Serbia - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation

Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.

Last published date: 2021-03-08

Serbia uses a standardized import/export documentation process (generally requiring a bill of lading, etc.). With the liberalization of the trade regime and reform of trade/customs-related institutions, Serbia continues to synchronize its documentation with the EU. More detailed information may be reviewed at the Customs Administration’s Additional Explanation Regarding the Inward Processing Procedure.

The Serbian Customs Tariff is harmonized annually with the EU Combined Nomenclature. In Serbia, there are several tariff regulations that are binding:

  • Regulations on Tariff Classification published in the Official Journal of the European Union;
  • Tariff Classification Rulings issued by the World Customs Organization (WCO);
  • Binding Tariff Information issued by the Serbian Customs Administration, upon request, regarding the classification of certain goods, in case of ambiguity or uncertainty.

Certain goods require certificates for imports and transit. These goods are listed in the “Decision determining which goods require certain certificates” and can be downloaded at the Serbian Customs website. Import licenses are required for narcotics (including psychotropic substances), medicines containing narcotics, precursors for the manufacture of narcotics, certain raw materials used in the production of medicines when imported for other purposes, blood products, microorganisms, human body parts, non-registered medicines and medical devices, endangered species of wild fauna and flora, substances depleting the ozone layer, radioactive materials, reactors and reactor parts, arms, military equipment and dual-use goods, asbestos, industrial explosives, hunting and sports arms and ammunition for such arms, precious metals, as well as waste and goods defined by the Regulation on the export and import of goods which might be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or humiliating acts or punishment. The majority of the above-mentioned goods are subject to import licenses in accordance with existing international conventions. Certain goods must also meet sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary requirements.

Introduction of simplified customs procedures through Authorized Economic Operators (AOP) http://www.carina.rs/lat/Stranice/AEO.aspx represents the most significant innovation in Serbian customs regulation. A company with AOP status enjoys preferential treatment, requiring fewer controls and less documentation.

Exports of goods from Serbia to Kosovo are subject to special conditions and periodic friction stemming from the ongoing dispute over Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia, which Serbia has never recognized. From November 2018 through March 2020, Kosovo imposed 100% tariffs on all Serbian-origin goods entering Kosovo, which caused a virtual halt of shipments of goods. While trade has since resumed, significant non-tariff trade barriers remain between the two countries. For example, Kosovo has in the past, including briefly in 2020, enforced a requirement to identify the “Republic of Kosovo” as the destination on officially-issued export documents – a requirement with which Serbian authorities refuse to comply, insisting instead on the formulation “Kosovo and Metohija” or simply “Kosovo”.