Business meetings occur at any time of the business day, which usually starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m. Government ministries and offices are open Monday through Friday during these hours. Business meetings can be formal or informal.
English is generally understood by business professionals in most communities in Kosovo but not always by the general public. Most Kosovo Albanians over the age of 40 speak Serbian; however, unless you know your interlocutors well, it is preferable to use English or Albanian. Kosovo Serbs who operate businesses are generally fluent in English, but rarely in Albanian. Many Kosovo nationals – Kosovo Albanians more so than Kosovo Serbs – have studied in the United States.
Kosovo nationals of all ethnic backgrounds are hospitable to foreigners, especially Westerners. Invitations to lunch, dinner, receptions, even religious family customs, and other official and/or private family hospitalities are normally offered and should be accepted if possible. Be prepared for small talk dominating much of the discussion, and do not be concerned if your interlocutor does not immediately get down to business. If offered, be prepared to accept coffee, tea, or other beverages, which are signs of respect for the host.
Dress at meetings can be business casual; a formal suit is not expected. It is preferable to print business cards with one side in English and the other side in Albanian and/or Serbian. It is advisable, but not necessary, to have a temporary local or international mobile phone and/or SIM card, which can be obtained locally. While not expected, giving gifts depends on the closeness of the relationship. If it is known that your local contact will offer you a gift, be prepared to offer one in exchange.
Consult the State Department Consular Information Sheet for Kosovo.
To enter Kosovo, U.S. citizens need a passport that will be valid at least six months upon entry. No visa is required, but visitors may be asked to produce documentation to demonstrate the purpose of their visit. Visitors authorized entry into Kosovo are permitted to stay up to 90 days within a six-month period. Any cash carried in the amount of $10,000 or more should be declared. Prior to traveling to Kosovo, U.S. business travelers are strongly encouraged to obtain general and country-specific travel information from the U.S. Department of State’s website.
U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States should be advised that applicants are required to apply for, and qualify for, a U.S. visa. Visa applicants should go to the following links:
Kosovo has adopted the euro as its currency. Serbia’s dinar is also used in the northern part of the country and in other Kosovan Serb majority areas. Visa and MasterCard are increasingly accepted, and ATMs are available throughout Kosovo. Travelers’ checks are not routinely accepted.
Kosovo has both fixed line and mobile telephone services, which are in the process of being modernized and updated. Telephone charges are among the lowest in the region. U.S. calling cards are not accepted in Kosovo. Most major U.S. cell phone carriers work in Kosovo, including AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. Please note that roaming charges will apply. There are charges on all calls made from and received on cellular phones.
Kosovo’s main Internet service is provided by four privately-owned companies – Kujtesa, ArtMotion, Telkos, and IPKO – and through the public provider Kosovo Telecom. Free Wi-Fi is common in Pristina’s cafes, restaurants, and hotels. Like elsewhere in Europe, appliances in Kosovo run on 220 volts. Plug adapters and power converters are needed for U.S. appliances.
The most convenient way to travel to and from Kosovo is through its modern international airport, located 20 minutes from the capital Pristina. Road transportation options for business travelers are limited to car rentals or private taxi.
International rental firms, including Enterprise, Europcar, and Hertz, operate in Kosovo. Modern taxis are ubiquitous in the cities.
Albanian and Serbian are the official languages in Kosovo. English is widely spoken and understood, but it is advisable to use an interpreter, especially for highly technical discussions.
Kosovo’s public health and medical facilities are in poor condition. The quality of the numerous private clinics varies. Many locals and internationals travel to North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, and Turkey for more complex healthcare services and medical treatment. The American Hospital in Kosovo is one of the newest facilities and offers modern technology and equipment, as well as more advanced procedures than typically offered elsewhere.
For additional medical information, visit U.S. Embassy Pristina’s website.
Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays
Kosovo is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. Kosovo local time is GMT plus one hour. The Government of Kosovo’s official working hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Banking hours depend on the bank and the location, although most are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and closed on public holidays. Some banks are open on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
U.S. Embassy Pristina’s core public hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. The Embassy closes for U.S. and Kosovo holidays. The list of public holidays for U.S. Embassy Pristina is available at: https://xk.usembassy.gov/holiday-calendar/.
Two major Muslim holidays are observed based on the lunar calendar: Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha marks the conclusion of the pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca. The exact dates of these holidays are determined by the government and religious leaders in advance of their observance. Catholic and Orthodox Christian holidays are also observed.
Public-sector officials and private-industry representatives often take vacation from July to September, with August being the most common month to take extended leave. The week between Catholic Christmas and Orthodox Christmas is also a popular time to take leave.
The list of Kosovo’s national holidays is available on the Ministry of Internal Affairs website.
Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings
Most standard business equipment for individual use may be brought into Kosovo temporarily without incurring customs duties. Exhibition materials may be imported for temporary use, but a tax-based bank guarantee must be paid. Upon departure, the guarantee is reimbursed to the importer. If the items are sold in Kosovo, customs duties will be applied.
Exhibition organizers generally designate a local freight forwarder and a clearing agent for specific events in order to assist foreign exhibitors with entry procedures