Residence Permit in Serbia – How to Get One?

May 2022

Contact: Kristina Vuljaj

Different Ways for Foreigners to Stay in Serbia

Travelling and residency for  foreigners in Serbia  is regulated by the Law on Foreigners (“Zakon o strancima“ , Official Gazette RS, no. 97/2008 and 31/2019) which lays out 3 types of stay:

  • tourist visits up to 90 days in Serbia, or otherwise if such proscribed by the bilateral or multilateral agreement
  • temporary residence in Serbia
  • permanent residence in Serbia

Tourist visits – stay up to 90 days in Serbia

Tourist visits in Serbia are possible with tourist via or in visa free regime, which depends on the country of foreigner’s citizenship or residency.

Touristic stay of foreigners, who can enter Serbia in visa free regime, can last up to 90 days, within 180 day term, unless otherwise is determined by the Serbian government or bilateral or multilateral agreement between Serbia and foreigner’s country.

Staying in Serbia as a tourist, for example, the stay of 90 days within the 180 day term, means that 180 day’s keeps rolling from the moment of the foreigner’s first entry and within those 180 days, a foreigner must not exceed, in this case, their 90 days of tourist visit to Serbia.

On the other hand, foreigners that must obtain entry visa for Serbia, may apply for visa C (short-term visa). Visa C is issued for 90 days to be used within 180 days term.

Staying in Serbia as a tourist, for example, the stay of 90 days within the 180 day term, means that 180 day’s keeps rolling from the moment of the foreigner’s first entry and within those 180 days, a foreigner must not exceed, in this case, their 90 days of tourist visit to Serbia.

Upon foreigner’s entry in Serbia, hospitality entities as well as natural persons who rent their premises for commercial purposes must register foreigner who is staying at their addresses with the local police department within 24 hours upon their arrival. This kind of registration can be  done personally in every local police station, department for foreigners, 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.

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
  • Their application for the temporary residence is based on the lawful legal ground.

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:

Temporary residence permit document is inserted in the foreigner’s passport.

A foreigner who was granted temporary residence shall use their residency with the purpose it was granted for and in case the foreigner wants to extend their permit for the upcoming term, the application for extending the permit should be submitted no more than 30 days before the temporary residence permit expires. The reasons for extending the temporary residence permit for the upcoming term are based on the lawful legal ground for the residency and the facts related to the previously approved term. For example, whether the foreigner have practically, predominantly live in Serbia, i.e. justified their application for the residency.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

In the application for the residence permit, a foreigner needs to submit documentation which will be the proof of the reason for their residence permit. The documentation differs depending on the legal ground and is regulated by different regulations. 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 toward 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, which reasons are founded on a fradual or national security reasons.

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); or 3 years if they are married 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.

However, besides these formal conditions, reasons for requesting a permanent stay must be duly argued and justified. Namely, the Ministry of interior decides upon this request within their discretionary power, bearing im mind formal as well as practical and real facts in connection to the request. For example, the time foreigner has spent in Serbia in past 5 ot 3 years.

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 visiting and staying in Serbia. Hopefully, readers acquired a general knowledge of the types of residencies 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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