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Kosovo travel advice

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Risk level

Kosovo - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Kosovo.

Northern Kosovo - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to the northern part of Kosovo due to ethnic tensions and the risk of violence and civil unrest, particularly in the municipalities of:

  • Leposavić
  • North Mitrovica
  • Zubin Potok
  • Zvečan

 

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Safety and security

Northern Kosovo

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Ethnic tensions between Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians are ongoing.

There is a risk of inter-ethnic violence and civil unrest, particularly in the municipalities of:

  • Leposavić
  • North Mitrovica
  • Zubin Potok
  • Zvečan

Occasional security incidents may include:

  • shootings
  • arson and grenade attacks
  • violent and spontaneous protests
  • attacks on government buildings and police forces

Tensions may escalate rapidly, and local authorities' capacity to enforce the law may be limited.

Avoid non-essential travel to these areas. If you travel to northern Kosovo despite this advisory:

  • remain vigilant at all times
  • monitor local media for information on the security situation
  • avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Crime

Petty crime

Crimes of opportunity and petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occur. Thieves could target foreigners, particularly in Pristina and in crowded public areas such as:

  • markets
  • public transportation hubs and facilities
  • hotel lobbies
  • restaurants, patios and outdoor cafés
  • tourist sites and attractions

While you’re in Kosovo:

  • ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • don’t keep your passport and other types of ID in the same place and carry a photocopy rather than the original
  • avoid showing signs of affluence or wearing expensive jewellery
  • avoid carrying large sums of cash or unnecessary valuables
  • avoid deserted streets at night
  • pay attention to your surroundings, particularly in crowded and tourist areas
  • be extra cautious when withdrawing cash from ATMs

Residential break-ins

Residential break-ins occur, especially in main cities. Burglars sometimes target houses or apartments owned or rented by foreigners.

  • Choose well-secured accommodation
  • Make sure you lock doors and windows at night and when you’re away

Vehicles

Car theft, break-ins and carjacking occur. Rental and luxury vehicles are a target of choice.

  • Familiarize yourself with your route before starting the trip
  • Keep your windows and doors locked at all times
  • Keep your belongings out of reach
  • Use secure parking facilities, especially overnight
  • Never leave belongings unattended in a vehicle, even in the trunk

Violent crime

Organized crime-related violence occurs. Criminals often use firearms. In some instances, they have used hand grenades or improvised explosive devices.

While violent incidents don’t typically target foreigners or tourists, there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. When using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
    use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Cybercrime

Cybercrime also occurs. Perpetrators may compromise public Wi-Fi networks to steal credit card or personal information.

  • Avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks
  • Avoid making purchases on unencrypted websites
  • Be cautious when posting information on social media
  • Be particularly vigilant when contacting or meeting individuals known over the internet
  • Never click a suspicious link in an email or text message asking for your credit card details

More about overseas fraud

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur occasionally due to ongoing political tension, particularly in Pristina and in the northern areas of Kosovo. They usually take place around governmental or international organizations' buildings.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Soccer matches and sports events

Sports events sometimes lead to rowdy behaviour and violent incidents.

Be vigilant if you attend soccer matches and sports rallies.

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant during:

  • sporting events
  • religious holidays
  • public celebrations
  • major political events, such as elections

Terrorists may use such occasions to mount attacks.

Landmines and unexploded ordnance

While most of the territory has been cleared, landmines and unexploded ordnance may still pose a serious risk in forested and isolated areas, particularly in:

  • the mountainous regions bordering Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia
  • the Dulje Pass in central Kosovo
  • the areas bordering Serbia's Preševo Valley

If you plan on visiting or hiking in these areas:

  • pay attention to signs indicating the possible presence of landmines
  • remain on paved roads
  • avoid open fields, road shoulders and unmarked trails
  • report anything suspicious to local authorities

Mountain activities

Mountain activities, such as hiking, can be dangerous, especially if they are not well-organized. Trails are not always marked and weather conditions can change rapidly, even in summer.

If you intend to go hiking or climbing:

  • never do so alone
  • consider hiring 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’re properly equipped
  • stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out
  • do not venture off marked trails
  • pay attention to signs indicating the possible presence of landmines

Feral and stray dogs

Feral and stray dogs are common throughout the country.

Don’t approach or feed them as they could be aggressive.

Power outages

Power and utility outages are frequent in Kosovo, including in Pristina. They may affect the provision of essential services.

  • Make sure your phone is and remains charged at all times
  • Keep supplies of food, water and fuel on hand in case of lengthy disruptions

Celebratory gunfire

Firing weapons to celebrate is common in Kosovo. It sometimes coincides with fireworks displays and may take place:

  • at weddings
  • on certain holidays and days of national observance
  • following elections
  • after soccer matches and sporting events

Injuries and deaths due to stray bullets have occurred.

Avoid areas where celebratory gunfire is taking place.

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety vary throughout the country.

Secondary roads are often narrow, poorly lit and poorly maintained. Mountain roads sometimes lack guardrails. Low-speed farm equipment, horse-drawn carts and wandering livestock are common hazards.

