Living in Serbia
Advice for British people living in Serbia, including information on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.
This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Serbia, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals.
If you are a resident in employment you are entitled to the same health benefits as a Serbian national. Your local employer should be able to obtain a local Medical Card for you. More detailed information can be found on the website of the Serbian Ministry of Health. The health system in all parts of Serbia is suffering from widespread shortage of medicines and other essentials. Payment in cash is normally required for some treatment. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
There is a reciprocal healthcare agreement for British nationals who live in the UK and are visiting Serbia, which entitles you to free treatment in Serbia for genuine emergencies. You will need to present a British passport, evidence of NHS insurance in the UK, and evidence of registration with the local police. If you have a NHS card HM Revenue & Customs may provide a Medical Certificate for Serbia. You should have this certificate before you leave the UK. Contact HMRC on UK number: 0044 191 22 50 735.
The reciprocal agreement does not cover repatriation to the UK or any additional costs, so we highly recommend taking an adequate travel health insurance to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
For information about education and the school system in Serbia please visit the website of the Serbian Ministry of Education and Science. There are neither exclusive girls’ or boys’ schools.
Employment and recognised qualifications
British nationals may work in Serbia provided that they have a work permit. The first point of contact about obtaining a work permit should be the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in London.
Entry and residence requirements
Please check our Travel Advice for Serbia for general entry requirements. It is a legal requirement that you register with the local police in the town/city where you are staying within 24 hours of your arrival in Serbia, unless you are staying in a hotel where you will be registered automatically on checking-in. If you don’t register you could be fined, detained or face a court appearance. When you report your arrival to the police you will be issued with a registration card for foreigners. Please make sure you keep this card safe as it will be your proof of entry and you will need it to exit the country. When you register for a longer period, over 3 months, you may be asked to present UK documents like your birth/marriage certificates or documents relating to marital status (divorce/spouse’s death certificate). Make sure you get them legalised at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before travelling. It is advised that you carry a proof of identity with you. For more information about residing in Serbia for more than 3 months please visit Ministry of Foreigna Affairs website for advice.
To note: applying for a British passport while in Serbia can take 4-6 weeks as all applications are processed at HM Passport Office in UK. For more local information visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.
If you have retired and you live in Serbia you could claim your pension from the UK. For more information please visit the website for UK benefits. If you spend time in both the UK and another country, and are unsure about how this affects your UK pension, benefit and healthcare rights, always consult the relevant UK authority and the local pension office where they will tell you what you are able to claim. If you have received a life certificate from the UK Pension Service it is important that you reply as quickly as possible otherwise your benefit may be stopped.
Driving licences and vehicles
The British Embassy cannot issue or renew a UK driving license. The Embassy is aware of the current policy by the Serbian authorities to retain British driver’s licences when applying for a Serbian driver’s licence. Please note: UK driving licences seized by the Serbian authorities are returned to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK. The Serbian MFA Consular Affairs publishes information regarding temporary importation of motor vehicles and other consular information.
Individuals residing in Serbia can open an account at most banks in Serbia. Valid ID is necessary (for British nationals this means a valid British passport). The bank may have additional requirements depending on your residence status, type of account, business/income source etc. Local information can be found on the website of the National Bank of Serbia. If you are interested in investments, Invest in Belgrade is the primary government institution which is in charge of attracting new foreign investments in the country. Taxation is a complex issue and it is strongly recommended that professional advice is sought. Severe penalties for incorrect, incomplete or late reporting can be incurred and the legislation also means that criminal charges can be brought in the case of non-compliance.
Bringing goods including medication into Serbia
The latest information about Serbian customs formalities can be found on the Customs Administration website. Please read carefully about what documents you need to have in order to bring medicines and other goods in to Serbia. Failure to observe the regulations on import of medicines, medical aids and psychotropic substances is punishable.
Sponsoring family members
If you want to sponsor a family member the first point of contact should be the Serbian Embassy in London. Please note that Serbia is a non EU country.
Social ethics and traditions
For information about traditions and more about Serbia, please visit About Serbia.
Returning to the UK
Before leaving, make sure you contact the nearest police station, or the police station you registered with on arrival, to show them your registration card and let them know that you will be leaving the country. Follow their advice about what you need to do next in order to avoid any fines or other consequences.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little of no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.
Published: 15 November 2013
Part of: Living in country guides
Related guides: Notarial and documentary services guide for Serbia