Expat guide to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is often abbreviated to BiH or simply called Bosnia. It is a mostly landlocked country bordered by Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. It has a small 20km shoreline off the Adriatic coast which is popular over the summer. The country has mountainous areas which make for great ski slopes in the winter and amazing hiking and mushroom picking trails in the summer. Bosnia has recently been through a war, and while peace now engulfs the region there are still remnants of the struggle that the people went through. In Bosnia you’ll find the best grilled meats known as ‘cevapi’ in the Baltics and you must try the national beer, or if you’re after something stronger, the national liquor (‘slivovica’). Be nice to the locals and they’ll ply you with the stuff.  

The majority of expats living in BiH live in the capital, Sarajevo. Most are employed by NGOs and international organisations; however more and more entrepreneurs see Bosnia’s potential for business and hiring an educated labour force.

Bosnia Herzegovina Mostar

Expat Clubs

Internations activity groups for Bosnia Expats

This group meets once a month to enjoy movies. Whether you like to discuss films, go to the cinema, or attend film festivals this is the group for you. International, Indie, Classics, or Modern Blockbusters all interests and genres are welcome.

Website: www.internations.org/activity-group/?ref=he_gr_ag

The International Women’s Club of Sarajevo

The International Women’s Club of Sarajevo (IWCS) was founded in 1997 to promote friendship and mutual support for women of all nationalities. It is a member of Open Door, a network of International Women’s Associations from 32 member countries. IWCS has a current membership of over 125 women from 28 countries. The IWCS supports cultural activities and provides opportunities to enhance member’s appreciation of the life and culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/International-Womens-Club-of-Sarajevo/324867578030

International Schools 

All the international schools in Bosnia are located in Sarajevo; hence this is not an ideal destination for expats with children, unless the expats will be living in the capital.

QSI International School of Sarajevo

The International School of Sarajevo is a private non-profit institution that offers a high quality education in the English language for elementary and secondary students. The warm and welcoming school community makes it an ideal place to receive a quality education from QSI.

Curriculum: Quality Schools International (QSI)

Address: Omladinska #16 71320, Sarajevo

Tel: 387-33-424450

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.qsi.org

International Schools of Bosnia

The mission of ISS is to prepare students for academic success in their future education, enable students to have a broad spectrum of options for their future endeavors, and prepare them to be responsible and productive citizens. The ISS has several schools in Bosnia which are listed below.

Website: internationalschool.ba
  • International Primary School of Sarajevo

Curriculum: Cambridge International Examinations

Address: Banjalučka b.b. Vraca, 71000 Sarajevo - BiH

Tel: +387 33 944 140

Fax: +387 33 660 080

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/is.sarajevo

Website: ips.internationalschool.ba

  • International School of Sarajevo

Curriculum: Cambridge International Examinations

Address: Francuske Revolucije b.b.71210 Ilidza

Tel: +38733 944 130

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ihs.ilidza

Website: ihs.internationalschool.ba

  • International School of Zenica

Curriculum: Cambridge International Examinations

Address: Bilmišće bb.72000 Zenica - BiH

Tel: +387 32 941 190

Fax: +387 32 440 860

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/is.zenica/timeline

Website: isz.internationalschool.ba

  • International School of Tuzla

Curriculum: Cambridge International Examinations

Address: Slavinovićkog odreda bb. Slavinovići 75000 Tuzla - BiH

Tel: +387 35 951 315

Fax: +387 35 364 801

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/InternationalSchoolTuzla

Website: ist.internationalschool.ba/en

  • International Primary School of Bihac

Curriculum: Cambridge International Examinations

Address: Đačka bb, 77000 Bihać - BiH

Tel: +387 37 941-170

Fax: +387 37 941-170

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/is.bihac

Website: ipsb.internationalschool.ba/en

  • International Primary School of Mostar

Curriculum: Cambridge International Examinations

Address: Nikole Šubića Zrinjskog br.2, 88000 Mostar

Tel: +387 36 833 410

Mob: +387 61 387 848

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/InternationalSchoolMostar

Website: ism.internationalschool.ba/en

International French College Sarajevo

Curriculum: French Curriculum

Address: Paromlinska 66, 71000 Sarajevo

Tel: +387 333 611 011

Mob: +387 62 334 889

Email: [email protected] 