Roads may also become impassable due to heavy snowfall, mudslides or seasonal flooding.

Drivers don’t always respect traffic laws. They don’t always yield to pedestrians.

Avoid driving at night.

Public transportation

Safety standards vary on public transportation. Buses and trains are often overcrowded. Periodic disruptions of bus services may occur.

Taxis

Taxis are widely available and reliable.

  • Use only officially marked taxis
  • Negotiate fares in advance, or insist that the driver use the meter, as you may be overcharged

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Kosovar authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Kosovo.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Business visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Student visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period

Declaration of presence

If you plan to spend fewer than 90 days in Kosovo, you don’t need to apply for a residence permit. However, you must report your presence in the country. Commercial accommodations will generally file the declaration on your behalf.

If you’re staying in a non-commercial accommodation, you must file a declaration of presence with the nearest police station upon arrival.

If you intend to stay more than 90 days, you must apply for a temporary residence permit at the Foreigner Registration Office in Pristina.

Temporary residence permit for foreigners – Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kosovo

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay.

Travel to Serbia

Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state nor its border crossing points as legal international entry points.

If travelling by land to Serbia from Kosovo, you should transit first via a third country such as Albania, North Macedonia or Montenegro.

Don’t attempt to enter Serbia directly from Kosovo, unless you have a valid entry stamp from the Serbian immigration authorities showing that you initially travelled into Kosovo from Serbia.

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines are right for you.

Hepatitis A

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.

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.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • This territory has not stated its yellow fever vaccination certificate requirements.

Recommendation

  • 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.

Rabies

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 (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

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.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

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.

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

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

In some areas in Southern Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic feverleishmaniasisLyme diseasetick-borne encephalitis and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Medical services and facilities

Health care is inadequate. Facilities often lack specialists, essential equipment, and medications.

Techniques and services are usually not up to international standards. Upfront payment may be required.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Medication

Some prescription medication may not be available in Kosovo.

If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in the country.

  • Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
  • Always keep your medication in the original container
  • Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
  • Carry a copy of your prescriptions

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.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect prison sentences or heavy fines.

Useful links

Identification

Authorities may request to see your ID at any time.

  • Carry valid identification or a photocopy of it at all times
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it’s lost or seized
  • Keep a digital copy of your ID and travel documents

Photography

There are restrictions on photographing military or police installations, vehicles, and personnel.

Signs advising of the restrictions are generally posted in sensitive areas.

  • Refrain from photographing military installations or personnel even if no signs are posted
  • Comply with all requests from local authorities

Ramadan

In 2023, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 22.

In public, between sunrise and sunset, be discreet when :

  • drinking
  • eating
  • smoking

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Kosovo.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Kosovo, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Kosovo.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Kosovo by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Kosovo to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Kosovar law does not criminalize sexual acts or relationships between persons of the same sex.

However, 2SLGBTQI+ travellers could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Driving

You should carry an international driving permit.

Third-party automobile insurance is mandatory and can be purchased upon entry into Kosovo.

You must carry tire chains in winter if you plan to drive in mountain areas. From November to March, it is mandatory to use winter tires or tires with more than 4 mm tread.

More about the International Driving Permit

Money

The currency in 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.

If you are carrying €10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave the European Union. It includes sums in:

  • banknotes and coins
  • bearer negotiable instruments such as cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders
  • bonds, shares
  • gold coins with a gold content of at least 90 %
  • gold bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99.5 %
  • any other convertible asset

This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.

EU cash controls - European Commission

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Natural disasters and climate

Seismic activity

Kosovo is located in an active seismic zone. Even minor earthquakes can cause significant damage.

Earthquakes - What to Do?

Wildfires

Forest fires are common between June and September, particularly in northern Kosovo. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a significant fire:

  • stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
  • follow the advice of local authorities

Flooding and landslides

Heavy rains, particularly during spring and summer, can cause flooding and landslides. Roads may become impassable and infrastructure damaged. The road between Pristina and Skopje, North Macedonia, is particularly affected by these incidents.

  • Exercise caution, particularly in areas around major rivers
  • Stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • Follow the advice of local authorities, including evacuation orders

Air pollution

Smoke haze and other types of air pollution can be extremely hazardous in Kosovo. Winter is especially problematic due the heavy smoke from coal and wood burning heaters. Air pollution levels can change quickly.

During periods of high pollution:

  • limit your outdoor activities, especially if you suffer from respiratory ailments or have pre-existing medical conditions
  • monitor local media
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Air pollution in Pristina - World Air Quality Index

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

Dial 112 for emergency assistance.

Consular assistance

There is no Canadian government office in Kosovo. If you require consular assistance, contact the Embassy of Canada to Croatia, in Zagreb.

Zagreb - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressPrilaz Gjure Dezelica 4, 10000 Zagreb, CroatiaTelephone385 (1) 488-1200 / 385 (1) 488-1238Fax385 (1) 488-1230Emailzagrb@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-CroatiaFacebookEmbassy of Canada to CroatiaTwitterCanada in Croatia and KosovoConsular district

Kosovo

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Croatia, in Zagreb, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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