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Serbian citizenship – why you should obtain one?

Marija Medic

Marija Medić

Senior Associate

26/12/2023

In an age of global connectivity and expanded horizons, citizenship’s significance has evolved. Serbia, with its rich history and strategic location in the Balkans, emerges as an appealing choice in the quest for a second passport. Beyond visa-free access to the EU, Serbian citizenship beckons those seeking a profound connection with a nation steeped in history and vitality.

In the exploration of international mobility, among many questions that arise, one of them is whether it is possible to hold several passports, at the same time. Serbia, with its evolving citizenship approach and strategic European location, serves as a noteworthy example.

How many passports does Serbia allow?

Understanding the number of passports a country permits its citizens to hold is integral in the realm of international mobility.

In the case of Serbia, citizens are allowed to hold multiple passports concurrently, aligning with the global trend embracing the idea of dual or even multiple citizenships. This flexibility caters to the diverse circumstances and needs of individuals seeking Serbian citizenship. Serbia’s strategic location in Europe further enhances its attractiveness as a jurisdiction of choice, making it a noteworthy consideration for those contemplating the acquisition of a second passport.

How strong is a Serbian passport?

In the intricate realm of international travel, the strength of a passport holds profound implications. While the Serbian passport may not boast the pinnacle status globally, it stands as a testament to a nation progressing on the world stage.

Visa-Free Diplomacy: Paving the Way

The Serbian passport, though not holding the zenith position, facilitates border crossings with notable ease. Serbian citizens benefit from visa-free access to a substantive number of countries, a testament to diplomatic efforts and strategic alliances.

Navigating Rankings: A Strategic Ascent

Participating in renowned indices like the Henley Passport Index, Serbia’s passport ranking is subject to dynamic shifts. Influenced by diplomatic engagements, visa regulations, and geopolitical events, Serbia’s standing has witnessed a steady ascent, reflecting an improved global mobility landscape.

As of recent rankings, the Serbian passport holds the 36th position globally. This standing is indicative of the travel privileges it affords to its holders.

Illustrated Progress: Instances and Statistics

Consider the Serbian passport as a conduit to diverse landscapes. It grants visa-free passage to all members of the European Union as well as countries such as Turkey, Georgia, and neighboring Balkan nations. Noteworthy is the strategic ease of travel to Russia The details regarding traveling to Russia with a Serbian passport as well as traveling to Serbia with a Russian passport, can be found in our blog on Russian citizens moving to Serbia

Do Serbians need visas for Russia?

Serbian citizens could enter Russia for short stays of up to 30 days without requiring a visa. This visa-free access is applicable for various purposes, including tourism, business meetings, or other similar activities.

An advantageous feature for Serbian passport holders is the flexibility it affords when traveling to Russia. Notably, Serbian citizens can depart and re-enter Russia on the same day, effectively extending their permissible stay in the country for an additional 30 days. This unique provision provides convenience for those with Serbian passports, allowing for more extended visits and flexibility in their travel arrangements within Russia. Discover detailed information about the residence of Russian citizens in Serbia on our blog on entry and visa requirements for Russian citizens coming to Serbia, where this topic is thoroughly examined.

Do Serbians need visas for the EU?

Serbian passport holders enjoy the valuable privilege of visa-free entry to the European Union (EU) for short stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This convenience extends to certain Schengen Area countries, allowing Serbian citizens to explore and engage in various activities across the EU without the need for a visa. This aspect significantly enhances the appeal of Serbian citizenship, providing seamless travel opportunities within a considerable part of Europe. The 90-day visa-free access contributes to the overall advantages that Serbian citizenship offers, making it an appealing option for those seeking international mobility and connectivity within the EU.

Do Serbians need visas for the USA?

Serbian citizens are presently not granted entry to the United States of America (the USA) without a visa, whether for tourism or business purposes. The mandatory requirement for Serbian citizens seeking entrance to the USA is the acquisition of a B1/B2 visa.

In recent years, notable efforts have been made to streamline the visa application process for Serbian citizens. The introduction of online scheduling for appointments at the nearest US embassy or consulate marks a significant enhancement in this regard. Subsequently, after the initial issuance of a US visa to a Serbian citizen, the renewal process has transitioned to a fully online format, obviating the necessity for the individual’s physical presence.

These advancements underscore the commitment to facilitating smoother processes for Serbian citizens navigating the complexities of obtaining and renewing visas for the United States.

How can I get Serbian citizenship?

The acquisition of citizenship in Serbia is governed by The Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia (hereinafter: the Law), which outlines four fundamental methods:

  1. Citizenship by descent
  2. Birth within the territory of the Republic of Serbia
  3. Admission
  4. Pursuant to international treaties

 

The primary avenue for acquiring citizenship is through descent, with the place of birth serving as an additional criterion. On the contrary, gaining citizenship via international treaties is not a conventional method and is typically associated with situations involving changes in state borders. This approach is instrumental in defining citizenship relations between two countries.

When addressing the admission of foreign nationals into citizenship, the Law mandates the fulfillment of certain prerequisites related to the approval of permanent residence in Serbia, in accordance with regulations governing the movement and residence of foreigners.

