Message for U.S. Citizens: August ACS Newsletter

U.S. Embassy Sarajevo ACS Newsletter

American Citizen Services (ACS) presents our quarterly roundup of updates and topics that may be of interest to American Citizens traveling or residing in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

Current travel requirements for entering BiH

The BiH government announced that as of June 11, 2021, U.S. citizens can enter BiH with one of the following:

  • A vaccination certificate (with final dose received at least 14 days prior to entry),
  • A PCR test (within 48 hours for travel from Europe and 72 hours from other countries),
  • An antigen test, or
  • A certificate of recovery from COVID-19 within 180 days of arrival.

Entry requirements for BiH may change with little notice. For up-to-date information, refer to the BiH Border Police website, or visit the State Department’s travel website.

How to get vaccinated in BiH

According local authorities, four types of COVID-19 vaccines are available in BiH and authorities are giving priority to certain groups based on age, profession, or health risk.

In Sarajevo Canton, individuals who have a BiH Personal Identification Number (JMBG – jedinstveni matični broj građana) and local health insurance can register for the COVID-19 vaccine.

We encourage U.S. citizens to follow local news and official sources regarding further availability of vaccinations.

What is the difference between a notary and an apostille?

Customers frequently ask us whether the Embassy can apostille documents, and how apostilles differ from notary services. Notarizations are a way of verifying and/or witnessing a signature and is performed by an individual. An apostille is a certificate issued by the originating or certifying authority of a document that authenticates the document for use in another country.

Notary Services

Before you schedule a notary service appointment at the Embassy, make sure you understand which documents the Embassy can notarize and know the contents of your document. Visit Notarial and Authentication Services of U.S. Consular Officers Abroad webpage for frequently asked questions and other detailed information.

Apostille stamp

Apostilles authenticate the seals and signatures of officials on public documents such as birth certificates, court orders, or any other document. An apostille certifies the document(s), so the document can be recognized in foreign countries that are members of the 1961 Hague Convention Treaty; both the United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina are members.

For U.S. documents to be used in BiH, a state-issued document with an apostille does not require additional certification by the Embassy to be recognized in BiH. The Embassy will not issue an apostille for state-issued documents. Contact the Office of the Secretary of State in the state where the document was issued to request an apostille certification. For additional details on how to obtain an apostille, see Notarial and Authentication Services of U.S. Consular Officers Abroad.

In BiH, municipal courts issue apostilles. Always check with the institution in the United States where you plan to submit the document to determine whether translation is required and whether the translation needs an apostille. Lists of certified translators for English are available from municipal courts and from the Ministry of Justice for the Federation of BiH, Republika Srpska, and Brčko District.

How to report a crime to the local authorities

If you are the victim of a crime in BiH, it is important that you report the crime as soon as possible. Generally, you will have to visit the local police station where the incident occurred and file a report with details of the incident. The report should be ready the next business day and you can obtain a copy in person at the office. You should be provided a phone number for an investigating officer that will be assigned to you during the investigation. This is your point of contact for questions and for informing you of any developments in your case.

Few police officers speak English, so it is recommended that you bring a someone who speaks the local langue, if possible. In cases involving more serious crimes (i.e. rape, assault, armed robbery), a court appointed interpreter will be present at the time of reporting the incident.

  • To contact the local police for immediate help, dial 112
  • For emergency medical services/ambulance dispatch, dial 124

It’s your decision whether to report a crime to the U.S. Embassy. If you decide to contact us, please call +387 33 704 000 or email SarajevoACS@state.gov Contact the Embassy only after you have removed yourself from the situation and reported the crime to local authorities.

The legal process

The police decide if the crime is serious and will involve a duty prosecutor. The prosecutor then decides whether to open an investigation and prosecute the crime.

For a list of lawyers willing to represent U.S. citizens in BiH, visit Legal Assistance page . Please note, this list is is by no means exhaustive, nor does it constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney by the U.S. Embassy.

How the Embassy can assist

We can:

  • Replace a lost or stolen passport
  • Contact family, friends, or employers on your behalf
  • Provide information to facilitate access to appropriate medical care
  • Share information about case status
  • Provide a list of local English-speaking lawyers
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.

We cannot:

  • Investigate crimes
  • Provide legal advice or represent you in court
  • Serve as interpreters or translators
  • Pay legal, medical, or other expenses
  • Request preferential treatment for U.S. citizens during legal proceeding

Stay Informed, Stay Connected, Stay Safe!

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens/nationals traveling abroad to register their trip with U.S. Embassy Sarajevo, receive important information about emergencies and safety conditions in BiH, and connect more easily in an emergency.

U.S. Embassy Calendar

The Embassy will be closed to the public for the following upcoming holidays:

  • Labor Day – Monday, September 6
  • Columbus Day – Monday, October 11
  • All Saints Day – Monday, November 01
  • Veterans Day – Thursday, November 11
  • BiH Statehood Day, Thanksgiving – Thursday, November 25
  • Christmas Day – Friday, December 24

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