7 min read

Share this Blog

Rate this Post

Is It Possible to Reacquire Serbian Citizenship?

Marija Medic

Marija Medić

Senior Associate

Nikoleta Židišić

Legal Trainee

26/06/2024

In the era of global connectivity and expanded horizons, the possibility of reacquiring Serbian citizenship takes on special significance. Serbia, with its rich history and strategic location, is attracting an increasing number of people who wish to renew their connection with their homeland.

Returning to Serbia and reacquiring citizenship not only provides practical benefits, as detailed in our blog post – Why It Is Beneficial to Have Serbian Citizenship, but also an emotional connection to a nation rich in culture and history. For many, this is not merely a formal restoration of legal status but a deeper return to their roots and identity.

This blog post will guide you through the process of reacquiring Serbian citizenship.

Before considering the initiation of the process to reacquire citizenship, it is implied that one’s Serbian citizenship has previously been terminated. This can happen in two ways, which we will also discuss.

Termination of Serbian Citizenship

Deciding to move to another country is not simple. In addition to adapting to a new culture and way of life, there are also administrative requirements. One important step is acquiring citizenship of the new country, which allows full integration into society, voting rights, easier employment, and property acquisition.

However, some countries have an “exclusive citizenship” policy, meaning they require you to renounce your previous citizenship to acquire theirs. This is a common practice to maintain loyalty and prevent dual citizenship, which can cause legal and political complications.

Serbian citizenship can be terminated in three cases:

  • By release;
  • By renunciation;
  • According to the provisions of international agreements.

 

Renunciation and release from Serbian citizenship are two legal procedures regulated by the Citizenship Law (hereinafter: the Law), allowing citizens to cease being citizens of Serbia on their own initiative. While both procedures pertain to the termination of citizenship, there are key differences between them.

  1. Release and Renunciation

In the process of terminating Serbian citizenship, there are two main ways: release and renunciation. Each option has its specificities and is used in different situations.

Release from citizenship is a more complex procedure that involves formal consideration of the request by the competent authorities and requires more extensive documentation. Release is more commonly used when permanent relocation and integration into a new country are needed.

On the other hand, renunciation of citizenship is a simpler and quicker procedure. It is less burdened with formalities, making it suitable for situations where it is necessary to quickly and easily cease being a citizen of Serbia.

Renunciation of citizenship is a process in which a person voluntarily renounces their citizenship without needing formal approval from the Serbian state. This process is less formal and faster than release. A person wishing to renounce citizenship submits a statement of renunciation, after which a decision on the termination of citizenship is made.

This procedure is allowed for Serbian citizens who were born and live abroad and who also hold foreign citizenship. These individuals can renounce Serbian citizenship until the age of 25.

It is important to note that the Law currently does not provide for the possibility of reacquiring citizenship for individuals who have renounced their status if they were adults at the time of renunciation.

However, there is a positive provision for those who were minors at the time of renunciation. If your parents renounced your citizenship while you were under 18, you have the right to apply for reacquisition of citizenship after turning 18.

Release from citizenship, as the other way of being removed from the records of Serbian citizens, applies when a person already has citizenship of another country or has proof that they will be accepted into foreign citizenship. In this case, the person submits a request for release, which is reviewed by the competent authorities.

For example, Ana, born in Serbia, was 10 years old when her parents decided to emigrate to Switzerland for professional reasons. They wanted to ease their child’s adaptation process, so they applied for her release from Serbian citizenship to obtain Swiss citizenship and integrate more easily into the Swiss education system and society. When Ana turned 28, she decided she wanted to return to Serbia and start her own IT business. Realizing that reacquiring Serbian citizenship would be beneficial for easier business operations and access to the local market, she applied to reacquire Serbian citizenship.

  1. Termination of citizenship under international agreements

We mentioned in a previous blog that one basis for acquiring citizenship are international agreements. By analogy, citizenship can also be terminated according to the provisions of international agreements. However, termination of citizenship based on international agreements is not a common way of ending citizenship. This method is generally associated with situations such as changes in state borders. In these cases, international agreements serve as a tool for defining citizenship relations between two countries.

Does Serbia Allow Reacquisition of Citizenship?

If you were once a citizen of the Republic of Serbia but lost that citizenship through one of the above-mentioned ways to acquire another country’s citizenship, do not worry—there is a possibility to reacquire Serbian citizenship. This option is particularly important for those who may have changed their minds and want to be part of the Serbian community again.

As we previously highlighted in one of our blog posts, the process of acquiring citizenship is strictly formal and requires clearly defined steps. You need to submit an application for reacquisition of Serbian citizenship.

The application for reacquisition of Serbian citizenship is submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, through the internal affairs office in the place of residence or stay of the applicant, or their authorized representative. Alternatively, the application can be submitted through the competent diplomatic or consular representative office of the Republic of Serbia abroad.

After the application is submitted, there is a multi-month procedure during which the Ministry of Internal Affairs verifies the fulfillment of all legal conditions for the reacquisition of citizenship. If the Ministry determines that all conditions are met, a decision on citizenship acquisition is made. However, it should be noted that the Ministry reserves the discretionary right to deny the application if it deems there are significant reasons for the Republic of Serbia to reject it.

The most important feature of this process is that you do not have to renounce the citizenship you hold when applying for the reacquisition of Serbian citizenship.

To reacquire citizenship, it is important for the person to meet certain conditions:

  • To be over 18 years of age;
  • To not have been deprived of business ability;
  • To submit a written statement that they consider the Republic of Serbia as their country.

 

This procedure involves administrative steps but also carries emotional weight for the individual. It is a process that allows people to renew their connection with their homeland and become part of the Serbian community again. For many, reacquiring Serbian citizenship is an important step toward restoring identity, a sense of belonging, and reintegrating into community life.

Essentially, this process opens the door for individuals who were once part of the Serbian community but have distanced themselves for various reasons. It allows them to return and find their place in society again, simultaneously strengthening ties with their roots and heritage.

It is particularly important to emphasize that although Serbia allows dual citizenship in certain situations, you should check with the country whose citizenship you already hold if its legal system allows the same.

For example, Germany has long explicitly prohibited the possibility of holding two or more citizenships. Exceptions were in cases of EU citizens or individuals from countries that do not allow renunciation (e.g., Iran, Morocco, North Korea). However, from June 26, 2024, amendments to the law in Germany will allow the retention of German citizenship while applying for additional citizenships. In other words, if you meet the conditions for acquiring German citizenship, after the amendments come into force, you will no longer be obliged to seek renunciation of the citizenship you hold at the time of application.

If you had to release Serbian citizenship in the past due to the rules in place at the time, you will be pleased to know that you can now initiate the process of reacquiring Serbian citizenship.

After a brief overview of the process and conditions for reacquiring Serbian citizenship, it is important to understand the complexity of this legal issue and the need for professional support.

If you are interested in submitting an application for reacquiring Serbian citizenship, it is advisable to consult a lawyer specialized in immigration law and the rights of foreigners. They can provide you with detailed information about your legal options, assess your situation, and offer the necessary support throughout the process.

Similar Articles

Latest Articles

Ready to get started?

If you are not sure about what the first step should be, schedule consultations with one of our experts.

techlawafficiendo

privacywhisperer

cryptobuddy

evergreen

Not Just Another Newsletter

Forget boring legal analysis and theory. Receive timely updates,
news and reminders that can actually help your business.