There are about 60 nationalities that don’t need a visa to travel to Russia. Among these nationalities is Serbia. In this article I’ll outline the requirements that Serbians citizens must meet to enter Russia without a visa, as well as what documents they need to take with them.
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1. Serbians do not need a visa to travel to Russia (for up to 30 days)
As of February 20, 2009, Serbians do not need a visa to travel to Russia, under the visa exemption agreement or treaty signed in Moscow between Serbia and Russia.
Under this agreement, Serbian citizens may enter, transit and remain in Russian territory without a visa for a period of up to 30 days (visa waiver).
The vast majority of Serbians who travel to Russia as tourists or on business use this visa exemption. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi or Siberia, the visa exemption applies to the entire Russian territory.
Keep in mind that during this stay in Russia you cannot carry out any paid work, either on your own or on behalf of others.
2. What documents does a Serbian need to enter Russia without a visa?
First let me say that you do not need to travel to the Russian Consulate in Belgrade to do any paperwork, nor do you need to apply for an electronic Russian visa (e-visa).
As a Serbian tourist, all you have to do is present your valid Serbian passport at border control.
The visa exemption agreement does not say anything about the period of validity that your passport must have, but the consulates recommend that the passport be valid for more than 6 months from the scheduled date of departure from Russia.
That is, if you buy a plane ticket to enter Russia on June 15, 2020 and leave on June 30, 2020, check that your passport has an expiry date after December 30, 2020.
It is important to check the validity of your passport before your trip and ensure that it does not show any damage or defect. Otherwise, you must renew your passport before traveling to Russia to avoid problems at the Russian border.
What if I have dual citizenship? If you have a passport from another country (for example, a US, British or Australian passport), keep in mind that in order to benefit from the visa exemption you must present only your Serbian passport at the Russian border.
In addition to a valid passport, it’s a good idea to provide your round trip airline tickets. The exemption agreement also does not stipulate that transport tickets have to be presented, but it is customary for border officials to ask for them upon your arrival in Russia.
3. What documents does a Serbian not need in order to enter Russia without a visa?
Sometimes doubts arise about whether other documents should be presented, such as an invitation (tourist voucher) or hotel reservations or travel medical insurance.
A) Do Serbians need an invitation letter to travel to Russia?
No, Serbians do not need an invitation or hotel reservations, as long as they are making use of the visa exemption period.
B) Is it mandatory for Serbians to show travel medical travel insurance?
It is not mandatory to take out travel medical insurance but it is highly recommended. In fact Russian consulates recommend having travel medical insurance for any eventuality that may arise, because if you need medical attention in Russia it can be very expensive.
If you do not have travel medical insurance, you can purchase it easily in 5 minutes online from the Russian company Cherehapa. In the insurance period you must indicate from the date of arrival in Russia until the expected date of departure.
Finally, it should be noted that European citizens are required to have travel medical insurance.
4. In what cases do Serbians need a visa to travel to Russia?
If you are Serbian you must apply for a visa to travel to Russia in the following cases:
- If you wish to remain or reside in the territory of the Russian Federation for more than 30 days.
- If you want to engage in any work or commercial activity.
- If you want to study at a Russian university.
In addition, if you are a foreigner and you live in Serbia, you can apply for a Russian visa at the Russian Consulate in Serbia (Belgrade), as long as you provide proof of your legal residence in Serbia.
In all the above instances you have to apply for a Russian visa, in which case you have to travel to the Russian Consulate in Serbia.
You can apply for different types of visas
- Tourist visa, for tourist activities.
- Business visa, to engage in business activities or conduct negotiations in the territory of the Russian Federation.
- Private travel visa, to visit family or friends in Russia.
- Student visa, to study in Russia.
- Work visa, to be able to work in Russia.
- Humanitarian visa, for stays involving cultural exchange, sports, scientific-technical, socio-political and religious activities or for humanitarian missions
- Transit visa, for transit to a destination country through the territory of the Russian Federation
To obtain any of these visas you need to fill out an electronic form, print, sign and attach a 3.5* 4.5 size photo, as well as provide other documents: invitation (or visa support / voucher), original passport, round trip plane ticket, etc.
You will find information about the documents needed when applying for each type of visa, as well as the deadlines, prices, costs and consular fees at this link: https://serbia.mid.ru/en/consular_services/
5. What processes does a Serbian have to go through upon arrival in Russia?
To conclude this article, I should explain the processes that a Serbian needs to go through on arriving in Russia. If you arrive in Russia on an international flight, you must go through a series of processes and steps at the airport:
- The first control to clear is passport control, where you have to complete the immigration card.
- Once you have cleared passport control, you will be able to pick up your luggage (in case you have checked in luggage).
- Then you go through customs control: green channel if you have nothing to declare and red channel if you have something to declare.
- Once you clear customs control, you will exit to the airport arrivals hall, at which time you will be able to use the services offered by the airport: currency exchange, ATMs, tourist information offices, shops, restaurants or the transport service to the city center.
All these steps are explained in detail in this article: The Immigration Card and Customs Procedures in Russia.
Finally, once you arrive at your accommodation, the hotel management or the host of your accommodation must register your arrival, a process by which you inform Russian authorities of the location where they can find you if necessary.
This procedure is explained in detail in the article: Registration in Russia: What it is and how it is done.
I hope this article has been useful to all Serbians traveling to Russia. Bon voyage!