Opening of borders in Balkans

The end of the first wave of coronavirus effects in Balkan countries is on the horizon. Health institutes and crisis response teams from Balkanstates are evaluating results and situations in other countries in order to allow the free flow of people and goods in the coming post corona period. Aside from the public pressure to lift all restrictions, experts are still considering the possibility of retaining certain limitations.

Border fence between Hungary and Serbia with barbed wire on the top.
©Schmidt Andrea

Non conditional entry in Serbia – no Corona negative test; no 14 days quarantine nor special permits needed

After analyzing the current epidemiological situation, the Crisis Response Team adjusted the measures to be applied when entering Serbia and the Serbian Government adapted them. Starting Friday, May 22nd, a negative test or a special permit for both domestic and foreign citizens will not be required to enter the Republic of Serbia. All persons entering Serbia’s territory will be handed health warnings stating that they are entering the territory where the virus is still circulating, as well as instructions on how to prevent the infection. PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2, at the personal request of the citizens of Serbia and foreign citizens, will cost €50 in the territory of the entire country. The testing is still free for students and minors.

Starting June 1st citizens of Serbia will be able to get tested for the presence of coronavirus antibodies. The cost of the test will be approximately €10. This way citizens will know if they had been infected by the virus in the past, having recovered without any symptoms (or at least without typically severe ones).

Gradual opening of the borders in Balkans

At the quadrilateral meeting between Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, the opening of borders as a tool to catalyze a swifter recovery of national economies was discussed. Traveling will soon be quarantine-free. Most likely, PCR coronavirus tests will not be requested either but this is yet to be confirmed.

  • Starting June 1st, borders between Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece will be open for business related travel.
  • Starting June 15th, borders will be opened for tourists as well. 
  • Serbia is awaiting an official reply from North Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania on whether they will open their borders with Serbia from June 1st as negotiated.
  • Travel to Montenegro for business is allowed but not for the general public however. The Montenegrin Government will announce next week final list of countries whose citizens can enter Montenegro. The current criteria is less than 25 positive cases on 100.000 citizens.
  • Hungary has opened its borders for Serbian citizens. Serbian citizens can enter Hungary without the Covid-19 test and without the 14-day mandatory quarantine

Governmental measures undertaken in the region of Western Balkans were overall efficient and prevented the worst case scenario and a high number of deaths. It is clear that at this point, governments do not want to be reckless and endanger these achievements. Administrations ask all citizens exercise restraint in order not to endanger themselves and others because the epidemic is not over yet.

The situation is constantly changing. Changes in pandemic measures happen on a weekly basis and in order to be informed of the latest government decisions please contact the Embassy: bel-lnv@minbuza.nl

Photo credit: Barrier in Hungarian-Serbian border. Schmidt Andrea, Délmagyarország