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Safety Travel Safety: Europe: Kosovo

Kosovo is a region administered under the civil authority of the U.N. Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244. At this time, some civilian institutions, including the criminal justice system, are not fully functioning. Kosovo is a cash economy. The currency used throughout Kosovo is the euro. There are currently no operating Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that accept U.S. bankcards.

International NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) troops are responsible for security and stability in Kosovo. Although the overall security situation has improved, inter-ethnic tensions and sporadic incidents of violence continue to occur.

The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) continues to assume a growing number of duties and responsibilities previously undertaken by KFOR troops and UN civilian police officials in Kosovo. However, even with the deployment of KFOR, U.N. civilian police and KPS throughout Kosovo, re-establishing civil authority and institutions will take time. In March 2004, one week of inter-ethnic violence erupted throughout the province, including several incidents in the capital of Pristina. This outbreak, which resulted in multiple deaths, hundreds of injuries, and thousands of displaced persons, dealt a serious blow to Kosovo�s stability.

High unemployment and other economic factors have encouraged criminal activity. Incidents of ethnic violence in Kosovo continue to occur. While de-mining programs have proven effective, unexploded ordnance and mines remain in some areas. The reliability of telecommunications, electric and water systems remains unpredictable. Travel by U.S. Government officials to areas of Kosovo that have experienced recent ethnic violence is subject to restrictions.

For further information on Serbia and Montenegro please click here

Petty street crimes, in particular theft and purse snatchings, are serious problems in Kosovo, especially Pristina. Foreigners are targets for crime, as they are assumed to carry cash. Likewise, international non-governmental organization (NGO) offices have been subject to burglaries. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Office in Pristina. While the U.S. Office cannot directly issue new passports, it will assist with arrangements for applying for a new passport in Skopje, Macedonia.

In case of emergency, the UNMIK police telephone number in the Pristina area is 038-500-092. Emergency numbers in Pristina are Police: 92; Fire Department: 93; and Ambulance: 94. For information on other areas contact the U.S. Office in Pristina.

The UNMIK police force (381-38-501-541) is largely a contingent of international officers who are working with and training local officers to carry out most normal police functions. The judicial system is still under the process of reconstruction. Courts are conducting trials in all cities in Kosovo, though they often cannot hold suspects for more than a few days due to space limitation.

Health facilities are limited, and medications are in short supply. As a general policy, military field hospitals in Kosovo will treat only emergency medical cases (those involving immediate threat to life, limb or eyesight) on a space available basis. KFOR cannot provide basic health care to non-military personnel, nor can they provide medical evacuation out of Kosovo.

Road conditions can be extremely hazardous because roads are narrow, crowded, and used by a variety of vehicles, from KFOR armored personnel carriers to horse drawn carts. Many vehicles are old and lack standard front or rear lights. Mountain roads can be narrow, poorly marked, and lack guardrails. They quickly become dangerous in inclement weather.

It is strongly recommended that Americans in Kosovo have vehicles that are registered outside of Kosovo, to prevent problems in the event of an evacuation, as Kosovo license plates may not be accepted in neighboring countries.

The use of seat belts is mandatory. A driver with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.05 is considered to be intoxicated. Travelers entering Kosovo by road should be aware that the purchase of local third-party insurance is required.

Civil aviation safety oversight in Kosovo is currently under the administration of the United Nations. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has not assessed aviation safety oversight in Kosovo for compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.

Please also refer to the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.

April 6, 2004 | For further information on Serbia and Montenegro please click here

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