10 min read

Share this Blog

Rate this Post

Residence Permit in Serbia in 2024 – The Ultimate Guide

Aleksandra Jaćimović

Attorney at Law

Marija Medić

Attorney at Law

Boravak stranaca u Srbiji

Serbia is becoming more and more interesting to foreigners, which is why it has become an increasingly popular destination for immigration. This is probably because of Serbian liberal immigration legislation and policies, as well as incentives for attracting foreign investments and foreign experts. These facts made Serbia highly attractive for companies and individuals who find many benefits from moving to Serbia and even start to learn Serbian before their arrival. This is the reason why we’ve decided to explain, in simple words and in one place, ways in which foreigners can legally reside in Serbia.

Foreign citizens coming to Serbia can be divided into two categories – ones who do not need a special visa for entering Serbia, and the ones who must obtain them. Since certain country nationals need visas to enter Serbia, in the following text we will first explain three types of visas foreigners need to enter Serbia.

Furthermore, we will explain three types of stay in Serbia. While you probably hear about temporary residence permits, it is important to make a difference between them and two other types of stay in Serbia: tourist visits and permanent residence. After we go through the most important information regarding every type of stay for foreigners in Serbia, we will explain in more detail the procedure for obtaining a temporary residence permit in Serbia. There are a lot of benefits for foreigners in Serbia, therefore, we dedicated a chapter to describe why it is not strange that numerous foreigners choose Serbia as a place to live and start/extend a business. Finally, if you want to read our FAQs section which our clients who have already moved to Serbia find very useful, scroll to the very end of the blog.



In case you are planning to visit Serbia, you probably wonder whether you need a visa to enter Serbia. The answer is not simple since it depends on a fact which citizenship you hold. Some country nationals need a visa while, on the other hand, some do not need a visa to enter Serbia. If your country is on a list of countries whose nationals do not need a visa to enter Serbia, feel free to skip the following part and read the next chapter related to general information about residency. Otherwise, the following information can be useful to you.

Serbian Law on Foreigners (hereinafter: the Law) prescribes three types of visas for entering Serbia:

Airport Transit Visa (visa А)

The Serbian Government may prescribe obligatory possession of this visa for citizens of certain countries for safety reasons.

This visa is issued for a validity period of up to six months for one or several passes through the international transit area of the airport without the possibility of entering the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

However, a foreigner who does not leave the international transit area of airports or the aircraft during the intermediate stop between two legs of a flight or between connecting flights shall not need a visa.

By changes of the Law, the transit visa (visa B) is abolished, which was issued for one, two, or more travels across the territory of the Republic of Serbia for a validity period of up to six months, while the time of stay for one transit cannot exceed five days. The designated visa now falls under visa C or the short-stay visa.

When applying for an airport transit visa, the applicant is required to provide proof of ability to enter the next country on their travel itinerary.


Short-stay Visa (visa C)

A short-stay visa is an approval for entry, transit, or stay in the Republic of Serbia that cannot exceed 90 days, in any period of 180 days, starting from the date of the first entry.

This visa is usually issued for business purposes, such as business meetings and conferences.

When applying for the short-stay visa, the applicant should provide evidence of the following:

  • Reasons for traveling;
  • Sufficient financial means to cover accommodation or any other evidence related to accommodation where the foreigner will be located;
  • The number of financial means available to sustain themselves during the intended stay and return to the country from which the applicant arrived;
  • Other evidence that substantiates the applicant’s intention to leave the country before the visa expiration date.


Long-stay Visa (visa D)

Long-stay visa is the approval for entry and stays for the duration between 90 and 180 days in the Republic of Serbia. If you want to apply for temporary residence, or the unified permit, and need a visa to enter the Republic of Serbia, it is necessary to obtain this visa before actually arriving in the Republic of Serbia.

It is also necessary to emphasize that the basis for applying for a visa D must be identical to the basis for applying for a temporary residence permit. For example, in case visa D is issued to you on the basis of employment with a Serbian employer, it is not possible to apply for a residence permit based on family reunification.

