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Country Guides for Europe

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of sovereignty in October 1991, was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March 1992 after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs. The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Serbia and Montenegro - responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a "greater Serbia." In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties initialed a peace agreement that brought to a halt three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995). The Dayton Agreement retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government. This national government was charged with conducting foreign, economic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments were charged with overseeing internal functions. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) whose mission is to deter renewed hostilities. SFOR remains in place although troop levels were reduced to approximately 12,000 by the close of 2002.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout Eastern Europe and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. All travelers to malaria-risk areas in Eastern Europe, including infants, children, and former residents of Eastern Europe, are at risk for malaria. Parts of the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have malaria risk.. Travelers to malaria-risk areas in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan should take the antimalarial drug chloroquine to prevent malaria. For additional information on malaria risk and prevention, see Malaria Information for Travelers to Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (NIS).

In Uzbekistan, the risk of malaria is low and varies along its border with Tajikistan; travelers to Uzbekistan or their health care provider should contact CDC (Malaria Hotline, 770-488-7788) for risk and prevention advice.

An outbreak of diphtheria is occurring in all the states of the former Soviet Union. Travelers to these areas should be sure that their diphtheria immunization is up to date.

Tickborne encephalitis, a viral infection of the central nervous system occurs chiefly in Central and Western Europe. Travelers are at risk who visit or work in forested areas during the summer months and who consume unpasteurized dairy products. Vaccine for this disease is not available in the United States at this time. To prevent tickborne encephalitis, as well as Lyme disease, travelers should take precautions to prevent tick bites.

Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid nighttime travel if possible and always use seat belts.

There is no risk for yellow fever in Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (NIS). A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for 11– to 12-year-olds who did not receive the series as infants.

To stay healthy, do...

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an “absolute 1-micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filters” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • If you are going to visit risk areas for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
    • Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
    • Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
    • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
    • Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
    • DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
    • Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Over 500,000 unmarked landmines and other unexploded ordnance remained throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina after the war. Over 300 people have been killed by these devices since 1996. While most urban areas have been largely cleared, special care should be taken when near former lines of conflict, including the suburbs of Sarajevo. The demining community recommends staying on hard surface areas and out of abandoned buildings. Families traveling with children in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be especially aware of the danger posed by mines and unexploded ordnance. Localized political difficulties continue and random violence may occur with little or no warning. Bosnian criminals use firearms and explosives to settle personal, business, and political disputes. The foreign community is rarely the target of such violence, but there is always the danger of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. While most Bosnian citizens appreciate the assistance of the international community, occasional anti-foreign sentiment is sometimes encountered.

CRIME: Although street crime is relatively low and violent crimes are rare, pickpocketing and vehicle break-ins are a problem, and are on the rise in the capital city, Sarajevo. Travelers should take normal precautions to protect their property from theft and exercise common sense personal security measures, traveling in groups, and staying in well-lighted areas after dark. Confrontations with local citizens resulting from traffic incidents or public disagreements should be avoided.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.



Source: U.S. Department of State

hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast

Source: CIA World Factbook

Bosnia and Herzegovina's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Please note: Not all electrical sockets in these countries provide grounding. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required for travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina. American citizens do not require a visa for tourist stays up to three months. All persons entering Bosnia and Herzegovina through an international airport are now required to submit a landing card, one half of which must be retained during the visit and surrendered to passport control upon exit. Airlines provide travelers with a blank landing card during the flight or upon arrival. Unless the traveler is staying at a hotel, all foreigners must register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival. U.S. citizens planning to remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina for more than three months must obtain a temporary residence permit from the local police having jurisdiction over their place of residence and pay a fee of U.S. 50 dollars for a period of three to twelve months. For additional information concerning longer stays, employment, and other types of visas, please contact the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2109 E. Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20037, telephone 202-337-1500 or the Internet address http://www.bosnianembassy.org. Overseas, inquiries may be made to the nearest Bosnian embassy or consulate.



Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Bosnia and Herzegovina is 1 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be 6:00 pm

The unit of currency in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the marka (BAM).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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