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Travel Security Advice for Serbia

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COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: 

Serbia is a country that is working to strengthen its democratic, economic, and social institutions.  On February 17, 2008 Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia; so far, this change has had little effect on foreign travelers.  Travelers should be aware, however, that Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s borders. For more information on Kosovo, please read our Country Specific Information for Kosovo

Tourist facilities are widely available within Serbia but vary in quality.  Some facilities are not up to western standards. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Serbia for additional information.



REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Serbia are encouraged to register with the  nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate .  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency. 

Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.

U.S. Embassy Belgrade

 

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

A passport is required for travel to Serbia.  U.S. citizens with tourist, official, or diplomatic passports do not require a visa for entry and stay in Serbia for up to 90 days within a six-month period.  Persons wishing to stay in Serbia for longer than 90 days during any 180 day period must apply for a temporary residence permit from the local police having jurisdiction over the place of residence in Serbia (applications for residence permits cannot be made outside of Serbia).  Applicants for temporary residence permits will need to provide a copy of their birth and marriage certificates (if applicable), obtained within 90 days of the date of application, and a police report authenticated for use abroad from their state of residence in the U.S. or from the country where they permanently reside.  All documents should have an "apostille" stamp certifying their authenticity.  Information regarding apostilles and authentication of documents is available on our judicial assistance page within this website.                                                                     

 For further information on entry requirements for Serbia, including information regarding requirements for residency and work permits, travelers may contact the Serbian Embassy in Washington, D.C. at (202) 332-0333 or fax (202) 332-3933.  The address of the Embassy is 2134 Kalorama Road, Washington, D.C.  20008.   Serbia also maintains Consulates General in Chicago and New York City; either can provide information on travel and long-term stays in Serbia.  You may also contact the Serbian Consulate General  in Chicago at (312) 670-6707 or fax (312) 670-6787; e-mail; 201 East Ohio Street, Suite 200, Chicago, Illinois 60611 or the Serbian Consulate General in New York City at (212) 596-4241 or fax (212) 596-4363; 62 West 45th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10036.

  U.S. citizen travelers who obtain a new U.S. passport while in Serbia and do not have a prior passport or other evidence of their entry (for example, in cases of a lost or stolen passport or a child born in Serbia) will not be allowed to depart the country without an exit visa obtained from the Ministry of Interior.  Similarly, travelers who use a different country's passport to enter than to exit (for example, entering with a Serbian passport or Serbian "National ID Card" and attempting to exit with a U.S. passport) are likely to have difficulty exiting Serbia due to the lack of an entry stamp in their passport.  Note that Montenegro and Kosovo have their own immigration requirements.

Travelers who enter Serbia with more than the equivalent of 10,000 euros in cash are required to declare all currency upon entry and must obtain from customs officials a declaration that must be presented at departure.  Failure to comply may result in the confiscation of all funds.  Please refer to our Customs Information to learn more about customs regulations.

 The U.S, Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Serbia.

 Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on ourweb site.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information pag.

Registration with Local Authorities:  Visitors staying in private accommodations must register with the police station responsible for the area in which they are staying within 24 hours of arrival.  Failure to comply may result in a fine, incarceration, and/or expulsion.  Persons who fail to register may face difficulties in departing the country.  Visitors staying in hotels or tourist facilities are automatically registered with the police by the hotel.  Additional information about visa requirements and the obligation of foreigners to register their location is available from the Government of Serbia website.



THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY:

Occasional demonstrations occur.  After Kosovo declared its independence in February 2008, large-scale demonstrations took place in Belgrade that turned violent.  During these demonstrations, the U.S. Embassy was heavily damaged and one protestor lost his life.  Although no violent demonstrations have occurred since July 2008, we remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn into confrontational situations and possibly escalate into violence.  U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Serbia should take reasonable precautions to avoid demonstrations and to be aware of heightened security and potential delays when they occur.  Anti-American sentiment tends to be highest surrounding important anniversary dates, such as May 1 (the beginning of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign), and February 17 (the date of the 2008 independence of Kosovo) as well as on ethnic Serb holidays such as St. Vitus’ Day (Vidovdan, celebrated June 28).  In some instances, Serbian victories or defeats in high profile international sporting events have triggered demonstrations or sporadic violence. Most demonstrations have been peaceful or were marked by only low levels of violence.