Website: www.cifs.edu.ba 

American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina (AUBiH)

American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina (AUBiH) is a multi-ethnic, career-oriented university and it is the only one to act on the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Classes at the AUBiH are based on the American liberal education with undergraduate, graduate and doctoral studies, which are in line with the Bologna principles.

Curriculum: American liberal education

Address: Đačka bb, 77000 Bihać - BiH

Tel: +387 33 296 415 (Sarajevo)

Tel: +387 35 321 050 (Tuzla)

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmericanUniversityInBosniaAndHerzegovina

Website: www.aubih.edu.ba/en

International University of Sarajevo

International University of Sarajevo is a dynamic, higher education institution which offers quality in education to domestic and foreign students in all three study cycles.

Curriculum: American liberal education

Address: Hrasnička cesta 15, Ilidza, 71210 Sarajevo

Tel: +387 33 957 101/102

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/IUSEnglish

Website: www.ius.edu.ba

International Burch University (IBU)

International Burch University (IBU) was established in 2008 in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the goal of presenting a unique opportunity to rethink the very idea of a modern university and formulate a blueprint for the future. Upon the Sarajevo Canton Ministry of Education decision, teaching process was started according to Bologna System of Education (3+2+3) entirely in English language within three faculties.

Curriculum: Bologna System of Education

Address: Francuske revolucije bb, Ilidža, 71000 Sarajevo

Tel: +387 33 944-400

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ibueduba  

Website: www.ibu.edu.ba

The Sarajevo School of Science and Technology

The Sarajevo School of Science and Technology was opened in October 2004 in Sarajevo as the first private University in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dedicated to providing high quality, internationally competitive education and up-to-date programs, SSST established collaboration with the University of Buckingham (United Kingdom), and is today the only private University in BiH offering its graduates a dual degree.

Curriculum: Bologna System of Education

Address: Hrasnička cesta 3a, Sarajevo, 71 000

Tel: +387 33 975 000

Fax: +387 33 975 030

Email: [email protected]

Website: dev.ssst.edu.ba

Local News in English

Sarajevo Times

”Sarajevo Times” is first Bosnian portal that gives the news from Bosnia and Herzegovina in English language, respecting the European standards of professional and objective journalism. The portal offers objective, accurate and timely information, and promotes positive and encouraging elements of our society working primarily for the welfare of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their goal is to promote positive values, people, activities and events from BiH, in order to make a contribution to a better image of their country.

Website: www.sarajevotimes.com

The Balkan Chronicle

The Balkan Chronic is a quality Internet-only publication that reports and examines geopolitical, political, economic, business, educational, cultural, religious, academic, sport and entertainment issues related to the wider geographical region of the Balkans. We look at these issues from a Balkan Muslim perspective. This perspective distinguishes us from the mainstream English-language media whose reporting on the Balkan matters is generally skewed to inform a non-Balkan audience with little or none understanding of the complex Balkan history and culture.

Website: www.balkanchronicle.com

Bosnian Institute

The Bosnian Institute is a key organization internationally in providing education and information on the history and culture of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with a special concern for the past and present development of its social, economic, governmental, legal and cultural conditions, organizations and institutions. Through its programmes it actively encourages and supports the growth of a pluralist democratic society in Bosnia-Herzegovina and its neighbours.