In the abovementioned case, the request for obtaining the unified permit can be submitted only based on employment in Serbia.


Where to File the Visa Application?

Visa applications should be submitted to the diplomatic-consular mission of our country in the country where the applicant legally resides. In case of emergency, the applicant may submit their visa application to the diplomatic-consular mission of the Republic of Serbia in the country where they have been approved for legal stay, but which is not their legal residence.

Since May 2021, online applications have been available on the eConsulate portal.


General Visa Application Requirements

The application is submitted in person by the foreigner, and the novelty is that the application can be submitted electronically, as mentioned above. An exception to this rule can be made if the applicant is established to have used previous visas issued on part of our diplomatic-consular mission under the law;

The application is submitted in the prescribed form;

The application should be submitted at least 3 months in advance;

The travel document should be valid at least three months after the intended departure from Serbia, it must contain at least two consecutive blank pages, and it must be issued within the last 10 years.

When filing a visa application, the applicant should provide the following:

  • completed visa application form;
  • passport;
  • photo;
  • evidence of payment for visa fees;
  • evidence of the purpose and reasons for staying in the Republic of Serbia;
  • letter of invitation – the individual invitation for a foreigner for a private or business visit should provide their letter whereby they commit to covering the expenses of the foreigner’s stay in our country;
  • appropriate and valid travel health insurance – the insurance duration must exceed the duration of the intended stay in the Republic of Serbia.


Special attention should be paid when submitting the enlisted documentation, since, unless all of the aforementioned requirements are met as prescribed, the visa application will be denied. Consequently, all the documents provided, including the visa fee, will be returned to the applicant.

The deadline for deciding on the application is 15 days from the date of submission; it can, however, be extended up to the maximum of 30 days if there are justified reasons to do so.

The term of visa validity and duration of stay stated in the visa is not to be extended; it may only be extended in case of professional reasons or force majeure.



Not all foreigners need a visa to visit Serbia and reside here. In case you do not need a visa to enter Serbia, you can consider some of the 3 types of stay in Serbia.

Traveling and residency for foreigners in Serbia are regulated by the Law, which lays out 3 types of stay:

  • Tourist Visits up to 90 days in Serbia

(or otherwise, if such prescribed by the bilateral or multilateral agreement)

  • Temporary Residence in Serbia
  • Permanent Residence in Serbia


Tourist Visits – Stay Up to 90 Days in Serbia (visa for a short-stay)

Tourist visits in Serbia are possible with a tourist visa or in a visa-free regime, which depends on the country of your citizenship.

Touristic stay of foreigners, who can enter Serbia in the visa-free regime, can last up to 90 days, within the 180-day term, unless otherwise determined by the Serbian government or a bilateral or multilateral agreement between Serbia and the foreigner’s country. Staying in Serbia as a tourist implies paying attention to the number of days you could stay in our country.

The term “90 days within the 180-day”, means that 180 days keep rolling from the moment of the foreigner’s first entry to Serbia and within those 180 days, a foreigner must not exceed their 90 days of tourist visit to Serbia. For example, in case you enter Serbia on August 28, that means your 180-day term should be counted from then. In the next 180 days, you are not allowed to spend more than 90 days, counting from your first entry into Serbia.

Different statuses for some countries’ citizens can be prescribed by the Serbian government or bilateral or multilateral agreements. For instance, based on the bilateral agreement between Serbia and the Russian Federation, Russian citizens do not need visas for visits of up to 30 days. On the other hand, the citizens of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, or India always require a visa, should they wish to enter Serbia.

On the other hand, foreigners who must obtain an entry visa for Serbia may apply for visa C (short-term visa). Visa C is issued for 90 days to be used within any of the 180 days. Anyhow, those allowed 90 days will again start counting from the day of entering the country.

