Serbia may introduce visas for citizens of Russia and Belarus in 2023

Serbia may introduce visas for citizens of Russia and Belarus in 2023

Serbia terminated visa-free travel agreements with India and Guinea-Bissau. Until December 31, holders of passports issued in these countries could enter Serbia without a visa and stay there for up to 30 days.

These two countries — not the first. Previously, visas to Serbia were introduced for holders of Tunisian and Burundian passports. From November 20, 2022, travelers from these two countries can no longer enter Serbia without a visa, they will now have to apply for a visa at the Serbian embassy in their country.

In the coming weeks and months, Serbia may introduce visas for more non-European Union countries in an attempt to align its visa policy with EU policy, including for Turkish citizens, Belarusians and even Russians.< /p>

In 2022, with the beginning of the events in Ukraine, Serbia was constantly under pressure from the European Union, demanding to harmonize its policy with EU policy, including visa policy.

Many citizens from countries with which Serbia had a visa-free agreement until recently, including those with which the agreement is still in force, used Serbia as a route to enter EU countries and stay there illegally.

Statistics show that the number of arrivals from Turkey to Serbia alone has increased from 1,653 to 6,186 people. Cubans and Indians also became noticeably more: the increase was from 36 to 339 and from 557 to 4,469 people, respectively.

Consistent with this increase, 2.5 percent of the total number of illegal border crossings detected along the Western Balkan route were citizens of Turkey, Tunisia, India, Cuba and Burundi.

EU officials called on Serbia several times during the year align its policy with that of the EU.

“Serbia must adapt its visa practices to the EU if it wants to be a candidate for membership,” — German Interior Minister Nancy Feser said in October, after data from the European Border Agency showed that 19,160 people had been found illegally entering the EU through the Balkans in September alone.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson did not rule out the possibility that the EU authorities will suspend the visa-free agreement with Serbia, if the latter does not abandon the visa-free agreements that it has with some third countries.

Serbia's current visa-free list now includes Armenia, Azerbaijan , Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Qatar, China, Cuba, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Oman, Russia, Suriname, Turkey and Jamaica.

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