospective adoptive parents and the child have met the requirements for adoption, the child and the prospective adoptive family have an adaptation period of six months. This is mandatory and must take place on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During this time, a social worker visits the family regularly. In cases involving children with special needs, who need special medical care, exceptions to this rule may be made but on a case by case basis. Only after the assessment of the social worker is complete will the final decision on adoption be made.
  • Adoption Fees: None
  • Documents Required: The application must be accompanied by the following documents about each of the adoptive parents:
    • Certified Birth certificate;
    • Certified Marriage certificates (if applicable). Medical certificate of good health, preferably provided by a hospital or general practice clinic, rather than a private physician;
    • Proof of citizenship (naturalization certificate, certified copy of a birth certificate, or passport);
    • Police certificate (i.e., certificate that no criminal record exists) issued by local law enforcement authorities from every place of residence where the applicant has lived for more than a year since the age of 18;
    • Court certificate (i.e., certificate proving that the prospective adoptive parent is not under any court investigation at the present time);
    • Certificate about capacity for gainful employment. This should take the form of a resume of previous employment records, and an original letter (on official stationery) signed by the current employer, stating the job title, if the position is full- or part-time, how long the person has been employed and the salary;
    • Certificate proving that the prospective adoptive parent has never been charged with child neglect or abuse. This may take the form of an official letter from the local department of child welfare;
    • Documents identifying the prospective adoptive parent's income and property;
    • Home study (social worker's analysis) about the prospective adoptive family, including its ability to care for a child. For non-Bosnian applicants, including Americans, the social services department of the applicant's country must conduct the study.

All original documents and the application letter must be in English and each must be accompanied by a translation into Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian with a certified translation. The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo can provide a list of court translators. The Embassy itself cannot, however, do the translations.

Note: Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents: The United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. U.S. public documents may be authenticated with Apostilles by the appropriate U.S. Competent Authority.

5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status

After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

6. Bring Your Child Home

Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:

Birth Certificate
If you have finalized the adoption in Bosnia and Herzegovina you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.

In order to obtain a new birth certificate for your child, take the adoption decree and the child's original birth certificate to the Municipality - Registrar's Office in the town where the child was born (where his/her original birth certificate was issued). The adoptive parent's marriage certificate and identification cards (or passports) are required.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

To apply for a Bosnia and Herzegovina Passport, adoptive parents will need to apply with the office of the cantonal Ministry of Interior. The required documents include:

  • Child's birth certificate not older than 6 months;
  • Parents’ I.D.’s or passports;
  • Payment of KM 40;
  • Old passport, if applicable;
  • Passport application can be submitted in person only; the child has to be present as well; both parents have to sign the application and present their I.D. cards or passports at that time.

The legal deadline for issuance of a passport from the day of application is 30 days; in practice, it usually takes about two weeks.

U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the United States Embassy in Sarajevo. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the Embassy in Sarajevo’s website.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizardwill help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Bosnia-Herzegovina, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll your trip with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

We strongly urge you to comply with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s positive experiences with American parents.

Post-Adoption Resources
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

 Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Address: 1 Robert C. Frasure Street, 71000 SARAJEVO
Tel: +387 33 704-000
Fax: +387 33 221-837
Email: rws@state.gov
Internet: ba.usembassy.gov/embassy/sarajevo

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Adoption Authority

FOR FEDERATION OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA:
Ministarstvo rada i socijalne politike Federacije Bosne i Hercegovine
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Address: Vilsonovo setaliste 10, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tel: +387 33 661 782
Fax: +387 33 661 783
Email: info@fmrsp.gov.ba
Internet: fmrsp.gov.ba

FOR REPUBLIKA SRPSKA
Ministarstvo zdravlja i socijalne zastite Republike Srpske
(Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Republika Srpska)
Address: Trg Republike Srpske 1, 78000 Banja Luka
Tel: +387 51 339 486
Fax: +387 51 339-652
Email: ministarstvo-zdravlja@mzsz.vladars.net
Internet: vladars.net/sr-SP-Cyrl/Vlada/Ministarstva/mzsz/Pages/Default.aspx

Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Address: 2109 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
Tel: (1 202) 337-1500
Fax: (1 202) 337-1502
Email: info@bhembassy.org
Internet: bhembassy.org/index.html

Bosnia and Herzegovina also has a consulate in Chicago, Ill

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
SA-29
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
 
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 12 Months
C-2 None Multiple 15 Days
C-3 None Multiple 48 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 12 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 12 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 24 Months
F-2 None Multiple 24 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None One 6 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
I None Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 24 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 24 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 12 Months
L-2 None Multiple 12 Months
M-1 None Multiple 12 Months
M-2 None Multiple 12 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 12 Months
R-2 None Multiple 12 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents
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Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth ("Izvod iz maticne knjige rodenih") and death ("Izvod iz maticne knjige umrlih") certificates are available from the civil registrar ("maticar") having jurisdiction over the locality where the event occurred. If the event occurred abroad, the BiH citizen may report it to the BiH authorities and is then issued the corresponding document, listing the foreign country as the place of occurrence of the event. 

