Immigration to Bosnia and Herzegovina

BUSINESS TRAVEL

The term business visit, from an immigration perspective defines a short trip that does not require work permits and authorizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As such the business traveler is only allowed to undertake specific business activities allowed by Bosnian legislation, during which visitor represents interest of employing company based outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Allowed Activities

Business visitors must generally limit their activities and may undertake the following:

  • perform activities required in order to establish and register a legal entity or a corporate business entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • attend business related meetings

Conversion of visitor status into work permit status is not possible without leaving the country. Please contact Move One to confirm whether a visit may be classified as business.


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Entry Requirements and Limitations

VISA EXEMPT

Nationals of the following countries may enter Bosnia and Herzegovina without a visa for up to 90 days (for stay over 90 days residence permit must be arranged):

  • EU/EEA & Swiss nationals

Nationals of the following countries may enter Bosnia and Herzegovina without a visa for up to 90 days within 180 days period:

  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Macao
  • Macedonia
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Qatar
  • Salvador
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • South Korea
  • Singapore
  • Turkey
  • Uruguay
  • United States of America
  • Vatican
  • Venezuela



Complete list of visa exempt countries can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

VISA REQUIRED

Nationals not specified above must obtain a short-stay visa (type C) for business purpose before entering Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Foreigners may enter Bosnia and Herzegovina without a Bosnian visa if they have a permanent residence in a Schengen member state or if they possess a valid multiple entry Schengen short-stay visa (type C).


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Visa Application


Visa Application form

A foreigner must apply for a short-stay visa at a Bosnian embassy or consulate abroad. Authorities may grant single/multiple entry business visas usually valid for up to 30 days. No continuous stay or total duration of several consecutive stays may last for more than 90 days within a 180 days period, commencing from the date of first entry.

STANDARD DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:

  • Passport
  • 1 Photo
  • Application form
  • Copy of round trip ticket or itinerary
  • Letter from employer explaining purpose of trip
  • Invitation letter from a company in Bosnia and Herzegovina, certified by the Organizational Unit of the Ministry of Security

For specific requirements visitors should contact the consulate where application is to be lodged. List of Bosnian consulates is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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Upon Arrival


Address Registration

Upon arrival to Bosnia and Herzegovina, all nationalities must register at the local organizational unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

  • In case visitor is staying in a hotel, registration is handled by the hotel.
  • Visitors staying in private accommodation must register at the local police within 24 hours after arrival.



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Spouse and Children

Visa regime for family members is defined in the same way as for business travelers. Family members may apply for visa together with main applicant, and receive a short-stay visa.


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WORK PURPOSE

In order to carry out paid activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina a work authorization is required valid for a predetermined period of time and allowing the foreigner to hold a temporary job in the country. The process for obtaining work and residence authorization depends on factors including but not limited to nationality, company type and payroll.

Key Questions to Determine the Process

Answers to the following questions will determine what immigration process must be followed for a foreign employee:

  • Nationality?
  • Location of company (city within Bosnia and Herzegovina)?
  • Location of payroll (home or host)?
  • In case of home payroll, grounds for assignment, information regarding employment with home company (period of employment, provided social benefits, registration with company)?
  • Job position and description?
  • Estimated start date of assignment?
  • Length of assignment?
  • Has the foreigner lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina / does the foreigner currently reside in Bosnia and Herzegovina and if so, on what status?
  • Will foreigner be working based on contracts between company in Bosnia and Herzegovina and home country (if yes, further information will be required such as cost, time for accomplishing,
    number of foreigners, subject of agreement, location of realization)?
  • Will family members join?
  • Respective nationalities of family members?



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Typical Procedures & Timelines


VISA REQUIRED PROCESS

  • Step 1: Work Permit

    45-50 days

  • Step 2: Visa Application

    30 days

  • Step 3: Address Registration

    On the spot

  • Step 4: Residence Permit

    30 days


Work Permit

A company must submit a work permit request to the local immigration office in the jurisdiction where its headquarters is located. A work permit authorizes a specific foreign national to work for a specified company.

