ATTENTION! New Benefits For Serbian Diaspora & Foreigners Finally Revealed

In order to solve the problem of regulating the status of foreign citizens of Serbian origin, the Government of Serbia launched the “Point of Return” program, within which the “Carta Serbica” program was launched, which includes an easier procedure for obtaining temporary residence.

The Carta Serbica program was established on the basis of amendments to the Regulation on the criteria for determining the categories of foreigners and the categories of foreigners who can be granted temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia regardless of the grounds for granting temporary residence (“Regulation“). The novelty is that temporary residence can be granted to foreigners who have proven Serbian origin.

The original version of the Regulation defined that temporary residence, regardless of the basis for acquisition, is granted to the following categories of foreigners:

  • Foreigners who founded a company in the Republic of Serbia whose innovative activity is recognized (confirmed) by a registered science and technology park, of which one of the founders is the Republic of Serbia, an autonomous province, the city of Belgrade, or a local self-government unit (so-called “startup”);
  • Foreigners who invest in an already registered company in the Republic of Serbia, i.e. in the activities of that company by investing in basic tangible and intangible assets (the so-called “investor”);
  • Foreigners who have a decision on the professional recognition of a higher education certificate issued by the competent authority of the Republic of Serbia (the so-called “talent”).

Who is this program for?

Carta Serbica is a program intended for members of the diaspora of Serbian origin who do not possess the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia, but want to live, work or retire here. These are persons of Serbian origin who were born in the diaspora or, due to certain life circumstances, left the Republic of Serbia and renounced their Serbian citizenship.

Even when that person has the possibility to obtain Serbian citizenship, the acquisition procedure itself, i.e. admission, will last several months. This program will enable them to obtain a residence permit through a simplified procedure and legally live and work in every part of the Republic of Serbia until they define their status.

In addition, it is estimated that the simplified procedure would attract foreigners of Serbian origin who, for objective reasons, cannot have dual citizenship, to move to the Republic of Serbia and reconnect with their country of origin.

How to prove Serbian origin?

Serbian origin can be proven by submitting one of the following documents:

  • Domestic public document or foreign public document that can establish the applicant’s Serbian origin; or
  • Baptismal / Christening certificate of the Serbian Orthodox Church, from which the Serbian origin of the applicant, i.e. his ancestor, can be determined.

If the submitted document proves the Serbian origin of the applicant’s direct ancestor, it is necessary to submit documentation that establishes a direct kinship with the person whose origin is proven.

What does the procedure look like?

In order to successfully submit a request for temporary residence in Serbia based on the Carta Serbica program, in addition to documents proving Serbian origin, you must also collect general documentation – the Request for Temporary Residence form with accompanying identification documents and certificates. All collected documentation must be submitted to the competent Department for Foreigners.

Temporary residence on this basis is issued for one year, with the possibility of an unlimited number of extensions. However, when submitting a request for an extension of temporary stay, it will be necessary to submit some of the following documents:

  • Employment contract, work contract, or other contract proving the employment of a foreign citizen in the Republic of Serbia;
  • Certificate of registration of a legal entity in the Republic of Serbia during the period of validity of the previously valid temporary residence, whose one of the founders is the foreign citizen;
  • Certificate of acquisition of real estate in the territory of the Republic of Serbia;
  • Certificate of income abroad, i.e. certificate of use of the right to a pension earned abroad.

Work Permit

Obtaining a temporary residence permit does not automatically mean obtaining a work permit, because, in order to obtain it, it is necessary to go through the procedure of the National Employment Service.

Persons who receive Temporary Residence on this basis have the right to a personal work permit, which means that they can freely change employers without restrictions.

P.S. The application of the new Regulation has not yet fully taken root in practice, so it is best to carefully consider your situation within the context of the existing approach of the Serbian state authorities.

For more information on this or any other legal, tax, or business topic, feel free to write to us at [email protected] at any time or call us at phone number +381113281914 every working day from 08:30 to 16:30

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analysing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the authors of this publication, your AK STATT representative or other competent legal counsel.

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