Serbia is on the verge of joining the EU, and it has good implications for the country’s citizens: they may get an EU passport soon! And if you are not a citizen of Serbia, you can become a resident now to obtain citizenship by the time it becomes an EU member. This is quite a viable plan for obtaining EU citizenship that has its pros and cons: on the one hand, it is affordable, and on the other hand – EU membership is still in the air. However, there are very few other possibilities for obtaining an EU passport (via a citizenship-by-investment program in Malta which will require considerable investments, and via a residence-by-investment program in Portugal which is not as costly but is still more expensive than Serbia). You can take a certain risk if you want to and opt for Serbia!
Want to know more about the country before making a decision? Welcome to our portal where you will find a knowledge base of articles written by our experts. You will find everything you need about Serbian business, banking, investment (including investment in real estate), taxes, lifestyle, and more. You can also book a session with our expert (for free!) who will tell you more about Serbia or recommend another destination if you jointly come to the conclusion that you need to look the other way. And if you want us to set up a company or a bank account for you, we will do so at a reasonable fee.
Basics About Serbia in 2023
Serbia is now open to residents of all countries, and you no longer need a PCR test which was a must at the time of COVID restrictions.
If you are a foreigner and you would like to obtain a Serbian residence permit, there are a few ways to do so: you can buy real estate (there are no cost limitations like in other countries), establish a company, marry a citizen of Serbia, or find a job with a local company.
If you have lived in Serbia for 5 years, you can apply for permanent residence, and it will entitle you to enter EU states without a visa.
Visa-Free Access to Serbia
There are countries whose citizens can enter Serbia without a visa and stay there for a certain number of days:
- USA, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Uruguay
- Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Switzerland, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Iceland, San Marino, Albania, Vatican, and Norway
- EU member states
- Post-USSR states: Russia, Republic of Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova
- Australia and New Zealand
- Asian countries: UAE, Israel, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Turkey, Macau, and Hong Kong
- Seychelles and Tunisia
Number of Days
If you come from a state whose citizens can enter Serbia without a visa, you will usually have the right to stay there from 30 to 90 days without obtaining any permits. Let’s look at some countries:
- If you come from an EU member state or have a valid UK, US, or Schengen visa, you can stay in Serbia for up to 90 days
- If you come from Russia, Belarus, or Kazakhstan, you can stay for up to 30 days
- Those who come from Ukraine, Armenia, and Azerbaijan have the right to stay in Serbia for 90 days within half a year
Rules of Stay in Serbia with Different Permits
Let’s look at the permitted length of stay in the country with different documents:
- A foreign passport gives the right to stay in Serbia for 30 to 90 days as we said above.
- Visa C will entitle you to stay in the country for no more than 90 days within half a year.
- Visa D is a document that allows you to stay in Serbia for up to 180 days a year.
- If you are in transit, you don’t need any special permits. Keep in mind, however, that you cannot stay in the territory of Serbia for more than 24 hours in this case – just enough to take another plane or train.
- A Serbian residence permit gives you the right to stay in the country for up to 1 year and renew it upon expiration.
Extending Your Stay
How can you stay in Serbia for longer than your international passport allows? Let’s look at possible alternatives:
- Visa run. It’s a perfectly legal way to stay in Serbia for longer (though you cannot expect the local authorities to recommend it): you cross the border to a state neighboring Serbia, like Bosnia or Montenegro, and then re-enter Serbia. As a result, you can stay in Serbia for another 30 (or 90) days. This is a trick popular with many people, and it can be repeated as many times as you want to.
- Short-term Visa C. This document is granted for a year, giving you the right to stay in the country for 90 days every 6 months. However, there is one problem: it is hard to extend it as you should have a good reason to do so and provide supporting documents.
- Long-term Visa D. It is granted to those who want to obtain a local residence permit, conclude a labor agreement in Serbia, buy real estate in the country, and so on. You can extend this visa provided that the reason for obtaining it remains valid.
- Extending a local residence permit is the easiest option: you simply state the reason why you need it and extend it for one year. The reasons for the extension are similar to Visa D: work, studies, having a company or real estate in the country, and so on. Five extensions give you the right to permanent residence.
Want to relocate to Serbia and take a chance to obtain an EU passport in the future? Our experts can help you with the following steps (which may be tricky if you venture on your own):
- Open a bank account with a Serbian bank and get a card
- Buy real estate (we have attractive offers in our catalog to suit every budget and taste)
- Rent an apartment in a comfortable place
- Obtain a residence permit following the start of a business or its re-domiciliation to Serbia
Interested in minimization of administrative barriers or simply want to know more? Follow the above link to read more about Serbia or book a session with our specialist!