International Driving Permit Serbia
Think mountains, rivers, and picturesque cities. Being a landlocked country, Serbia is undoubtedly one to enjoy on a road trip at one’s leisure. Here’s the A – Z on having a memorable road trip experience behind the wheel in Serbia.
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How does an International Driving Permit work in Serbia?
If you are visiting any foreign country, it is wise to ensure that your ID and other legal documents are organized and available for verification. The Republic of Serbia is rather strict regarding ensuring that all travelers have proper authorization, especially if traveling by road.
That being the case, local authorities check for insurance documents and a valid driver’s license while stopping any vehicle for routine checkups.
United Nations Agreement on Road Traffic
An International Driving Permit results from 3 major UN conventions for motor traffic from 1926 – 1968, where over 141 countries have contracted to recognize IDPs as valid driver’s licenses. An International Driving Permit contains all the vital information from your home country’s license, making it easy for local police and road traffic authorities to verify no matter where you are in Serbia.
Although English is widely spoken in Serbia, it certainly helps to have an IDP with you, which is more widely recognized by authorities even in rural areas. If you are from a country where the license is issued in its native language, you must carry an IDP along with your license.
How can I apply for an International Driving Permit?
You can apply through our website. The application process is simple, and you will then get it sent to your inbox and have the option to receive the printed booklet by post, depending on your requirement. A downloaded version would take about 2 hours unless you choose express order, which means you will have your IDP on your phone within 20 minutes.
If you opt for a printed booklet, the same will be delivered within 2 – 30 days, depending on your shipping address. When applying for an International Driving Permit, choose a reputed agency like ours if you wish to avoid paying excess sums to get a valid IDP.
Benefits of an IDP
A versatile form of ID
If you prefer keeping your original identification documents safe, especially while traveling to foreign countries, getting an IDP as a booklet or a downloaded version on your phone can save a lot of trouble. Since an International Driving Permit is a legally recognized instrument that can only be obtained based on an existing valid driver’s license, it serves as solid ID proof for any local authorities to verify. This is particularly helpful if you have an ID in your native country’s language, which will be hard for the local police to understand.
Faster traffic police checks
Driving around Serbia, whether by car or motorcycle, you will most likely get pulled over for document verification. When that happens, all you need to produce is your International Driving Permit and your original ID, and you will be hitting the road in no time. Some countries also request a copy of your original driver’s license if you carry a valid IDP. Get in touch with our agents to know more about a hassle-free driving experience with an IDP.
Almost all the car rental companies in Serbia rely on a valid International Driving Permit before they confirm your booking. If a road trip was not on your plan but still requires a car rental, you will have to produce at least a downloaded version of an IDP. Due to the global pandemic, many Serbian Road Traffic Departments and private agencies accept a downloaded version if you cannot produce a hard copy. Nonetheless, an IDP is essential if you want to rent a car or rent a bike to explore Serbia.
A valid temporary domestic driving license
Getting a Serbian driving license can be complicated, especially if you are a foreigner planning to reside in Serbia for a little while. Suppose you have a permanent residence in Serbia or are a Serbian national returning from abroad. In that case, you can use your foreign driving license for up to six months from the date of entering Serbia, after which you will have to exchange it for a Serbian license.
However, if you don’t come under the above two categories, you can get an IDP to drive within the territory of Serbia as it is easier to obtain.
Driving requirements for non-citizens in Serbia
UK citizens and returning Serbian Nationals
As discussed above, if you have an approved permanent resident or a returning Serbian citizen, you can use your foreign license for up to 6 months. This applies to travelers using their UK driving licenses as well. With a valid UK driving ID, you can drive in Serbia for up to 6 months from the date of entry, after which you will have to exchange the same, following which you will get a local Serbian license.
Serbian department for road traffic regulations retains the UK driving licenses when you apply for a local driver’s license. The Serbian Ministry of Internal affairs forwards UK driving licenses to the British Embassy, which is obligated to send them to the UK’s Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
If you return to the UK in less than a year, this might be a problem, as you will have to take steps to get your UK license again. It is much easier to have an International Driving Permit in your possession in countries that have signed the UN convention for motor traffic, such as Serbia.
When should I get a Serbian License?
Unless you intend on permanently residing in Serbia for more than two years, you do not need to apply for a Serbian License. However, if you have been living in Serbia for more than six months, you must obtain a local driver’s license after preparing for the tests and taking them.
If you are a UK citizen, you can opt for the license exchange facility and get a new Serbian license. It is helpful if you sign up for a driving class in Serbia which could also help you with your application process. Passing the test and obtaining a Serbian license becomes relatively more straightforward by getting the hang of the terrain and local road regulations.
You can swap your Serbian driving license for a local driving license in one of the following countries that Serbia has concluded agreements with permitting such facilities:
- North Macedonia
- United Arab Emirates
The terms of the agreements with the above countries could change from time to time, which means it is better to enquire about the rules and regulations with the local authorities or the auto moto association. You must be aged at least 18 years to apply for a driver’s license in Serbia. We strongly recommend you to get an IDP before you enter Serbia or after if you intend on staying for longer than six months. You can save time by avoiding the above exchanges and extra paperwork.
