Since September 2017 Indian citizens didn’t need a visa for a tourist travel to Serbia and for stays up to 30 days within a year. Which made Serbia the only European country which didn’t require visas for Indians. Due to increased misuse of the visa-free regime of certain categories of Indian citizens this is about to change starting from the 1st of January 2023. As an EU candidate member, Serbia has to align its visa regime with other EU countries, from this reason Serbian authorities changed visa requirements for Indian citizens.
Why visa requirements for Indian citizens has changed?
Serbia is located on the so-called “Balkan migrant route” where a large number of illegal migrants from different Asian and African countries transit on their way to the EU. This route is very long and difficult, for many of the migrants often lethal. With a smaller number of countries from these areas Serbia has good diplomatic and economic relations which date back from the Yugoslavian period and Non-aligned Movement era. One of them is India. Unfortunately in the last couple of years there was a significant abuse of this visa free regime, where citizens of the countries which didn’t need visa for Serbia would skip entire Balkan route and they would reach Serbia in a legal and comfortable manner, avoiding thousands of kilometers travels on foot, boats, using services of smugglers. Instead, they would get to the doorstep of the EU by flying to Serbia and legally enter the country without issues. Remaining leg of the trip is to cross to Croatia and Hungary, which are EU members, and then from there everything is easier. Among the migrants who abuse this visa free regime there is an increased number of Indians which alerted EU authorities to request from the Serbian government to align the visa regime with EU. Unfortunately this change will also affect the legit travelers from India or from other countries where Indian citizens live and work.
How does the new regime affect Indian citizens?
From the 1st of January 2023, all Indian nationals visiting Serbia would require visa to enter the Republic of Serbia.
Indian nationals, who intend to visit Serbia on or after the 1st of January 2023, should apply for visa at the Embassy of Serbia in New Delhi or in the country of their residence.
Holders of Indian passports having a valid Schengen, UK visa, or visa of the United States of America, or residence permit of these countries may enter visa free to Republic of Serbia up to 90 days during a six-month period, and within validity of said visas or residence permits.
What do you need to apply for Serbian visa?
According to the current requirements for Serbian visa these are the mandatory terms which need to be met during the application process:
- Valid passport (passport must be valid at least 90 days from issue date of visa)
- Letter of invitation:
– for a private visit – invitation letter certified by the relevant authority of the Republic of Serbia
– for a business visit – invitation letter by a company in Serbia;
– for a tourist trip – a proof of payment for the trip issued by a travel agency (voucher or other type of payment receipt);
- Completed visa application form: (PDF) ;
- Photo (size 3.5×4.5cm);
- Proof of a paid return flight ticket, with a fixed date of return to the country of origin or previous entry.
- Proof of sufficient funds for staying in Serbia (50€ per person/per day of stay);
- Health insurance (20,000€ coverage of medical costs)
- Visa fee.
In case you are an Indian citizen residing in UAE , Qatar or Saudi Arabia you can apply in the embassies in the respective countries. For details on how and where to apply, contact them, not us. We are in no way related to the embassies/consulates in any of the respective countries. We are a tour company, not an official body of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia.
How can we as a tour company help you in the process?
In order to get a Serbian visa for the purpose of a tourist visit you need to have a valid proof of payment for a complete travel arrangement (a tour package) which is issued by a licensed travel agency/tour operator registered in the National Registry of Tourism in Serbia with a valid OTP license. Reservation of accommodation via OTAs (Booking.com, AirBnb.com, etc) or booking confirmations for sightseeing from Viator, GetYourGuide and similar OTAs or local non-licensed travel agencies/independent tour guides will not be eligible proof.
Serbian Private Tours is a fully licensed tour company in Serbia, registered in the National Registry of Tourism, as such we are authorized to organize and sell multi-day tours in Serbia which combine different services: accommodation, transportation, sightseeing, activities, etc.
Regarding further steps on the topic of visa requirements for Indian citizens, we will post an update after the holidays: New Year’s (31.12.2022) and Orthodox Christmas (07.01.2023).