Serbia to reintroduce visas for Iranians, saying privilege abused

October 13, 2018 - 17:30

TEHRAN - Serbia is to scrap visa-free entry for Iranians out of concerns that some may “abuse the system” as an avenue to enter other European states.

Serbia’s Internal Affairs Minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic, told parliament on Wednesday that visas would be re-introduced because a number of Iranian nationals had abused the privilege, Balkan Insight reported.

“The move is a response to the problem that many people [from Iran] enter Serbia and either attempt to travel to the West or to seek asylum,” said Djurovic Rados Djurovic, from the Belgrade-based Asylum Protection Centre.

The decision, according to Serbia’s Official Gazette, will take effect eight days after October 10.

However, Serbian authorities have noted that the number of Iranian travelers who have crossed Serbia to reach other European countries have been risen significantly.

Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina has reportedly warned that Iranians were using legal travel to Serbia to then enter neighboring country on their way to the EU.

In August 2017, Serbia abolished visas for Iranians in a move to boost tourism, improve growth and reach out to non-European markets. The Balkan country received over 15,000 Iranian nationals since the visa-waiver program came into effect. 

After a gap of 27 years, direct flights between Iran and Serbia resumed on March 11, 2018 when an Iran Air jet touched down at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla airport.


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