Moving to Sarajevo?

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Moving to Sarajevo

Expats moving to Sarajevo can look forward to living in a fascinating city and meeting people from different religions, cultures, and walks of life. This guide briefs you on the most important aspects of move to Sarajevo, such as local demographics, visa requirements, climate and more.

About the City

With a population of around 320,000 in 2014, Sarajevo is not only the capital, but also the largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A diverse, historical city, it has often been dubbed the Jerusalem of Europe or the Jerusalem of the Balkans due to its diverse religious and ethnic makeup, with Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy having coexisted peacefully in the city for centuries.

The city covers 141.5 square kilometers of area that was traditionally known solely as Bosnia before gaining independence from Yugoslavia and unifying with Herzegovina in 1992. 

The demographics of Sarajevo are somewhat uncertain, as there has been no official census carried out since 1991. However, estimates made in 2011 suggest that most of its population identify as Bosniaks, with Serbs as the second largest community.

The remainder is made up mainly of Roma, Croats, and Sephardi Jews, and there is also a small but growing expatriate community that is developing as more people move to Sarajevo for work. Bosnia and Herzegovina's constitution does not specify any official language, but many inhabitants speak Bosnian, Croat, Serbian, or English.

The Climate in Sarajevo

Sarajevo has a moderate climate with four distinct seasons and precipitation spread evenly throughout the year. Although it does show some signs of oceanic influences, the proximity of Sarajevo to the Adriatic Sea and the Dinaric Alps to the southwest keep the climate moderate and balanced throughout the year.

On average, expatriates living in Sarajevo can expect June to be the hottest month of the year, with an average temperature of 19.7°C, and January the coldest at around −0.5°C. The average yearly temperature is around 10°C. Snow is to be expected in the winter, particularly in the mountainous regions south of the city.

Visas for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Expatriates looking to obtain a visa so that they can move to Sarajevo should be prepared for a long process. There are currently three types of visa you can apply for; a transit visa, a short term visa (90 days), and a long term visa (180 days).

You must apply for your visa 30 days in advance of arrival, except for long term visas, which should be applied for three months prior to arrival. You will be required to attend an interview at the relevant embassy for your country and provide documentation. More information can be obtained from your embassy.

As Bosnia and Herzegovina is not an EU member, citizens moving to Sarajevo from an EU nation will also need to apply for visa before arriving. Visa-free entry may be granted to a number of states for stays of less than 90 days.

Brandon Le Clerk

"I thought settling in Sarajevo would be more difficult but with InterNations I quickly connected with other South African and American expats."

Claudine Duret

"Being new to Sarajevo wasn´t easy in the beginning. But when a friend invited me to InterNations I met really great international people."

Global Expat Guide