Note: The practice in BiH has been that changes in civil status, such as divorce or name change are entered onto birth certificates. Thus, the BiH authorities usually require submission of a recently issued (within the past six months) birth certificate when BiH citizens request issuance of government documents.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Marriage ("Izvod iz maticne knjige vjencanih") certificates are available from the civil registrar ("maticar") having jurisdiction over the locality where the event occurred. If the event occurred abroad, the BiH citizen may report it to the BiH authorities and is then issued the corresponding document, listing the foreign country as the place of occurrence of the event. The fact that a marriage took place by proxy is not usually evident from the marriage certificate. Only civil marriages are legal in BiH.

Divorce Certificates

Copies of divorce judgments are available from the court which decided the case. A divorce certificate is typewritten with the initial phrase, "In the name of the people" ("U ime naroda!"). Only divorces obtained through the civil courts are legal.

Adoption Certificates
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Identity Card

As of October 31, 2005 the "old" identity cards (those issued based on the entity and cantonal regulations in BiH or those issued at the time of the former Yugoslavia) ceased to be valid. All BiH citizens over the age of 18, whose place of residence is in BiH, must carry an identity card ("licna karta"), which is issued by the CIPS (Citizens' Identification Protection System) office in their place of residence.

 

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. A certificate (Uvjerenje) issued by the Ministry of Interior (Ministarstvo unutrasnjih poslova) shows whether the applicant has been convicted of any crimes and the articles of law involved. A similar document is issued by the Municipal Court (Opstinski Sud) of the district in which the applicant last resided, and shows whether the applicant is currently under investigation in any criminal matter. Visa applicants are required to obtain both documents.

Court certificates issued by some courts in the region of Herzegovina may be handwritten and certified with a court stamp.  These certificates are considered valid in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Prison Records

May not be available. A statement of the time spent in a correctional institution can be obtained from the prison in which a person was confined. It does not contain a report of his demeanor during imprisonment.

Military Records

As of January 1, 2006, obligatory military service in BiH has been discontinued (BiH now has only a professional army). All men who in the past completed their obligatory military service (including the service in the former Yugoslav People's Army, "JNA") are in possession of so-called "military record books" ("vojna knjižica"), which lists the dates of their mandatory service, reserve duty, participation in wars, etc.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Passports

The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina issues tourist, official and diplomatic passports. Following the Swiss example, the text throughout is in four languages: Bosnia and Croatian (Latin alphabet), Serbian (Cyrillic), and English.

The passports are machine-readable and contain anti-fraud technology. The photo page is safeguarded by a colorful hidden image of the Bosnian crest in a diminishing left to right repetitive series that is visible only under a black light. The bearer's photo is photo-digitized and doubly protected from tampering by a global image imprinted on the lower left corner and initials "BiH" appear above the applicant photo. A watermark of the Bosnian crest is visible over the date and place of issue.

The front cover is dark blue with gold lettering and features a gold and blue version of the national crest bisected by a diagonal row of seven stars. The inside back and front cover are printed in multicolored ink that fluoresces, and the binding threads are fluorescing blue and yellow, the colors of the Bosnia and Herzegovina flag. Micro printing is included in the wavy design which is carried over from the front to the back cover.

There are 32 pages; each page number is incorporated into the design and printed at the lower right corner on each page. The passport number is perforated into the top of all the pages. When viewed under ultraviolet light, the letters "BiH" in Cyrillic and Latin alphabets appear in the center of the page, the page number appears on the left and right edges on each page, and a random pattern of confetti also appears.

The pages are imprinted with a stylized map of southern Europe and a diagonal line of stars in the pattern of the Bosnia and Herzegovina flag. The words "Bosna i Hercegovina" repeat in both Latin and Cyrillic script, across the pages. An oval is incorporated into the lower center of the page, with the words "Bosna i Hercegovina" in a smaller size font. Since November 2005, the practice of minor children being entered (on pages 30 and 31) in a parent's passport has been discontinued. However, this may still be seen in passports issued prior to that date which are still valid. Adult passports are valid for 5 years, and minor passports are valid for 2 years.

Other Records
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Visa Issuing Posts

Sarajevo, Bosnia (Embassy) -- Nonimmigrant, including K, and Immigrant visas

NIV and IV services for citizens and permanent residents of Bosnia only are processed by the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo.

Visa Services
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Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 337-1500 (202) 337-1502

Chicago, IL (312) 951-1245 (312) 951-1043

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Sarajevo
1 Robert C. Frasure Street
71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Telephone
+(387) (33) 704 000
Emergency
+(387) (33) 704-000
Fax
+(387) (33) 221 837
Bosnia and Herzegovina Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.