26 May, 2020
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Western Balkans and COVID-19 – traveling amid the pandemic

Serbia – full border liberalization

 With the public health situation improving, the Government of Serbia decided on May 19, 2020 that, as of May 22, neither Serbian nor foreign nationals will be required to be in possession of a negative PCR test or a special permit for entry into Serbia. The Government also rescinded the self-isolation measures that were mandatory upon arrival to Serbia, and passengers coming from abroad will instead be handed a memo informing them that the virus is still at large and instructing them how to prevent infection.

Additionally, though negative PCR tests are no longer required for entry, citizens may, at their own request and expense, undergo screening for coronavirus. These PCR tests will be carried out in public health institutes and health centers, at the scheduled time slots, at a cost of RSD 6,000 payable to a special bank account (payment instructions are available here). Tests are performed free of charge for persons manifesting symptoms of the infection who had been in contact with a confirmed case of the disease, patients undergoing certain surgeries and interventions, as well as students and minors traveling to countries that require a negative PCR test for entry. Citizens may download test results from e-Health and e-Administration web portals or they may collect them at the health institution where the test was performed, whereas foreign nationals may have their test results e-mailed to them.

 

Montenegro – only Montenegrins allowed to enter

In order to facilitate the return of Montenegrin citizens from abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a sign-up form and a contact number, advising Montenegrins to first contact their nearest diplomatic or consular mission. Citizens returning to Montenegro will be required to isolate at designated facilities for at least 14 days, under special medical supervision.

Foreign nationals are still prohibited from entry under the Decree currently in force, with the exception of foreign nationals with permanent or temporary residence in Montenegro, foreign seafarers in transit who embark or disembark at the ports of Bar, Budva, Kotor, Luka Kumbor Portonovi and Tivat, as well as foreign nationals transporting goods by road, subject to special health and sanitary inspections, in line with the decision of the competent inspection.

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina – businesspeople and family may enter

 According to publicly available information, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s borders will reopen on June 1, as was communicated by the chair of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Until then, the amended Decree on additional requirements for entry of foreign nationals is in force, which was passed by the Council of Ministers on May 21, on foot of a motion by the Ministry of Security. In line with the amended Decree, businesspeople may enter and remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to carry on their businesses, provided that they possess an invitation letter from the relevant local business entity and a negative coronavirus test, not older than 48 hours as of entry into Bosnia and Herzegovina. These requirements do not apply to dual citizens who may enter Bosnian territory with an ID card issued by Bosnian authorities.

The amended Decree also allows entry to foreign nationals – immediate family members (spouse, parents, offspring, siblings) of a deceased person in order to attend a funeral, who may remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina for up to 72 hours, potential isolation period not included, provided that they possess proof of death and kinship with the deceased.

 

North Macedonia – the region’s strictest measures

At the moment, North Macedonia is the only country in the region with a nation-wide quarantine in force, mandatory for all citizens coming from abroad. Only certain state officials are allowed to travel abroad without being subject to isolation upon return, whereas citizens wishing to leave the country must consent not to return for three months.