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Country Guides for Europe

Serbia and Montenegro

Serbia and Montenegro The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed in 1918; its name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941 was resisted by various paramilitary bands that fought themselves as well as the invaders. The group headed by Marshal TITO took full control upon German expulsion in 1945. Although Communist, his new government successfully steered its own path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades. In the early 1990s, post-TITO Yugoslavia began to unravel along ethnic lines: Slovenia, Croatia, and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia all declared their independence in 1991; Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. The remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro declared a new "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" (FRY) in 1992 and, under President Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Serbia led various military intervention efforts to unite Serbs in neighboring republics into a "Greater Serbia." All of these efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. In 1999, massive expulsions by FRY forces and Serb paramilitaries of ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo provoked an international response, including the NATO bombing of Serbia and the stationing of NATO, Russian, and other peacekeepers in Kosovo. Federal elections in the fall of 2000, brought about the ouster of MILOSEVIC and installed Vojislav KOSTUNICA as president. The arrest of MILOSEVIC in 2001 allowed for his subsequent transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague to be tried for crimes against humanity. In 2001, the country's suspension was lifted, and it was once more accepted into UN organizations under the name of Yugoslavia. Kosovo has been governed by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) since June 1999, under the authority of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. In 2002, the Serbian and Montenegrin components of Yugoslavia began negotiations to forge a looser relationship. These talks became a reality in February 2003 when lawmakers restructured the country into a loose federation of two republics called Serbia and Montenegro. An agreement was also reached to hold a referendum in each republic in three years on full independence.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout Eastern Europe and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. All travelers to malaria-risk areas in Eastern Europe, including infants, children, and former residents of Eastern Europe, are at risk for malaria. Parts of the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have malaria risk.. Travelers to malaria-risk areas in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan should take the antimalarial drug chloroquine to prevent malaria. For additional information on malaria risk and prevention, see Malaria Information for Travelers to Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (NIS).

In Uzbekistan, the risk of malaria is low and varies along its border with Tajikistan; travelers to Uzbekistan or their health care provider should contact CDC (Malaria Hotline, 770-488-7788) for risk and prevention advice.

An outbreak of diphtheria is occurring in all the states of the former Soviet Union. Travelers to these areas should be sure that their diphtheria immunization is up to date.

Tickborne encephalitis, a viral infection of the central nervous system occurs chiefly in Central and Western Europe. Travelers are at risk who visit or work in forested areas during the summer months and who consume unpasteurized dairy products. Vaccine for this disease is not available in the United States at this time. To prevent tickborne encephalitis, as well as Lyme disease, travelers should take precautions to prevent tick bites.

Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid nighttime travel if possible and always use seat belts.

There is no risk for yellow fever in Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (NIS). A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for 11– to 12-year-olds who did not receive the series as infants.

To stay healthy, do...

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an “absolute 1-micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filters” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • If you are going to visit risk areas for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
    • Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
    • Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
    • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
    • Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
    • DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
    • Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

SAFETY AND SECURITY: No specific threats or acts of violence involving American citizens have been reported since the new democratic government took office in October, 2000. Nonetheless, travelers should always review their security practices and be alert to their surroundings. Americans are encouraged to check the Consular Affairs home page for updated travel and security information.

CRIME: While confrontational and gratuitously violent crimes rarely target tourists, difficult economic conditions have led to the growth of an organized criminal class. Violent crime is most commonly associated with organized crime activities. 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. The usual safety precautions practiced in any urban or tourist area ought to be practiced during a visit to Serbia and Montenegro. In case of emergency, the police telephone number is 92.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy or Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad", for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.



Source: U.S. Department of State

in the north, continental climate (cold winters and hot, humid summers with well distributed rainfall); central portion, continental and Mediterranean climate; to the south, Adriatic climate along the coast, hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively col

Source: CIA World Factbook

Serbia and Montenegro's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens require a passport and visa. The Department of State strongly advises American citizens not to attempt to enter Serbia or Montenegro without a valid visa or tourist border pass. While border passes in lieu of visas have been available at border crossings in the past, this procedure is currently under review and may be discontinued or changed without notice. Persons intending to enter Serbia and Montenegro on the border pass system should consult the Serbia and Montenegro Embassy or Consulate General to verify that the border pass procedure will be available at the time they intend to visit. Although Montenegrin local authorities do not enforce the visa requirement, persons who arrive in Montenegro without a visa and do not obtain a border pass may encounter trouble if they enter Serbia.

To obtain a visa or for other entry requirements, travelers should contact the Embassy of Serbia and Montenegro in Washington or the Consulate General of Serbia and Montenegro in Chicago. The address of the Embassy is 2134 Kalorama Road, Washington, DC 20008; telephone (202) 332-0333 or fax (202) 332-3933; website http://www.mfa.gov.yu. The address of the Consulate General is 201 East Ohio St., Suite 200, Chicago, Illinois 60611; telephone (312) 670-6707 or fax (312) 670-6787; e-mail yuconsusa@aol.com.

Travelers are required to declare all currency upon entry if carrying more than $2000 in cash, and obtain from customs officials a declaration that must be presented at departure. Failure to comply may result in the confiscation of all funds. See "Customs Regulations" below.

Registration with Local Authorities: Visitors staying in private homes must register with police officials upon arrival. Failure to comply may result in a fine, incarceration, and/or expulsion. Visitors staying in hotels are automatically registered with the police by the hotel.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.



Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Serbia and Montenegro is 1 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Serbia and Montenegro would be 6:00 pm

The unit of currency in Serbia and Montenegro is the new Yugoslav dinar (YUM); note - in Montenegro the euro is legal tender; in Kosovo both the euro and the Yugoslav dinar are legal (2002).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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