Kosovo formally declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. Ireland fully recognises the Republic of Kosovo as an independent nation. For specific travel advice on Kosovo, please refer to Kosovo travel advice.
Those intending to travel to Serbia are strongly advised to register their travel details in advance with the Department of Foreign Affairs. Whilst in Serbia, travellers are advised to avoid public gatherings, protests and demonstrations. Intending travellers should also be aware that it is not possible to cross the border from Kosovo to Serbia, unless you originally began your journey in Serbia and are returning there directly. For further information, see section on Entry Requirements.
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Serbia. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
Irish citizens do not require a visa to visit Serbia for a period of up to 90 days. For entry requirements for Serbia, please contact the nearest Serbian Embassy or Consulate.
You should only enter Serbia through recognised border crossings, where you will receive an entry stamp in your passport. You will face penalties if you try to leave Serbia without an entry stamp or exit-entry visa. The Serbian Government does not recognise entry points from Kosovo or those on Kosovo’s external borders with Albania, Montenegro or Macedonia (for the list of recognised entry points please refer to the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website).
The Serbian authorities will not allow you to travel into Serbia, from Kosovo, unless you began your journey in Serbia and are returning there directly. In June 2008 the UNMIK exit/entry stamps were replaced by Republic of Kosovo stamps. In July 2008 the Serbian government took a decision not to recognise these stamps and to cancel the Republic of Kosovo stamps at the entry point into Serbia and replace them with a Serbian border stamp.
On arrival you are required to declare money in excess of €5,000 (or equivalent) and also items of value intended for personal use, you must also register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival. If you are staying in a hotel or official tourist accommodation, you will be registered automatically on check-in. Failure to register may lead to a fine, detention or a court appearance.
It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Independence was declared by Kosovo in February 2008, the government of Serbia has stated that this declaration is illegal and this has led to increased tensions between ethnic groups. A number of demonstrations and political gatherings have been held in Belgrade since the declaration of independence. Demonstrations and protests have also occurred at customs and police posts along the border with Kosovo. In view of this it is strongly recommended that citizens avoid any demonstrations or public gatherings as there is a possibility that they may turn violent without warning. You should also avoid being drawn into discussion of the political situation with people you do not know well.
Irish citizens are advised to stay alert at all times, to monitor local media reports and follow directives of local authorities regarding safety or security risks.
Taking photographs of military and police installations and/or personnel or vehicles anywhere in Serbia may lead to difficulties with the authorities.
There are still residual mines and other unexploded ordnance in some areas of South Serbia. You should exercise caution when travelling in the Presevo and Bujanovac districts of South Serbia.
You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
You are advised to take normal, sensible precautions to avoid mugging, bag-snatching and pick-pocketing. Please be particularly careful on busy public transport, in train stations, markets and other places frequented by tourists. All incidents of crime should be reported to the local police and a report should be obtained.
You must have a valid international driver’s licence to drive legally in Serbia.
If you are taking your car, you must have vehicle registration/ownership documents and a locally valid insurance policy. European green card vehicle insurance is now valid in Serbia. The Green card annotation for Serbia was recently changed to "SRB", the previous annotation (SCG) remains valid until July 2009. If you do not have a green card valid for Serbia you will be charged a border insurance fee.
You are advised to drive defensively and to avoid confrontation with other drivers. The general standard of roads in Serbia is fair to poor with conditions worsening in rural areas, especially in, and after, bad weather. One particularly poor road is the Ibarska Magistrala (linking Serbia to Montenegro), bad conditions and overcrowding can make it dangerous.
There are several tollbooths along motorways. Foreign registered vehicles are charged a higher toll than those registered locally. Toll charges depend on the size of your vehicle. You are advised to have at least €200 in cash in order to pay toll charges.
You should be aware that many Serbian car hire firms will not allow their vehicles to be driven in Kosovo due to concerns about the security situation. There have been some incidents where Serbian registered cars have been targeted in more isolated areas of Kosovo.
You should check local developments before starting your journey particularly if you plan to cross a land border with Kosovo.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all required vaccinations are up to date. The level of medical care is not comparable that in Western Europe. Doctors and hospitals will often expect immediate payment, in cash, for health services.
An outbreak of hepatitis A was reported in the city of Nis in Southern Serbia in September 2007.
Cases of rabid foxes and dogs have been reported in Serbia, usually in parks and the outskirts of major cities, including in areas which had been rabies free for decades. You should be wary of, and try to avoid contact with, stray dogs. If bitten, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
There is also a risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis in forested areas. Take precautions to avoid tick bites.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
The Serbian Ministry of Agriculture confirmed in March 2006, that the H5N1 form of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) has been found in one dead swan in north eastern Serbia. The Serbian authorities have taken measures to prevent any spread, including isolating domestic poultry and disinfecting access roads and paths to the area. No human infections or deaths have been reported in Serbia.
The risk to humans from Avian Influenza is believed to be very low. As a precaution you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.
For further advice and information, please see our section on Avian Influenza .
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONSTop