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Safety Travel Safety: Europe: Serbia and Montenegro

Serbia & Montenegro: Republic of Serbia & Montenegro
Capital: Belgrade
Population: 10,656,929
Currency: new Yugoslav dinar (YUM); note - in Montenegro the euro is legal tender; in Kosovo both the euro and the Yugoslav dinar are legal (2002)
Languages: Serbian 95%, Albanian 5%
Religions: Orthodox 65%, Muslim 19%, Roman Catholic 4%, Protestant 1%, other 11%
Borders: Albania 287 km, Bosnia and Herzegovina 527 km, Bulgaria 318 km, Croatia (north) 241 km, Croatia (south) 25 km, Hungary 151 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 221 km, Romania 476 km

Serbia and Montenegro is the new name for the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Serbia and Montenegro is a moderately developed European country undergoing profound political and economic change. Tourist facilities are widely available but vary in quality and some may not be up to Western standards.

The security environment, travel situation and entry requirements for Kosovo, a province of Serbia in the former Yugoslavia but currently administered by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), may differ from the rest of Serbia and Montenegro. Please see additional specific information on Kosovo click here.

While threats to American interests are rare, a recent violent demonstration did result in damage to and temporary closure of the U.S. Embassy. Anti-American sentiment tends to be highest surrounding the anniversary dates of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign or during times of unusually high tension in Kosovo (as was the case in March 2004).

For information on Kosovo please click here

Street crime is at a level similar to other large European cities. Difficult economic conditions have led to the growth of an organized criminal class. Violent crime is most commonly associated with organized crime activities. While confrontational and gratuitously violent crimes rarely target tourists, Mafia-style reprisals have occurred with some regularity, including in hotels, restaurants and shops. Theft and carjacking, especially of "Volkswagen" brand cars, four-wheel drive vehicles and luxury cars, occur at all times of day or night and in all sections of Belgrade and other parts of the country. As in other parts of the world, travelers should be especially on guard walking in city centers. In case of emergency, the police telephone number is 92.

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Serbia and Montenegro laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Serbia and Montenegro are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Under the Protect Act of April 2003, it is a crime, prosecutable in the U.S., for U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens, to engage in illicit sexual conduct, sexually exploit children via pornography, the Internet or other means, with a person under the age of 18 in a foreign country, regardless of whether there was intent.

Although many physicians in Serbia and Montenegro are highly trained, hospitals and clinics are generally not equipped and maintained to Western standards. Medicines and basic medical supplies are largely obtainable in privately owned pharmacies. Hospitals usually require payment in cash for all services.

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions which differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Serbia and Montenegro is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Condition/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Condition/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Dangerous areas for road travel are "Ibarska Magistrala" and a road called "Moraca Canyon." "Ibarska Magistrala" is the main road from Serbia to Montenegro, a two-lane road running through central Serbia, in bad condition and usually overcrowded. Moraca Canyon in Montenegro is a twisting, two-lane road that is especially overcrowded in summer.

Travelers entering the country by road should know that since March 1, 2002, the purchase of local third-party insurance has not been required. However, road tolls for foreign-registered vehicles remain high. The use of seat belts is mandatory. A driver with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.05 is considered intoxicated. Roadside assistance is available by dialing 987. Other emergency numbers are police: 92, fire department: 93, and ambulance: 94.

Metered taxi service is safe and reasonably priced, although foreigners are sometimes charged higher rates. Buses and trams are overcrowded in Belgrade and in other areas of Serbia and Montenegro and are poorly maintained.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at For specific information concerning Serbia and Montenegro driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, see the National Tourism Organization of Serbia Internet home page at See also road safety information from the Serbia and Montenegro Automotive Association at

There is one direct flight from Serbia and Montenegro to the United States, operated as a codeshare between Uzbek Air and JAT. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Serbia and Montenegro's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 2 - in compliance with international safety standards for the oversight of Serbia and Montenegro's air carrier operations. This rating only applies to Serbia and Montenegro. For information on aviation safety for Kosovo please see the section below regarding Kosovo. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. In addition, the DOD does not permit its personnel to use air carriers from Category 2 countries for official business except for flights originating from or terminating in the United States. Local exceptions may apply. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.

Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities.

Please also refer to the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.

April 6, 2004 | For information on Kosovo please click here

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Source: U.S. State Department | Disclaimer: Worldworx is not responsible nor liable for any travel within the countries/regions mentioned within Worldworx Travel as a result of information supplied. Some countries/regions may not be considered safe to travel. Please contact your embassy/consulate and appropriate authorities for latest situations and information. For further safety information, click here.

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