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Serbia - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Serbia. Exercise normal security precautions.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Areas bordering Kosovo
You should exercise a high degree of caution in the areas bordering Kosovo due to the potential for political tensions and possible unrest.
Areas bordering Macedonia
You should exercise a high degree of caution and expect possible delays at the border with Macedonia due to the migrant situation (see General safety information).
Pickpocketing occurs at airports, on public transportation and in other public places. Foreigners could be targeted by thieves. Car thieves target four-wheel-drive and luxury vehicles more than other models. Avoid leaving any luggage or valuables in the vehicle and use secure parking facilities.
Credit card fraud is common. If you use a credit card for payment, pay careful attention when it is handled by others during payment processing and check your statement frequently for fraudulent use.
See Overseas fraud for more information on scams abroad.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities and there is a potential for other violent incidents, which could target areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Continue to exercise normal security precautions.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent, especially in the vicinity of official buildings and foreign embassies. Avoid all demonstrations, large gatherings and roadblocks, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media.
Exercise caution in the areas that border Kosovo. Stay on the main roads because unexploded landmines and other unexploded ordnance remain in Serbia, particularly in the southern Serbian districts of Bujanovac and Preševo.
Road conditions vary throughout the country. Secondary roads are often narrow and poorly maintained. The Ibarska Magistrala road is dangerous due to poor road conditions and traffic congestion.
There have been incidents where police have targeted vehicles with foreign plates, often demanding immediate cash payment for alleged traffic violations. If stopped, request a full explanation and, if an explanation is not forthcoming, request permission to speak to the Embassy of Canada to Serbia in Belgrade.
Dial 987 for roadside assistance.
Safety standards vary on public transportation. Buses and trains are often overcrowded, particularly in Belgrade.
Use only officially marked taxis, and pre-negotiate fares where a meter is not in use. At Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, make use of the taxi reservation service in the baggage claim area to avoid being charged exorbitant rates for transportation to the city centre.
Trains are slow and often subject to delays due to outdated railway tracks, which are subject to extensive repairs. Railway equipment is old and poorly maintained.
A number of companies offer domestic and international bus services. The larger firms have modern, well-maintained fleets.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Exercise normal security precautions. Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times, particularly on public transportation and in large crowds or public markets. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.
There has been a significant increase in the number of migrants and refugees entering Europe. Some countries have already experienced disruptions to transportation services, including at ferry ports and railway stations, and have seen major delays at border crossings. The situation also heightens the potential for demonstrations that could turn violent without warning, particularly at railway stations and other transportation hubs. If you are travelling in the region, monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities, and contact your transport carrier to determine whether the situation could disrupt your travel.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Serbian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of Serbia or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
You must register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival in Serbia. Registration will normally be arranged by your hotel. If you are not staying in a hotel, registration must be organized by your host. Failure to register can result in fines and difficulties when departing.
Serbia does not recognize any border crossing points from Kosovo as official international entry points. Do not attempt to enter Serbia directly from Kosovo, unless you initially travelled into Kosovo from Serbia and obtained a valid entry stamp from the Serbian immigration authorities. Otherwise, you should transit via a third country such as Albania, Macedonia or Montenegro. For more information, consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.
Entry to Kosovo from Serbia is subject to delays or may be prohibited entirely. Some border posts have been closed for short periods. Verify the border situation before you undertake travel. If travelling by road, you may have to provide proof of the purpose of your visit to Kosovo at the checkpoint between Serbia and Kosovo. Some travellers may be exempted, such as holders of a Serbian identity card.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Serbia, which must be valid for the expected duration of their stay in that country. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
It is important to get your passport stamped when you first enter Serbia. The absence of an entry stamp from the point of entry could create difficulties at the time of departure from the country. Ensure you also obtain an exit stamp to avoid complications if you intend to return.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Student visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - May 2, 2017 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
- Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
- It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
- It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
- Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
- A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
- Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)?
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Medical care is not up to Canadian standards. Physicians and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers all medical expenses, including hospitalization abroad and medical evacuation, in case of illness or injury.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Canada and Serbia are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (Council of Europe). This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Serbia to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Serbian authorities.
Carry adequate identification, such as a passport, at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it is lost or seized.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Serbia. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Serbian citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Serbian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Photography of military or police installations, vehicles and personnel is prohibited, unless authorized by the Ministry of Defence.
While not illegal, homosexuality is not socially tolerated in Serbia.
See Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians abroad for more information.
An International Driving Permit is recommended. Always carry identification, vehicle registration and insurance papers.
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.03 percent (0.00 percent when on motorcycle). Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and jail sentences.
Seat belt use is mandatory, as is the use of car seats for infants. Children under 12 years of age are not allowed to sit in the front passenger seat of a car or to travel as passengers on motorcycles.
The use of a cellular telephone while driving is prohibited, unless it is fitted with a hands-free device.
The use or carriage of radar detector is prohibited.
Headlights must be on at all times.
Vehicles must be equipped for emergency situations: a first aid kit, warning triangle, tow rope, functional spare tire and a reflective vest that must be worn immediately when leaving a vehicle that is stranded or involved in an accident.
Winter tires are mandatory from November 1 to April 1 on roads that are ice covered. Snow chains must be used if the international road sign for snow chains is displayed. Spiked tires are prohibited.
Other traffic laws
Wearing a motorcycle helmet is compulsory for both driver and passenger on a motorcycle, moped and motorized tricycle.
In order to avoid customs charges, you are required to declare items of value, such as 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 when leaving the country.
The currency is the Serbian dinar (RSD).
Credit cards are widely accepted. Automated banking machines are widely available and provide the easiest access to local currency. Prior to travelling, check with your bank to ensure your debit or credit card is accepted abroad. All banks and exchange offices will readily convert euros. Note that euros are not legal tender in Serbia.
Traveller’s cheques are not readily accepted; American Express cheques can be exchanged at only a few banks in Belgrade.
You must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000, or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. If you fail to make a declaration, your funds could be confiscated when leaving the country.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Serbia is located in an active seismic zone.
Forest fires may occur during the summer months. In case of a major fire, stay away from affected areas, follow the advice of local emergency services personnel and monitor local media for up-to-date information. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke and affect travellers with respiratory ailments.
Heavy rains and thunderstorms during spring and summer may result in flooding and may cause significant damage to roads and generate localized landslides.
Snowstorms throughout winter may lead to problems along transportation routes and with power and telecommunications systems. Pay close attention to road conditions and refrain from driving during or immediately after severe storms.
Exercise caution, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 192
- medical assistance: 194
- firefighters: 193
Belgrade - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada in Belgrade and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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