|Still current at: 07 January 2011
Updated: 01 December 2010
Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is an underlying risk from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
See our Terrorism Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Crime
As in other parts of Europe, you should be aware of the incidence of street crime, particularly in larger cities. Be extra vigilant for pick pocketing in public places such as airports and on public transportation. As a foreigner, you may be a target for criminals who may assume you are carrying large amounts of cash. Four wheel drive and luxury vehicles are also a popular target. Isolated incidents of armed violence in major cities are a problem. These are usually linked to organised crime and are not directed against foreigners, including British nationals. All incidents of crime should be reported to the local police from whom you should obtain a report.
See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Local Travel
There is still some danger from residual mines and other unexploded ordnance left over from the 1999 conflict in Kosovo and in Serbia. The majority of affected areas are in the mountainous regions to the north and east of Kosovo. Special care should be taken in all these areas and you should keep to marked roads. Most of the remaining dangerous zones are in high mountainous regions covered with dense vegetation. If you see anything suspicious, do not touch it, and report it immediately to the police.
Safety and Security - Road Travel
You must have a valid international driver’s licence to drive in Serbia. If you are taking your car, you must have vehicle registration/ownership documents and a locally valid insurance policy. European green card vehicle insurance is now valid in Serbia. Information regarding green cards can be found at the Motor Insurers’ Bureau website (http://www.mib.org.uk/Customer+Services/en/General+Cross+Border+Information/FAQs+Green+Card.htm). If you do not have a green card valid for Serbia - denoted by SRB - you will be charged a border insurance fee, the price of which depends on your vehicle. You are advised to confirm that your insurance company recognises that your policy covers Serbia. You are required by law to wear a seatbelt. You are advised to drive defensively and to avoid confrontation with other drivers. You must drive with dipped headlights on during the day and must not use a mobile phone whilst driving.
You should be aware that many Serbian car hire firms will not allow their vehicles to be driven in Kosovo, Albania or Bulgaria due to concerns about the security situation. There have been some incidents where Serbian registered cars have been targeted in more isolated areas of Kosovo.
The general standard of roads is fair to poor with conditions worsening in rural areas, especially in and after bad weather. One particularly notorious road is the Ibarska Magistrala (linking Belgrade, via Čačak and Užice, to Montenegro). Bad conditions and overcrowding can make it dangerous.
Roadworks on the main highways across Serbia (from the Croatian and Hungarian border to Bulgaria and Macedonia) may cause delays.
There are several toll booths along motorways. Toll charges vary from 20 - 200 Euros depending on the size of your vehicle. Foreign registered vehicles are charged a higher toll than those registered locally. You are advised to have sufficient cash (Dinars preferred, although Euros are accepted) to pay these toll charges. You should also be aware that some parts of the motorway between Novi Sad and Belgrade have two-lanes with a hard shoulder on only one side. Some drivers use the ‘middle’ lane to overtake, thus forcing the ongoing traffic onto the hard shoulder. We advise you to take additional care when driving on these stretches.
Public transport is outdated and overcrowded although there have been improvements in the major cities. When using taxis, it is possible to negotiate fares where a meter is not in use. You should only use taxis that are officially registered (look out for a municipal registration number in addition to the cab number). For further information on using public transport and general driving conditions see Belgrade Tourism Organisation.
See our Driving Abroad page.
Safety and Security - Rail Travel
Trains can be slow, particularly in winter when there are often long delays. On overnight trains, sleeping berths can be locked. Each carriage has an attendant on watch for the journey.
Safety and Security - Air Travel
Belgrade airport has a single modern terminal handling all international arrivals and departures. For more information on what can be taken on board see Airline Security.
Safety and Security - Political Situation
Serbia Country Profile
The situation in Serbia is generally stable.
The issue of Kosovo remains a potential cause for unrest. The country witnessed large public demonstrations and several violent incidents in the wake of the declaration of independence by Kosovo on 17 February 2008.
You should be aware that the issue of Kosovo's independence is a very emotive one for many Serbs and will remain so for the foreseeable future. You should avoid demonstrations and try not to be drawn into discussion about Kosovo with people you do not know well.
In Southern Serbia the security situation has much improved as a result of the political process involving the Serbian Authorities and the local Albanian minority. But events in Kosovo continue to have an impact in South Serbia and you should continue to check local developments before and during your journey.
Drugs laws are similar to those in the UK. Possession or trafficking of drugs will be met with strict penalties and usually a lengthy prison sentence.
There are no laws against homosexual activity and same-sex couples are tolerated, but the nature of society makes public displays of affection inadvisable.
Please note that taking photographs of military and police installations and/or personnel or vehicles anywhere in Serbia may lead to difficulties with the authorities.
See our Your Trip page.
Entry Requirements - Visas
Visit Visas are not required for entry to Serbia for British passport holders for stays of up to 90 days. For further information on entry and exit requirements and exactly what will be required at immigration, please contact the Serbian Embassy in London.
If you wish to stay in Serbia for a longer period for the purpose of education, employment, marriage etc. you are obliged to apply for a temporary residence status before the 90 day period expires. Temporary residence permits are granted by the police in the district in which you should already be registered. Supporting documents will be required according to the category of application. An application for the extension of temporary residence should be filed at least 30 days prior to the expiry of the temporary residence period. For more information please visit the website of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - www.mfa.gov.rs.
On entering Serbia, make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport from the border police. Temporary residents (in the country for more than 90 days) should have exit-entry visas as well as residence stamps in their passports. If you try to leave Serbia without an entry stamp or exit-entry visa you may face charges of illegal immigration, a heavy fine and possible imprisonment. You should only enter Serbia through recognised border crossings. The Serbian government does not recognise entry points from Kosovo or those on Kosovo's external borders with Albania, Macedonia or Montenegro. You should not attempt to enter Serbia from Kosovo, unless you initially travelled into Kosovo via Serbia. For more information see the website of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
UNMIK exit/entry stamps were replaced by Republic of Kosovo stamps on 27 June 2008. These stamps are not recognised by the Serbian government and will be cancelled on entry into Serbia and replaced with a Serbian border stamp. This official decision was taken by the Serbian government on 17 July 2008.
