- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Entry requirements
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation
Ireland is implementing the new EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU / EEA. Our current advice for travel to these countries is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’.
Our TravelWise app has been suspended while we move to implement the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.
On 13 October, Member States adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19. This ‘traffic lights’ approach provides for regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.
In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Each Member State will decide what entry restrictions it will apply to passengers travelling from red, orange and grey regions.
Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:
All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Further information about current requirements for entry to Ireland is available on the Irish Government website and the HSE website.
In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution. Everyone is asked to comply with restrictions within Ireland, including those under the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. These are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government. The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly around the world. Citizens who are considering any overseas travel are advised to carefully monitor the official advice and information from the public authorities in their destination.
If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:
Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in the destination to which you are travelling. Information about entry restrictions currently applied by other countries is available on the country-specific travel advice pages. Additional restrictions may be imposed, including during the duration of your visit. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time. Any Irish citizen considering any overseas travel should monitor news and information from the public authorities in their country or region of destination. Citizens are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc.
The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.
Where to go for further travel information:
- DFA Travel Advice for over 200 countries
- Follow us on Twitter
- Register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate
- Check Embassy websites and Twitter accounts
Avoid non-essential travel
Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020
While the overall security situation remains calm in most of the country, there are ongoing tensions in northern Kosovo and violence can flare up in the city of Mitrovica without warning. Avoid non-essential travel to northern Mitrovica and to the northern municipalities of Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan as there is an increased risk of disturbance in these areas.
For more information read the safety and security section of this page.
Latest travel alert
A number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Kosovo.
If you are in Kosovo, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities.
Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.
HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.
- wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
- put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
- touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Kosovo, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Budapest.
You can contact the emergency services in Kosovo by dialling 94.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
Our tips for Safe Travels:
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
The Republic of Kosovo formally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Ireland, and the majority of our EU partners, fully recognise the Republic of Kosovo as an independent nation.
However, the government of Serbia and many Serbs in Kosovo reject Kosovo's declaration of independence and this has led to increased tensions. Although the overall security situation in much of Kosovo remains calm there’s a danger that it could deteriorate.
The situation in the north of the country is especially unpredictable. Avoid non-essential travel to northern Mitrovica and to the northern municipalities of Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan as there’s an increased risk of disturbance in these areas and violence can flare up in the city of Mitrovica without warning. You shouldn’t try to enter Kosovo from Serbia via Leposavic and Zubin Potok at present.
A number of police and customs border posts between Kosovo and Serbia have been attacked and border control points may close as a result of disorder. You should therefore consider alternative routes of travel to Serbia.
Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. And avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational.
Although the threat from terrorism in Kosovo is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
There are still residual mines and other unexploded ordnance in Kosovo and you should be particularly careful in the areas of the Dulje Pass (central Kosovo), the west and south of the province, the border with Albania and the region between South Serbia’s Presevo Valley and Kosovo. Don’t stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and always check with your local contact or tour operator before travelling to affected regions.
Take normal, sensible precautions while in Kosovo:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Be aware of mugging, bag snatching and pick-pocketing, particularly on busy public transport, in train stations, markets and other places frequented by tourists. You should also be aware that the incidence of car-jacking and car theft continue to increase, particularly in the city of Pristina
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Kosovo, report it to the local police immediately and get a report. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Budapest if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Kosovo, you should be extremely careful. The general standard of roads is poor with conditions worsening in rural areas, particularly in bad weather. There are risks of landslides on the main route between Pristina and Skopje. We strongly recommend that you avoid driving at night. If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance. European Green Card vehicle insurance is not valid in Kosovo. You should buy local insurance at the border or, if not available, the nearest town
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
You should be aware that many Serbian car hire firms will not allow their vehicles to be driven in Kosovo due to concerns about the security situation. There have been some incidents where Serbian registered cars have been targeted in more isolated areas of Kosovo.
You should check local developments before starting your journey particularly if you plan to cross a land border with Serbia.
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.
You don’t need a visit visa to enter Kosovo for periods of up to 90 days. However, you may have to provide documentary evidence stating the purpose of your visit. A 90-day entry stamp will be issued and this can be renewed for longer stays.
If you’re unsure of the entry requirements for Kosovo, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Kosovo. You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.
It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
Serbia entry requirements
As there are ongoing difficulties in travelling between Serbia and Kosovo, we advise you to make alternative arrangements. Serbian authorities will not allow you to travel into Serbia, from Kosovo, unless you began your journey in Serbia and are returning there directly. In 2008, the Serbian government took the decision not to recognise the Republic of Kosovo’s exit/entry stamps, cancelling these at the entry point into Serbia and replacing them with a Serbian border stamp.
We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.
Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.
Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.
Your policy should cover:
- All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
- Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.
- 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
- Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
- Lost and stolen possessions.
- Cancellation and curtailment.
- Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).
Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.
Check with your doctor a minimum of eight weeks in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Kosovo.
The standard of medical care in Kosovo is not comparable to that in Western Europe and you should take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover any medical evacuation.
Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever
Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), a tick-borne infection, is endemic to Kosovo. Although most cases of CCHF occur in the region around Malishevo (central Kosovo), during summer months the other rural areas of Kosovo can be affected.
If you’ve visited Kosovo and are suffering from a fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, red rash (which does not fade when pressed under a glass), bleeding on the roof of the mouth or any other unexplained symptoms, you should seek medical advice immediately.
There’s also a risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis in forested areas.
We do not have an Embassy in Kosovo, please contact Embassy of Ireland Hungary.
For consular emergencies outside working hours please call the Embassy on +36 1301 4960 and leave a voicemail which is monitored by the Duty Officer.
Alternatively you can call the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000.
Embassy of Ireland
Szabadsag ter 7.
Bank Center, Platina Tower 2, VI. Floor
Monday to Friday 09.30 - 12.30 and 14.30 - 16.30
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.