Have you ever been to Serbia? Whenever I mention it to friends, only a very few know about it. Serbia is on the Southeast side of Europe, land-locked by Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. It used to be part of Yugoslavia (now that country I’m sure rings a bell) before it split into six countries.
Serbia has a well preserved natural wealth, extremely well maintained natural ecosystems and colorful landscapes. It’s monasteries, churches, palaces, fortresses, museums, and a lot of other cultural and historical places will make you not want to go back home. Oh, and it’s known to offer the best nightlife in all Europe. You shouldn’t miss this!
As a Filipino, it scares me to get a visa anywhere. I feel like no matter what I do, I’d always get denied. And I did get denied… 3 times when I applied for a Serbian visa. At first I thought, it’s probably because I’m Filipino, but it’s actually because I do not follow simple instructions. Haha!
When I started guiding a few friends and other Filipinos to get a visa, I figured it’s really easy to get one if you just follow what is required. Don’t make the same mistakes as me.
Here are what you need to get a Serbian visa:
- Completed Visa Application Form. (Download here)
- Photo (size 3.5x4.5cm) attached to the application form.
- Valid passport (passport must be valid at least 90 days from issue date of visa)
- Letter of invitation:
- A roundtrip flight reservation.
- You don't need to buy your tickets yet. Your ticket reservation should be valid for at least 3 weeks because visa processing can take that long. You wouldn't want the visa officers to find out that your reservation is not valid when they check it on the 3rd week.
- You may reserve flights here.
- Proof of sufficient funds for staying in Serbia;
- You may submit a copy of your Certificate of Employment indicating your monthly salary, if you are employed.
- You may also submit a Bank Certificate containing a balance equivalent to or greater than the average daily wage in Serbia multiplied by the number of days you are going to stay in the country. For example, if the average daily wage in Serbia is 50eur and you are staying for 90 days, you should have at least 50eur x 90 days = 4,500eur in the bank.
- If you don't have any of the first two, you may submit a notarized Affidavit of Support from anyone (other than your Serbian sponsor) who would sponsor you, ie. your parents, siblings, relatives, friends, etc. Include also a proof of their financial capacity such as Certificate of Employment and/or Bank Certificate.
- Travel Insurance
- It is recommended to have a travel insurance for the period of stay in Serbia, covering possible medical costs to the amount of not less than 20,000 Euros.
- You may buy your travel insurance here.
- Visa fee.
- Most Serbian consulates/embassies require that you pay in Euros.
Visa Application Procedure:
- If you are applying from the Philippines, email the Embassy of Serbia in Jakarta first at email@example.com. Let them know your intent to apply and request an invoice for payment of the visa fee. Philippine banks do not accept wire transfer to a business/government entity without an invoice.
- Print and bring the invoice to a bank and pay the visa fee. Oh, you don't line up at the counter and say you are going to pay a visa fee like you're just paying for any utility bill. Tell the bank that you are making a wire or telegraphic transfer to a bank in Indonesia. The Serbian Embassy should receive the amount in the Euro currency. Most, if not all, banks in the Philippines require that you have a foreign currency account with them before you can do a wire transfer (transfer of money from a Philippine bank to a Foreign bank) so that there is an account where they can re-route the money just in case the transfer fails. The foreign currency account doesn’t have to be yours. So, you may ask anyone you know to do the transfer for you. You just have to note on the transaction receipt that the transfer was made for your visa application.
- Scan all the requirements (passport, application form, travel insurance, visa fee wire transfer transaction receipt, certificate of employment, etc.), attach in an email, and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to not miss any requirement.
- If you are invited by a person or a business in Serbia, your sponsor will be notified to attend a visa interview. They will be asked information about you and your travel to Serbia. The sponsor will also be assessed of their capability to host you. Note that no matter how financially-capable you are of travelling, if the sponsor is not, then the visa will most likely get denied.
- It takes 2-3 weeks for the visa to get processed. You will be notified if your visa application is denied or approved.
- If approved, you will be asked to pay for the visa sticker and payment for the courier that they’ll use to send back your passport. Request an invoice and pay those at the bank. You will also be asked to send them your passport, which you may send through any trusted international courier (e.g. DHL, FedEx). Don’t forget to let them know that you’ve sent it (you may send the tracking number) and send them the wire transfer transaction receipt for payment of visa sticker and courier fee.
- Once received, the Embassy will put the visa sticker on your passport and send it back to you in less than a week. You may now book your plane tickets and prepare to travel to Serbia!
- Make a checklist of requirements and make sure to submit all of them when you send an email.
- If you have all the requirements and are confident to you’ll get the visa, request an invoice for all the fees you need to pay: visa application, visa sticker, and courier. Because bank fees for wire transfer are not cheap. If you do two separate transactions, those are two separate bank fees.
- If you need to have some documents authenticated, say your CENOMAR if you’re planning to get married in Serbia, send them along with your visa application. Make sure to mention in your emails and pay authentication fees along with visa application fees. No need to pay a separate courier fee and you can send them along with your passport once approved.
- Make sure the sponsor knows you. They will be asked about you during the interview.
I hope the information I wrote here help ease your worries with applying for a visa. If you need more information or just need clarification on anything, don’t hesitate to drop a comment or use the contact form to send us a message.