Travelers to southern Serbia should be aware that the security situation in southern Serbia has the potential to deteriorate quickly.  U.S. Government employees on official business near the border between Serbia and Kosovo travel in fully armored vehicles.  Persons contemplating travel in southern Serbia near the Kosovo border should register with the U.S. Embassy and check in with the Embassy regularly for the latest security updates. While Americans have not been specifically targeted, in rare instances nationals of other western countries have been targeted and attacked.  Americans are urged to keep a low profile.

Belgrade nightclubs are becoming increasingly popular with foreign tourists.  Patrons should be aware that these establishments can be crowded and may not comply with Western standards for occupancy control and fire safety.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website,

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.



CRIME:

While Belgrade does not have high levels of street crime, pick-pocketing and purse snatchings do occur.  Travelers should take the same precautions in Belgrade as they would in any large city in the United States.  Most crimes occur on the basis of opportunity.  Unsecured vehicles, items left in plain sight within vehicles, open gates, and open garage doors are inviting targets.  Car thefts or break-ins can occur at all times of day or night in all sections of Belgrade and other parts of the country.  Security devices like auto alarms, fuel-line interrupter switches or steering-wheel locking devices may deter or frustrate auto theft attempts, but are no guarantee against determined thieves.  Difficult economic conditions have led to the growth of an organized criminal class.  Violent crime is most commonly associated with organized crime activities.  While confrontational and gratuitously violent crimes rarely target tourists, Mafia-style reprisals have sometimes occurred, including in hotels, restaurants, shops and on the street.  When such crimes occur, passersby may become unintended victims of crime.  As in other parts of the world, travelers should be especially on guard while walking in city centers. 

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. 



VICTIMS OF CRIME: 

If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see end of this sheet or see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Serbia is 92. 

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.



CRIMINAL PENALTIES: 

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.   Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States Persons violating Serbian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.  Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Serbia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.



SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Travelers entering Serbia with more than 10,000 Euros (or equivalent in other currencies) in cash are required to declare all currency upon entry and obtain from customs officials a declaration form that must be presented at departure.  Failure to comply may result in the confiscation of all funds.  It is advisable to contact the Serbian Embassy in Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Dual U.S./Serbian nationals may be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Serbian citizens.  Serbian males between the ages of 18 and 27 are required by law to perform military service.  This applies to any individual whom the authorities consider to be Serbian, regardless of whether or not the individual considers himself Serbian, has a foreign citizenship and passport, or was born or lives outside of Serbia.  If remaining in Serbia for more than the 90-day period permitted for tourism or business, men of Serbian descent may be prevented from leaving until they complete their military obligations or receive a waiver.  Obligatory non-voluntary military service in Serbia will not affect U.S. citizenship.  Specific questions on this subject should be addressed to the citizenship section of the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade.  For additional general information, see our Citizenship and Nationality information.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Although many physicians in Serbia are highly trained, hospitals, clinics, and ambulances are generally not equipped and maintained to Western standards.  A broad range of medicines and basic medical supplies are obtainable in privately owned pharmacies, but travelers should not expect to find the same kinds or brands of medication or medical supplies in Serbia as are available in the U.S.  Hospitals generally require payment in cash for all services, and do not accept U.S. health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid as compensation.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC websiteFor information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) websiteThe WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.



MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to determine whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.



TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. 

Roads in Serbia are often poorly maintained, especially in rural areas.  During winter months, fog can obscure visibility while driving.  Fog can be extremely heavy in Vojvodina, the region between Belgrade and the border with Hungary.

The use of seat belts is mandatory.  A driver with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.05% is considered intoxicated.  Roadside assistance is available by dialing 987.  Other emergency numbers are 92 (police), 93 (fire department), and 94 (ambulance).  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 extensive public transportation networks, but public transportation is often crowded and some lines and vehicles are poorly maintained. 

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  More specific information concerning Serbian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance in the Serbian language may be found at the Serbian Automotive Association's website.



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.



CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction

This replaces the Country Specific Information dated April 16, 2009 to update the Country Description, Registration/Embassy Location, Entry/Exit Requirements, Threats to Safety and Security, Crime, Victims of Crime, Criminal Penalties, Medical Facilities and Health Information, Medical Insurance, and Traffic Safety and Road Conditions sections.

 


 

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Serbia HERE......

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)..........

Regards

The SW Team....

50 Kneza Milosa Street
11000 Belgrade
Serbia
Telephone:381-11-3619-344
Facsimile: 381-11-3615-989



 

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