A Bosnian/Croatian dual citizen wishes to fly to Sarajevo. The Croatian passport expires 49 days (less than three months) after the intended date of departure from Bosnia. There is no Croatian ID card. The Bosnian passport is unavailable. The Bosnian ID card is already in Sarajevo, in the possession of a family member.

The obvious solution would be to have the family member send the ID card by overnight courier, but the flight is in a few hours.

If the family member takes the ID card to immigration officials at the airport, could the passenger use the ID card to enter the country? Could the officials somehow notify the airline that the passenger is clear to fly to Sarajevo?

The traveler is currently in Lisbon, Portugal, and resides in the US. The flight is ticketed by Lufthansa, which also operates the first leg.

  • @Coke Departing from Lisbon on Lufthansa. Flying LIS-MUC-VIE-SJJ, in case that matters, so the last leg at least will be operated by Austrian.
    – phoog
    Aug 3, 2018 at 1:37

2 Answers 2


Here's what happened after following Coke's advice:

My wife called her family in Sarajevo, who went to the airport with the ID card. In the meanwhile, we checked in at Lisbon. The ground staff would not check her through to Sarajevo, but offered to check us to Vienna.

After we cleared security, we received an e-mail message from the manager of the Austrian office in Sarajevo, saying that she had the ID card, that she had spoken with the Granična Policija to confirm that my wife would be allowed to enter with it, that she would meet my wife at the plane to give her the ID card, and that she had noted this in our reservation record.

We were unable to get boarding passes for the last leg despite this. We are awaiting takeoff to Munich and will try again there. Our layover in Vienna is only 40 minutes, so the best case scenario seems to be that we will get on the plane and our luggage will not. Fingers crossed....

... And, on arrival in Munich, where we had just over an hour, we went to the gate, where the gate agent issued boarding passes for the last leg. She assured us that our bags, originally checked to Vienna, would be sent to Sarajevo.

We made it, though our luggage did not.

The flight to Vienna was about ten minutes late. The flight parked at one of the bus spots rather than going to a jet bridge, and the airline sent a very competent fellow with a small van to take us two, along with one other person with a tight connection, to immigration and then directly to our next flight. We never even found out its departure gate. We certainly didn't have time to inquire about our bags.

The flight left about a half hour late, and I was hopeful about our luggage when the pilot announced that part of the reason for the delay was the delayed loading of some luggage.

As we walked from the plane to the arrivals hall (as one does in Sarajevo; it always makes me think of the 1950s or '60s), we found the staff member with the ID, whereafter we went inside and passed through immigration quite normally.

The luggage, as mentioned, did not arrive, so we filed a lost luggage report. It occurred to me that we didn't discuss with the agent in Munich that the bags were originally checked only to Vienna, and that she might have said they'd go to Sarajevo on the basis of an incorrect assumption. Or maybe the bags really didn't have time to make the transfer. I suppose we may never know.

  • May I ask how you exited afterwards, as I just learned the Bosnian ID isn't accepted for exit from the BiH other than on a direct flight to Belgrade (in the case of air travel)?
    – Crazydre
    Dec 17, 2019 at 19:01
  • @Crazydre I suppose she showed her about-to-expire Croatian passport, but I don't remember for sure. I'm pretty sure she left the ID in Sarajevo because it normally lives there. If I remember tonight I'll check whether the old Croatian passport has a stamp. Whatever she showed, there was certainly no fuss on exit.
    – phoog
    Dec 17, 2019 at 20:14
  • Has the luggage ever been found/received by your wife after that?
    – kiradotee
    Mar 20, 2020 at 0:10
  • @kiradotee yes. It came the next day. Having bags miss the connection to Sarajevo is quite routine, though less so than when the airlines used to fly smaller regional jets and turboprops that had more limited luggage capacity.
    – phoog
    Mar 20, 2020 at 1:18

This will be up to the ground handler at the airport of departure.

The person needs to call the granična policija at Sarajevo airport immediately and ask them to confirm via email (in Serbo-Croatian if departing from a Yugoslav airport, otherwise in English) that the Bosnian ID is available and that the person is allowed to enter Bosnia, and to provide their contact number in their e-mail.

Tell them the flight is in a few hours.

Then the traveller should show the letter at check-in, and check-in staff should be able to contact Bosnian police for clearance (at least if they provide their number in their email, which I'm suggesting the traveller to explicitly ask for)

The following are relevant contacts:

Austrian ground handling in Vienna: +43 517 661 000

Lufthansa centre in Lisbon: +351 707 782 782 (couldn't find the actual handling agent I'm afraid)

Also, note the Bosnian ID cannot be used to exit Bosnia other than on a direct flight to Belgrade (in the case of air travel)

  • Do you have any idea how the traveler's relative would make contact with the granična policija to explain the situation and give them the card? Would she have to call them?
    – phoog
    Aug 3, 2018 at 1:46
  • Their number is +387 337 553 59, but she should go to the airport too of course. Their office is closed now, but ask the boarding pass check agent to summon an officer explaining it's urgent
    – Crazydre
    Aug 3, 2018 at 1:48
  • I meant do you know whether they have an office door accessible to non passengers? I don't remember seeing one, but I've never looked for one either. Everyone's asleep now except me, so if we try this it will be at around 5 am Lisbon time, 6 am Sarajevo time.
    – phoog
    Aug 3, 2018 at 1:50
  • @phoog There is an office at the far left (upper floor) but it's only open from 8:00-16:00 IIRC (wanted to talk to them once and it was closed). Hence again why I recommend them to call immediately.
    – Crazydre
    Aug 3, 2018 at 1:52
  • 1
    Ah, the mysterious upper level offices. I remember going up there once, years ago, but I don't remember why. Thanks for your help. I'll post the results as they become available, of course.
    – phoog
    Aug 3, 2018 at 1:55

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