Scroll for more

List of all possibilities for expatriates to stay in Serbia

Oct 22, 2018

HBL > News > Article > List of all possibilities for expatriates to stay in Serbia

The stay of expats on the territory of the Republic of Serbia is regulated by the Law of Foreigners, which also monitors the entry, movements, jurisdiction and all affairs of state administration bodies that are related to entry, movement and the stay of foreigners in our country.

A foreigner is any person which is officially not our citizen, i.e. doesn’t have the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia, but enters or stays in the country for a while. An expatriates can officially stay in Serbia if he passes the border with the valid travel documents.


In what ways can an expatriate stay in Serbia?


Foreigners can stay on the territory of the Republic of Serbia in three ways. They can have:

  • residing up to 90 days,
  • temporary residence,
  • permanent residence.

Foreigners in our country are legally committed to comply with the regulations and decisions made by supreme state authorities. One of these rules is a mandatory registration of residence, during the stay in our country.


Does staying in Serbia always require a visa?


Entering Serbia does not require a visa for every country. In the cases of obligation, a visa request is made in diplomatic and consular offices of Serbia abroad, which also issue them. On the site of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it can be checked what countries require a visa to enter.


When crossing the border, travel documents are always checked, and they include a visa or a residence permit. In extraordinary cases, that is not always mandatory. Documents should not include a visa unless that is regulated by a law or an international agreement.

What could also happen is forbidding entry or limiting a foreigners’ stay in Serbia. That could happen only if there are strong reasons and with the goal of protecting the public, protecting the safety of the citizens of the Republic of Serbia, or based on a request of an international agreement.


3 Possibilities for foreigner’s stay in Serbia


As mentioned before, foreigners (or expatriates) can stay in Serbia during a certain time period, depending on the type and the reason for staying. We will explain all three.


# Residing up to 90 days


Residing up to 90 days is when a foreigner stays in Serbia no longer than 90 days. The stay can be with or without a visa, except when regulated differently by law or an international agreement.

Expats must respect the laws of our country. In order to reside in Serbia, they don’t need a special approval from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but it’s mandatory to report about the residing address.


The address must be reported to the competent authorities. That is the job of a foreigner himself or the owner of the address (a hotel, hostel, house, apartment…) where the foreigner will stay during his time in Serbia. The deadline for address reporting is 24 hours after arriving.

If the foreigner doesn’t report about his address, the owners of the accommodation must do so, whether the accommodation is owned by a legal entity or an individual.

The commitment is the same in both the cases of charging for an accommodation, or visiting, where the foreigner is not charged. The residing address must be reported with the deadline of 24 hours.

The registration of foreigners is done personally at the counter for the stay of foreigners in the premises of the Police Administration, but can also be submitted electronically.

There is also another thing that’s very important along with address reporting. A person has to report every other change, for example, if he switches the accommodation during that time.

The document issued at that time is called the Residence Registration, and is better known as the “White Card”.


# Temporary residence


A temporary residence is the staying of a foreigner in our country that lasts more than 90 days. If he’s planning to reside in Serbia for more than ninety days, he can get a temporary residence approval. There are multiple reasons allowing that, and they include:

  • work, a job, performing an economic or other professional activities,
  • education or learning the Serbian language, studying, professional specialization, scientific research, training and practice, participation in international student exchange programs and other scientific and educational activities,
  • family reunion,
  • performing religious services, treatment or care,
  • owning a property in the Republic of Serbia,
  • humanitarian residence, the status of the presumed victim of human trafficking, the status of a victim of human trafficking,
  • other justified reasons in accordance with the law or an international agreement.

When foreigners come to Serbia for employment or opening a private business, they need to obtain proper documentation in order to get proper work permits for expatriates in Serbia.

In order for a foreigner to get an extended stay, he must submit a request for extending. The allowed extended period is from 90 days, up to one year. There is also the option for extending the residence for the same period.


The request for the extension of the temporary residence must be submitted within a specified period – at least ninety days earlier, and at the latest 30 days before the expiration of the temporary residence period.

A foreigner already residing in the Republic of Serbia can extend his residence period if he submits a request, along with a valid travel document and other evidence that confirm the reasons for residing in the country:

  • sufficient means of subsistence,
  • health insurance,
  • a proof that the purpose of temporary stay is justified.

Temporary residence of foreigners may cease if the approved period expires, if his/her stay is canceled or if the protective measure of the competent authorities is pronounced – removal or expulsion from the country.


# Permanent residence


The Ministry of Internal Affairs can approve a permanent residence to a foreigner if several conditions are met:

  • if he stayed in our country for more than five years without interruption, until submitting the request for permanent residence in our country, and on the basis of a temporary residence permit,
  • if he is married to a citizen of the Republic of Serbia, for at least three years or with a foreigner who has permanent residence in Serbia,
  • if a foreigner is a minor with a temporary stay in our country, where one of his parents has Serbian citizenship or is a foreigner (who has a permanent residence permit), and the other parent gives his consent,
  • if it originates from the territory of the Republic of Serbia,
  • if he has been granted temporary residence, and for humanitarian reasons, or in the interests of the Republic of Serbia, permanent residence is required,
  • if a foreigner stayed in the country for a certain while and has a temporary stay for studying or schooling in Serbia, but later changed the base of his stay in our country,
  • a form for permanent residence can be submitted after 5 years of temporary residence for foreign citizens residing in our country, on the basis of ownership of the company, as well as for work and employment.

A foreign person who has been granted permanent residence in our country has the same rights and obligations as citizens of the Republic of Serbia, except for the rights and obligations that according to the Law do not apply to him.


In case that assistance is needed for expats to secure work and residence permits, get in touch with our legal advisory team which is ready to provide full support.