In case you stay in a hotel, other hospitality entity, or as a natural person who rents their premises for commercial purposes in Serbia, they must register you with the Ministry of Interior, in the local Police Department, within 24 hours upon your arrival. This kind of registration can be done personally at a local Police Station in the municipality of the foreigner’s stay, the Police Department for Foreigners, as well as, online. The same procedure should be followed when changing the address in Serbia, while you are a tourist. In addition, in case you stay with your cousin or friend at their home, they must report your stay as well. After registration, you would get the so-called “thr white card” which would be necessary for the process of obtaining the adequate permit. In other words, registering your tourist address has to be done, in one of the possible ways, and this step cannot be skipped.


Temporary Residence

If planning to stay in Serbia for more than 90 days, you should apply for a temporary residence. If granted, the residence permit will be issued for a maximum period of three years, depending on each case. In practice, it could happen that the authorities grant a temporary residence permit for 6 months, to the applicant who applies for the first time. However, every case differs, and you should always have in mind the authorities’ discretionary power once deciding.

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:

  • Employment (with its special forms, and self-employment),;
  • Family reunion;
  • Investment (real estate ownership);
  • Going to school, studying or doing a professional specialization, scientific work, research, internship, participation in programs of international exchange;
  • Medical treatment;
  • Other justified reasons under the Law and international treaties; and
  • Others.


Depending on the legal ground, the form of the approval will differ. In case the legal ground is employment, professional specialization, scientific work, or research, the foreigner will obtain the unified permit (residency and work permit). In every other case, with any other legal ground, the foreigner could obtain a temporary residence permit. If we are talking about the unified permit, it is issued in the form of a biometric card, whereas the temporary residence permit stamp is inserted into the foreigner’s passport.

A foreigner who was granted temporary residence shall use their residency for the purpose it was granted for. In case the foreigner wants to extend their permit for the upcoming term, the application for extending the permit should be submitted no less than the last day of the validity of the permit, up to a maximum of 3 months before the expiration date.

The reasons for extending the temporary residence permit for the upcoming term are based on the lawful legal ground for residency and the facts related to the previously approved term. For example, whether the foreigner has practically, or predominantly lived in Serbia, i.e. justified their application for residency. Even though the Law does not prescribe any more the obligation to stay in Serbia for half of the approved period, that does not mean that the competent authority does not check that information.


Temporary residence terminates after the expiration date if the residence permit was canceled, or if the state exercises measures of protection or expulsion towards a foreigner.



One of the most often bases foreigners choose for applying for a temporary residence permit, which is not a unified permit, is company formation in Serbia. Being in a role of a founder/member of the limited liability company (the LLC) established in Serbia, or a Managing Director of a Serbian company, represents the legal ground for applying for a unified permit in Serbia. The abovementioned situation is considered as a special legal ground for obtaining the permit to live and work in Serbia, which is called seld-employment.

There are four legal forms of the company in Serbia, however, LLC is the most often and convenient for most business activities.

Once you have decided to establish a company, maybe you have the dilemma of whether you will be a founder/member or a legal representative of the LLC. For the Ministry of Interior, the institution in charge for deciding upon request for the unified permit, the most important fact is whether you are registered in the Business Registers Agency, whether as a founder/member, legal representative, or procurator. In other words, as long as you are officially registered in the Business Registers Agency, you fulfil the condition to apply for the unified permit.


The Founding Act of the LLC

To establish a company in Serbia, immigration lawyers in Serbia can help you with drafting the Founding act, which is the most important document in the company formation process. There are mandatory elements of the Founding act prescribed by Companies Law, however, depending on your current situation, the legal professional you engage would calculate whether is it necessary to include other provisions as well, to protect your interests as a foreigner in Serbia.

One more important note regarding the Founding act is that this document needs to be notarized before a notary public. That can be done by you including your physical presence at the notary’s public office in Serbia, however, you can issue the Special Power of Attorney to Attorney-at-law in Serbia to sign the Founding act on your behalf.


