In the early 20th century, Kosovo was integrated into Serbia. Following years of conflict and war, Kosovo finally declared its independence. Eventually, it became a separate country in February 2008. However, Serbia did not recognise Kosovo’s independence. To this day, Serbia considers it to be part of their country. For those reasons, the authorities don’t recognise border crossing points to be approved ‘international’ crossing points. This causes a lot of difficulties for travellers when entering Serbia from Kosovo. If you’re thinking of visiting both countries, it’s best to plan your journey in advance.
Unsurprisingly, there are no direct flights. The only way to travel from one country to another is by car or by bus. Here’s some insights on entering Serbia from Kosovo and the other way round, which will help you decide the best route to take.
Entering Kosovo From Serbia
When you arrive in Serbia you will be given a stamp on your passport. There have been situations where tourists didn’t get one. Check at the border if you got one. If not, request one from the police officer. It’s possible to travel from Serbia to Kosovo and then return back to Serbia. If you try to exit Serbia without an entry stamp, you may face charges of illegal immigration or have to pay a fine. If you’re staying in a hostel, they will ask and register which border point you’ve crossed. The hostel will also give you a card confirming where you are staying. This is in case a police would stop you. You need to hold on to it and don’t lose it!
Entering Serbia from Kosovo
Many EU nationals can enter Kosovo on a biometric photo ID card. Driving licence is not a valid ID card for cross-border travel. You will face problems if you have a Kosovo stamp on your passport, as this will indicate that you’ve entered Kosovo directly from anywhere else other than Serbia. When entering the border to Kosovo from Macedonia or Albania, ask the police officer not to give you the stamp.
If you take a route which transits a third country, such as Albania, Macedonia or Montenegro, you are less likely to experience problems. Citizens of EU states, Albania, Monaco, Montenegro and Serbia may visit Kosovo for max 90 days with a valid biometric ID card. Therefore, if this applies to you, you can travel on your biometric ID card and thus avoid getting a stamp on your passport.
When buying a ticket at the bus station, you are likely to be asked how did you enter Kosovo. If you say any non-Serbian border, you will be refused the purchase. Even when I told I don’t have a Kosovo stamp on my passport, I was refused. Only when asked if I have a valid biometric ID card, they sold me the ticket. On the bus journey, you will need to provide your full name and passport/ID card number on the sheet and later hand over your passport/ID card to the bus driver’s assistant, who will pass that to the police officer.
Which route are you considering of taking?
Like it? Pin it! 🙂