Entry Requirements - Passport validity
Before you travel, you should ensure that your passport is undamaged and valid for at least the duration of your stay in Serbia (but preferably for six months beyond your length of stay). The British Embassy in Belgrade only issues emergency passports. For information on standard passports see the British Embassy website.
Entry Requirements - Registration
It is essential that you register with the local police in the town/city where you are staying within 24 hours of your arrival in Serbia, unless you are staying in a hotel where you will be registered automatically on checking-in. If you do not register you may be fined, detained or face a court appearance. You are also advised to register online with, or make your presence known to, the British Embassy in Belgrade and/or with the Honorary Consul in Nis as appropriate. Contact details are below.
Entry Requirements - Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting children to leave.
Entry Requirements - Customs declarations
You will be required to declare money (including travellers’ cheques) in excess of €10,000 (or equivalent in other currencies) that you bring into Serbia. Customs Officers hold declaration forms and will require a receipt of purchase for Dinars bought from a foreign bank. On departure, you will need to return a certified copy of this declaration to customs so that money (up to the amount brought in but not exceeding €10,000 in value) can be taken out again. If you fail to comply with these rules, your money may be confiscated. In order to avoid customs charges, you will be required to declare items of value (eg. jewellery, photographic and computing equipment) that you are temporarily importing into Serbia. These items should be intended for your own personal use and you must take them with you on leaving the country. For more information on declaration of money and the importation of goods see the Serbian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
There have been localised outbreaks of hepatitis A (in 2007) and meningitis (in 2010), both linked to the quality of water. A warning is currently in place in the Vojvodina region. You should take necessary food and water hygiene precautions including boiling water before drinking, or using bottled water while in the Vojvodina area.
There is a reciprocal healthcare agreement for British nationals, which entitles you to free treatment in Serbia for genuine emergencies. However, the health system in all parts of Serbia is suffering from widespread shortage of medicines and other essentials. Payment in cash is normally required for treatment and you should take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover medical evacuation. Documents needed for emergency medical treatment in Serbia are: a UK passport, evidence of insurance in the UK, and evidence of registration with the local police.
Rabies is common in Serbia, largely in parks and the outskirts of major cities, including in areas that have previously been rabies free for decades.
In the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 6,400 adults aged 15 or over in Serbia were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 0.1% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. See our HIV and AIDS page.
You should seek medical advice before travelling to Serbia and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
For general medical information in-country, visit the website of the Belgrade Tourism Organisation. See our Travel Health page.
During especially hot and dry periods there is a danger of forest fires. Take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas; ensure that cigarette ends are properly extinguished, and do not light barbecues.
Serbia lies in a seismically active zone, and earth tremors are common. Serious earthquakes are less frequent but do occur.
General - Insurance
You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. See our Travel Insurance page.
See our When Things Go Wrong page.
General - Registration
Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.
General - Passport
You should carry your passport at all times. We therefore advise that you keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place. This will help you to obtain a replacement, in case your passport is lost or stolen.
The loss or theft of a British passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the British Embassy in Belgrade, or Honorary Consular Agent in Nis, as appropriate. The Honorary Consular Agent in Nis cannot issue new passports but can assist with the arrangements to apply for a new passport via Belgrade.
See the Identity and Passport Service website.
If you lose your passport a local police report is required, which can be obtained from the local police station, where you should already be registered.
If your passport is lost or stolen the British Embassy in Belgrade can issue you an Emergency Passport only. Applications for new standard passports are accepted at the British Passport Processing Centre in Northern Europe, at the British Consulate-General in Dusseldorf. For full details on applying please visit website www.ukingermany.fco.gov.uk.
General - Money
The official currency of Serbia is the Dinar. Credit cards and travellers’ cheques are now accepted in many of the larger hotels and shops, and ATMs increasingly also accept international bank cards. There are many money exchange machines in Belgrade (including at Belgrade Airport) that accept Sterling, US Dollars and Euros and will give back Dinars.
British banks do not generally exchange Dinars. You should exchange any unwanted Dinars before you leave Serbia. You should only change money through banks or official exchange offices and not through street dealers. The British Embassy in Belgrade cannot exchange currency. You will be unable to exchange Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes in Serbia.
General - Consular Services
A full consular service is available in Belgrade at the British Embassy. Emergency consular services (passport and notarial services are not provided) are also available from the Honorary Consular Agent in Nis.
General - Consular Assistance Statistics
Most visits to Serbia are trouble-free. 11 British nationals required consular assistance in Serbia in the period 01 April 2009 - 31 March 2010 for the following types of incident: four deaths; three hospitalisations; and three arrests, for a variety of offences. During this period assistance was also requested with regard to lost or stolen passports (14 cases).
Contact Details British Embassy Belgrade
(381) (11) 2645 055
(381) (11) 3615 660
(381) (11) 3060 900
(381) (11) 2659 651
(381) (11) 3061 089 Chancery
(381) (11) 3061 072 Consular/Visa
(381) (11) 3061 059 Commercial
(381) (11) 3061 077 Information
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org General Enquiries
mailto:email@example.com Commercial Enquiries
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Information Enquiries
mailto:email@example.com Visa Enquiries
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Consular Enquiries
strong>Local Time: Mon-Thurs: 0800-1630
Honorary Consular Agent in Nis Telephone:
(381) 18 221 469
(381) 63 408 224