What Else You Should Consider While Establishing a Company in Serbia

Once the Founding act is finished, notarized before the notary public, and digitized or signed with an electronic certificate by the founder or the authorized representative of the founder, the electronic application for the registration of the company is submitted.In case another foreign company would be the founder of the company you are planning to establish in Serbia, it is necessary to submit a properly legalized Extract from the foreign business registry. Since the procedure of obtaining as well as legalization can take some time, take care to advise promptly with a legal professional who would provide you with all the necessary details.

The Serbian Business Registers Agency will register the company in 3 – 5 working days from the day you submit registration application.

Several obligations need to be done promptly after the company is established:

  • The company’s bank account needs to be opened,
  • The tax return needs to be submitted to the competent tax authority,
  • You need to obtain the qualified electronic signature, as well as
  • To register the Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO).


Since the choice of bank is a big decision, you should consider this issue with your legal advisor even before the company is established.



An entrepreneur is a natural person who performs a business activity, which brings them profit. The entrepreneur is registered after completing the process in front of the Business Registers Agency.

Being an entrepreneur in Serbia represents the legal ground for applying for the unified permit that foreigners often choose. Furthermore, it represents one of the forms of self-employment.

It is worth mentioning that all the duties and obligations that arise from performing the business activity of the entrepreneur have an unlimited effect on the entrepreneur’s personal assets. That is the main difference between entrepreneurs and founders/members of the LLC.

Besides that, there are a lot of advantages to performing business activities as an entrepreneur, especially regarding taxation. Namely, for some types of business activities, you can choose a lump-sum taxation system, avoid the obligation to use a cash register, etc. When we are talking about the taxation of entrepreneurs, you should inform yourself regarding the so-called “Independent contractor test” since the criteria for the taxation are strictly prescribed.

To choose the right form of business for your needs and to legally avoid payment of tax liabilities that may arise through this, we suggest that you carry out this procedure with an expert’s assistance.



Serbia is becoming more and more attractive for foreign professionals in a wide range of business activities, especially for those in the IT sector. While some of them decide to start their own business, others choose to obtain a unified permit. The unified permit is a recent addition introduced to the Serbian legal system by the latest Amendments to the Law. It’s called a unified permit because it grants foreigners both the right to live and work in Serbia. This new solution significantly speeds up the process of obtaining the permit. So, if you intend to reside and work in Serbia, or engage in professional specialization, training, or internship, you must submit an application for the issuance of a unified permit.

Exceptionally, foreign nationals residing in Serbia based on family reunification with a foreigner who has been issued a unified permit are entitled to work from the date of approval of their temporary residence, without the issuance of a unified permit, during the validity period of the approved temporary residence.

It is not only the Employment Agreement the one that may be concluded between a foreigner, as an employee, and a Serbian company, as an employer. Serbian Employment Law prescribes the so-called “flexible” forms of the engagement of the employees, such as example, service agreements, temporary and periodical jobs, etc. These agreements can be concluded with foreigners as well, to establish a legal ground for applying for an adequate permit in Serbia.



One of the perks of investing in Serbia is that you can get a residence permit by buying real estate.

In case you already own immovable property in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, the situation is even easier. You only need to submit proof of possession of this property when applying for temporary residence.

On the other hand, if you intend to buy, for example, a house or an apartment in Serbia, it is necessary to conclude a Sales & Purchase Agreement.

However, before that, you need to check our blog post Can Foreigners Buy Property in Serbia? The question that needs to be considered at the beginning is whether between Serbia and your country exists reciprocity regarding buying real estate. The condition of legal reciprocity is met if Serbia has concluded a bilateral agreement regulating the issue of foreigners acquiring real estate with your country. For example, reciprocity exists between Serbia and the USA, which means that citizens of Serbia are eligible to buy real estate in the USA while the citizens of the USA are eligible to buy real estate in Serbia.

Once you confirm that you are eligible to buy real estate in Serbia, for the process of real estate purchase, it is necessary to carry out all the necessary checks for that real estate with the competent state authorities (to check if there is an encumbrance, who the owner is, etc.).

