Crossing the border from Bosnia to Croatia, all you need to know. Car insurance, documents, the migrant crisis, shopping, and the Neum corridor.
- Crossing the border from Bosnia to Croatia
- Car insurance and the Croatian-Bosnian border
- Crossing the Neum Corridor – do I need a Bosnian visa?
- The Peljesac Bridge and the Bosnian border
- Webcams on the borders between BiH and Croatia
- Living in Croatia, shopping in Bosnia
- Insider tip: the fast Bosnian road to Dubrovnik in season
- Using Bosnia to cross from Croatia to Montenegro
- The migrant crisis and the Bosnia to Croatia border
Crossing the border from Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH) to Croatia is relatively straightforward, and there is plenty of choice. There are no less than 30 border crossings in all.
The most important of these from a tourist point of view are Doljani, from the coast towards Mostar, and the two crossings of the Neum Corridor, or Bosnian Riviera, which dissect Croatia two, isolating Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia from the rest of the country.
These crossing can get VERY busy in the season, and expect delays. Below you can find a couple of tips of time-saving alternatives.
Croatia is in the EU, while BiH is not. The expected entry of Croatia to the Schengen zone will make these borders an external Schengen border, which will arguably lead to increased crossing times.
Crossing the border from Bosnia to Croatia is generally trouble-free, but there have been tensions in recent times due to the border being a hot spot in the migrant crisis.
If you are renting a car in Croatia and travelling to BiH, check if insurance is provided. As BiH is not in the EU, additional insurance is required. This can be bought in the form of a green card at the border – the cheapest options costs 20 euro for 7 days.
Most tourists encounter the Bosnia to Croatia border on the way from Split to Dubrovnik. While both these cities are in Croatia, they are currently not connected by land. As part of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, BiH got access to the sea at Neum, a 22 km corridor which splits Croatia in two.
If you do not want to travel by land, therefore, you must cross the border at Neum. Technically you need a transit visa to cross the country, but in practice, nobody asks for it. Most of the time. Getting an official response on whether or not you need a Bosnian visa is mission impossible. In practice, nobody does, and buses and cars pass through without problem. To learn more about this unusual border crossing, this is how you get from Split to Dubrovnik.
The issue of the Neum Corridor and its border crossing should no longer exist in a few years. After MANY years of discussions, political promises and false starts, the Peljesac Bridge project is underway. The strategic project will connect the mainland to the Peljesac Peninula on the Split side of the border.
From there, there will be a road down to Dubrovnik, and Croatia will be connected completely for the first time in its modern history. A Chinese company won the tender to build the bridge. Once open, the bridge should reduce travel and waiting times considerably.
Looking to see how bad the queues are before you travel? There are no less than 17 webcams on the borders between the two countries. These are maintained by the Croatian Road Association (HAK), and you can check the latest on your favourite Bosnian border here.
Many goods and services are considerably cheaper in BiH than in Croatia. As such, there is a well-established trend of Croatians crossing the border to buy anything from cigarettes and fuel to the daily shopping.
Indeed, when I first moved here, there was no VAT at all in Bosnia, and so things were very cheap indeed compared to Croatia. Bosnia has excellent meat, for example, and I used to regularly pop in to buy 10 kg for the family. That was until one day when I was stopped at the border and asked to show what I had in the car. The border guard informed me that I could only import 1 kg of meat per person. I was welcome to leave the remaining 7 kg with him or throw it in the trash.
It should also be remembered that while the border is a physical barrier, many residents in BiH are Croats, and they see themselves very much as Croatian. Most have dual citizenship, vote in Croatian elections, and are regular visitors to family and friends across the border.
While many tourists in Croatia endure frustration with the Neum border delays and slow pace of traffic on the Adriatic Highway, there is another way… During the season, I never drive along the coast, preferring an inland route through BiH which is fast, quiet and rarely used.
You can use it to drop down to Dubrovnik and airport, or continue on to Montenegro. Find out how in this guide I wrote for Total Montenegro News.
The other useful border crossing tip I have for you concerns the popular crossing at Doljani, near Metkovic. This is the most direct route from the coast to Mostar and beyond. It can get very busy in the season, but there is another crossing which hardly anyone uses, which will save you time when the Doljani queues build up (and they can lead to several hours’ delay).
As crazy as it may sound, another reason to use the border crossing from Bosnia to Croatia is to reach Croatia from Montenegro. The main border crossing (and currently the only one open) between Croatia and Montenegro gets VERY busy in season. Delays can stretch into hours, and I try and avoid it where possible during the summer.
There are several options of smaller crossings via BiH, which may look longer on the map, but will save you time in the long run. Learn more about the BiH factor crossing the border from Montenegro to Croatia.
The migrant crisis continues, and while it may not be in the international media as much as a couple of years ago, it is very much so on the Croatian-Bosnian border. For this is now one of the flashpoints of the crisis, with migrants complaining of Croatian police brutality and illegal returning of migrants to BiH. While this should not unduly affect border crossings for tourists, it does no harm to be aware of the issue.