SerbiaOfficial Name: Republic of Serbia
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for styas under 90 days
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Bulevar kneza Aleksandra Karadordevica 92
Telephone: +(381) (11) 706-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(381) (11) 706-4000
Fax: +(381) (11) 706-4481
Serbia is strengthening its democratic, economic, and social institutions, but it still faces many challenges. In 2008, Kosovo, which used to be part of Serbia, declared itself an independent country and was recognized as such by the United States. You should be aware that Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence; the dispute will only affect foreign travelers who plan to visit Kosovo. For more information on Kosovo, please read our Country Specific Information for Kosovo.
Serbia has many tourist and travel facilities like hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, and gas stations, but the quality varies significantly from place to place. Some facilities are not up to Western standards. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Serbia for additional information.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
You need a valid passport to enter Serbia. U.S. citizens do not need visas to stay in Serbia for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. If you want to stay in Serbia longer than 90 days during any 180-day period, you need to apply for a temporary residence permit at the local police station with authority over the place you are staying in Serbia. You cannot apply for a residence permit outside of Serbia. To apply for a temporary residence permit, you will need to provide a copy of your birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable) and an official police report from your state of residence in the United States or from law enforcement authorities in the country where you live permanently, if outside of the United States. You need to get the police report no more than 90 days before you apply for your residence permit. All of your documents should have an "apostille" stamp from the government office where you got the document. To learn more about apostilles and other official documents, please see the Notarial and Authentication Services page.
Visit the Embassy of Serbia website for the most current visa information. If you have specific questions about visas, residency or work permits, please contact the Serbian Embassy in Washington, D.C. by phone at (202) 332-0333; e-mail: email@example.com; fax (202) 332-3933;or in person or by mail at 2134 Kalorama Road, Washington, D.C. 20008. Serbia also has Consulates General in Chicago and New York City; both give out information on travel and long term stays in Serbia. You can reach the Serbian Consulate General in Chicago at (312) 670-6707 or fax (312) 670-6787; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or in person or by mail at 201 East Ohio Street, Suite 200, Chicago, Illinois 60611. You can reach the Serbian Consulate General in New York City at (212) 596-4241; fax (212) 596-4363; email; email@example.com; 62 West 45th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10036.
When you arrive in Serbia, the immigration police should stamp your passport. Please make sure to get an entry stamp when you enter Serbia, and do not lose it; it is proof that you entered Serbia legally and starts the clock on the 90 days you can stay in Serbia legally without a visa. If you get a new passport while you are in Serbia, you will need to keep the old one with the stamp to prove that you are in the country legally. If you lose your stamped passport, the Serbian police will not let you leave the country until you get an exit visa from the Ministry of Interior. If you use different passports or other IDs to enter and exit Serbia (for example, entering with a Serbia passport or Serbian "National ID Card," then trying to exit with a U.S. passport) the immigration police might not know that you entered legally and may hold you for questioning, so it is a good idea to enter and leave using the same document.
Serbian immigration police do not recognize the authority of Kosovo’s government, borders, or immigration officers. Travelers coming to Serbia by land through Kosovo have had problems with Serbian border authorities at checkpoints on the borders between Kosovo and Serbia. Serbian immigration police have refused to accept travelers’ Kosovo entry stamps, claiming that the travelers were in Serbian territory illegally, and refusing to allow them to travel any farther into Serbia. If you are planning to travel by land to Serbia, you can avoid this situation by entering the country through a border crossing with a country other than Kosovo.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Serbia.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
Public demonstrations by political parties, unions, and other groups happen in Serbia from time to time. Violent demonstrations have occurred as recently as August 2011, and the Government of Serbia cancelled the 2011 and 2012 Gay Pride parades due to security concerns. You should know that even demonstrations that start out peacefully can quickly turn violent. U.S. citizens traveling or living in Serbia should avoid demonstrations if possible, and maintain caution if within the area of demonstrations. There is often a heavier than usual police presence in areas where demonstrations are taking place and traffic may slow or stop until well after the demonstration ends.
Anti-U.S. feelings are strongest in Serbia around the anniversary dates of certain events and on some national holidays. Among these dates and holidays are March 24 (the beginning of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign), February 17 (the date of the 2008 independence of Kosovo), and ethnic Serb holidays such as St. Vitus’s Day (Vidovdan, celebrated June 28).
Wins or losses in sporting events can also trigger violence. U.S. citizens were not targets of any recent sports-related violence, but in a few isolated cases, soccer hooligans and petty criminals singled out and attacked citizens of other Western countries. We urge U.S. citizens to be vigilant if attending, or in the vicinity of, sporting events in Serbia.
Any Serbian-Kosovo border crossing or area within five kilometers of the border between Serbia and Kosovo, as well as the western Preševo Valley, which are all areas south of Vranje and west of the E75 highway stretching south to the Macedonian border, are still considered Restricted Travel areas by the U.S. Embassy. U.S. Government employees are only permitted to travel to these areas on official business. If you are traveling near the Kosovo border or in the western Preševo Valley, you should enroll with the U.S. Embassy and check in with the Embassy regularly for the latest security updates.
Belgrade nightclubs are increasingly popular with foreign tourists. If you decide to go to a nightclub, you should know that they can be crowded and may not be up to Western standards for maximum occupancy and fire safety.
Stay up to date by:
- Bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Following us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook.
- Downloading our free Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes and the Android Market, for travel information at your fingertips.
- Calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Taking some time before travel to consider your personal security – here are some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
Special issues for LGBT travelers: Serbia has active and increasingly-visible lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocacy groups, and several LGBT bars operate openly and without problems in Belgrade. The New York Times recently reported on increased travel to Serbia for sex reassignment surgery. Many LGBT public events, including 2012 Pride week events, have been held without incident although the 2011 and 2012 Pride parades were cancelled because of security concerns. LGBT travelers should consider exercising caution when visiting Serbia, especially with regard to expressing affection in public. Many LGBT Serbians do not reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity and avoid reporting incidents to police. As a result, individual police officers may have limited experience or knowledge with regard to specific concerns of LGBT individuals or the LGBT community more broadly. Please review our LGBT Travel Information.
CRIME: Belgrade does not have high levels of street crime, but pick-pocketing and purse snatchings do occasionally occur. People traveling to Serbia should take the same precautions in Belgrade as they would in any large city in the United States. Most crimes happen because people let their guard down. Unlocked cars, items left in plain sight in a car, open gates, and open garage doors make attractive targets for thieves. Car thefts or break-ins can happen any time, day or night, in all sections of Belgrade and other parts of the country. Using security devices like auto alarms, fuel-line interrupter switches, or steering-wheel locking devices may discourage or frustrate auto theft, but no device can guarantee one hundred percent protection against determined thieves. In Serbia, difficult economic conditions have sparked the growth of an organized criminal class, and violent crime is most often associated with organized crime activities. Tourists are almost never the targets of violent crime, but Mafia-style reprisals have occurred, including in places where tourists gather such as hotels, restaurants, shops, and busy streets. When those kinds of crimes happen, innocent bystanders may become victims of crime. You should be especially vigilant in Serbian city centers, just as you would anywhere else in the world.
When taking taxicabs in Serbia, travelers should pay attention to cab meters and listed fares as taxi drivers sometimes try to charge foreigners higher rates.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, we can contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Serbia is 192 (police), 193 (fire-fighters), 194 (paramedics), and 1987 (road assistance). If you are dialing any of these numbers from your cell phone, you need to dial the area code first: in Belgrade, 011 + number.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Serbia, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you do not have your passport with you. Also, it may be illegal to take pictures of certain buildings, and in Belgrade, you are not allowed to take pictures of the old annex of the Ministry of Defense building or the old Ministry of the Interior building. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States; for instance, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Serbia, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not wherever you go.
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: People who are citizens of both the United States and Serbia may be affected by certain laws that put special responsibilities on Serbian citizens. The Serbian Parliament recently annulled the requirement for men between 18 and 27 years of age to perform military service. Men who evaded military service in the past will not be prosecuted. Please contact the citizenship unit of the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade if you have specific questions about the rights and responsibilities of dual nationals (citizens of both the U.S. and Serbia). For additional general information, see our Citizenship and Nationality information.
Belgrade is a port of call on Danube River cruises. While many cruise lines advertise that they have agents at each port, our experience is that U.S. citizen passengers who fall ill or encounter hardship are often left on their own by the companies.
Regulations on Bringing Money into Serbia: If you bring more than 10,000 Euros in cash (or an equal amount in other currencies) to Serbia, you will have to declare it when you arrive. When you declare large sums of money, Serbian customs will give you a declaration that you will have to show them again when you leave. Serbian customs agents can take your money permanently or charge you heavy fines if you do not follow their customs rules. Please review our Customs Information for additional details.
Registration with Local Authorities: If you are staying in a private home, you must register with the local police station with authority over the area where you are staying within 24 hours of arriving in Serbia. If you do not register, you might have to pay a fine, go to jail, or be deported. If you do not register you may also have difficulty with the airport police when you try to leave the country. If you are staying in a hotel or other public place (like a hostel, motel, or private campground), it is customary that management will register you with the police. You can learn more about registering with local authorities on the Government of Serbia website.
Accessibility: While in Serbia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. While new buildings are required to be accessible to persons with disabilities, travelers may encounter difficulties in accessing older buildings, outdoor tourist sites, hotels, and public transport. Sidewalks and paths to buildings and tourist sites are often uneven. Hotels frequently do not have elevators. Public transportation is provided free of charge to persons with disabilities under certain circumstances. Travelers should check with the public transportation company in the city they plan to visit to see if they qualify for this service.
Many doctors and other health care providers in Serbia are highly trained, but the equipment and hygiene in hospitals, clinics, and ambulances are usually not up to Western standards. You can get many medicines and basic medical supplies at private pharmacies, but you should not expect to find the same kinds or brands of medication or medical supplies in Serbia that you can get in the United States. Hospitals usually require payment in cash for all services, and do not accept U.S. health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid as payment.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Serbia, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
Roads in Serbia are not always well-maintained, especially in rural areas. During winter months, fog can significantly reduce visibility. Winter fog is extremely heavy in the Vojvodina region between Belgrade and the Hungarian border.
You must wear a seat belt while driving or riding in a car in Serbia. According to Serbian law, a driver with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.05% is considered intoxicated. Serbian traffic police do carry portable breathalyzers to test drivers. Roadside assistance is available by dialing 1987. Metered taxi service is safe and reasonably priced; however, travelers should pay attention to cab meters and listed fares as taxi drivers sometimes try to charge foreigners higher rates. Belgrade and some other large cities in Serbia have public transportation networks, and a nationwide network covers most major cities, but public transportation is often crowded and some lines and vehicles are poorly maintained.
You may use a foreign or U.S. driver’s license in Serbia for up to 180 days after your arrival.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. More specific information concerning Serbian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and required insurance is available at the Serbian Automotive Association's website (information is in Serbian).
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Serbia’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Serbia’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.