Advanced search
image
Travel & living abroad

Europe

Serbia

Serbia flag
Still current at: 09 December 2012
Updated: 28 November 2012
No restrictions in this travel advice Avoid all but essential travel to part(s) of country Avoid all but essential travel to whole country Avoid all travel to part(s) of country Avoid all travel to whole country


This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Travel Summary and the Safety and Security Political Situation section (removal of reference to political protest and march in Belgrade on 30 November). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Serbia.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country



  • Political tensions in Serbia with respect to Kosovo heighten periodically, often in reaction to incidents taking place in the Serb-dominated north of Kosovo. British nationals due to travel to the border area, or considering crossing into northern Kosovo, should refer to the FCO’s Travel Advice for  Kosovo. You should also be aware of the potential for heightened tensions and possible unrest in Belgrade and other Serbian cities, should the political situation concerning northern Kosovo deteriorate. You are advised to check regularly local and international news and this travel advice to keep aware of developments, and to avoid any large crowds and demonstrations.

  • The authorities in Serbia do not consider the designated crossing points with Kosovo to be official 'international' border crossing points.  Since the introduction of Republic of Kosovo stamps, we are aware of incidents where foreign nationals, including those from the United Kingdom, have been denied entry to Serbia if they have these stamps in their passports, and the Serbian authorities may not allow you to travel into Serbia if you hold these stamps. We are also aware of isolated incidents where Serbian authorities have cancelled Kosovo stamps in passports of foreign nationals.  Foreign nationals are less likely to experience entry problems if they travelled into Kosovo from Serbia and are returning via the same route, or are travelling via Albania, Macedonia or Montenegro (for more information visit the website of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs). See Entry Requirements.

  • There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

  • Most visits to Serbia are trouble-free. See General - Consular Assistance Statistics.

  • You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See General -  Insurance.

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
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. However, the requirement to hold a green card is no longer in effect from 1 January 2012. 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 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.

You may need to provide proof that you own your vehicle to enter Serbia by presenting a V5 log book. If you fail to produce this documentation when asked you may be refused entry.

Please contact the Serbian Embassy in London if you have more detailed questions about bringing a vehicle in to the country. The British Embassy is unable to offer any assistance to individuals attempting to bring vehicles into Serbia who do not have the correct documentation on arrival at the border.

If you remain in Serbia for longer than six months you should obtain a Serbian driving licence. The British Embassy is aware of the current policy by the Serbian authorities to retain UK driving licences when applying for a Serbian driving licence. Currently the Serbian Ministry of Interior sends the UK driving licence to the British Embassy who are obliged to return them to the DVLA in the UK. You may obtain further information about Serbian driving licences at the local police station where you registered.

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. Individual toll charges vary from 2 – 10 Euros for cars. Foreign registered vehicles pay the same toll as those registered locally. You are advised to have sufficient cash (Dinars preferred, although Euros and credit cards are accepted) to pay these toll charges.

Much public transport is outdated and overcrowded although there have been improvements in the major cities. When using taxis, you should only use those which are officially registered – look for a municipal registration number in addition to the cab number, or call one of the radio taxi phone numbers (most operators speak English) with your street location. For further information on using public transport and general driving conditions see Belgrade Tourism Organisation.

1987 can be dialled to ask roadside assistance.  Other emergency numbers are police: 192; fire department: 193; and ambulance: 194.

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 issue of Kosovo remains a potential cause for unrest. Political tensions in Serbia heighten periodically, often in reaction to incidents taking place in the Serb-dominated north of Kosovo. British nationals due to travel to the border area, or considering crossing into northern Kosovo, should refer to the FCO’s Travel Advice for Kosovo. You should also be aware of the potential for heightened tensions and possible unrest in Belgrade and other Serbian cities should the political situation concerning northern Kosovo deteriorate. You are advised to check regularly local and international news and this travel advice to keep aware of developments, and to avoid any large crowds and demonstrations. 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 try not to be drawn into discussion about Kosovo with people you do not know well.

