Although both the foreign legal and foreign natural persons have the opportunity to buy land in Serbia, there is one exception to the rule that needs to be taken into account. Namely, there are a plethora of different types of land in Serbia (construction land, forest land, agricultural land etc.) and – when it comes to foreigners – not all of the types are available to buy.
The Serbian Law on Agricultural Land prohibits foreign natural and legal persons to become owners of agricultural land in Serbia, under any circumstances. However, despite the fact that this prohibition seems impossible to avert, there are some ways to bypass this obstacle.
1) Creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)
A Special Purpose Vehicle is, by definition, a subsidiary of a company created to fulfill the narrow, specific or temporary goals of the parent company. It is usually used to own a single asset (and associated permits and contract rights) and to allow for easier transfer of that asset.
That being said, foreign natural and legal persons have the legal opportunity to form a company in Serbia as a domestic legal personality under the Serbian law – disregarding the fact the owner is a foreigner. That newly-formed company would then have the possibility to buy the land in Serbia under the same circumstances as a domestic legal person – including the agricultural land.
If you find this possibility tempting, but are not familiar with the process of forming a company in Serbia, please visit our blog Company Formation in Serbia in 7 Steps to get further information.
2) Buying through a domestic legal person which already owns agricultural land
Another option is that a foreign natural or legal person buy the already formed Serbian company, whose property includes agricultural land. By buying the company, foreigner automatically becomes the owner of all of its assets, together with the agricultural land.
This option is particularly attractive to foreigners who are just interested in the land for sale in Serbia but not in other forms of investment, as it is less complicated and does not require to start the procedure of forming a new company.
3) The newly established privileged position of the EU citizens
Amendments to the Law on Agricultural Land entered into force on August 30th, 2017 and their application started on September 1st, 2017. These amendments are especially important for this subject matter, due to the fact that they introduced new conditions for non-residents from the EU (both natural or legal person), to be fulfilled in order to become owners of agricultural land in the Republic of Serbia. In other words, they created a new possibility: EU citizens can buy Serbian agricultural land, if they fulfil the conditions provided by the law. In order to find out whether you conform to the prescribed demands – feel free to check out our post Agricultural Land for Sale in Serbia – the Law on Agricultural Land liberalization?