Customs Regulations

Duty-free goods are not sold to those travelling from one EU country to another.

Look for Global Blue Tax Free shopping signs in Croatia and Slovenia; you may be able to claim tax back when you leave if you ask for a Tax Free Form when making your purchase (www.global-blue.com).

Visas

You won’t be surprised to learn that all countries require visitors to have passports with at least six months’ validity. Visitors from most countries can visit most of the countries and territories in the region for up to 90 days without needing to get a visa in advance, and entry is usually free. The small exception to this is Albania, where land and sea entry costs €1 and air arrival €10.

  • Citizens of many countries (including Australia, Canada, UK, USA, New Zealand and Japan) generally don't require a visa for stays of up to 90 days in Albania, BiH, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. Other nationals should contact embassies or consulates.

Always check latest visa information before you travel.

The European Union & the Schengen area

Europe, the European Union and the Schengen area are not the same thing. All the countries of the Balkans are in Europe, but only Slovenia and Croatia are in the European Union and are Schengen members. There are no border controls between Schengen countries, but border procedures between EU and non-EU countries can still be onerous.

The following reflects the membership of countries in the Balkans at the time of writing:

Country // European Union // Schengen

Albania // Potential candidate // No

BiH // Potential Candidate // No

Croatia // Yes // Yes

Kosovo // Potential Candidate // No

Macedonia // Candidate // No

Montenegro // Candidate // No

Serbia // Candidate // No

Slovenia // Yes // Yes

Check the European Union website (http://europa.eu/about-eu/countries) for latest information and always check latest visa requirements before you travel.

Citizens of many countries do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days in Schengen countries (Slovenia and Croatia) as well as Albania, BiH, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Other nationals should contact embassies or consulates.

Visas may sometimes be available in advance or upon arrival; generally visas on arrival are more expensive. Consider in advance if you want a tourist or transit visa; the latter can give you 48 or 72 hours and be issued more quickly and cheaply.

Be aware that any visa you are issued has an expiry date you should stick to.

In some countries you are required to register with local authorities within 48 hours of arrival, though your hotel will generally take care of this.