Basic guide to obtaining temporary residence in Serbia

Serbia is becoming more and more attractive to foreigners, which is why it has become an increasingly popular immigration destination. It used to be called a traditional immigration country, especially in the post-war era. Foreigners intending to reside permanently in Serbia must first obtain the right of temporary residence. Subsequently, they met the conditions for permanent residence, which would enable them to settle in the Republic of Serbia.

Let us distinguish between temporary residence and permanent residence in Serbia

Before applying for a foreigner permit in Serbia, a few key terms must first be distinguished. These are the conditions for temporary residence and permanent residence, which are one of the basic rights of foreigners stipulated in the “Aliens Law”.

*Temporary residence is a place where foreigners who plan to stay in the Republic of Serbia are allowed to stay for more than 24 hours.

* Permanent residence is a place where foreigners who have been granted a permanent residence program live permanently at a specific address.

Foreigners Law of the Republic of Serbia

The Aliens Law stipulates the right of residence of foreigners in Serbia and distinguishes three types of residence:

Stay in Serbia for 90 days, temporary residence, permanent residence, foreigners, get the right to stay in Serbia

1) Stay for 90 days

This accommodation can be visa-free or require a visa, depending on the visa system established between Serbia and the country of foreign nationality. For example, citizens of the United States of America do not need a visa for this type of accommodation. Indian nationals can stay for 30 days without a visa (for more details, see the news article “Visa-free system for Indian citizens entering Serbia”), while citizens of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Nepal always need a visa if they want to enter Serbia .

The visa required to enter Serbia, that is, a short-term stay (one, two or multiple entries in the Republic of Serbia for tourism, business and other purposes) is called a “C” visa.

2) The right of temporary residence in Serbia is issued according to the following conditions:

  • Work, employment, business or other professional activities;
  • Education, research or major, scientific research work, practical training, participation in students’ international exchange programs or other* scientific and educational activities;
  • family gathering;
  • Other reasonable reasons based on laws or international agreements.

What time can I guarantee for temporary residence?

The law stipulates that the maximum period of validity of the right of temporary residence is one year, and the same period can be extended. Of course, this applies to the situation where temporary residence permits are issued to foreigners under this law.

The most common questions about the right of temporary residence, as well as other related general questions about the right of residence, are discussed in detail in our article on obtaining a residence permit in Serbia.

What is missing in the “Foreigners Act”?

In addition to the clear legal requirements for the approval of temporary residence, there are other possibilities for obtaining temporary residence under Serbian law. They are based on the interpretation of the legal provisions concerning the right of temporary residence in Serbia, which in fact has become a condition for obtaining the right of temporary residence. These foundations are:

A) Temporary residence based on property ownership and
B) Temporary residence based on the establishment of the company.

A) Temporary residence in Serbia on the basis of owning property

This kind of residence time in Serbia is shorter than the residence time stipulated in the Aliens Law. In practice, permits based on this are most often issued for 6 months. This is a big possibility for those who have already purchased or intend to buy property in Serbia. If the foreigner already owns real property in the Republic of Serbia, it is much simpler. In this case, they only submit proof of possession of the property when applying for temporary residence.

On the other hand, if foreigners intend to buy, for example, a house or apartment in Serbia, they must sign a purchase contract. In practice, you need a lawyer to conclude the contract, because it is necessary to conduct all necessary inspections of the real estate with the national authorities (check for encumbrances, who is the owner, etc.). In Serbia, the purchase contract for real estate must be solemnly confirmed in front of a notary. After that, you are not the owner of the relevant real estate, but you must submit a request containing all necessary documents to the real estate Cadaster. Cadaster is responsible for the registration of ownership of that particular real estate on your behalf.

Knowing that when applying for temporary residence on this basis, you must only provide a certified purchase contract to the police station, not to the real estate management company registration decision. In other words, foreigners do not have to wait for the registration of the purchased property. After signing the purchase contract with the notary, the foreigner can immediately go to the police station to apply for a temporary residence permit. Of course, you should submit other required documents, which can greatly speed up and relax the application itself.

In order to reassure the Republic of Serbia, foreigners residing in its territory will be provided with financial guarantees, and the foreigners must present proof sufficient to sustain their livelihood when applying for temporary residence.

The key question is: how much does it cost?

