Visas and procedures
Serbia abolished short-term visa requirements for most western countries several years ago. This means that if you are among the 90% of Belgrade visitors that come from one of these countries, you don’t have to worry about visas as long as you’re not planning to stay for longer than 90 days (and if you are, you will just have to cross a border and come right back in – thankfully or not, you’ll find a border within two hours of any spot in the country…).
Citizens of all other countries will need to contact the Serbian Embassy or Consular Office in their country of residence to obtain an entry visa. The details of the procedure vary, but we would advise you to start it a few weeks before your planned trip. You may be asked to provide some of the following: invitation letter from a Serbian resident or organization, voucher from your accommodation provider, medical insurance, proof of sufficient funds for the trip (bank account or credit card), proof of employment or student status, copy of a return ticket (or voucher from a travel agent), photographs, and we hope not much else.
All visitors, however, NEED A PASSPORT to get in, so make sure you have one and that it’s valid. This may sound obvious, but too many cool people forget that this little piece of Europe is still not in the EU and thus requires them to have a passport when getting in – don’t miss all the fun because of something like that. The only exceptions are citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, who can enter the country with an ID card.
Once you are inside Serbia, the law says that you are supposed to register with the police within 24 hours of crossing the border. We certainly don’t want to encourage you to break laws, but honestly, there’s very little chance of any trouble if you happen to forget this. Anyway, here’s how the procedure should work:
If you are staying at someone’s home (friends, family, couch surfing…), you should do this on your own, along with the owner of the place where you’re staying (to confirm you’re staying with them). You will need to go to the Foreigner Police in Savska 35, wait in line a little, and fill out a form. You will then get the little piece of paper proving you’re registered, which you should keep until you cross the border to leave Serbia.
The law also says that you need to carry your passport while moving around town – in the unlikely event that you are stopped by the police, you will be asked to show it. However, many hotels will keep your passport until you check out, and that is ok so don’t worry about it if they do. The cops won’t harass you about it.