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Kosovo: New border regulation

Prishtina, June 23, 2005 - The UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has announced new regulations for border crossings into Kosova. The UNMIK Regulation No. 2005/16 will enter into force on 1st of July 2005 and will be accompanied by an implementing Administrative Direction. This new legislation introduces measures aimed at improving the border controls primarily directed at combating organized crime operations and human trafficking.

“It is not meant to create obstacles for legitimate travellers and will simply formalize the practice adopted by UNMIK border police until now. No person will be required to submit a written application to enter Kosovo. Certain categories of individuals, namely: residents of Kosovo, UN personnel, KFOR personnel, their spouses or children, persons holding a travel document of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, official of intergovernmental organizations or foreign liaison offices, Macedonian and Albanian citizens will enter into Kosovo on the sole basis of their travel documents”, a UNMIK official said in Prishtina.

Other visitors have to explain to the border police officer at the point of entry the reasons for their travel into Kosovo and, if requested, produce the documentation, which is required to demonstrate the purpose of their visit. Legitimate purpose is considered: tourism, studying, employment or other business, transit and obviously family visit.

In normal circumstances, foreigners allowed to enter into Kosovo will be permitted to stay for up to 90 days. Persons who may wish to prolong their staying beyond 90 days will need to request an extension at the Office for Registration of Foreigners that will be opened in the Main Police HQ in Prishtina.

A multi entry system has been also designed for foreigners who may need to frequently travel to Kosovo such as, persons working for profit or non profit organizations. Such persons will be entitled to apply for an identification card, which will be valid for up to one year.

Persons can be denied entry into Kosovo on the usual grounds applied internationally, if they visibly suffer from a communicable disease, or have committed or are affiliated with terrorist activities, are a member of an organized or terrorist organization, engage in acts of violence or are attempting to enter another country illegally.

Also visitors not being able to satisfy the border police officer of the legitimacy of the travel will not be permitted to enter into Kosovo. According to the UNMIK Regulation any decision to deny entry or extension of staying will be given in writing. The violation of the provisions of the Regulation, particularly giving false information to the border police, remain in Kosovo without a valid authorization or use a false or improperly obtained document will constitute a minor offence punishable by a fine up to 1,000 euros; a term of imprisonment of up to 30 days and/or an order to leave Kosovo for a period of 6 months to 3 years.

This is the first time that such authorization requirements to enter Kosovo have been introduced, and they appear to be aimed at preventing the destabilization of Kosovo as it enters a particularly sensitive period of resolving its political status.

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