It is important to mention that the tax for the transfer of ownership rights amounts to 2,5% of the purchase price stated in the sale & purchase agreement, which is a one-time tax. In addition to that, you, as the real estate owner, are obliged to pay the property tax. This tax needs to be paid annually, in several installments. The exact amount of this tax may change from year to year, depending on the type of real estate, its age, location, etc.

In Serbia, the Real Estate Sale & Purchase Agreement must be solemnized before a Notary Public. However, you do not become the owner of the property until your ownership rights are registered in the Real Estate Cadastre. After notarization, the Notary Public is obliged to submit the notarized agreement to the competent Real Estate Cadastre office for the registration of the change in ownership rights.

It is useful to know that, when applying for a temporary residence on this basis, you must supply the Ministry of Interior with only a notarized sample of the Real Estate Sale & Purchase Agreement, and not a Real Estate Cadaster’s decision on registering you as an owner. In other words, a foreigner does not have to wait for registration of ownership rights formally to be completed in the Real Estate Cadastre. A foreigner can go to the Police Department and apply for a temporary residence permit immediately after notarization of the agreement before the Notary Public. Of course, you should submit other requested documents, which significantly speeds up and relaxes the application itself.



One more legal ground for applying for the temporary residence permit prescribed by Law is marriage with a Serbian citizen or with a foreigner who has approved a temporary residence permit in Serbia. Here is important to mention that the basis for the application is a common-law partnership with a Serbian citizen or with a foreigner who has approved a temporary residence permit.

All of the documents that the applicants need to submit in the application process need to be properly legalized, in case they are issued by a foreign authority.

The conditions, as well as the list of documents, are different depending on whether you apply based on the marriage or common-law partnership with a Serbian citizen or with a foreigner who has an approved temporary residence permit.


Marriage of Convenience

A marriage of convenience is an institute in Serbian legislation, which goal is to prevent foreigners from unlawfully staying in the Republic of Serbia, based on the alleged marriage.

The responsible authority shall make an informed decision on whether each case represents a marriage of convenience, with special regard to circumstances such as how long the spouses had known each other before entering into marriage, whether they speak the language they both understand, whether material assets have been given to enter that marriage, with exception of assets given as a dowry and provided that the spouses come from countries where giving a dowry is part of the tradition and whether there is evidence of previous marriages of convenience on part of any of the spouses in the Republic of Serbia or abroad. The responsible authority shall deny the request for temporary residence or extension of temporary residence for family reunification if there is a reasonable doubt that the marriage was entered into out of convenience.



When submitting the request for the temporary residence permit, besides having the lawful legal ground, foreigners need to submit a valid travel document, as well as proof of having:

  • valid health insurance; a registered address of residence/domicile in Serbia;
  • Enough Funds to Support their stay in Serbia, so that Serbian authorities can be sure that the foreigner has enough means to support himself.

Exceptionally, proof of enough funds and proof of health insurance are not required if the foreigner is a family member of a citizen of the Republic of Serbia or a foreigner employed in the Republic of Serbia.

The key question is: what is the proper amount of funds?

In essence, a foreigner will meet this requirement if they display the minimum needed amount at their non-resident bank account in Serbia. This amount is referring to the official minimal estimated salary in Serbia, per month of stay, in the year when the application is submitted.


What About Health Insurance?

It is in both Serbia’s and the foreigner’s interest not only to be financially secure during the stay but to have health insurance as well.

For this purpose, when submitting a request for temporary residence, a foreigner should also provide, as proof, a private health insurance policy or health insurance from the home country with a condition that it applies to Serbia as well, based on a bilateral agreement or government ruling.

The Rulebook prescribes more details on fulfilling the conditions for granting temporary residence to foreigners concerning health insurance. The Rulebook stipulates that, together with their application for the temporary residence permit, foreigners should enclose an international health insurance policy, a voluntary health insurance policy, or other documents issued in the RS. Those documents should be under the regulations in the field of health insurance.