Public protests take place from time to time in Belgrade and other cities, in reaction to political developments. Most are discussed in advance with the authorities and pass without serious incident; however, some have been organised at short-notice and have seen violence at the fringes.

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.

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.

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 authorities in Serbia do not consider the designated crossing points with Kosovo to be official 'international' border crossing points.  Since the introduction of Republic of Kosovo stamps, we are aware of incidents where foreign nationals, including those from the United Kingdom, have been denied entry to Serbia if they have these stamps in their passports, and the Serbian authorities may not allow you to travel into Serbia if you hold these stamps.  We are also aware of isolated incidents where Serbian authorities have cancelled Kosovo stamps in passports of foreign nationals.  Foreign nationals are less likely to experience entry problems if they travelled into Kosovo from Serbia and are returning via the same route, or are travelling via Albania, Macedonia or Montenegro (for more information visit the website of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).


Entry Requirements - Passport validity
You must hold a valid, undamaged passport to enter Serbia. Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required. However, it is always sensible to have a short period of extra validity on your passport in case of any unforeseen delays to your departure. You do not have to wait until your old passport expires to apply to renew it. Any time left on your old passport when you apply will be added to your new passport, up to a maximum of nine months. For passport applications in the UK, you should apply to the Identity and Passport Service. The British Embassy in Belgrade only issues emergency passports. For information on standard passports see the British Embassy website.

Entry Requirements - Registration
It is a legal requirement 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 there is a risk you could 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

For information on exactly what will be required, please contact the Serbian Embassy in London.

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 (e.g. 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.

Entry Requirements – Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Serbia.

Contact your GP around eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.

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 make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. 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.

Mosquito-borne diseases are present in Serbia, as in other countries in the region. Cases of mosquito-borne West Nile virus have occurred since August 2012. Cases have been reported from Belgrade; Juzno-Banatski district and Sremski district. See this advice from NaTHNaC.

In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 4,900 adults aged 15 or over in Serbia were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 0.1% of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage 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.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 194 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment. 

For general medical information in-country, visit the website of the Belgrade Tourism Organisation

Our Travel Health pages offer further advice on how to stay healthy when overseas.

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. Check for 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 accepted in most hotels and shops, and nearly all ATMs accept international bank cards. There are many money exchange machines and offices 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. 33 British nationals required consular assistance in Serbia in the period 01 April 2011 - 31 March 2012 for the following types of incident: three deaths; three hospitalisations; and 26 arrests, for a variety of offences.

Contact Details British Embassy Belgrade
Address:
British Embassy
Resavska 46
11000 Belgrade 
Website:
  http://ukinserbia.fco.gov.uk
Telephone:
(381) (11) 3060 900

Facsimile:
(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

Email:
mailto:belgrade.man@fco.gov.uk General Enquiries
mailto:belgrade.com@fco.gov.uk Commercial Enquiries
mailto:belgrade.ppd@fco.gov.uk Information Enquiries
mailto:belgrade.visa@fco.gov.uk Visa Enquiries
mailto:belgrade.consular@fco.gov.uk Consular Enquiries

Office Hours:
GMT: (Serbia is one hour ahead of GMT/BST):
Mon-Thurs: 0700-1530
Fri: 0700-1200

strong>Local Time: Mon-Thurs: 0800-1630
Fri: 0800-1300 
Honorary Consular Agent in Nis
 Telephone:
(381) 18 221 469
(381) 63 408 224

Contacts

Serbia, Belgrade, British Embassy

Address:

British Embassy
Resavska 46
11000 Belgrade

Telephone:

(381) (11) 3060 900

Fax:

(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)

Office hours:

GMT:
Mon-Thurs: 0700-1530
Fri: 0700-1200

Local Time:
Mon-Thurs: 0800-1630
Fri: 0800-1300

Website: http://ukinserbia.fco.gov.uk/en

register
 
register
 
 
Facebook - British abroad