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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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OOPS! Can't go to Serbia from Kosovo

I'm embarrassed to say I left Pristina, Kosovo this morning and showed up at the border on the way to Serbia and Bulgaria as I make my way to Istanbul and then Georgia this month. I was refused entry at the Serbian border, and a nice english speaking policeman advised me to go back to Pristina (30km) and then south to Skopje, Macedonia, and even apologized for what he called "politics".

I will say that the police at the Kosovo side of the border did warn me in broken english that I would have trouble and not to show my passport, but to use my "identity card" - he pointed to my drivers license, but the Serbian police wanted my passport - so no go.

I did the detour losing most of the early day - but made it through Macedonia and into Greece and I'm resting nicely in Thessaloniki, Greece - so it all worked out. All in a days work.

It's been quite a week: Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, and now Greece.
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Old 27 Sep 2012
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Interesting stuff. I have heard of people crossing the border in that direction without any problems. Probably depends on the day and the point at which you cross.
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Old 27 Sep 2012
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Serbia doesn't recognize the existence of Kosovo: they consider it a province of Serbia. That being the case, if you enter Kosovo from anyplace but Serbia, that means you've entered Serbia itself. If you don't have a Serbian entry stamp--which you don't because Kosovo is actually NOT a province of Serbia--you're in the country illegally.

The solution is to enter Kosovo from Serbia. You can then exit back into Serbia, since they believe you haven't left the country at all. Simple. Or you can enter and exit without going through Serbia at all; they're ok with that. You can then enter Serbia by any other border without problems.

I'd be surprised if there are days or border stations where this is not an issue; it's a matter of deeply-wounded national pride to Serbians, and Serbians are very good at taking insult and feeling aggrieved for, say, a couple of centuries or more.

Mark
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Old 27 Sep 2012
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One of the border guards looked pretty angry, the other was philosophical and kindly explained it all to me. All in all not a terrible day. These guys went to war over the separation of Kosovo, so I expect much bitterness prevails. Unfortunate, but all to common in the world. Just wish I had don my homework before burning up a 1/2 day with this detour.
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Old 27 Sep 2012
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Let me clarify, We went from Macedonia to Pristina and then came back to Macedonia. Then we road from Macedonia up to Nis in Serbia. We did this because we had read everywhere that you couldn't cross to the north. We had heard rumours at our hostel of people managing to get through.

Our Kosovo stamps were not crossed out when we got to Serbia. Maybe they didn't notice them.

Later in our trip, somewhere in Bulgaria/Romania I met someone who had reportedly crossed the border north but by bus, not by motorbike.

Here is a thread on ADV that I created on insurance and border crossings in the Balkans if it helps. Maybe you could add your experiences

BALKANS INSURANCE (Green card) - border insurance prices and experiences - ADVrider
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Old 28 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
Serbia doesn't recognize the existence of Kosovo: they consider it a province of Serbia. That being the case, if you enter Kosovo from anyplace but Serbia, that means you've entered Serbia itself. If you don't have a Serbian entry stamp--which you don't because Kosovo is actually NOT a province of Serbia--you're in the country illegally.

The solution is to enter Kosovo from Serbia. You can then exit back into Serbia, since they believe you haven't left the country at all. Simple. Or you can enter and exit without going through Serbia at all; they're ok with that. You can then enter Serbia by any other border without problems.

I'd be surprised if there are days or border stations where this is not an issue; it's a matter of deeply-wounded national pride to Serbians, and Serbians are very good at taking insult and feeling aggrieved for, say, a couple of centuries or more.

Mark
This may work, if you don't use your passport in Kosovo (just ID).
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Old 3 Oct 2012
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Serbians just don't like the fact that there is or would be a Kosovo stamp in your passport. If you tell the officer at the K-border that you don't want a stamp you won't have a problem...

I had to ask to get a stamp from Kosovo, continued to Albania and Fyrom and then into Serbia, no problem whatsoever, even if a had a big Kosovo sticker on the bike.
It all depends on where you cross the border(s). I will never take the big roads with the big crossings, always the smaller the better... gives you opportunities to get on the pic with the Chief of the Borderguards of Kosovo... hehehe... ;-)
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Old 3 Oct 2012
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My understanding is that you can enter Serbia from Kosovo but only if you first entered Serbia from another country. Kosovo, by the way, is a fantastic place.
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