Russians in Serbia: A comprehensive immigration guide
- Do Russians need a visa to Serbia?
- The first step upon arrival - white card
- How to get a temporary residence permit?
- Documents for a temporary residence permit
- Buying real estate as a way to obtain a residence permit
- Housing loan for Russians in Serbia
- Buying real estate without personal presence in the country
- How to obtain Serbian citizenship?
In recent years, Serbia has become an increasingly attractive destination for Russians seeking to immigrate, with this trend particularly increasing especially in the context of the Ukrainian crisis. More and more Russians recognize Serbia as a land of opportunity, whether for business relocation, property investment, or, more broadly, due to its exceptionally liberal immigration laws. Additionally, Serbia is often considered a wise choice for entrepreneurial endeavors because of its favorable conditions and extensive market opportunities, facilitated by its relationships with the rest of Europe and the world.
Regardless of the reasons behind one's decision to come to Serbia, every Russian citizen faces established legal procedures to formalize their stay in our country, especially if the intended stay exceeds 30 days. In the following text, we will delve into these procedures and their sequence.
Do Russians need a visa to Serbia?
Initially, no. Russian Federation citizens benefit from a visa-free regime for visiting Serbia, allowing them to stay for up to 30 days solely based on their passport.
Initial step upon arrival in Serbia
The mandatory first step, to be completed within 48 hours of entry, is the registration of one's residence at the agreed address, colloquially known as the "white card." This document serves as the primary tool for a foreigner to identify themselves to the state authorities, and it is issued by the local police station. In practice, this implies that the landlord (the owner of the property or hotel management) is obligated to facilitate the registration of the tenant, in this case, the foreigner, at the address of the rented accommodation.
Temporary residence permit
If a foreigner's plans in Serbia are of a long-term nature, the question arises of how to legally reside in Serbia for an extended period. This can be achieved through obtaining temporary residence, a visa that allows foreign citizens to stay in Serbia for up to one year, with the possibility of extensions. The decision regarding this is in the hands of Administration for Foreigners, where personal presence during the application is mandatory. The Serbian state system will consider various reasons, which include:
- Residence for employment - either working for another legal entity or registering one's own business
- Educational residence - involving schooling, studying, or specialization (find out which Russian schools are available in Serbia)
- Residence for family reunification - in the case of marriage or cohabitation with a Serbian citizen, or the reunification of parents and children
Acquiring property ownership (this aspect will be discussed in more detail later in the text)
Required documentation for applying for temporary residence
The following is a list of documents that is mandatory for application:
- A valid passport.
- Two photos (35x45 mm, in color).
- A completed application form.
- Residence address registration (the "white card").
- Proof of payment of the administrative fee (payment made on-site at the Administration for Foreigners).
- Proof of the legal basis for temporary residence in Serbia (the required documentation depends on the reason for the application, such as a marriage certificate, employment contract, sales agreement, business registration certificate, etc.).
- Proof of financial means to support oneself during the stay in Serbia (requires opening a bank account and providing bank statements - the funds should be equivalent to the average Serbian monthly salary for the number of months applied for).
- Proof of health insurance for the duration of temporary residence in Serbia (obtainable through insurance companies).
After receiving and reviewing the application, the Administration for Foreigners finalizes its decision on granting temporary residence to the foreigner within four weeks from the date of submission. After the expiration of this visa, the foreigner can apply for extensions as many times as desired.
Acquiring residence permit in Serbia through property purchase
It should be noted that there is another way to obtain a residence permit in Serbia, one that is particularly popular among Russians, and that is purchasing property in Serbia. Owning real estate allows a foreigner to obtain a residence permit even without meeting the previously described conditions. In the case of citizens of the Russian Federation and Belarus, there is the possibility of buying property in the Republic of Serbia, and vice versa, thanks to international agreements.
For all property buyers, especially for foreigners who are often unfamiliar with the foreign market, it is crucial to engage legal advisors or specialized agencies like City Expert.
Housing loan for Russians in Serbia?
If you are considering getting a housing loan in Serbia - read more here about the opportunities that Serbian banks offer to Russian citizens.
Our team of expert agents is at your disposal throughout the entire process of buying or selling real estate, providing essential support, entirely free of charge. Additional security is provided by our legal department, which guarantees that every property on cityexpert.rs comes with complete and impeccable documentation.
Purchasing property without personal presence in the state?
A question that interests many foreigners is whether it is possible to buy property in Serbia without personal presence. The answer is affirmative, and, in fact, it is a common approach among foreigners who plan to obtain a temporary residence permit only after acquiring property. This procedure involves granting power of attorney to a lawyer who will undertake key steps, including:
- Drafting and signing purchase contracts and other formalities before a notary.
- Submitting necessary documents to tax authorities to fulfill tax obligations related to the purchase.
- Finalizing the purchase and resolving any potential disputes during the process.
After becoming the owner of the property, you can move to Serbia and apply for temporary residence at any time. It is important to note that the foreigner is required to spend a certain number of days in Serbia to maintain their residence permit, usually half of the approved period. Since visas are often granted for one year, this means that foreign investors need to spend at least six months per year in Serbia to maintain their temporary residence and apply for an extension in the following year.
How to obtain Serbian citizenship?
If you are not a native of Serbia and you are interested in obtaining Serbian citizenship, you can apply for Serbian citizenship if you fulfill certain conditions (in details described in the link above), one of which is to reside for at least three consecutive years at an address in Serbia with temporary residence.
We hope this text has been informative and helpful for those facing similar dilemmas. We are at your disposal for any questions and uncertainties. If you want to buy or rent a property, all of our services are completely free of charge!