Highest educational degrees are required in order to prove that foreigner is qualified for a specific position and has unique skills which cannot be found locally.

APPEARANCE: A4 paper size

ISSUING AUTHORITY: Federal Employment Agency

VALIDITY: Up to 1 year

EXTENSION: Possible

DOCUMENT LOCATION: With company

On the basis of a work permit approval, a foreigner must visit a Bosnian consulate abroad in order to apply for a Type D long term visa.

STANDARD DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:

  • Passport
  • Photo
  • Application form
  • Invitation letter from host company certified by the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs
  • Proof of accommodation and funds for living expenses
  • Work permit

For specific requirements visitors should contact the consulate where application is to be lodged. List of Bosnian consulates is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Address Registration

After arrival to Bosnia and Herzegovina, a foreigner must visit a the local organizational unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in order to register his address of stay.

APPEARANCE: A6 paper size

ISSUING AUTHORITY: Ministry of Internal Affairs

VALIDITY: For the period of stay in Albania

EXTENSION: Required in case of change of address

ORIGINAL LOCATION: With foreigner


Residence Permit

A foreigner must apply for a residence permit based on a long term visa. A residence permit gives the right to reside on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the term of the work permit.

APPEARANCE: A4 paper size

ISSUING AUTHORITY: Ministry of Internal Affairs

VALIDITY: For the period of the work permit

EXTENSION: Possible

DOCUMENT LOCATION: With foreigner at all times



*The time-frames are an estimate and authorities can shorten or extend it according to their requirements. Immigration procedure vary depending on many variables therefore specific information about the foreigner and / or family member will be needed to better clarify the specific procedures that will be involved.

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Employment Enrollment Formalities


HEALTH / SOCIAL SECURITY

  • Foreign employees must be registered with the pension insurance and health insurance fund by their employers who have to make contributions after them on a monthly basis. As proof of registration a unique personal number is issued to the foregienr. Registered foreigners are entitled to free health care from government clinics.

TAX

  • Foreign employees must be registered with the tax authority in case of a stay longer than 183 days. Tax authority must be notified about the start date of employment.



Work Permit Exemptions

Following foreigners may be exempt from the work permit requirement:

  • Business visitors
  • Foreign diplomats
  • Representatives of non-profit, non-government organizations
  • Foreigners providing training to persons employed by a natural or legal entity with with a seat in Bosnia, in case the duration is not more than 90 days within one year
  • Foreigners performing delivery, installation and repair of machinery, in case the duration does not exceed 30 consecutive days within one year
  • Foreigners appointed as supervisory board members of a legal establishment, if the appointment is for less than 90 day in a calendar year.
  • University professors invited as lecturers, researchers in scientific or professional training, scientists who are representatives of international organizations and scientists involved in conducting scientific research projects
  • Experts, teachers and lecturers from foreign cultural and educational institutions, who are carrying out their professional work within the field of cultural and educational cooperation
  • Foreigners who, under contract with the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of Justice, work in Bosnia for defense purposes, the legal system or the security of the state or professional training in these areas.


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    Spouse and Children

    Family members may accompany a main traveler on their long-term assignment.

    • Family members who are visa nationals must obtain an entry visa for entering Bosnia and Herzegovina, and apply for a residence permit after arrival to Bosnia based on family reunification request.
    • Family members who come from visa free countries, may enter without a visa and apply for a residence permit in Bosnia and Herzegovina based on family reunification request.

    In both cases, marriage and birth certificates are required for family member applications and must be legalized.


