IMMIGRATION LAW IN SERBIA

In recent years, there has been a noticeable tendency for the influx of foreigners to the Republic of Serbia to increase. Immigration to Serbia is popular for various reasons - but most often to establish employment. On that occasion, many issues arise that need to be resolved, such as obtaining a residence permit, citizenship, as well as protecting the rights of immigrants. An immigration lawyer is a great relief to foreign nationals in all these procedures, because he is the one who knows the national legislation and provides immigration and citizenship legal services. In this text, we will deal with some basic issues of importance for immigration to Serbia and the rights of foreigners.

Residence permit for foreigners in Serbia | Serbia immigration visa requirements

The Serbian Law on Foreigners stipulates the conditions and grounds on which a foreigner can reside on the territory of the Republic of Serbia. In the following text, we will deal with the types of stay of foreigners in the Republic of Serbia by stating some of their characteristics.

1) Short-term residence permit of foreigners – It represents a visa-free stay of up to 90 days in any period of 180 days counting from the first entry, unless otherwise stipulated by an international agreement, as well as on the basis of a short-stay visa. (Law on Foreigners, Art. 39) For example, the international agreement with the Russian Federation allows their citizens to stay in the Republic of Serbia for a maximum of 30 days without a visa, and by leaving Serbia and re- entering Serbia, they acquire the right to another 30 days of stay in Republic of Serbia.

2) Long-term residence permit of foreigners – Represents a permission to enter and stay in the territory of the Republic of Serbia for a period of 90 to 180 days for a foreigner who, in accordance with the visa regime, needs a visa to enter the Republic of Serbia and who intends to apply for a temporary residence permit in the Republic of Serbia. (Law on Foreigners, Art. 22)

3) Temporary residence permit of foreigners in the Republic of Serbia (up to one year) – It represents approval for a foreigner who intends to stay in the Republic of Serbia for longer than 90 days. Foreigners can obtain permission for temporary residence permit on the basis of employment, self-employment (founding a company or sole proprietor), on the basis of education, on the basis of family reunification, performing a religious service, medical treatment, ownership of real estate in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, humanitarian residence permit, and as a special novelty it is also foreseen that the founders of startups in the Republic of Serbia can obtain approval for temporary residence permit in the Republic of Serbia. (Law on Foreigners, Art. 40)

4) Permanent residence of foreigners in the Republic of Serbia – A foreigner has the right to submit a request for permanent residence after five years of continuously approved temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia. At the time of submitting the application for approval of permanent residence, the foreigner must have an approved temporary residence on one of the grounds prescribed for approval of temporary residence. Continuous residence is considered to be the effective stay of a foreigner in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, with the possibility of multiple absences from the Republic of Serbia for up to ten months or a single absence of up to six months, in a period of five years. Apart from this case, there are special cases when permanent residence will be granted for foreigners, namely in the case of: married or common-law union with a citizen of the Republic of Serbia, a person originally from the Republic of Serbia, a minor on temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia, if one from a parent who is a citizen of the Republic of Serbia or a foreigner who has been granted permanent residence, as well as when this is dictated by reasons of humanity or it is in the interest of the Republic of Serbia.

The authorities responsible for processing these requests are: Police Administration for the City of Belgrade, Administration for Foreigners and regional police administrations. The request is submitted directly to the police department on the territory of the municipality or city where the foreigner resides.

Work permit for foreigners

The area of establishing employment relations in the Republic of Serbia by foreigners is regulated by the Law on Employment of Foreigners. Persons who are not citizens of the Republic of Serbia need a work permit for foreigners to establish an employment relationship in the Republic of Serbia.

The Law on the Employment of Foreigners stipulates the existence of two types of work permits for foreigners:

1) Personal work permit – This permit allows foreigners free employment, self- employment and exercise of unemployment rights in the Republic of Serbia. A personal work permit for foreigners is issued to a foreigner who has a permanent residence permit.

2) Work permit – Unlike a personal work permit, a work permit is issued individually for employment, for special cases of employment, and for self-employment. A foreigner with a work permit in the Republic of Serbia can only perform those jobs for which he received a permit. A work permit issued on the basis of a visa for a long-term residence based on employment is issued for the longest period of validity of a visa for a long-term residence based on employment.

