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How to Get a Temporary Residence for Foreigners via Company Establishment?

Apr 11, 2023

HBL > News > Article > How to Get a Temporary Residence for Foreigners via Company Establishment?

Foreign nationals can be granted temporary residence in Serbia when establishing a company in the country. The legal regulations and procedures for this issue are explained below.

Foreign nationals can open a company in the Republic of Serbia. However, to stay in the country for extended periods, they need to obtain temporary residence in Serbia. To get temporary residence, they must submit the appropriate application for approval or extension of temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia. In addition, relevant evidence justifying the reasons for the foreign national’s approval or extension of residence in Serbia must also be submitted with the application.

The following is a detailed guide with more information on temporary residence for foreigners and establishing a company in Serbia.

Establishing a Company in Serbia for Foreigners


Establishing a company in Serbia for foreign nationals can be done in two ways:

  • Registering or applying for a company by submitting complete documentation to the Serbian Business Registers Agency (either in person or by mail).
  • Submitting a registration application for company establishment online.

The registration procedure varies depending on the legal form of the company to be registered, as different documentation is required for each legal form. One significant advantage is the simple procedure and extremely short time needed for establishing a company in Serbia, which we have previously written about. The process of registering a company for foreigners in Serbia is fast, regardless of the legal form of registration (limited liability company, sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, joint-stock company).

After applying for company establishment to the Business Registers Agency, the Agency will issue a decision within five working days approving the registration application for the company establishment. The decision-making process is the same for both the establishment of a limited liability company and the registration of a sole proprietorship.

The decision on registration in the business register obtained after establishment is one of the documents required when applying for approval or extension of temporary residence based on company establishment in Serbia. More information on getting or extending temporary residence for foreigners establishing a company in Serbia is provided below.

What Does Temporary Residence for Foreigners in Serbia Represent?


The temporary residence represents a permit for foreign nationals to stay in the Republic of Serbia. It is granted to foreigners who intend to stay in Serbia for more than 90 days due to work (based on employment). The period for which it is granted is one year; after its expiration, it can be extended for another year.

Temporary Residence and Setting up a Company in Serbia as a Basis for Approval


As mentioned, a temporary residence for foreigners in Serbia can be approved based on setting up a company in our country. However, it should be noted that in domestic legislation and the Law on the Employment of Foreigners in Serbia, the term “setting up a company” is not mentioned as a basis. However, employment is mentioned as a basis. Therefore, for foreign nationals employed in their own company as members or founders, this represents a valid reason for submitting a request for temporary residence.

A request for approval or extension of temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia can be submitted on several different bases. One of the bases (reasons) is precisely the employment of foreigners. In that case, a residence and work permit for foreigners for jobs can be obtained. In this regard, a foreign national registered in the decision to register a legal entity or an entrepreneur can apply for approval of temporary residence based on employment.

When submitting a request, it is a legal obligation to obtain and submit all relevant evidence of the justification for the request for temporary residence approval. When it comes to the basis of employment, for a person registered in the decision on the registration of a legal entity, this includes:

  • Extract from the Register of Business Entities – Extract from the registration of a legal entity or entrepreneur in the Republic of Serbia,
  • Mandatory documentation for approval of temporary residence.

Foreigners’ Temporary Residence in Serbia Based on Opening a Company – the Basis for Extension


When extending temporary residence based on employment, a foreign national with a registration certificate for a legal entity or entrepreneur also has the right to submit this request. In this case, the following is obtained and submitted:

  • Proof of the justification of the request;
  • Work permit for employment of foreigners, obtained based on the decision of the National Employment Service, which approves the work or employment of foreign nationals,
  • Mandatory documentation for approval of temporary residence.

What is the Procedure for Submitting a Request for Temporary Residence in Serbia?


The request for temporary residence approval can be submitted to the Administration for Foreigners, in Police Department, or electronically. The request for approval of temporary residence and all prescribed evidence attached to the request are personally submitted by the foreign national (the presence of the foreigner is required when submitting the request and evidence). Also, officials often need additional documentation to be added.

The procedure for submitting a request for an extension of temporary residence is the same. The presence of the foreigner is mandatory. The request for an extension of temporary residence can be submitted no earlier than three months before the deadline for submission of the request and no later than 30 days before the expiry of the previously approved temporary residence.

The documentation attached to the request for approval of temporary residence is as follows:

  • Valid personal or official passport,
  • Proof of means of support during the planned stay,
  • Registration of residence or address of residence in the Republic of Serbia (“White Card”),
  • Proof of health insurance during the scheduled stay,
  • Proof of payment of prescribed administrative fees,
  • Two photos (35x45mm, in color, front view),
  • Filled-out form,
  • Special documentation for each basis.

Establishing a Company Online in Serbia


Establishing a company online is available to all citizens of the Republic of Serbia, both domestic residents and foreign nationals. Currently, online registration for companies is available only for establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC) (both single-member and multi-member) and for registering a sole proprietorship.

To register online, the applicant must have:

  • a qualified electronic certificate (electronic signature) issued by a certification body in the Republic of Serbia;
  • an installed electronic card reader and the NEXU application for electronic signing;
  • Visa, MasterCard, or DinaCard payment cards for paying the fees.

Self-Employment-Based Temporary Residence for Foreigners


Foreign nationals who come to Serbia to establish their business entity within the territory of the Republic of Serbia can also apply for temporary residence based on self-employment. In this case, they need to obtain a work permit for foreigners, which is issued for employment in the legal entity they are founding.

To obtain a work permit for self-employment for foreigners, the steps before submitting the application are as follows:

  • Foreign nationals must first register with the Business Registers Agency (a registration decision from the Business Registers Agency is required);
  • They must apply for temporary residence (application for temporary approval based on self-employment).

The application for a work permit for self-employment is submitted to the National Employment Service, and the following documentation is provided:

  • Application for a work permit for self-employment,
  • Application for temporary approval based on self-employment,
  • Extract from the registration of a legal entity or entrepreneur (or a registration decision from the Business Registers Agency),
  • Confirmation from a business bank regarding the account turnover,
  • Additional supporting documentation.

Foreigner as Company Director in Serbia


Following the provisions of the Law on Companies and the Law on Employment of Foreigners, a legal entity can have one or more founders when establishing a company. Subsequently, the company must have a legal representative as a director of the company.

The founder can simultaneously be elected as a legal representative (to perform the function of the director of the LLC). By Law, the director of a company in Serbia has the right to be a resident of the Republic of Serbia or a non-resident (a foreign director). We have written in detail about the conditions and legal obligations for a foreign director’s residence and work permits.

When it comes to establishing an employment relationship in a company where a foreign director is engaged (as a founder), there are two options:

  • Establishment of an employment relationship in the company (by signing an employment contract),
  • Engagement of the director outside the employment relationship (by signing a contract on the rights and obligations of the director).

As in the cases mentioned above, foreign citizens need to have a temporary residence permit approved. For a foreigner to be able to perform the function of a company director, they must have an approved temporary residence permit. If the foreigner is in an employment relationship, they must obtain a work permit.

On the other hand, a foreign national who is a founder of a company and a director but without establishing an employment relationship still has a legal obligation to submit a request for approval of a temporary residence permit based on employment. However, obtaining a work permit is not obligated (Aliens Act, Article 3).

If you plan to establish a company in Serbia and need help with residence and work permits, the accounting agency HLB T&M Consulting is available for all questions, doubts, and support regarding legal procedures. We can help you with the procedure and documentation for submitting a request for a temporary residence permit and work permit, as well as when it comes to establishing a company in Serbia for foreigners. Contact our advisors for advice or business consultation and see the quality of our services.