The Rulebook also provides one additional option for foreigners. Specifically, instead of attaching one of these documents, a foreigner can prove that they have sufficient funds to cover the possible costs of treatment in the RS until the decision on their request has been made, as well as for the duration of the temporary stay. This possibility is a little more complex and requires greater financial efforts on the foreigner’s part.


Don’t Forget About the Fees!

It is completely understandable to take costs into account when making any life decision, and therefore it should not be forgotten, that, to exercise the right to a temporary stay, it is necessary to pay the prescribed fees.


Online Application

From April 1, 2021, it is possible to apply for a temporary residence permit in Serbia electronically. Before this great novelty, the request for the temporary residence permit was handed over in person to the competent Police Department on the territory of the Republic of Serbia. Regarding the online application for the temporary residence permit, even more, important is that it is possible to apply not only in Serbia but also from abroad.

To apply, you must access and register on the eUprava portal (electronic administration portal). For registration to the eUprava portal, you need only a valid email address. On the other hand, the issue of authenticating the identity of a foreign national has remained open, as foreigners do not have an electronic signature issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, and registration on the portal by entering a username and password does not provide reliable authentication. We hope that an adequate answer to this question will be provided by the technicians in charge of creating the electronic platform.

The decision on the Request itself will be delivered to an e-mailbox on the eUprava portal. If the Request is decided positively, a foreign national will have to be present at the competent police station to put a sticker for temporary residency into their passport.

Procedure for Acquiring a Unified Permit for Temporary Residence and Work in Serbia When employment with a Serbian employer is a legal ground for applying for a temporary residence permit, a foreigner needs to obtain a work permit in Serbia as well. In other words, when concluding an Employment Agreement with a Serbian employer, or if we are talking about special forms of employment, you would need not only the temporary residence permit but the work permit as well.

Up until May 2019, the Law stated that a foreigner must obtain a temporary residence permit first, and only then submit their request for the issuance of a work permit. Although separate, these steps were interdependent, which confused many of our clients who couldn’t figure out which action should be taken at what time.

After that, from December 1, 2020, it was possible to submit a joint request for approval of a temporary residence permit and work permit, when the authorities decided upon both simultaneously, meaning that neither permit will be approved unless the conditions for both permits are met.

How the time has passed, and the practice has shown that the joint procedure created additional problems in the practice, adequate novelties were introduced in the procedure of obtaining the adequate permit. The most important changes are related to:

  • The type of permit the foreigner can seek – the unified permit (which entails both residency and work permit),
  • The way of submitting the request – is exclusively electronically (when it comes to employment, special types of employment and self-employment).


As of February 1, 2024, the application for a unified permit is submitted through the Foreigners’ Portal. The entire application process, along with all necessary documents previously submitted in paper form, is now done electronically. This digitalization enables applications to be submitted from abroad, without foreigner’s physical presence in Serbia.

Upon approval of the application, the unified permit is issued by the Ministry of Interior, in the form of a biometric document. This card now replaces the previous temporary residence permit stamp in the foreigner’s passport, as well as the work permit, as a separate document.

Having in mind that earlier, there were two procedures, and the authorities sometimes took two months before making a decision, this change makes the procedure significantly more efficient, and allows employers to hire foreigners much faster than before. This is a truly huge advantage, having in mind that there are foreigners who are skilled and knowledgeable in the fields necessary not only for employers but also for the Republic of Serbia. Also, this makes the procedure of coming to the Republic of Serbia and forming a company with foreign capital, and the business of companies that have foreign managing directors much easier.



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 3 years – up to the date of submitting the request for permanent residence, by having been granted a temporary residence permit in those 3 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 permanent residence.


Additionally, the competent authority will grant permanent residency to a foreigner who has resided continuously in Serbia for more than 3 years based on approved asylum status.

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 in mind formal as well as practical and real facts in connection to the request. For example, the time foreigner has spent in Serbia in the past 3 years.



A large number of foreigners who choose Serbia as their new home and a new seat for their business is the best proof that there are a lot of advantages that Serbia as a country provides.

Some foreigners recognize the possibility of extending their business or taking advantage of new business and investment opportunities closer to the EU.