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    Red-flags

    • Processing times for applications may vary depending on individual circumstances, therefore assignments must be planned well in advance.
    • All foreign documents need to be officially translated into Bosnian.
    • Degree certificates are required for work permit application and must be translated, notarized and further nostrificated in Bosnia (processing may even take up to 6 months)
    • Foreigners are required to provide a criminal record certificate for their application, which can be time consuming to obtain.
    • Medical certificate declaring that the foreigner does not suffer from a disease presenting public health threat are required for residence permit application.
    • Passports should be valid for at least 3 months beyond the intended stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    • Documents submitted for various applications have limited validity. Documents must be issued earliest three months from submission to the foreign police.
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina has a national quota system for the maximum number of available work permits for each year. The annual quota is determined by the Council of Ministers, in accordance with the situation in the labor market.



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    Penalties

    FOREIGNER

    • Non compliance with legislation in force and staying on territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina without required documentation may result in a fine of up to 500 markas (approximately 350 dollars), deportation, as well as a ban from entering Bosnia and Herzegovina for a period of time defined by authorities.

    COMPANY

    • The penalty for illegal employment of foreigners may reach up to 5,000 markas (approximately 3,500 dollars), and the suspension of company’s operations for 180 days.



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    VITAL DOCUMENTS

    Vital documents are official records issued by government institutions to individuals, essential as proof of identity and status. Move One offers support for the procurement of vital documents in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as their legalization for use outside the country.


    Birth Certificate


    Birth Certificate

    A birth certificate documents the birth of an individual, naming a child’s biological parents, indicating the date of birth and the place where the child was born. Birth certificates may be required as supporting documents during immigration procedures.

    • A Bosnian birth certificate is issued in the local registry office, where a child’s birth was registered. A birth certificates is issued in the Bosnian language and includes details of the individual as well as the individual’s parents.
    • It is possible to obtain a duplicate of an original birth certificate. Issuing time and required application documents may vary depending on the registry office processing the request.
    • Not all formats of Bosnian birth certificates may be legalized for international use, therefore holders should check for the specific requirements in advance of arranging certificate legalization.


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      Marriage Certificate

      A marriage certificate serves as proof of an act of marriage between two individuals. Marriage certificates may be required as supporting documents during immigration procedures.

      • A Bosnian marriage certificate is issued in the regional governmental office where the marriage was registered. A marriage certificates is issued in the Bosnian language and includes details of the husband, wife as well as the witnesses.
      • It is possible to obtain a duplicate of an original marriage certificate. Issuing time and required application documents may vary depending on the regional office processing the request.
      • Not all formats of Bosnmian marriage certificates may be legalized for international use, therefore holders should check for the specific requirements in advance of arranging certificate legalization.



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      Legalization


      Public documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, criminal record certificates and notarial attestations of signatures, frequently need to be used abroad. However, before a public document can be used in a country other than the one that issued it, its origin must often be authenticated.

      CONSULAR LEGALIZATION

      The traditional method for authenticating public documents to be used abroad is called legalization and consists of a chain of individual authentications of the document. This process involves officials of the country where the document was issued as well as the foreign consulate of the country where the document is to be used.

      APOSTILLE

      A large number of countries have joined a treaty that simplifies the authentication of public documents to be used abroad. This treaty is called the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. It is commonly known as the Apostille Convention. Where it applies, the treaty reduces the authentication process to a single formality: the issuance of an authentication certificate by an authority designated by the country where the public document was issued. This certificate is called an apostille.

      Apostille requirements:

      • the country where the document was issued must be party to the Apostille Convention
      • the country in which the document is to be used must be party to the Apostille Convention
      • the law of the country where the document was issued must consider the document to be a public document
      • the country in which the document is to be used must require an apostille in order to recognize it as a foreign public document

      Bosnia and Herzegovina is a signatory to the Hague Convention, therefore documents issued in Bosnia and Herzegovina may be authenticated with an apostille for use in a country which is also a signatory member of the convention.


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      *International travelers should note that immigration procedures vary depending on many factors and specific information about the transferee and / or family members. Please get in touch with Move One to discuss your specific case by sending an email to immigration@moveoneinc.com.

      Last updated: June 27, 2012

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