Exclusive Insights: What the New Law of Citizenship in Serbia Brings to Foreigners
As of May 2023, Serbia is proposing amendments to its Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia that could potentially bring significant benefits to foreigners interested in obtaining Serbian citizenship. The proposed amendments aim to streamline and simplify the citizenship application process, while also expanding eligibility criteria for foreign applicants. Here are some of the benefits that foreigners may expect from the proposed changes:
Quicker to Serbian Citizenship
- The amendments introduce a new basis for the admission of a foreigner to citizenship. A certain category of foreigners, who have an approved temporary residence for the period of only 1 year and meet the requirements regarding education and employment will be able to acquire citizenship if he submits a written statement that he considers the Republic of Serbia to be his country.
Faster Registration of Citizenship
- There is a proposal for the facilitated submission of requests for registration in the records of citizens of the Republic of Serbia and release from citizenship for minors. Namely, due to death or deprivation of parental rights of a parent who is a citizen of the Republic of Serbia, in accordance with the current legal solution, the minors could not be entered into the records of citizens of the Republic of Serbia, considering that the parent who is a foreign citizen is not able to submit an application for the registration. The amendment will allow a parent who is not a citizen of the Republic of Serbia to submit a request for registration in the records of citizens of the Republic of Serbia and thereby achieve the connection of the child with the country of origin of the other parent.
New Solution for Apatrides
- The amendments also introduce a new statelessness protection mechanism for persons who so far have not taken advantage of the legal opportunities to apply for the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia and thus remained without documents, i.e. “legally invisible persons“. Given the determination of the Republic of Serbia to eradicate statelessness and through multi-year activities aimed at solving the problem legally invisible faces, the possibility of supplementing some norms with new solutions was recognized. This will enable certain categories of citizens living in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, that due to lack of stability or different life circumstances, they have not adjusted their status until now, to obtain personal documents and thereby become visible in the legal system of the Republic of Serbia.
New Conditions For Admission to Serbian Citizenship
- For the citizenship admission of a foreigner who has been granted permanent residence in the RS, two important conditions will no longer be required. Namely, a dismissal from previous citizenship and the residence in the RS for a period of three years will no longer be required for foreigners, except for those foreigners who have been granted permanent residence due to the approved right to asylum, for whom the request to have a residence in RS for three years stays.
New Possibilities For Spouses of Serbian Nationals
- There will be a possibility for the spouses of our citizens who do not have permanent residence in the RS to acquire citizenship after ten years spent in marriage, which was not the case until now (spouses of domestic citizens who have approved permanent residence can be admitted without additional conditions, i.e. without conditions that the marriage union lasts for three years as it is now prescribed.)
As for the admission to citizenship of descendants of emigrants from the RS, the conditions will be tightened – it is specified that descendants up to the second degree of kinship in the direct line can be admitted to citizenship, and only if the emigrant has not been dismissed from the citizenship of the RS.
It’s important to note that these amendments are still in the proposal stage and have not yet been enacted. However, if they are passed, they could bring significant benefits to foreigners interested in obtaining Serbian citizenship. As always, individuals considering obtaining citizenship in another country should consult with immigration professionals to determine the best course of action for their specific circumstances.
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