The European Union on Saturday opened its borders to visa-free travel for more than ten million Serbs, Montenegrins, and Macedonians after nearly 20 years of tight restrictions, a major boost for the troubled region’s hopes for closer ties with the 27-nation bloc.
The three western Balkan nations celebrated the lifting of visas with fireworks, concerts and all-night festivities, marking a significant milestone for citizens who have long felt shunned by the rest of Europe. Serbs, Montenegrins and Macedonians — citizens of the former Yugoslavia — had enjoyed free travel to other European nations in the past, but visa requirements and fees were introduced as the federation was breaking up and going to war in 1991. The policy had forced residents to wait in long lines at E.U. nations’ embassies.
While you might not need a visa …
Similar to neighboring Bosnia and Croatia, foreigners are required by law to register themselves with the police station in their district within 24 hours of receiving a Serbian entry stamp at a border crossing or airport.
Registration is done automatically by hotel staff upon check-in, however if you are staying with friends in a private dwelling, you must register your presence with the police in the district in which you are staying.
You will receive the bottom part of the Foreigner Registration Form to carry with you if registering at a police station, or a printout from hotel reception if staying at a hotel; when exiting the country, you will be required to present it to the Border Police. Sometimes they will not ask for it, and you can keep it as an administrative memento. Never forget, though, that failure to register can result in prosecution and a large fine.