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Working in Sarajevo?

Join InterNations to meet other expats where you live and read more articles like Working in Sarajevo with relevant information for expats.

Brandon Le Clerk

Living in Bosnia-Herzegovina, from South Africa

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

Claudine Duret

Living in Bosnia-Herzegovina, from France

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

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Sarajevo at a Glance

Working in Sarajevo

What is the current economic situation in Sarajevo? What do I need to know about work permits? What is the taxation system like in Sarajevo? The InterNations Expat Guide to working in Sarajevo provides you with the answers to all these questions and many more.

Local Economy

As the capital and largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo is the economic focal point of the country and in 2011 generated 6.30 billion USD, almost 40% of the country's overall GDP. This is due to Sarajevo's strong market economy, and the successful economic rehabilitation programs that were carried out after the country was formed.

Whilst under communism, the city had been known as an industrial stronghold, but it has since adapted to the requirements of liberal market economy, and now combines industry like tobacco production, automobile manufacturing and communications equipment with a strong service and financial economy. 

As the governmental center of the country, many people working Sarajevo are also employed in political and administrative roles by the local and federal government. It also has a strong tourism economy, and is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the region.

Sarajevo has further been named the 43rd Best City in the World by travel publisher Lonely Planet in 2006, and has been consistently listed in their top ten European destinations since 2010. In 2013, over 300,000 tourists visited the city, a rise of 18% from the year before.

A large amount of this tourism is related to winter sports, a trend that started when Bosnia and Herzegovina hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984, whilst others make pilgrimage to its religious and spiritual landmarks. Its vast number of museums, art galleries and historical sites also attract many visitors.

Work Permits for Sarajevo

As with visas, obtaining a permit to work in Sarajevo can be a long and complicated process. Once you have obtained your visa and have found prospective employment you can then begin the work permit application by contacting the Bosnian Service for Foreigners Affairs. Note that in the case of a long-term visa (Visa D), you will need to acquire a work permit first, before you can actually apply for the visa.

You will then need your prospective employer to submit the correct documents to the Service; you will also need to pay the required fees for the application. Be warned that this can be a lengthy process, so start it way in advance of needing to begin working in Sarajevo.

You will be able to extend your work permit by following the same steps again 30 days before the expiration of your current permit. Anyone working in Sarajevo should also be aware that due to the high unemployment rate, it is common that spouses and partners of those applying will not be given work permits unless they can confirm that they too have employment lined up.

Income Taxation in Sarajevo

Unlike a lot of European countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a flat rate for income tax. This means that whatever you earn as an expatriate working in Sarajevo you will pay 10% tax on it; this includes income from employment, royalties, and capital gains. You will also pay towards social security from your employment income.

Value Added Tax (VAT) is set at 17% in Bosnia and Herzegovina for all products except for medical care, education, postal services, and financial services.

InterNations Expat Magazine