Serbia - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel and Etiquette
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Business Customs

Business managers in Serbia are familiar with Western-style market economy philosophy, customs, and business practices. Top management typically is designated by the title of Managing Director, a position denoting the key decision-maker. Business relationships in Serbia are founded on trust; significant time and energy needs to be invested in developing relationships with partners and clients. Serbian businesspeople are quick to recognize opportunities and can suddenly move at an accelerated pace. On the other hand, some processes may move unexpectedly slowly, with many starts and stops that are hard to predict.

Business dinners are a common practice, and most meals in Serbia are a lengthy, meat-based spread featuring the national cuisine. While it is increasingly possible to eat vegetarian among the burgeoning, modern restaurant scene, selections will be very limited at the more traditional restaurants. Advise the host of your dietary needs in advance, so they can plan accordingly. 

As is true in other European countries, summer holidays stretch throughout July and August, and it often is difficult to reach company management during this period. Likewise, it is difficult to conduct any business in Serbia during the first two to three weeks of January because of the Orthodox Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Orthodox Easter is also a slow period for business (see the ‘Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays’ section for a list at dates of all major holidays in Serbia).

Travel Advisory

U.S. travelers can refer to the U.S. State Department’s International Travel Information for the most up to date information on travel warnings and visa requirements for Serbia. State Department’s International Travel Information for Serbia

Visa Requirements

In 2003, the Serbian government liberalized the country’s visa regime. Visas are no longer required for stays in Serbia for up to 90 days within a six-month period for citizens of selected countries, including the United States. This policy covers bearers of U.S. tourist, official, and diplomatic passports. Individuals planning to stay longer than 90 days are obliged to apply for temporary resident status before the three-month period expires. American citizens intending to work in Serbia must obtain the requisite visa in advance. Please visit Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information.

To obtain a visa or for other entry requirements, travelers should contact the Embassy of Serbia in Washington, or the Consulate General of Serbia in Chicago or New York City prior to arrival. The address of the Serbian Embassy is 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 410, Washington, DC 20007.

U.S. companies requiring the travel of Serbian businesspersons to the United States should direct these contacts to the U.S. Embassy website for more information. The vast majority of Serbian applicants apply for B1/B2 visas, for which the validity for Serbian citizens can be granted up to 10 years. The 10-year visa for Serbian applicants is valid for multiple entries.

Visa applicants should go to the following links for more information:

U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s):  State Department Visa Website


Serbia’s currency is the Serbian Dinar (RSD). It is managed to maintain a consistent value relative to the euro at RSD 117.5 per 1 euro, and the exchage rate to the dollar will thus be related to the USD/EUR rate. In July 2022, 1 U.S. dollar is worth approximately RSD 116.8.  To check the current exchange rate, visit the National Bank of Serbia web page ( )

Cash Withdrawal

For small amounts (e.g. $300 per day or less), the easiest exchange method is simply to use one’s debit card [or credit card that has a cash advance option] at a local ATM to withdraw funds in local currency. There are a number of international and local banks with ATMs easily found throughout the city (Raiffeisen, Banca Intesa, OTP banka Srbija, Halkbank,UniCredit, etc.). As in the United States, the ATM may charge a nominal fee to cardholders of other banks. 

Note: ATMs typically dispense 2000 RSD notes. Taxis and shopkeepers will typically demand smaller bills (‘sitno’) and exact change, so break the large bills at every convenient opportunity.

Changing Money

Foreign currency of all kinds may be exchanged at the airport, banks, post offices, most hotels or licensed exchange agencies in large cities. There are small exchange shops (‘menjačnica’) easily found through the center of the city, with the buy and sell current rates posted.  A passport is required when exchanging cash or travelers’ checks. The rates vary from place to place, and banks charge a commission. Up to €10,000 of foreign currency may be brought into Serbia as cash, without declaring it to Serbian Customs. Everything above this amount must be declared and documented by with a confirmation from the bank that the money has been withdrawn from the traveler’s account. 


Serbia has three major mobile telephone operators: MTS (Telekom Serbia), Yettel (ex-Telenor) and A1. In addition to network operators, since 2016, two virtual mobile operators have been registered: Mundio Mobile d.o.o. and Globaltel d.o.o. Cell phones operate on GSM (900/1800). Operators use GSM (2G), UMTS (3G) and LTE (4G) technology. All three operators have 4G/LTE coverage at 800 and 1800MHz. In June 2019, partnering with Huawei, Yettel has launched the first 5G base station in Serbia in the Science and Technology Park in Belgrade, which is available to domestic and foreign companies, startup companies and students of technical faculties. Data coverage throughout urban and rural areas is generally comparable to or better than in the United States. Local pre-paid SIM cards with a local phone number can be easily and affordably purchased at most kiosks (“trafika”) and at many groceries. Enlist the help of a local—most people under 40 will speak good English—to call the activation number and follow the prompts to initiate service.

