Arrest of a U.S. Citizen

Disclaimer: The information contained on this webpage is provided for general information only and may not be completely accurate in each particular case involving the arrest of a foreign citizen in Serbia. In providing this information the U.S. Department of State makes no comment on the proceedings in any particular case. Questions involving the interpretation of the laws of Serbia should be addressed to local counsel. Please see the U.S. Embassy’s webpage for a list of local attorneys.

One of the highest priorities of the Department of State and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad is to provide assistance to U.S. citizens incarcerated abroad. The Department of State is committed to ensuring fair and humane treatment for U.S. citizens imprisoned overseas. We stand ready to assist incarcerated citizens and their families within the limits of our authority in accordance with international, domestic, and foreign law.

Tips to Avoid Arrest Overseas:

  • Understand that you are subject to the local laws and regulations while visiting or living in the country – follow them.
  • Learn which laws might be different from the laws in the United States. We provide some information for each country on our Country Information pages. For more information on a specific country’s laws, contact that country’s nearest embassy or consulate in the United States before you travel.

In Case of an Arrest Overseas:

  • Ask the prison authorities to notify the U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • Reach out to the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade to let us know of the arrest to let us know of the arrest.

Consular Assistance to U.S. Prisoners

When a U.S. citizen is arrested overseas, he or she may be initially confused and disoriented. They may be in unfamiliar surroundings and may not know the local language, customs, or legal system.

 We Can:

  • Provide a list of local attorneys who speak English
  • Contact family, friends, or employers of the detained U.S. citizen (with their written permission)
  • Visit the detained U.S. citizen regularly and provide reading materials and vitamin supplements, where appropriate
  • Ensure that prison officials are providing appropriate medical care
  • Provide a general overview of the local criminal justice process
  • Upon request, ensure that prison officials permit visits with a member of the clergy of the religion of the detainee’s choice
  • Establish an OCS Trust, if necessary, so friends and family can transfer funds to imprisoned U.S. citizens

We Cannot:

  • Get U.S. citizens out of jail
  • State to a court that anyone is guilty or innocent
  • Provide legal advice or represent U.S. citizens in court
  • Serve as official interpreters or translators
  • Pay legal, medical, or other fees