Renewing your original driver’s license or your International Driving Permit while in Serbia
Renewing your original driver’s license
To get an International Driving Permit, you must have a valid original driving ID issued at least two years prior. However, if your license expires when you are abroad, you will be forced to return to your home country to renew it. Check with your country’s local traffic regulations to see if they offer renewal services on their website for expatriates.
If your country doesn’t support renewal for expatriates, ensure that your ID is renewed even before its expiry or before you travel abroad, whichever is earlier.
Renewing your IDP while in Serbia
If your IDP is nearing expiry, all you need to do is get on our website and start filling out the application form for renewal. You can also get in touch with our team to assist you with a quick and smoother renewal process.
Car Rental in Serbia
Looking up car rental companies in Serbia while planning your road travel itinerary is best. Most of the major cities in Serbia let you rent cars for as little as 30.05 EUR per day, depending on your vehicle type. However, for renting a car in Serbia, you must be aged at least 21 years, with some car rentals possibly charging a young driver’s surcharge.
Avoid opting for cars on a rental basis after you land in Serbia. Booking months in advance can significantly cut expenses. Many car rental agencies require a valid International Driving Permit before they let you rent out, so it’s best to be on the safe side and carry one.
Some of the most recommended car rental agencies are Europcar, Avis, Carwiz, and Budget, offering pickup and drop-off services in major cities across Serbia. You can filter a suitable agency based on your itinerary and the number of passengers traveling.
Make sure that you enquire about the car’s last service and for details of the insurance. Some car rental agencies offer travel and car insurance at an additional cost which could cover a wide range of unexpected expenses that might occur during your trip. Expect to spend roughly $2 a liter on fuel while traveling in Serbia.
Tip: Talk to multiple agencies before you decide on one to ensure you get the best for your buck while saving money on add-ons and expenses.
Driving Rules in the Republic of Serbia
Serbia is stringent when it comes to seat belt regulations. All passengers traveling in a car must wear their respective seat belts. You must wear a crash helmet if you are riding a motor vehicle. Any person seen riding a motor vehicle without a helmet would be stopped and fined by the local police. Therefore, ensure that the driver and passenger both have helmets on. If you are traveling with kids, you can choose to install child protective seats in the car. Speak to your rental service provider to know more about add-on safety measures.
Carry your papers
The Serbian driving law mandates drivers to provide valid and legally recognized documents such as International Driving Permits. Additionally, you need to ensure that your car is covered by recognized third-party insurance in Serbia. Check with your service provider to know more about the minimum insurance cover required in Serbia.
Driving under the influence
Serbia is very strict when it comes to driving under the influence. You will be fined immediately if caught driving drunk with a blood alcohol percentage of 0.03% or higher. Don’t ruin your trip by driving drunk. Hiring a driver daily is cheaper than ruining your trip by getting caught driving under the influence.
Speed limits and other road traffic rules
Within city limits, you can maintain a speed of 50 km/h, whereas, outside the city, you can go up to 80-100km/h depending on the route. On highways, you can cruise at a comfortable 120-130 km/h. Avoid flashing your lights or honking unless it is essential or you are in an emergency. Serbia drives on the right, which means when you are at intersections, you must give way to vehicles approaching from the right-hand side.
Top 3 Places to Visit in Serbia
The Belgrade Fortress
Having been rebuilt over 40 times in the past several centuries, the Belgrade fortress symbolizes Serbia’s transition over time. Enjoy the view of two rivers below the fortress and explore the bustling city for local cuisine. Make sure you visit the Bohemian quarter of Skaradlija for some aesthetics and art styles dating to the 18th Century.
Head to the Sava Temple
Being one of the biggest churches in Europe, the Sava Temple is filled with intricate art and rich murals that will awaken your inner yogi. It was completed only a few decades ago after several interruptions, so the art is relatively new, bright, and fresh to look at.
Bask in the Danube
The Danube is a major vast river running through Serbia. However, the waters are relatively calm and suitable for canoeing, kayaking, paddling, or simply taking a leisurely swim. Enjoying the waters of the vast Danube on a summer day is the perfect way to end your holiday in Serbia.
Should I carry my driving license and an International Driving Permit in Serbia?
Yes, you may have to carry your native driving license even if you have a valid International driving permit. However, some local authorities permit carrying a digital version instead of a hard copy.
How much would I spend on toll booths in Serbia?
You can expect to spend around $20 – $30 maximum on a five-day trip itinerary. But, if you take the back roads, you can skip the toll while enjoying scenic views.
Do I need a Green Card to drive in Serbia?
As of 2021, the need for having a green card for driving has been eliminated. However, you must have a valid International Driving Permit to drive legally in Serbia.
What do I need to apply for an International Driving Permit for Serbia?
You can fill out the application form with a valid driving license from your home country, a recent photo, and your driver’s information.