Exercise normal safety precautions in Serbia. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
- Foreigners can become victims of violence in higher risk situations or areas, such as late at night near night clubs, in bars and in inner city suburbs. Remove yourself from potentially dangerous situations.
- There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. Targets have included public transport and transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners.
- There has been a significant influx of asylum seekers entering Serbia, particularly through the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Borders are under tight restrictions, with Croatia and Hungary limiting access from Serbia. Border crossings may be closed at short notice. Avoid large groups in these areas, follow the instructions of local authorities and have contingency plans in place for any disruptions to travel plans. See Safety and security.
- Anti-government demonstrations have occurred nightly since 2 April 2017 in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and several smaller cities and are likely to continue. The demonstrations have caused major traffic disruptions in central Belgrade in the early evening (usually from 6:00pm-9:00pm local time). The demonstrations have been peaceful; however avoid the demonstrations and roadblocks because the situation is unpredictable.
- Intermittent unrest remains likely along the border between Serbia and Kosovo, and in southern Serbia.
- See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
Entry and exit
Australian travellers do not require a visa for Serbia for visits lasting up to 90 days within a six month period from the date of first entry. Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Serbia for the most up to date information.
If you intend to stay longer than 90 days, you are required to apply for a Temporary Residence Permit. These permits are granted by the police in the district in which you are residing. For more information, including the documentation required, visit the website of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. An application for the extension of temporary residence should be filed at least 30 days prior to the expiry of the temporary residence period.
The Serbian authorities will not allow travel into Serbia from Kosovo unless you entered Kosovo from Serbia. In the past, foreign nationals have been denied entry into Serbia if they have any border entry or exit stamps from Kosovo in their passports.
Intermittent unrest remains likely along the border between Serbia and Kosovo, and in southern Serbia. See the travel advice for Kosovo for more information about travel to Kosovo.
Serbia’s borders are under tight restrictions due to an influx of asylum seekers in Europe. Croatia and Hungary have put in place measures to limit access from Serbia. Border crossings may be closed at short notice. Travellers may experience lengthy delays. Follow the instructions of local authorities and have contingency plans in place for any disruptions to travel plans.
Travellers are required to declare currency and valuables (such as laptop computers, cameras, and jewellery) with a value of 10,000 Euros, or equivalent, on arrival and obtain a declaration from customs officials. This declaration form is required on departure from the country. Failure to comply may result in the confiscation of valuables and funds. Additional information on these regulations can be obtained from the Embassy or Consulate of Serbia.
Foreigners in Serbia are required to register their place of residence with the local Ministry of Interior office or police station within 24 hours of arrival. If staying at a hotel, registration may be completed as a part of the check-in procedure. Travellers staying with family or friends in a private home are required to register at the nearest police station. Failure to do so may result in fines and/or detention.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Safety and security
Civil unrest/political tension
There has been a significant influx of asylum seekers entering Serbia, particularly through the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Serbian authorities have limited capacity to manage such large numbers in the long-term. The situation settled from its peak in 2015, however the number of refugees entering and remaining in Serbia has picked up again. Avoid large gatherings in border control areas, and follow the instructions of local authorities. Also see implications for Local travel.
Anti-government demonstrations have occurred nightly since 2 April 2017 in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and several smaller cities and are likely to continue. The demonstrations have caused major traffic disruptions in central Belgrade and other city centres in the early evening (usually from 6:00pm-9:00pm local time). The demonstrations have been peaceful; however avoid the demonstrations and roadblocks because the situation is unpredictable.
demonstrations, particularly by groups protesting against plans to develop the
Belgrade waterfront, have become regular in the city centre. Avoid all protests and demonstrations because of their potential to turn violent. Past demonstrations have turned violent with people injured and property damaged. Sporting events can also trigger violence.
The Republic of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008. Serbia does not recognise Kosovo’s independence. Intermittent unrest remains likely along the border between Serbia and Kosovo, and the security situation in this area is unpredictable.
There is a danger associated with unexploded landmines, left over from the 1999 conflict in Kosovo and in Southern Serbia.
Travellers should also be aware that the indiscriminate use of fireworks and firearms at celebrations can result in accidental injury.
Southern Serbia: Clashes between security forces and armed groups, often associated with separatist movements, have occurred in the Presevo and Bujanovac areas of southern Serbia and at border points with Kosovo.
Petty crime such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching does occur. Criminals are known to target foreigners in crowded places including markets and on public transport.
Violent criminal acts are often linked to organised crime and not directed at foreigners. There have, however, been several violent and fatal attacks against foreigners. There is a higher risk late at night near night clubs, in bars and in inner city suburbs. Exercise common sense, look out for suspicious behaviour and remove yourself from potentially dangerous situations, as you would in Australia.
