Residence Permit in Serbia – How to Get One?

Dec 2017

Contact: Kristina Vuljaj

Different Ways to Get Residence Permit in Serbia

Obtaining a Residence permit in Serbia is one of the basic rights of foreigners in the Republic of Serbia and is regulated by the Law on Foreigners (“Zakon o strancima“ , Official Gazette RS, no. 97/2008) which lays out 3 types of stay:

Stay up to 90 days in Serbia

In contrast to obtaining a Temporary or Permanent residence, a foreigner can stay up to 90 days with or without the Serbian visa, if not provisioned differently by the law or an internationally binding contract. For this type of stay, a special approval from the competent authority is not necessary. However, it is obligatory to report the stay to a local police department within 24 hours of their arrival. Reporting the place of stay can be done personally in every local police department in charge of foreign affairs in the place of stay, as well as online. The same procedure should be followed when changing the address in Serbia. In addition, legal and natural persons who provide professional service of accommodation to foreigners are obliged to report the stay as well. This must be done within 24 hours of their arrival.

Temporary Residence in Serbia

If planning to stay in Serbia for more than 90 days, a foreigner should apply for a temporary residence in Serbia. If granted, the residence permit will be issued for a period from  90 days to a year, depending on each individual case. With the request for the temporary residence permit, they need to submit a valid travel document and the following proof that:

  • They have sufficient funds to sustain themselves
  • They have a valid health insurance
  • Purpose of the temporary residence is justified

Reasons which make the purpose of the residence permit justified and due to which temporary residence can be granted are exhaustively listed by the Law. Those are either:

A foreigner who was granted temporary residence out of listed reasons is obliged to stay in the Republic of Serbia in accordance with the purpose for which the residence permit was granted. Approval of temporary residence is marked in the passport. A foreigner can submit a request in order to prolong the temporary residence no more than 30 days before the temporary residence permit expire . Temporary residence terminates after the expiration date, if the residence permit was cancelled, or if the state exercises measures of protection or expulsion towards a foreigner.

Permanent Residence in Serbia

Permanent residence in Serbia can be granted to a foreigner by a relevant authority if one of the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • They have stayed continuously in the Republic of Serbia for a period longer than 5 years – up to the date of submitting the request for permanent residence, by having been granted a temporary residence permit in those 5 years (or more).
  • They have been married for at least 3 years to a citizen of the Republic of Serbia, or to a foreigner who has been granted permanent residence.
  • Minor having a temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia, whereas one parent is a citizen of the Republic of Serbia or a foreigner with a permanent residence status.
  • They have Serbian roots
  • They have been granted a temporary residence permit, however, if the interests of the Republic of Serbia or humane reasons demand so – they will be granted a permanent residence.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Documents Do You Need to Get the Residence Permit in Serbia ?

For any type of residence permit, besides the request, a foreigner needs to submit documentation which will be the proof of the reason for the residence permit. The documentation differs depending on the reason and is regulated by different regulations (for example: ordinances on the requirements for granting temporary residence to foreigners for studying or specialization, scientific research, practical training, participation in programs of international exchange of students or other scientific and educational activities- ‘Sl. Glasnik RS ” No.59 / 2009). If a foreigner chooses to seek a residence permit through a lawyer, they can provide you with adequate information on necessary documents and assistance in collecting them.

What are the reasons to terminate the residence permit in Serbia?

Termination of the residence permit may occur for several reasons:

  • Upon the expiry of the residence permit.
  • If the state exercises measures of protection or expulsion towards a foreigner.

Cancelling the residence permit in Serbia?

In Serbia residence permit may be cancelled in case of legal obstacles for denying entry to the Republic of Serbia.

Illegal stay of foreigners in Serbia – any consequences?

The foreigner who resides with no legal basis must leave the Republic of Serbia immediately or within a period no longer than 30 days. The exact date will be stated in the Decision by the relevant public authority.

What happens if a foreigner does not leave Serbia, after the residence permit expires?

If a foreigner does not leave Serbia within the ordered timeframe, the police will use force to remove them from the Serbian territory. In order to ensure enforcement of the protective measure of expulsion, a foreigner’s passport or other documents and travel tickets may be temporarily seized. The cost of the forced expulsion will be reimbursed  by the expelled foreigner, except when particular conditions are fulfilled and the Republic of Serbia bears the cost.


We have tried to sum up the most important information about obtaining the residence permit in Serbia. Hopefully, readers acquired a general knowledge of the types of residence permits in the Republic of Serbia and the rights and obligations of foreigners upon entry to Serbia. However, please bear in mind that the information provided do not represent legal advice or legal opinion. Before starting any procedure it is therefore recommended to consult a person who is thoroughly familiar with this field of law.

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