“I really want to go for a holiday to Serbia!” ... said no one ever! Ok, some people do because they know ;-).
Do you even know where Serbia is? And no, I don’t mean that place in Russia called Si-be-ri-a. Serbia is in Eastern Europe, bordered by Croatia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.
If you don’t know about the place, the name probably conjures up visuals of a war-torn, communist country with dreary and bland square, beige apartment buildings.
But I’ll have you know, Serbia, and its capital Belgrade is actually beautiful. The bohemian cobblestone streets are lined with bustling cafes; the River Danube sparkles with floating supper clubs and nightclubs on river barges. Serbia has a wealth of beautiful architecture amidst the remnants of war, some buildings riddled with bullet holes and bomb blast sites have been turned into a wonderland of progressive street art. There are many museums including one which is home to the ashes of the great inventor Nikola Tesla. Serbia is famous for the Drvengrad Wooden village built specifically for the Life is a Miracle movie set and is home to an annual film fest, it is also a popular and cheap ski destination -check out our post on a cheap ski holiday in Serbia here.
This small country is full of surprises and has a lot to offer travellers, especially South Africans:
Serbia is not part of the European Union so no Schengen Visas (yay!), however (ah), you still need a Serbian visa. It’s not as strict and pedantic as Schengen’s though. And you can just courier or post your application to the embassy.
Also, they still use their own currency, the Serbian Dinar. Ok, I know what you’re thinking: that doesn’t mean anything, because, remember Iceland? Hah! That was not so cool man. I know, but in Serbia, the cost of living is pretty much on par with South Africa, and even cheaper! Score!
Serbians LOVE meat. Kindred spirits. They even have a whole food court with restaurants serving all different kinds of meaty dishes – from sausages to steaks, to burgers, kebabs, and ribs.
Anyway, the reason for this post...
How to Apply for a Serbian Visa
Step 1: Get all your documents in order
Documents and Requirements:
Completed Application Form: Available for download here
Passport and clear copy of passport
1 passport photo (3.5x4.5cm)
Copy of return flight ticket or reservation (Check out our post on How to get proof of onward travel without paying) or copy of drivers license and insurance if travelling by car)
Proof of finance (you need about Euro 50/day)
Proof of Accommodation
Pay Visa Fee and attach the receipt
Unabridged Birth Certificate required for minors.
You need to book return flights and provide proof thereof with your application form.
Now this means you have to have a specific date for arrival and departure. It is fine if you are just going for a holiday, but if you want to take it slow and are uncertain of how long you really want to stay in Serbia, it's a bit more tricky. There is also the possibility that your visa may be denied for whatever reason, so you might not want to book and pay until you know you are approved.
Since you have to submit your flight details, there are several ways to do this without making a serious commitment:
If you are booking flights with a travel agency, you can ask for a reservation to be confirmed and paid upon visa approval.
Check out TravelCheck for great deals and packages.
We usually book through Travelstart because we got the best deals from them for all our travels thus far.
You pay $12 for a flight reservation. You get a legitimate flight reservation with a PNR code to submit with visa applications or present upon check-in.
Once again, if you are booking through a travel agent, just provide the booking confirmation with your application.
We love Booking.com because many properties have a free cancellation policy where you can cancel your booking within a period of time if you don't get your visa approved (or if you want to book a different place).
Sign up with Lolli.com and receive up to 3.5% back in Bitcoin for every accommodation booking through Booking.com.
Proof of Finance:
As with all visa applications, you have to provide proof of financial solvency - basically showing that you have enough money to fund your travels for the duration of your stay. For Serbia, you need to have at least Euro 50/day (R960/$54 at the time of writing).
Rule of thumb is 3 month's bank statement, a bank guarantee, or traveller's cheques.
You can get any travel insurance you prefer, but you need medical cover of at least Euro 20 000.00.
In South Africa, if you pay for flights with your Credit Card, most banks provide free travel insurance. We bank with FNB, and obtaining travel insurance is an easy online application you can do yourself. Inquire from your bank if they offer this service as well.
Step 2: Pay your Visa Fees
The visa fees for the Serbian visa can be paid via EFT or cash.
Visa fees are R1 055.00 per adult or R 1 020.00 for children, and an extra R35 per person is needed for the visa sticker (although we didn't need to pay for this). We suggest you contact the Embassy before paying to confirm the amounts since it is subject to the exchange rates
Because we live in Durban, and the Embassy is in Pretoria, we paid via EFT and attached the proof of payment to the application form.
Banking details and instructions can be found here.
Step 3: Submit Application
As I mentioned earlier, the great thing about the Serbian visa application is that you don't have to submit it in person.
You can if you want, but you can also send it via courier, post it (not recommended in South Africa), or you can get a third party to submit it.
*Note that you have to include your physical passport with the application for the sticker.
We actually couriered our documents, including passports, to my parents in Pretoria, who submitted it in person at the Embassy since it is only a couple of blocks away from them.
For personal submissions, note that Consular services are only open Tuesday & Thursday: 10:00 - 14:00 pm.
Courier or deliver your applications to the following address:
EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
163, Marais Street, Brooklyn 0181
P.O. Box 13026, Hatfield 0028, Pretoria
Phone: + 2712 460 56 26 + 2712 460 61 03
Applications take 3 weeks to be processed.
If you need any other information from the Embassy, visit their website here.
And that's it! Easy right?
At the time of writing (May 2010), during the time of COVID-19 however, the Embassy is not accepting any new visa applications since all foreign travel to Serbia is banned. But, as soon as travel is allowed, you can go ahead and submit.
We recommend reading and planning your awesome trip in the meantime.
For planning tips and places to see in Serbia, check out our posts below.
If you have any questions or comments, comment below.
This post contains affiliate links and we will receive a small amount in commission if you book through one of our links.