Serbia has a high incidence of personal gun ownership and shootings have occurred in the past. In July 2016 a mass shooting stemming from a domestic dispute in the city of Zrenjanin, 80km north of Belgrade, resulted in multiple deaths and injuries, although no foreigners were involved.
Credit card fraud is common. Take care to protect credit cards and PINs at all times. You should keep your credit card in sight during transactions.
There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
Targets have included public transport and transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
Money and valuables
Most banks in towns and cities have ATMs which accept international bank cards with Plus, Cirrus or Maestro access, however, ATMs only dispense Serbian Dinar which cannot be exchanged outside of Serbia. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted in Serbia and can usually only be cashed at larger branches of some banks.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
Serbia’s borders are under tight restrictions due to an influx of asylum seekers in Europe, particularly through the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Croatia and Hungary have put in place measures to limit access from Serbia. Border crossings may be closed at short notice. Travellers may experience lengthy delays. Avoid large gatherings in border control areas, follow the instructions of local authorities and have contingency plans in place for any disruptions to travel plans.
Travellers may experience difficulties crossing the border with Kosovo. See the Entry and exit section for further information.
Driving in Serbia can be dangerous due to poorly maintained vehicles and roads, particularly after bad weather. Road rules are frequently ignored by drivers and pedestrians. Roads are sometimes shared with pedestrians and farm animals in rural areas. Seatbelts must be worn where fitted. In winter snow and ice can be a hazard for drivers, and the ability of local authorities to clear roads after heavy snowfall varies throughout the country. Laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol are strict and a driver with a blood alcohol level reading higher than 0.05% is considered intoxicated and can be charged. Roadside assistance is available by dialling 1987. Other emergency numbers are 192 (police), 193 (fire department), and 194 (ambulance). For further advice, see our road travel page.
Although public transport is usually reliable, it can be congested and standards vary. Use taxis that are officially registered with both a municipal registration number and the taxi number.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network for information on aviation safety in Serbia.
Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws of Serbia, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy imprisonment in local jails. See our Drugs page.
Photography of Serbian military and police personnel, establishments, vehicles and equipment is prohibited.
While homosexual activity is not illegal in Serbia, it is not widely accepted, and verbal and physical aggression towards the LGBTI community occurs. See our LGBTI travellers page.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Information for dual nationals
The Republic of Serbia has no restrictions on dual nationality.
Compulsory military service in Serbia was abolished on 1 January 2011. However, Australian/Serbian dual nationals should seek advice from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Serbia to ensure they do not have residual obligations from before this date to complete military service.
Be aware that if you are returning to Serbia after many years away, the living conditions will be different to those in Australia. Do your research before travelling. Our Dual nationals page provides further information.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
Medical facilities in Serbia are below Australian standards. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. Costs for a medical evacuation could be considerable.
Levels of air pollution in Serbia can be high, particularly in winter when heavy smoke from coal and wood burning heaters can linger. Accidental emission of toxic substances from factories is not uncommon and public health warnings after such accidents are not always issued. Sufferers of asthma or other bronchial conditions should seek medical advice.
Travel in forested areas in Serbia brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn. We recommend you take measures to avoid tick-bites, particularly in rural areas.
Outbreaks of food-borne and other infectious diseases (including trichinosis, brucellosis and rabies) occur from time to time. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before travelling. We recommend you avoid raw and undercooked food, and avoid unpasteurised dairy products.
Where to get help
If you are in Kosovo, please refer to our Kosovo travel advisory.
Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
For criminal issues, contact the nearest local police station. The Serbian national emergency numbers are: Police-192, Fire-193, and Ambulance-194.
If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly. Or if you are not satisfied with their response, contact the nearest local Tourist office.
The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:
Australian Embassy, Belgrade
Vladimira Popovica 38-40
11070 New Belgrade
Telephone (381 11) 330 3400
Facsimile (381 11) 330 3409
General email enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are travelling to Serbia, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency; whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Flooding can occur throughout Serbia.
Serbia is located in an active earthquake zone. Serious earthquakes are rare but tremors are common.
Bush and forest fires can occur in summer months (June to September) particularly in southern Serbia. Extreme hot and dry periods may lead to water shortages.
In winter (October to March) some parts of Serbia can experience extremely low temperatures. Snow and ice can be a hazard, and the ability of local authorities to clear roads after heavy snowfall varies throughout the country. Monitor local media reports for updated information.
Information on natural disasters, including earthquakes, can be obtained from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the instruction of local authorities.