Are you looking to move to Serbia permanently? If yes, you should read this guide on applying for Serbia permanent residency.
Serbia has become one of the most attractive countries for ex-pats worldwide. The country offers excellent opportunities for those who want to start their new life there. Living in Serbia has many benefits, such as low cost of living, high quality of life, beautiful nature, etc.
Serbia is a member of the European Union (EU) and Schengen Area. As a result, citizens of EU/Schengen states enjoy visa-free travel within the area. In addition, they also want freedom of movement across the whole Schengen zone.
However, to qualify for permanent residence in Serbia, you must prove that you can meet the standards laid down by the Serbian authorities.
This article provides a complete guide on successfully getting a resident permit and becoming a permanent resident in Serbia.
Before you become a Permanent Resident in Serbia
Serbia is a landlocked country in Southeastern and Central Europe, located in the middle of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkans. It has land borders with Hungary to the north, Romania to the northeast, and Bulgaria to the southeast. It also borders Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina to the west, while Montenegro is at the southwest boundary. Serbia and Kosovo have a combined population of approximately 8.6 million people. The capital of Serbia is Belgrade.
More ever, the official language spoken in Serbia is ‘Serbian. However, there are other ethnic groups, with Hungarians being the highest. Bear in mind that ‘Serbian’ is a complex language to learn because it is compromised in grammar. However, English is widely spoken, particularly among the younger generation.
Regarding the economy, the world bank classifies Serbia as an upper-middle income economy. This means that Serbia’s economy is a little bit above a middle-class economy. That is to say, an emerging market economy. Due to this, the unemployment rate in the country is high. As of 2021, it stood at 11.81 percent, a 2.8percent increase from 2020.
Furthermore, Serbia has a different climate depending on the zone. For instance, the north of Serbia experiences cold winters and hot, humid summers. In contrast, the south has hot, dry summers and heavy snowfall in the winter.
Another thing is Religion. Although predominantly Christians, Serbia has a mixture of Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and other Orthodox Christian churches. In Serbian culture, manners and customs are essential. Football, basketball, water polo, and volleyball are popular team sports among the locals.
What is Serbia’s Permanent Residency?
Serbia permanent residency is for those who want to move to Serbia and permanently stay in the country. Most times, the aim of this is to become a Serbian citizen. Over the years, Hungarian citizens have moved to Serbia in large numbers. If you are from Hungary and you want to move to Serbia for a period longer than 180 days. You will need to get a Permanent residency permit. However, if you are married to a Serbian citizen for at least three years, you will be issued a permanent residence visa.
Also, before you are granted a Permanent residency in Serbia, you must have lived in the Serbian territory for more than five years. And have a residence permit for the same number of years. However, this does not apply to students or pupils studying in Serbia, except if they change their minds.
Do I Need a Permanent Residency Visa to Serbia?
Although Serbia applied to become a full EU member in 2009 and was officially confirmed as a candidate in 2012, the country is not an EU member and has its visa policy.
Serbia has many bilateral or multilateral visa agreements with various countries worldwide, eliminating the need for visas. Citizens of these countries are permitted to stay in Serbia for 90 days or less within 180 days of their initial entry. These nations are listed below:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Holy See
- Hong Kong****
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines**
- San Marino
- South Korea
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
* Countries with visa-free stays for up to 30 days within 180 days.
** Countries with visa-free stays for up to 30 days within a year.
*** Citizens of Ukraine can remain in Serbia without a visa for 30 days, within 60 days.
**** Citizens of Hong Kong can stay in Serbia for approximately 14 days without a visa.
Contrarily, suppose your country is not among the above-listed countries. In that case, you must apply for a visa before visiting Serbia. Then, all you need to do is to locate a Serbian embassy/consulate in your home country.
