State Department: Serbia & Montenegro - Consular Information Sheet, April 29, 1994
Serbia & Montenegro - Consular Information Sheet
Warning: The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens not to
travel to Serbia and Montenegro because of the potential for rapid
changes in the security situation there, and the threat of potential
repercussions from the ongoing conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
April 29, 1994
Country Description: The former Yugoslav republics of Serbia and
Montenegro are currently under stringent United Nations economic
sanctions and all international commercial air links have been cut.
As a result, there may be long delays at the border when entering
the country by car or bus. Internal air travel remains possible,
but schedules are unreliable. Trains continue to operate, but are
often overbooked, unreliable, and unsafe. There have been incidents
of assaults and robberies on the trains. Travelers should be aware
that essential supplies, including basic food items and medicines,
often are unavailable, and that travelers checks and credit cards
are not valid. Rapid changes in the value of local currency occur
as hyperinflation continues and travelers may experience power
outages and heating irregularities. Although automobile travel is
generally possible, there is a shortage of spare parts and gasoline,
and it is wise to make certain that sufficient fuel is available
before undertaking such travel. Auto travel after dark on many
roads is hazardous because of the presence of slow, poorly marked
vehicles, horse-drawn carts, and worn or nonexistent median lines
and shoulder markings. In addition traffic signs may be poorly
marked and new signs are likely to be written in the cyrillic
alphabet in some areas of Serbia. The road between Zagreb and
Belgrade is closed and it is impossible to enter Croatia from Serbia
There are checkpoints throughout the country which are manned
generally by policemen (militia), but occasionally by undisciplined,
untrained reserve militia groups. Travelers are expected to provide
identification and cooperate fully at these checkpoints. Travelers
are prohibited from photographing police, buildings under police or
military guard, border crossings, demonstrations, riots, and
military personnel, convoys, maneuvers and bases. There are marked
areas where all photography is prohibited.
Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens require a passport and visa.
Visas normally are not granted at the border. The "Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia" (FRY), which claims to be the successor state to the
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, is not fully recognized by
the United States. The FRY maintains an office at 2410 California
Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 462-6566,
which travelers can contact for updated entry requirements. U.S.
travelers overseas can check with the nearest FRY consular office.
Areas of Instability: U.S. Embassy personnel may not enter the
following areas without prior U.S. government permission: the border
areas with Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Sandzak region, and
The Border with Croatia: Sporadic violence, which can become
intense, continues in areas of Croatia along this boundary.
The Border with Bosnia-Herzegovina: The ongoing war in
Bosnia-Herzegovina makes this area very dangerous. The danger is
especially acute in the Drina River valley of both
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.
Sandzak Region: Heightened ethnic tensions and sporadic acts of
violence (particularly near the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina), as
well as the presence in some areas of paramilitary forces, makes
travel to this region of Serbia and Montenegro potentially
dangerous. Travel in the border regions may be especially perilous.
Kosovo: Ethnic tensions are especially acute in this southern
Serbian province (called Kosovo Metohija by Serbian authorities).
Demonstrations, sometimes violent, can occur without warning. In
recent months, there have been several armed attacks on Serbian
police, resulting in death and injury. Security forces are at a
high state of alert and police check points are widespread.
Travelers are routinely subject to police search and interrogation.
Danube River: There have been recent incidents of both cargo and
passenger ships on the Danube transiting Serbia being delayed for
several days by purported private organizations protesting U.N.
sanctions. Persons traveling on the Danube through Serbia should be
prepared for delays and alterations to their plans.
The remainder of Serbia and Montenegro: While this area is
generally calm, in some areas, for example Vojvodina, tensions are
high as a result of bombings, other acts of intimidation and threats
by armed paramilitary groups. The potential for violent incidents
exists and will probably increase as a result of the political
situation and worsening economic conditions. For example, a bomb
was detonated in front of the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade in March 1993
causing some damage.
Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are limited. Many
medicines and basic medical supplies as well as X-ray film often are
unavailable. Hospitals usually require payment in hard-currency for
all services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside
the United States. While travelers have found that supplemental
medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proved to be
useful, they may be forced to pay first and then seek reimbursement.
Further information on health matters can be obtained from the
Centers for Disease Control's international travelers' hotline,
telephone (404) 332-4559.
Crime Information: There is a continuing trend toward lawlessness
and disorder. Murder has increased dramatically with many incidents
in broad daylight and some at popular public places. Crime has
increased markedly in the cities, particularly near railroad and bus
stations and on trains. The possession of firearms has proliferated
greatly and it is estimated that 20 percent of the citizens are now
armed. Effective police protection is almost non-existent.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. The Department of State's pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad"
and "Tips for Travelers to Eastern Europe" are available from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402. They provide useful information on travel
to the region and protecting personal security while traveling
Commercial Regulations: United Nations economic sanctions on
Serbia and Montenegro, enforced by the United States, prohibit
imports, exports and all other commercial transactions.
Humanitarian transactions require waivers from the U.N. Security
Council's Yugoslavia Sanctions Committee. Further information
regarding waivers can be obtained from the U.S. Department of
Treasury. Travel is permitted for personal, non-commercial reasons
only. Travel into or out of Serbia and Montenegro by air, as well
as the use of credit cards is prohibited. Travelers' checks and
personal checks are not accepted locally and their use is
prohibited. The only medium of exchange is hard currency, for
example, U.S. dollars or German marks. It is illegal to exchange
currency at other than official banks and institutions. For further
information, travelers can contact the Office of Foreign Assets
Control at the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.
Drug Penalties: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the
country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use
or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect jail sentences and fines.
Other Information: In compliance with a U.N. resolution mandating
the reduction of U.S. Embassy staffs, the Department of State
reduced the size of its mission in Belgrade. Assistance to U.S.
citizens may therefore be limited.
Registration: U.S. citizens who register with the U.S. Embassy in
Belgrade can obtain updated information on travel and security in
Serbia and Montenegro. The Embassy will attempt to contact U.S.
citizens who have registered if the situation worsens.
Embassy Location: The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade is located at Kneza
Milosa 50, telephone (381-11) 645-655. The after hours telephone
number is (381-11) 646-481. The Consular Section fax number is
(381-11) 644-053. The alternate fax number is (381-11) 645-221.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated April 22, 1994
to reflect the termination of ordered departure status for U.S.
Embassy dependents and some Embassy employees from Belgrade.