Essentially, this requirement will be met if the foreigner shows the minimum required amount in his non-resident bank account in Serbia. This amount is obtained by multiplying the number 6 (because a residence permit for 6 months is usually issued) by the average monthly salary in Serbia. The idea is clear-this rule makes a foreigner a position for a Serbian employee, assuming that the employee can use the income to fund his own life.

Another option is that the foreigner’s account will have a certain amount of Euros, which is calculated by multiplying the number of days you stay in Serbia by 50 (because it is considered that 50 Euros per day represents an absolute daily fund sufficient )account). It should be considered that this option requires more funds than the first option.

What about health insurance?

Not only to obtain financial guarantees during the stay, but also to have health insurance is in the interest of Serbia and foreigners.

For this reason, when foreigners submit a request for temporary residence, they should also provide a certificate in the form of a health handbook, private health insurance policy or health insurance from their home country, with a special code valid in Serbia.

The “Rules Book” provides more details on satisfying the requirements of foreigners’ medical insurance for temporary residence[1]. The “Rules Manual” stipulates that foreigners should attach an international health insurance policy or voluntary health insurance policy or other documents issued in the RS together with their authorization application. These documents should comply with the regulations in the field of health insurance.

The rule book also provides another option for foreigners. Specifically, in addition to attaching one of these documents, foreigners can also prove that they have sufficient funds to pay for possible treatment costs in RS until a decision is made according to their requirements and the period of temporary residence. This possibility is slightly more complicated and requires more financial effort from foreigners.

Don’t forget to charge!

It is completely understandable to consider costs when making any life decisions. Therefore, it should not be forgotten that in order to exercise the right of temporary residence, it is necessary to pay the prescribed fees. In fact, the residence tax for foreigners (the cost of accommodation for more than 3 months) will be slightly less than 17,000 dinars, or 160 US dollars, or about 140 euros.

B) Temporary residence based on the establishment of the company

However, if foreigners are not interested in buying real estate in Serbia and do not meet the conditions of temporary residence stipulated in the “Foreigners Act”, then our legal system provides another option-establishing a company!

Some conditions are similar to the conditions for obtaining temporary residency on the basis of owning property, while other conditions are inherent in that condition. First of all, as far as the material and health protection of foreigners are concerned, the conditions are the same. The concrete manifestation of this situation is the appearance of money brought by foreigners to invest here. The information provided by the police station shows that in most cases, foreigners do not want to show all the money they bring, but only want to show the minimum amount. In any case, they suggest that it is best to show as much money as possible, as this will make it easier to obtain temporary residency.

You have decided to establish a company, but the problem is whether you will be the founder or the legal representative. For the police station you are applying for, the important thing is that you must register with the Business Registration Office, whether as a founder, legal representative or prosecutor… In other words, as long as you are registered with the BRA, your function is not that important.

However, in order to choose a business form that suits your needs and legally avoid the resulting tax payable, we recommend that you perform this procedure with the assistance of an expert.

What about work permits?

A work permit is not a condition of temporary residence. Moreover, this is not possible because the National Employment Service actually only issues work permits to people who have previously been granted temporary residency. Later, if you want to obtain a work permit, you must first obtain a temporary residence permit. If you are interested in knowing what has changed in obtaining a work permit in Serbia in 2017, please feel free to read our news articles on the subject.

How long does it take to obtain temporary residence?

The application for a temporary residence permit in Serbia should be submitted to the competent police department. The police station then forwards it to Belgrade, and then to the Ministry of the Interior, which will review whether the conditions for the issuance of a temporary residence permit in the internal control procedures are met. Data processing and control by the Ministry of the Interior lasted three weeks.

Research before making a decision

If you are not a citizen of the Republic of Serbia but are considered a foreigner but you wish to live in Serbia, the information provided can be used as a basis, that is, as the preliminary and core information you should have when considering this option. It should be remembered that this is a complex field, and its changes vary from case to case, that is, with the requirements and capabilities of each applicant. Therefore, such information cannot replace the legal advice of lawyers or other people experienced in the matter.

[1] The rule book on meeting the conditions of temporary residence for foreigners’ medical insurance (“Official Gazette of the Republic”, No. 59/2009)

Issued in the relevant visas have been tagged as Serbia Aliens Law, Serbian Permanent Residence, Serbian Immigration, Serbian Temporary Residence, Immigration to SerbiaEdit

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