Required Documents to Obtain a Serbia permanent Residency
Suppose you are not from any of the visa-free countries, provide these documents to obtain a Serbian residency visa:
- Your valid passport– It is required that you submit a valid passport. The passport should be valid three months beyond the time you hope to arrive in Serbia. Also, the passport must not be older than ten years and should have at least two blank pages to affix the visa.
- A passport sized photograph– 3,5 x 4,5 cm.
- Proof of sufficient financial means – You must provide evidence to show you have enough money to care for yourself throughout your stay.
- Your visa fee payment receipt.
- Your medical certificate.
- Provide details about your income and the work you are doing.
- An accommodation – Provide proof that you have a place to stay. This can be a current rented apartment or with a Serbian citizen.
- Your former residence permit – Tender all your previous resident permit paperwork.
If you are Self-Employed:
- Provide a copy of your last income tax or relevant bank statements.
- Provide proof of business transactions such as bank statements, invoices, or receipts.
If you’re a Student:
- Tender evidence of your enrollment and no objection certificate from your school.
How to Apply for a Serbia Permanent Residency
Follow this step-by-step guide to obtaining a Serbia residency visa:
#1. Find out if you need a Serbia Visa:
The first thing you should do is to find out if you need a Serbia visa.
#2. Gather your documents:
The next step is to gather your documents. Check out the ones we have listed above.
#3. Schedule An Appointment :
It is always vital that you book ahead and contact the embassy before the day of your visit. Make sure you call the relevant authorities at the embassy/consulate to fix a day you go to submit your application.
#4. Arrive at the Embassy:
On the day of your appointment, make sure you arrive a few minutes before the time. You will be interviewed at the consulate to confirm your reasons for becoming a Serbian permanent resident. Try your best to answer appropriately. Also, you will be asked to submit your documents; make sure you carry along all relevant documents.
#5. Receive Your Visa:
Your application will be reviewed after processing, and the results will be communicated to you. If your visa application is approved, you will be called back to the consulate to pick up the visa attached to your passport.
Serbia Visa Fees
As of September 1, 2017, the visa fee for a Serbian visa is €60. This fee is payable in cash or by credit/debit card. Children aged 6-12 years pay half the adult visa fee, and children under 6 are exempt from the visa fee. The various visa fees are as follows:
- Single entry visa for up to 90 days – $120
- Single entry visa for up to 30 days – $60
- Multiple entry visa for up to 90 days – $200
- Multiple entry visa for up to 30 days – $100
In addition to the visa fee, you will also need to pay a service charge of €2. So the total cost for a single entry visa will be €62.
NOTE: It’s important to remember that Serbia’s visa costs could change. Please check with the embassy for the most recent price.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get permanent residency in Serbia?
Five years are required to obtain permanent residency. In addition, you can get permanent residency after a minimum of five years of residence. Another option is to work in a senior capacity for a Serbian business. Getting married to a Serbian national is one way. Alternatively, you could make a sizeable investment in a Serbian company. Finally, family reunification is another way to obtain permanent residency.
How do I become a Serbian resident?
One year after the first approval of Serbian residency, you can become a tax resident of Serbia. After that, naturalization into Serbian citizenship takes a total of eight years. After that, it takes at least three years of permanent residence and five years before you can obtain permanent residence status.
What is the most accessible European country to get permanent residency?
Largely, it is determined by several factors, including your nationality, the country of interest, and the type of residency permit you seek. However, Spain, Portugal, and Greece are some of the more accessible European countries to obtain permanent residency in.
How long can foreigners stay in Serbia?
A long-term visa allows you to enter and stay in the Republic of Serbia for 90 to 180 days. Visa D is issued to a foreigner who, according to the visa regime for entry into the Republic of Serbia, requires a visa and intends to apply for a temporary stay in the Republic of Serbia.
In summary, applying for permanent residency in Serbia may initially appear daunting. Still, with the assistance of this guide, you should be able to make the process as simple as possible. Keep your documents organized and up to date, and contact the Serbian authorities if you have any questions or concerns.