Telekom Srbija is the dominant carrier. Approximately 95 percent of Serbia’s fixed-line telephone networks have been digitized. The main business centers (Belgrade and Novi Sad) have good communications infrastructure, but they have not yet reached 100 percent digitization.

Pursuant to the Agreement on Reducing the Price of Roaming Services in Public Mobile Communication Networks in the Western Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo) signed on April 4, 2019, as well as based on the Decision of the Regulatory Agency for electronic communications and postal services number 1-03-34900-3 / 19-15 of June 17, 2019, mobile operators have been obliged to apply the “Roaming like at home” regime since July 2021, meaning that the user will use the roaming service in the Western Balkans region in accordance with the conditions and prices from the tariff package he uses in his home network.  To use data roaming without incurring roaming charges in the mentioned countries, the phone must be connected to the cellular provider within the Balkan Agreement. It is recommended to set manual network selection before travel and when traveling.

Internet service availability is widespread for international business travelers. Approximately 81.5% of households in Serbia have internet access. SBB and MTS are the dominant providers for internet, telephone, and cable TV services. Increasing numbers of restaurants and cafés in Belgrade and Novi Sad and other major cities, as well as some city buses in Belgrade, the airport, and some airplanes are equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots—usually free.

As elsewhere, business communications in Serbia may quickly venture over into more casual, direct mobile messaging via WhatsApp, Viber, Signal, and other platforms, popular for their free international messaging and calling features, as well as end-to-end encryption.

Calling Information:

  • +381 is the country code for Serbia, sometimes written as 00381.  If a number is written following this common example ‘+381 (011) 999-999’, omit the 0 in the city code when dialing or storing a number to your mobile. The 0 is only a local dialing prefix to get a line for a different city code or a different mobile carrier code (60/61/62/63/64/65/66/69).  
  • Within Serbia, to get an international line, dial + or 00, followed by the country code, city/mobile code, and local number.

Electricity standard is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz, Europlug (flat, two-pole, round-pin).


Serbia operates state-owned airports as well as the national air carrier, which was re-branded from Jat Airways to Air Serbia, now owned jointly with Etihad Airways (UAE) (Republic of Serbia share: 82%, Etihad Airways: 18%). Air Serbia sells Etihad tickets at its offices and website and codeshares to more than a dozen routes, including to China, Vietnam, Australia, and Thailand. Regional direct flights are available to many capitals, including Sofia, Bucharest, Athens, Sarajevo, Prague, Ljubljana, and Zagreb. Ticket prices can be high given Air Serbia’s dominance. However, there are low-cost carriers servicing Serbia such as Wizz Air, Fly Dubai, EasyJet, and Pegasus Airlines that fly to multiple destinations throughout Europe and the Middle East from Belgrade.

The two major airports in Serbia are Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla International Airport and Konstantin Veliki Nis Airport. Nikola Tesla is the country’s largest airport and has direct service to many Western European cities, such as Vienna, Frankfurt, Munich, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Istanbul, London, Paris, Stockholm, Rome, Milan, and Prague. The U.S. and Serbian governments signed an Open Skies Agreement in May 2015, and Serbian Air Traffic Authorities have received Category 1 status, which is necessary for direct flights to the United States. Air Serbia is operating direct flights to New York since 2016. A French company, Vinci, is managing Nikola Tesla Airport under a 25-year concession agreement, since December 2018.

The COVID situation is constantly changing. Check for the latest information on requirements before planning, and again before commencing, your travel, as with any other nation.

Serbia can be reached by rail from Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Northern Macedonia. Internal trains service most areas of the country. Long distances, however, can take considerable time and often are unreliable due to the aging rail infrastructure. Ongoing construction on the Belgrade-Budapest route means fewer connections and amentities and a longer travel time now than a decade ago. There are frequent bus connections to Budapest that rival rail in time and cost, at least until regular rail service is restored. The Belgrade-Novi Sad railway, a section of the Belgrade-Budapest international high-speed railway, was opened to traffic on March 19, 2022 with the first high-speed train on that route called “Soko”. Still, the most convenient and efficient means of travel to Serbia are by air or road.

Serbia can be entered by vehicle from various border points. The most utilized border crossings are those connecting Serbia with Croatia, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The quality of Serbian roads and expressways varies greatly, but is improving rapidly. Serbia has about 950 km of highways. A four-lane expressway connects Zagreb and Belgrade (travel time is approximately 4 hours, depending on the time spent passing through immigration at the border). The highway to Northern Macedonia and onward to Greece was completed in 2019 and now offers fast travel, albeit limited roadside amenities and gas stations south of Nis to the North Macedonian border. Travel time to Skopje is 4.5 hours, to Budapest 4 hours, and to Sofia 4.5 hours. Border crossing times during the summer holiday season can be significant. Road connections to Timisoara and Sarajevo remain poor, posing a challenge to both personal travel and commercial transport, with little liklihood of improvement in the immediate future.

Car rentals from Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and others are available from the Nikola Tesla International Airport, as well as other locations in Belgrade and Novi Sad.