It is important to emphasize that a certain category of foreigners (citizens of European Union member states) is specifically recognized in the Law on Employment of Foreigners. EU citizens and their family members have the right to free access to the labor market of the Republic of Serbia. The law stipulates certain cases when an EU citizen's right to free access to the market continues for a certain period of time, even after termination of employment. In this way, it is easier for EU citizens to find employment in the Republic of Serbia, as well as a possible change of employer during their stay in the Republic of Serbia.

The request for the issuance, or extension, of a work permit for foreigners is submitted to the competent organization for work affairs according to the place of temporary residence or permanent residence of the foreigner, i.e. according to the employer's headquarters or the place where the work is performed.

Immigration to Serbia - Immigration and citizenship

The Law on Citizenship (Art. 14) stipulates the conditions under which a foreigner can be admitted to the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia at his request. In addition to the fulfillment of other conditions, an important prerequisite is that the person has permission for permanent residence in the Republic of Serbia in accordance with the Law on Foreigners.

Other requirements are:

  • That he has reached 18 years of age and that he has not been deprived of his business capacity;
  • To have a release from foreign citizenship or to submit proof that he will receive a release if he is admitted to the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia;
  • That he had a registered residence in the territory of the Republic of Serbia for at least three years before submitting the application;
  • To submit a written statement that he considers the Republic of Serbia to be his country.

In the event that the request was submitted by a person who is stateless, it is considered that the condition regarding the release from foreign citizenship has been fulfilled.

In the event that the applicant submits proof of the regulation of a foreign country that provides for the automatic termination of the citizenship of that country in the event of obtaining another citizenship, the condition regarding the release from foreign citizenship will be considered fulfilled.

In the event that the foreign country does not want to grant the applicant a release from citizenship, the foreigner only submits a statement that he renounces foreign citizenship, and the condition regarding the release from foreign citizenship will be considered fulfilled.

Immigration attorney | Attorney for immigration law

In order to make the entire procedure as simple as possible for foreigners, it is always wise to hire an immigration lawyer who is well versed in the legal regulations of the Republic of Serbia and will provide you immigration and citizenship legal services.

The area of work of the Pekić Law Office includes, among other things, immigration law and the rights of foreigners, and some of the services we provide in this area are:

  • The procedure for obtaining approval for a short-term residence on the territory of the Republic of Serbia;
  • Representation of foreigners in the process of obtaining approval - stay based on a visa for a long-term residence of foreigners;
  • Representation of foreigners, as an immigration lawyer, in the process of obtaining approval – temporary residence permit on the territory of the Republic of Serbia;
  • Representation of foreigners in the process of obtaining approval - permanent residence on the territory of the Republic of Serbia;
  • Representation of foreigners in the process of acquiring citizenship of the Republic of Serbia;
  • Representation of foreign natural and legal persons before the court and administrative bodies in the Republic of Serbia;
  • Representation of the interests of foreign natural and legal persons in the procedure of purchasing real estate in the Republic of Serbia;
  • Representation of foreign natural and legal persons in the procedure of registration of a business company or its branch in the Republic of Serbia, bank account, etc.

If you are interested in the amount of costs charged by our office or if you are interested in representation or if you need lawyers for immigration law, you can contact us via the e-mail address pekic@attorney.rs, or by sending a message on Facebook messenger or Linkedin.

FAQ

Q: Can you immigrate to Serbia?

A: Yes, you can. However, there are some legal requirements you have to meet such as visa or residence approval. You should firstly get D visa, then request temporary residence permit and finally get a work permit in Serbia.

Q: How long can foreigners stay in Serbia?

A: That depends on the visa regime and the type of residence. Tourists can stay from 30 to 90 days, depending on their citizenship and bilateral treaty between Serbia and that country. If you are interested in other types of stay, you can read more about that in the „Residence of Foreigners“ segment of this blog.

Q: How can I get permanent residence in Serbia?

A: A foreigner has the right to submit a request for permanent residence after five years of continuously approved temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia. Apart from this case, there are special cases when permanent residence will be granted for foreigners, namely in the case of: married or common-law union with a citizen of the Republic of Serbia, a person originally from the Republic of Serbia etc. On the other hand, obtaining temporary residence permit in Serbia is not demanding.

Q: What happens if I stay longer than 90 days in Serbia?

A: If you overstay in Serbia, you will be fined (85 to 425 EUR, roughly), as stipulated by Law on Foreigners (Art. 84). You will be required to leave Republic of Serbia within a set time limit.