Today, Serbia is a country with an actively developing economy. The business climate is superb there, the quality of the education services is high, and the real property is affordable. Serbia became an official candidate for EU membership in 2012 and for this reason, the country cooperates especially well with other European states. However, its ties with the USA in the west and China in the east are becoming stronger too. These facts make Serbia an attractive country for establishing legal residence there.
Serbian citizenship: what is it?
Serbian citizenship is a status that allows you to live and work in Serbia and use a Serbia passport. A Serbian passport will serve as an identification document that allows traveling to 134 countries without applying for visas.
Serbian citizenship: main advantages
- Freedom to live anywhere in Serbia
Serbian citizenship allows moving freely across Serbia and residing in any part of the country.
- Access to social benefits and support programs
A Serbian passport will give you access to tuition-free education in Serbian universities and insurance-based medical services. Besides, you can use the benefits available to business people in the country such as state support, tax holidays, and so on.
- An opportunity to become a citizen of the European Union
Because Serbia is an official candidate for EU membership, your Serbian passport can turn into an EU passport one day with all the advantages that such a document brings to its holder. In particular, the list of countries that you can visit without visas will become longer and the list of countries where you can work and open business companies without applying for any permits will also become longer. Certainly, an EU passport brings many other advantages too.
- An opportunity to attend Serbian universities
Large Serbian universities enjoy a good reputation in the international academic circles and a Serbian passport will let you attend such a university on beneficial conditions.
Requirements that you have to meet to apply for Serbian citizenship
- The applicants for Serbian citizenship shall be above 18; children acquire Serbian citizenship when their parents do;
- You can obtain Serbian citizenship after residing in Serbia for 3 to 5 years (depending on the grounds on which you apply for citizenship);
- Have a clean police record; have no record of participating in military conflicts;
- Have the status of a legal resident in Serbia.
You will have to bring documents that confirm these qualities when you apply for Serbian citizenship.
A Serbian passport can open new perspectives for you and give you new possibilities. The level of social security is rather high in Serbia: pensions are paid and allowances are made to families with many children.
Acquiring Serbian citizenship can change your life significantly but you have to do your homework before you apply for it. There are certain nuances in the process that you should pay heed to.
For additional information regarding acquiring Serbian citizenship, click here.
Legal grounds for obtaining Serbian citizenship
You can file an application for Serbian citizenship to the Ministry of the Interior or directly to the President’s Office. There are several legal grounds for becoming a citizen of Serbia:
Serbian citizenship by birth
People born in Serbia automatically become citizens of the country if at least one of the parents is a Serb. Besides, Serbian citizenship is granted to Serbians born in Montenegro and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the latter case, an application for citizenship shall be filed before the person turns 23.
Serbian citizenship by naturalization
After legally residing in Serbia for 5 years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit. After living on the permit for three more years, you can apply for citizenship of Serbia. You will have to pass a test in the Serbian language and Serbian history/ culture.
Serbian citizenship by repatriation
If you are born to Serbian parents in a foreign country or if your more remote ancestors were Serbs and you can prove it, you can easily acquire Serbian citizenship. Proving it, however, may prove not so easy.
Serbian citizenship by investment
There is no citizenship-by-investment program in Serbia but an investment of 250,000 EUR into real property will make you qualified for a legal residence permit that can later turn into a Serbian passport. Alternatively, you can invest in business or make a charitable donation but the investment amounts will have to be higher in these cases. When applying for citizenship of Serbia, you will have to cover the due diligence cost in addition to the investment that you will have made.
Serbian citizenship by marriage
If you have been married to a Serbian citizen for at least 3 years, you can apply for citizenship of the country. Please note that you will have to prove that your marriage is not fictitious. You’ll have to show that you share the residential accommodations with your spouse as well as utility and other bills. If you have children with your Serbian spouse, everything is going to be easy.
Serbian citizenship for family reunification
Members of Serbian families who live in other countries can reunite with their families and relocate to Serbia. They have to be close relatives, however, such as spouses, children of parents. (Please note that having an official marriage certificate is not a necessary condition.) The notion of ‘close relatives’ can be extended in case the family member living abroad needs special care or cannot sustain him/ herself.
You have to bear in mind that in case a foreign relative is reuniting with his/ her Serbian family, citizenship of Serbia will be granted to him/ her instantly. The person will have to live in Serbia on an extendable residence permit for three years before he or she can apply for citizenship of the country..
Serbian citizenship for refugees
People who fled to Serbia from other Republics of former Yugoslavia in the period between 1991 and 1998 and who cannot or do not desire to return, can apply for refugee status in Serbia. Refugees are taken good care of in the country and they normally have no trouble legalizing their stay in Serbia. After living on a temporary residence permit for three years, a refugee can apply for Serbian citizenship.
Serbian citizenship for outstanding services
A foreigner providing outstanding services to the state of Serbia and/ or making a significant contribution to the economy, arts, science, culture, sports, or charity in Serbia can qualify for citizenship of the country. Each application is considered individually and the decision to grant Serbian citizenship is made by the President personally.
Serbian citizenship for ethnic Serbs
Ethnic Serbs living in other countries or descendants of Serbian emigrants are eligible to apply for Serbian citizenship. They do not have to renounce their present citizenship but they have to prove their Serbian ethnicity or descent.
Serbian citizenship cannot be obtained instantly but legalizing your stay in the country is not a difficult task at all. Come to Serbia, enroll in language courses, and you will qualify for an extendable residence permit. After living on the permit for a few years, you can apply for Serbian citizenship.