Reasonable tax rates in Serbia are a great benefit the foreigners recognize, comparing Serbia with similarly developed countries. For example, in Serbia, corporate income tax amounts to 15%, while personal income tax is 10%.

The Serbian government is greatly aware of the potential foreign professionals and investors bring in our country, therefore, constantly improves the legislation as well as introduces new measures to motivate their decision to move themselves and their businesses to Serbia. This initiative is especially dominant regarding taxation in Serbia benefits.

There are some great tax benefits regarding employment. Namely, one of the favorable provisions for foreigners considered “newly-settled taxpayers” in Serbian law prescribes the possibility for their employer to pay 70% fewer taxes and mandatory contributions calculated on the employee’s salary, in case certain conditions are met.

Furthermore, not only the ones who are employed in Serbia enjoy the benefits. Certain advantages are provided for business owners as well. If you add a simple, quick, and economical procedure for company formation in Serbia, there is no doubt that Serbia is a great destination in case you decide to move or extend your business.

Protective labor legislation, cheap cost of living, a good education system as well as a solid healthcare system are features that both Serbian citizens and foreign residents in Serbia can confirm.



  1. How Long Can I Stay in Serbia?

The answer to that question is not straightforward. The duration of your stay in Serbia is regulated under the bilateral relationship and bilateral agreements between Serbia and your country.

Therefore, depending on the bilateral agreement Serbia and your country concluded, you either must obtain a visa for every entry to Serbia (for example: for the citizens of the Philippines), or you can stay in Serbia as a tourist, without a visa, for a limited time.

The most liberal touristic regime is a visa-free entry and stays up to 90 days in 180 days (for example: for the citizens of Ukraine).


  1. Can I Use My Visa-Free Touristic Stay Upon Each Entry in Serbia?

Foreigners who are in a visa-free regime with Serbia are often mistaken about how to count their tourist days in Serbia. People often believe that their tourist visa-free stay begins each time they enter the country. While that is the rule that can be applied to some foreigners, in most cases, this would mean a violation of the law.

For instance, if you are entitled to stay in Serbia for 90 days, as tourist days, within 180 days, your 180-day period does not begin each time you enter Serbia.

Therefore, you should count how many days have you spent in Serbia within the last 180 days, to check whether you have overreached the 90-day limit within those past 180 days in Serbia.

Some foreigners are entitled to stay in Serbia for 90 days within 6 months period starting from the date of the first entry. In this case, the days a foreigner spent in Serbia do not annulate each time he enters the country, whereas, the foreigner should count how many days he has spent in Serbia, from the day of his first entrance to the period of the previous 6 months. That is the situation with the citizens of Belgium, Argentina, Canada, the USA, etc.

On the other hand, there are some country nationals whose tourist visa-free stay begins each time they enter Serbia. This is the case, for example, with the citizens of the Russian Federation.


  1. Can I Extend My Tourist Stay in Serbia?

In general, a touristic stay or touristic visa cannot be extended in Serbia. However, the Law stipulates some exceptional cases in which it can be done but it does not list examples of such exceptions.

Also, this provision was practically unusable in practice, given it required meeting particularly high standards, which were rarely met by a foreigner, until 2020, when COVID-19 hit, and people had limited ability to move and travel.


  1. Can I Apply for a Long-Term Visa (“Visa D”) From Serbia?

As a general rule, visa D (“long-term visa”) can only be issued by the Serbian embassy in a foreign country.

However, from May 2021, all foreigners who come to Serbia intending to work can apply for visa D, online via the eConsulate portal.


  1. How Long Does It Take To obtain a Temporary Residence or a Unified Permit In Serbia?

Depending on the legal grounds suitable for obtaining any permit, the procedure can vary. The application for a temporary residence permit in Serbia, based on real estate ownership, or family reunification for instance, can still be submitted to the competent Police Department. On the other hand, the other option is to submit requests electronically.

