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Latest updates: The Security tab was updated - revised information on travel to Northern Kosovo; however, the regional risk level remains the same.
Kosovo - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Kosovo. Exercise normal security precautions.
Northern Kosovo - Avoid non-essential travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to areas where the level of tension remains elevated, specifically the municipalities of Leposavić, Zubin Potok and Zvećan and to the northern part of the city of Mitrovica.
See Safety and security for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Northern Kosovo (see Advisory)
There is an ongoing risk of political and inter-ethnic violence in northern Kosovo, including the northern part of the city of Mitrovica, the municipalities of Leposavić, Zubin Potok and Zvećan, and areas near the Kosovo-Serbian borders. Occasional security incidents, including shootings, threats involving grenades, and spontaneous protests, continue to occur. Tensions may escalate rapidly and the authority of Kosovo police and security services is not widely recognized in these areas. If you need to travel to these areas, monitor local conditions closely and avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings as they have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs occasionally. Foreigners could be targeted by thieves, especially in crowded public areas such as markets and public transportation facilities, particularly in Priština. Be extremely cautious with your belongings at all times and in all places.
Violent crime occurs, but is generally related to organized crime and rarely involves foreigners.
Carjacking and car theft also occur. Avoid leaving any luggage or valuables in the vehicle and use secure parking facilities.
Demonstrations occur frequently in Kosovo due to ongoing political tension, particularly in Priština. These can cause disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings as they have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Remain vigilant, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities and there is a potential for other violent incidents, which could target areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Continue to exercise normal security precautions.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance
Sites known to contain landmines or other unexploded ordnance are clearly marked. However, unexploded landmines may remain, particularly in rural areas, along the border with Albania, the Dulje Pass area in central Kosovo and in the area between South Serbia’s Preševo Valley and Kosovo. Off-road travel and hiking in wooded areas can be dangerous. Exercise caution and consult local authorities to avoid taking unnecessary risks. If you see anything out of the ordinary, immediately report it to local authorities.
Road conditions and road safety vary throughout the country. Secondary roads are often narrow and poorly maintained, and mountain roads sometimes lack guardrails. Drivers do not respect traffic laws and often drive at excessive speeds and can be aggressive and reckless.
Safety standards vary on public transportation and buses and trains are often overcrowded. Periodic disruptions of bus service may occur.
Use only officially marked taxis and negotiate fares in advance if a meter is not in use.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Mountaineering or trekking
If you intend on mountaineering or trekking:
- never practice these activities alone;
- always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company;
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation;
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity;
- ensure that you are properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard;
- advise a family member or friend of your destination, itinerary and when you expect to be back to camp;
- know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal;
- sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad; and
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out, and do not venture off established trails.
General safety information
Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.
Regular power outages and other utility outages occur in Kosovo. As a safety precaution, be prepared to cope on your own during outages for at least 72 hours.
On certain holidays or following major elections or soccer matches, there is a tradition of discharging firearms into the air (celebratory fire), often after dark, and to coincide with fireworks displays. Avoid any event where people are engaging in celebratory fire as there have been incidents of injuries and even death caused by stray bullets.
There has been a significant increase in the number of migrants and refugees entering Europe. Some countries have already experienced disruptions to transportation services, including at ferry ports and railway stations, and have seen major delays at border crossings. The situation also heightens the potential for demonstrations that could turn violent without warning, particularly at railway stations and other transportation hubs. If you are travelling in the region, monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities, and contact your transport carrier to determine whether the situation could disrupt your travel.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from Kosovo authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo for up-to-date information.
Entry to Kosovo from Serbia is subject to delays or may be prohibited entirely. Some border posts have been closed for short periods. Verify the border situation before you undertake travel. If travelling by road, you must provide proof of the purpose of your visit to Kosovo at the checkpoint between Serbia and Kosovo. Some travellers will be exempted, such as holders of a Serbian identity card.
Serbia does not recognize any border crossing points from Kosovo as official international entry points. Do not attempt to enter Serbia directly from Kosovo, unless you initially travelled into Kosovo from Serbia and obtained a valid entry stamp from the Serbian immigration authorities. Otherwise, you should transit via a third country such as Albania, Macedonia or Montenegro. For more information, consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Kosovo, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Student visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
If you intend to stay for more than 90 days, you must apply for a temporary residence permit at the Foreigner Registration Office in Priština. Consult the State Portal or the Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo for details.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - July 28, 2016 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- This territory has not stated its yellow fever vaccination certificate requirements.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Medical care is not up to Canadian standards. Medical evacuation, which can be very expensive, may be necessary in the event of a serious illness or injury. Physicians and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers all medical expenses, including hospitalization abroad and medical evacuation, in case of illness or injury.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
A serious violation of law may lead to a jail sentence, which will be served in local prisons. The judicial process is particularly lengthy in Kosovo and unpredictable delays sometimes occur.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Kosovo. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Kosovan citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Kosovan passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
You are required to show photo identification if asked by local authorities. Keep a photocopy or digital copy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Photography of military or police installations, vehicles and personnel is prohibited.
While not illegal, homosexuality is not socially tolerated. See Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travel for more information.
An International Driving Permit is recommended. Always carry identification and vehicle registration papers. Third-party automobile insurance is mandatory and can be purchased upon entry into Kosovo.
Drivers of vehicles bearing foreign licence plates must pay for compulsory third-party insurance, which can be purchased at land borders.
Posted speed limits are strictly enforced.
There have been incidents where police target vehicles with foreign plates, often demanding immediate cash payment for alleged traffic violations. If stopped, you should request a full explanation and, if an explanation is not forthcoming, request permission to speak to the Embassy of Canada to Croatia in Zagreb.
The currency used throughout Kosovo is the euro (EUR).
The economy is largely cash-based; however, credit cards are accepted in some larger establishments. Automated banking machines are available in urban centres.
You must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000, or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Kosovo is located in an active seismic zone.
Bush and forest fires are common between June and September, particularly in northern Kosovo. In case of a major fire, stay away from the affected area, follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel and monitor local media for up-to-date information. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke and could affect travellers with respiratory ailments.
Landslides pose a risk on the major road between Priština and Skopje, Macedonia.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
There is no resident Canadian government office in Kosovo. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the Embassy of Canada in Zagreb, Croatia.
Zagreb - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada in Zagreb, Croatia and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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