In addition to the aforementioned requirement, a foreign national must meet the following conditions:

  1. Be 18 years of age and not deprived of working capacity;
  2. Either be released from foreign citizenship or provide evidence that they will be granted dismissal upon admission into the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia;
  3. Have an uninterrupted residence in the territory of the Republic of Serbia for at least three years until the application is submitted;
  4. Submit a written statement expressing their acknowledgment of the Republic of Serbia as their state.

 

It’s noteworthy that the condition regarding the release from previous citizenship is considered fulfilled if the application is submitted by a stateless person or if evidence is provided that, under the law of their country of nationality, they will automatically lose nationality upon admission into our citizenship.

Moreover, the Law offers a solution in cases where a foreign country does not allow the release from citizenship or sets conditions for release that a foreigner cannot fulfill. In such instances, it is sufficient for the applicant to submit a declaration renouncing foreign citizenship upon acquiring citizenship of the Republic of Serbia.

Birth within the territory of the Republic of Serbia

Beyond these general conditions, the Law also outlines several benefits for foreigners associated with birth on the territory of the Republic of Serbia and marriage to Serbian citizens.

For instance, a foreigner born on the territory of the Republic of Serbia can be admitted to the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia if they have continuously resided in the country for at least two years until the submission of the admission application, coupled with a written statement affirming the Republic of Serbia as their state.

In cases where the application for admission to Serbian citizenship is based on marriage with a Serbian citizen, the benefit lies in the possibility for a foreigner married to a citizen of the Republic of Serbia, or whose marriage has been registered in Serbia for at least three years, and who has been granted permanent residency in the Republic of Serbia, to be accepted as a citizen of the Republic of Serbia upon submission of a written statement considering the Republic of Serbia as their own state.

Under the most favorable terms outlined in Article 23, paragraph 1 of the Law, individuals of the Serbian nation and their descendants, identifying Serbia as their country of origin, enjoy a simplified process. Notably, residency in Serbia or renunciation of other citizenships is not obligatory. For Serbian nationals residing outside the Republic of Serbia, proving Serbian origin is the primary requirement for citizenship admission. Additionally, fulfilling conditions such as legal age and a written declaration recognizing Serbia as their country is essential. Explore comprehensive insights on obtaining Serbian citizenship in our blog on obtaining the Serbian citizenship by descent for an in-depth understanding of the process.

How fast can I obtain Serbian citizenship?

The timeline for obtaining Serbian citizenship can vary based on several factors, including the specific pathway you choose. Generally, the process may take several months. Here are a few key considerations:

  1. Citizenship by Descent: If you’re eligible for citizenship by descent, the process might be relatively faster, typically within a few months.
  2. Admission to Citizenship: For those opting for regular naturalization, the timeline may be extended as it involves fulfilling residency requirements and other conditions.
  3. Special decision of government: The timeline for obtaining citizenship on this ground usually takes a few months.

 

The actual duration is subject to the specific circumstances of your case.

Do I need to give up on other citizenships?

Acquiring Serbian citizenship doesn’t typically necessitate renouncing your existing citizenship(s). Serbia has embraced the global trend of recognizing and permitting dual or multiple citizenships. This flexibility allows you to enjoy the benefits of Serbian citizenship while retaining the rights and privileges of your original citizenship. 

Acquiring Serbian citizenship through the admission process mandates the relinquishment of any other citizenship you hold, as per the established requirement.

Conversely, the pathway to obtain Serbian citizenship for Serbian descendants is more flexible, not demanding the renunciation of their current citizenship. This distinction reflects the nuanced conditions based on the specific category of citizenship acquisition, allowing Serbian descendants to maintain dual citizenship if they wish to do so.

Does Serbia have a citizenship-by-investment program?

While Serbia doesn’t have a formal citizenship-by-investment program, it does offer the possibility of acquiring citizenship through a special decision of the government. This special decision is often issued for individuals making a significant contribution to the Republic of Serbia, such as substantial investments.

If you’re considering obtaining Serbian citizenship through a noteworthy contribution, such as a substantial investment, it’s crucial to note that each case is unique. The decision is made on a case-by-case basis, and factors such as the magnitude of the investment and its impact on the Serbian economy will likely be taken into account. More details can be found in our blog on Serbian citizenship by investment.

Opening New Horizons - Obtaining Serbian Citizenship

Serbian citizenship is a great option in today’s world of global connections. Serbia, with its rich history and strategic importance, is inviting for those looking for a second passport.

 

Whether you’re interested in traveling to the EU, enjoying visa-free benefits, or understanding the flexible rules on having more than one citizenship, Serbia has something to offer. Its rise in the global passport ranking to the 36th position reflects its improved global standing.

 

The ways to become a citizen, like descent, admission, or a special government decision, cater to different needs. Serbia’s efforts to make visa processes smoother and unique benefits for its citizens add to its attractiveness. In simple terms, Serbian citizenship combines history, convenience, and strategic advantages, making it an appealing choice for those exploring dual citizenship and global opportunities.

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