In both cases, the Police Department then forwards it to the Ministry of Interior, which examines the fulfillment of the conditions for issuing a temporary residence permit in the internal control procedure. Data processing and the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs last for up to 15 days.

Once you submit your application for the temporary residence permit or the unified permit, you do not need to “count” anymore the days of your tourist stay in Serbia. In other words, while waiting for the decision of the Police Department you can legally stay in Serbia even if you exceed your tourist visit.


  1. I Am a US/UK/EU Resident, or I Have a Schengen Visa and I Want to Apply for Temporary Residence in Serbia

Schengen regulations relate to the citizenship of the visitor. Therefore, if your country of citizenship is on the list of countries in the visa regime for Schengen, temporary residence in Serbia would not change your status and obligations in this matter.

The conditions for traveling to third-party countries should always be checked in that country’s regulations.


  1. Can I Renew My Temporary Residence Permit, or the unified permit in Serbia, as long as I Still Have a Legal Ground for Residency in Serbia?

The temporary residence permit, i.e., the unified permit may be extended as long as you provide a legal ground for the application. However, bearing in mind that the authority questions the justification of each application, besides the formal requirements.


  1. Can I Become a Resident of Serbia Based on Retirement?

Even though the fact that you receive your retirement, which implies that you do not treat to become a subject of public welfare, this alone is not enough reason to approve the temporary residence and does not represent a legal ground to apply for the temporary residence permit in Serbia.


  1. Do I Need to Be Physically Present in Serbia to Apply for Temporary Residence, or for the unified permit?

No, you do not have to be physically present, the application can be submitted online.

 Thus, there is a moment when you have to be present in Serbia – the moment you collect the temporary residence permit stamp, which will be issued in your passport, or once you come to collect your unified permit.


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

In the application for the residence permit, or for the unified permit, you need to submit documentation that will be proof of the reason for their residence permit. In that way, you are proving that your application is justified and genuine. The documentation differs depending on the legal ground and is regulated by different regulations.


  1. What Are the Reasons to Terminate the Residence Permit in Serbia?

  • Termination of the residence permit may occur for several reasons: If subsequently, the authorities that already approved residency, find out that there were one or more reasons prescribed by the Law to reject the request for temporary residence;
  • Upon the expiry of the residence permit, which was not renewed


If the state exercises measures of protection or expulsion toward a foreigner.

By analogy, the same principles and reasons are applicable in the sphere of termination of the unified permit.


  1. Cancelling the touristic stay in Serbia?

A foreigner’s short-term (tourist) stay may be canceled if there are legal obstacles that prevent entry into the Republic of Serbia. These reasons are based predominantly on fraudulent activities and risks to national security and public interest.

In the aforementioned situations, the competent authority cancels the short-term stay by decision, imposes a ban on entering the country, and determines the deadline by which the foreigner must leave the Republic of Serbia.


  1. Illegal Stay of Foreigners in Serbia – Any Consequences?

In case you, as a foreigner in Serbia, reside with no legal basis, you 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. Apart from that, that kind of behavior is considered as misdemeanor, so the foreigner can expect a fine of up to RSD 150.000.


  1. What Happens If a Foreigner Does Not Leave Serbia After the Residence Permit Expires?

If you do not leave Serbia within the ordered timeframe, the Ministry of Interior will use force to remove you from Serbian territory. To ensure enforcement of the protective measure of expulsion, your passport or other documents and travel tickets may be temporarily seized. The cost of the forced expulsion will be reimbursed by you, except when particular conditions are fulfilled, and the Republic of Serbia bears the cost.


Do Your Research Before Deciding

If you are not a citizen of the Republic of Serbia and are considered a foreigner, but you wish to reside in Serbia, the provided information may serve as a base, i.e., as the preliminary and core information you should have when considering this option.

One should bear in mind that this is a complex area with variations that vary from case to case, i.e. from the requirements and capabilities of each applicant. Even though we drafted a detailed and well-structured guide, it does not replace the legal advice of an Attorney-at-law experienced in the field of the Rights of Foreigners.

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.





Not Just Another Newsletter

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