State Department: Serbia & Montenegro - Consular Information Sheet, November 2, 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.
November 2, 1994
Country Description: The former Yugoslav republics of Serbia and
Montenegro are currently under stringent United Nations economic
sanctions; however, international commercial air traffic has been
reestablished after a two year hiatus. Belgrade airport is open for
civilian passengers but cargo is still prohibited. There may be
long delays at the border when entering the country by car or bus.
Internal air travel is 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 traveler's 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 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. 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 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 proven 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. 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 pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad"
provides useful information on protecting personal security and
possessions while traveling abroad. It is available from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402.
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. Credit cards, 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 Embassy staffs, the Department of State has 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 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 29, 1994,
to reflect the termination of sanctions on international air travel
and the opening of Belgrade airport for commercial traffic.