Website: www.bosnia.org.uk

Country Information 

Location: Europe

Capital City: Sarajevo

Other Important Cities: Mostar

Currency: Convertible Mark (BAM)

Language: Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian

Calling Code: +387

Internet TLD: .ba

Electricity: Bosnia and Herzegovina State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC)

Address: Miška Jovanovića 4/II, 75 000 Tuzla

Tel: +387 35 302 070

Fax: +387 35 302 077

Email: [email protected]                   

Website: www.derk.ba/en

Emergency Numbers: 

Ambulance: 112/104/94/124

Fire: 112/105/93/123

Police: 112/107/92/122

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Expats should be prepared for the bureaucratic backlogs that come with obtaining a work permit. This is a long process and requires a lot of patients. Spouses might not find work as easily due to the country’s high unemployment rates and salaries for a local hire are relatively low.

A traveler to BiH can apply for the following visas:
  • Transit Visa
  • Short Term Visa – Stay cannot exceed 90 days
  • Long Term Visa – Stay cannot exceed 180 days

For more information on Visa requirements visit the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in your country of residence or see the guidelines from the Australian Embassy in Bosnia

These are documents that you will need when applying for one of the Visas mentioned above:

Visa applications must be lodged in person 3 to 30 days prior to departure, except for applications for a Long term visa (Visa D) which must be lodged in person 1 to 3 months prior to departure.

All applicants are required to complete an interview at the Embassy and submit the following documents:

  1.  Passport (valid at least 3 months following the visa expiry date);
  2. A completed Visa Application Form (no corrections please);
  3. One passport size photo;
  4. Supporting documents (Provide certified, by a Justice of the Peace, copies of original documentation, unless otherwise stated);
  5. Visa fee and mailing expenses (Money Order payable to Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Documentation supporting the application for issuance or extension of the work permit

With the application for issuing work permit the employer is obliged to submit certified copies of the following documents:

  • Passport or other valid travel document, and in exceptional cases, certified translation of this documents
  • Diplomas on concluded education that must be translated into one of the languages in official use in Bosnia and Herzegovina and notified by the responsible bodies, with exception of applicants who are foreign investors or founders of companies and/or persons authorized to represent the employer (directors, executive directors, procurator, etc.) or persons registered to carry out independent activity - crafts, who are exempt from the obligation to notify the diploma, but need to attach a certified translation of the diploma on completed education with the request for issuance of work permit)
  • Decision on registration of the employer company, representing office, independent business or craft, tax number and tax registration certificate
  • Evidence on employer’s solvency issued by a bank where the employer has their account
  • Decision on establishment, i.e. Rulebook on the systematization of work places, or other appropriate document (for the employer who has 15 or more work places)
  • In the Federation of B&H the following documents shall be enclosed as originals:
  • Written employer’s explanation of the justification of hiring an foreigner
  • Evidence that all taxes and mandatory contributions have been paid for all employees when issuing the first work permit, except for newly established businesses
  • Evidence that all administrative costs and applicable fees have been paid

Procedure for extension of the work permit is initiated by submitting the application 30 days before the expiration of the current work permit.


The accommodation in BiH might not be what you’re used to especially if you’re coming from the west. The types of housing available in Sarajevo include apartments and houses, which can be single or double storey.

If you are looking at apartments the real estate pages you may see adverts for a one or two bedroom apartment, bedrooms are not defined in BiH as they are in the west. A one bedroom apartment refers to an apartment with an entrance hall, kitchen, bathroom and room. A lounge is not counted separately, thus if you are looking for a one bedroom apartment by western standards, you should look for one advertised as a two bedroom apartment. Many generations of families in

Bosnia live in a single apartment, and sleep on fold out couches in bedrooms that are later converted into the lounge areas for guests. You may also come across an advert for a one and a half (jednoiposoban stan) bedroom apartment which refers to a larger kitchen, one where you can have a couch in, and an additional bedroom.

Houses can be found outside the city centre and are bigger than the apartments. You will usually find a large kitchen with a table where the family dines together and a separate lounge suite in a house. The bedrooms will be used only as bedrooms for the most part, however the older generations in the Balkans still prefer to sleep on fold out couches as opposed to beds. If you are getting a furnished house or apartment, be prepared for this.

Driving License

Replacement of foreign driving licenses

Documents required:
  • Form VD-1 which you will receive at the traffic department at no charge.
  • Medical certificate, no older than 6 months.
  • Valid foreign driver's license, original, with a translation certified by a court interpreter.
  • Proof of residence in BiH, either in the form of a BiH identity card, foreign ID or proof of approved temporary residence.
  • Proof of payment in the amounts of 60KM.

Please enlist the help of a local in order to make the payment to the correct bank account. Alternatively visit mup.ks.gov.ba/node/46 for further information in Bosnian language.


The healthcare facilities in Bosnia do not meet the international standard; however the medical staff is well trained and does the best with what they have. There are a few good private hospitals in Bosnia that expats use. Most expats have an international medical insurance cover that covers treatment abroad. Doctors’ visits, blood tests and medication are relatively cheap and accessible, even in private hospitals, as is dentistry.


University Clinical Hospital Mostar

University Clinical Hospital Mostar (Croatian Sveučilišna klinička bolnica Mostar) is the largest hospital in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located in the Bijeli Brijeg neighbourhood of the city. The hospital was originally built as a regional medical centre in 1977. However, the building incurred damage during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and upon its repairs; it was upgraded into a hospital in 1997.

Address: Kralja Tvrtka bb, Mostar, 88000, BIH

Tel: +387 (0)36 336-500

Fax: +387 (0)36 322-712

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.kb-mostar.org (Bosnian)

Clinical Centre University of Sarajevo

Clinical Center University seeks to become a leading medical institution in the region, an efficient transmitter of knowledge and skills necessary for quality education of health professionals, the institution which will be open to new ideas, initiatives and aspirations, with the aim of improving the satisfaction of all stakeholders, with focus on patients, which will be through the process of health care by applying the most advanced diagnostic procedures to provide health services of superior quality.

Tel: +387 (0) 33 297 000

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ukcsarajevo

Website: www.kcus.ba (Bosnian)

University Clinical Centre Tuzla

Public health institutions Univerzitski Clinical Centre Tuzla is a modern medical facility in which to apply modern diagnostic procedures, monitor developments in medicine, introducing new OPERATIONAL method performs continuous education of staff and takes high quality scientific research activity.

Address: Trnovac bb, 75 000 Tuzla

Tel: +387 35 303 500

Fax: +387 35 250 474

Email: [email protected]

Webmail: www.ukctuzla.ba

Doctors and Clinics

Poliklinika Sansa

SaNaSa” polyclinic is the first private medical center in Sarajevo who started in June 1999. It’s equipped by European standards; it can be approval with top and high quality equipment for treatments, diagnostics and competent medical staff which represents a great combination for success.

Address: Grbavička 74, 71000 Sarajevo

Tel: + 387 33 661 840, 661 841

Tel: + 387 33 715 210

Fax: + 387 33 715 211

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.poliklinikasanasa.com

Poliklinika FM

Poliklinika FM offers state of the art medical facilities, highly trained specialists, modern equipment, flexible working hours and a gentle approach to you and your family’s health.

Address: Vilsonovo šetalište 6 Sarajevo, Bosna i Hercegovina

Tel: +387 33 223 388

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.poliklinika-fm.ba/ (Bosnian)

Eurofarm Centar

Our mission is to provide the patients at Eurofarm Center service diagnostics and treatment in accordance with the highest international standards by the most eminent experts in the field of medicine, the use of modern technology while respecting the fundamental ethical principles that underpin our profession.


Hotline Polyclinic - +387 33 77 30 32

Hotline Pharmacies - +387 33 77 30 24

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Eurofarm-Centar/1433906596845844?ref=hl (Bosnian)

Website: www.eurofarmcentar.ba/ (Bosnian)