How to get a temporary residence permit and work permit if you are a foreigner in Serbia?

If you are a foreigner who wants to live and work in Serbia, in the text below will guide you through the regulations and necessary documentation for obtaining a temporary residence permit and later a work permit in Serbia.

The stay of foreigners in Serbia is regulated by the Law on foreigners (“Law”). According to the provisions of the Law, a foreigner for whose stay is not require a visa can stay in Serbia for a maximum of 90 days, within a period of 180 days, which is also the case when a short-stay foreigner visa is granted. If you want to stay in Serbia longer because you also intend to work here, in this case you should apply for a temporary residence permit. Before applying for a temporary residence permit as a foreigner, you will need to register first. Registration is carried out at the police station in the municipality where the address is located. For this registration you will need the following documentation:

  • Completed form – known as white card
  • Passport
  • Identity card of the person at whose address you are registering
  • Proof of ownership or other legal basis for the address at which you are registering.

Upon obtaining the white card, you can start the application process for a temporary residence permit. As it is possible to apply for temporary residence on different grounds, the required documentation can be divided into two categories, the mandatory documentation and the special documentation, which is submitted in relation to the grounds on which the temporary residence permit is requested.

As mandatory documentation the following must be submitted:

  • Completed form;
  • Valid passport;
  • Proof of livelihood during the planned stay;
  • Registration of residence address in Serbia;
  • Evidence of health insurance during the planned stay;
  • Two photos;
  • Proof of payment of the administrative fee.

If the basis for requesting a temporary residence permit is employment, there are several subcategories in this case, for each case specific documentation is only slightly different.

If you want to apply for temporary residence permit on the ground of employment, special documentation is required:

  • Excerpt from the APR Register for employer;
  • An employment contract or other contract under which a foreigner is engaged, provided for by theLabor Law;
  • When the employment relationship is first established, a report from the National Employment Service on the fulfillment of the conditions for employment – a labor market test – is also required.

For self-employment of a foreigner, who is the founder of a company or is registered in Serbia as an entrepreneur by special documentation, it is necessary to submit:

  • Excerpt from the APR Register

For employment on the basis of a contract on business-technical cooperation with a foreign legal entity for a foreigner who is sent to work in Serbia, the following documents are submitted:

  • Excerpt from the APR Register for legal entity established in Serbia;
  • Agreement on business-technical cooperation with a foreign legal entity;
  • Decision of a foreign legal entity to appoint foreigner to work in Serbia, if it is not contained in the Agreement on business-technical cooperation;
  • Certificate for the engagement of a foreigner from a legal entity from Serbia.

If you wish to apply for temporary residence permit for the employment of a foreigner moving within a company established abroad, who is appointed or temporarily transferred to work in a legal entity established in Serbia, following special documentation is submitted:

  • Excerpt from the APR Register for legal entity established in Serbia;
  • Decision of a foreign legal entity to appoint or temporary transfer a foreigner to work in a legal entity in Serbia;
  • Certificate for the engagement of a foreigner from a legal entity from Serbia.

Upon submission of the requested documentation, the competent authority will decide waiting 30 days. As the competent authority is authorized to request additional documentation, in order to determine the eligibility for temporary residence permits, it is recommended that you hire an attorney for this matter in order to provide you with expert assistance.

And now, after a foreigner has been granted a temporary residence permit, a procedure for obtaining a work permit is initiated before the competent National Employment Service. The basic condition for obtaining a work permit for a foreigner is that the foreigner has been granted a temporary residence permit. Depending on the type of work permit, the documentation which needs to be submitted when applying is different. Below we present in more detail the necessary documentation for obtaining a work permit.

If you are applying for the work permit for employment the following documentations shall also be submitted:

  • Excerpt from the APR Register for employer;
  • Foreigner’s passport;
  • Temporary residence permit;
  • Proposal of employment contract or other contract under which the foreigner is engaged;
  • Statement by the employer that they did not fired workers for the specific job for which the foreigner is hiring due to technological, economic or organizational changes or the CROSO certificate if they did fire the employees;
  • Excerpt from the Rulebook on job classification, if the employer has less than 10 employees a statement containing the job title and description, education required, or specific requirements for a specific job;
  • Diploma, ie. a certificate of the foreigner’s educational background;
  • Proof of fulfillment of special conditions required for a specific job;
  • Proof of payment of the administrative fee.

If, however, you are applying for a work permit for self-employment, in that case, as special documents, the following shall be submitted:

  • Foreigner’s passport;
  • Temporary residence permit;
  • Statement by a foreigner of the type, duration and extent of the activities he or she wishes to engage in, which should include the number and structure of the person he or she has planned to employ;
  • A certificate proving that a foreigner has the appropriate qualifications to perform a particular activity and its certified translation;
  • Contract or pre-contract for ownership or lease of business premises;
  • Proof of paid administrative fee.

When applying for a work permit for appointed persons, the following shall be submitted in addition to the application itself:

  • Excerpt from the APR Register for employer;
  • Foreigner’s passport;
  • Temporary residence permit;
  • Agreement on business-technical cooperation between a foreign employer and an employer from Serbia, which contains the place and deadline for performing the job, as well as a certified translation of the contract;
  • Employment contract of foreign employer and foreigner or confirmation that the foreigner has been employed for more than one year;
  • Agreement between the foreign employer and the employee or confirmation by the foreign employer that the food will be provided for foreigner, while working in Serbia, as well as a certified translation of the contract or certificate;
  • Decision of the foreign employer to appoint foreigner for temporary work to Serbia, as well as a certified translation;
  • Lease agreement or other proof of secured accommodation for a foreigner in Serbia;
  • Proof of paid administrative fee.

And finally, if a work permit is requested for foreigner’s movement within a company, then the following additional documentation is submitted in addition to the application:

  • Excerpt from the APR Register for employer;
  • Foreigner’s passport;
  • Temporary residence permit;
  • Contract or confirmation by the foreign employer that the foreigner has been employed for at least one year as manager, specialist or specialist in certain fields and certified translation, unless a work permit is requested for trainees;
  • Decision of the foreign employer to appoint the foreigner for temporary work to Serbia, as well as its certified translation;
  • Proof of paid administrative fee.

After the application and all necessary documentation is submitted the National Employment Service will decide within 30 days. After the work permit is approved the Applicant is served with the Decision.

After amendments to the Law on Foreigners and the Law on Employment of Foreigners, came into force earlier this year, the applications for temporary residence permits and work permits may be submitted simultaneously, even electronically, while the foreigner is still outside the territory of Serbia. However, until the competent ministers adopt by-laws which will regulate this procedure in more detail, and until an electronic system is in place that allows such a request, until then, the procedure for granting temporary residence and issuing a work permit to foreigners will be conducted separately, in a way that we have explained in detail above.