U.S. citizens do not need an international driver’s license to drive in Serbia. A passport and a U.S. driver’s license are sufficient.

Taxis are affordable and abundant within Belgrade and can be hailed curbside, at taxi stands, or by calling for radio dispatch. Foreigners should avoid hailing taxis on the street at key tourist spots, but rather have their hotel or restaurant call and order a taxi. Taxis increasingly have mobile apps available, and an Uber-style ridesharing service, CarGo, includes the ability to pay by credit card in the app. Taxi service from Belgrade airport is strictly regulated with a voucher service available at a kiosk outside of arrivals, with rides charged by zone and paid to the taxi driver, with the price written on the voucher you give to the driver. Avoid any drivers who may illegally approach you to offer taxi service as you exit the departure area and make your way to the taxi kiosk.


The predominant language in Serbia is Serbian. Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian speakers understand each other with ease, although products marketed in the region must take care to use the local language in packaging and marketing and labelling. Anyone under  the age of 40 in urban areas is likely to speak excellent English. Serbia has one of the highest English proficiency levels in the region. Many businesspeople speak foreign languages, mostly English and German, although some French and Italian are also spoken.  In Vojvodina, the northern region of Serbia, many citizens are fluent in Hungarian.

Serbian use the Cyrillic alphabet for most official purposes, although the Latin alphabet is omnipresent, particularly in urban areas.  The Latin alphabet is prevalent in everyday business usuage, but contracts may default to Cyrillic.  Newspapers and magazines are a mix, some published in Cyrillic, some in Latin. Government publications, gazettes, announcements, laws are predominantly [and sometimes exclusively] in Cyrillic as may be other “official” transactions, e.g. in banking.


Belgrade’s air quality is poor during fall and winter months because of the pollution from burning low-grade coal (lignite), automobile exhaust, wood-buring stoves used for household heating, and crop-burning of stubble to prepare fields for successive plantings.  No specific immunizations are needed, although hepatitis A and B vaccinations are recommended for those living in Serbia. Specialty medications may not be available in Belgrade, and prescription medications in the United States often require a prescription in Serbia, so travelers are advised to bring required medications with them. If care or a prescription is needed, the private healthcare system (which includes Medigroup, Euromedik, Belmedic) is quite affordable and accessible, and accustomed to treating foreigners. Controlled substances, however, can only be prescribed within the state healthcare system, which is an extremely time-consuming and onerous process, and may not be available to business travellers, as regulations require patients to be registered in the local system.

One of the best facilities in the case of an adult medical emergency is the Military Medical Academy (VMA), Crnotravska 17, Centar Hitne Pomoći entrance. Tel: +381 11 2661-122 or +381 11 360 93 98. Payment is expected at the time of the service.

Fruits and vegetables usually are of excellent quality. Precautions related to the washing of fresh fruits and vegetables are similar to those that should be practiced in the United States.

Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays

GMT+01:00. Daylight savings time: March 29, 2019 – October 25, 2020. Note: differs from U.S. by few weeks.

Business Hours: Usual business hours are from 08:00 to 16:00, Monday through Friday for state Institutions, and 9:00 to 17:00 for private sector.

The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade is open 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday and closed on U.S. holidays and Serbian holidays.

Serbian and U.S. Holidays in 2022:

Table: Serbian and U.S. Holidays in 2022:

New Year’s Day

January 1, Saturday

New Year’s Day

January 2, Sunday

New Year’s Day

January 3, Monday

Orthodox Christmas

January 7, Friday

Martin Luther King’s Birthday

January 17, Monday

Serbian State Day

February 15, Tuesday

Serbian State Day

February 16, Wednesday

President’s Day

February 21, Monday

Orthodox Good Friday

April 22, Friday

Orthodox Easter

April 24, Sunday

Orthodox Easter

April 25, Monday

May Day

May 1, Sunday

May Day

May 2, Monday

May Day

May 3, Tuesday

Memorial Day

May 30, Monday


June 19, Sunday


June 20, Monday

Independence Day 

July 4, Monday

Labor Day

September 5, Monday

Columbus Day

October 10, Monday

Veterans Day / Armistice Day

November 11, Friday

Thanksgiving Day

November 24, Thursday

Christmas Day

December 25, Sunday

Christmas Day

December 26, Monday

The following holidays may be observed by Serbian citizens of a particular religion:

  • December 25 Christmas (Catholic)
  • Easter (Catholic)
  • Ramadan Bairam (Muslim)
  • Yom Kippur (Jewish)
  • Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)

July and August are the preferred months for summer vacations and are a very slow time for commercial activity in Serbia. The same is true of the period encompassing Orthodox Easter. Many will be out of office the first two to three weeks of January through the school holiday and for skiing.

Business travelers to Serbia seeking appointments with officials in the U.S. Mission to Serbia in Belgrade should contact the Commercial Service in advance. The Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to Serbia can be reached by telephone at +381-11-706-4112 or by e-mail at Additional information on our office

can be found on our website at U.S. Commercial Service in Serbia.