At a Glance
- Beginning January 1, 2020, foreign nationals seeking to enter Serbia will be able to apply for a long-term stay visa while abroad and file a work permit application upon arrival in Serbia, whereas currently both applications must be made in Serbia. Foreign nationals will therefore be able to start work approximately 30 days after arrival in Serbia rather than 60.
- Beginning January 1, 2020, foreign nationals will be able to apply for a temporary residence permit online from overseas whereas currently this is not possible.
- Starting December 20, 2020, foreign nationals will be able to apply for their Work and Residence permits jointly as one online application from overseas, thereby eliminating the need to spend time in Serbia without work permission to file and reducing the need to submit duplicate documentation to two different authorities.
- Due to the above forthcoming changes, the length of time foreign nationals will need to spend in Serbia without work authorization is expected to decrease or be eliminated altogether once the changes go into effect.
A number of changes aimed at simplifying work and residence permit applications and reducing the length of time foreign nationals are unable to work after entering Serbia are forthcoming. Other administrative changes have already taken place.
A closer look
Key changes are outlined below, and discussed in detail here.
Longer renewal application period. Seconded workers can now apply for a work permit extension at least 60 days (instead of the previous 30 days) before the expiration of their work permit, allowing employers additional time to consider other options for renewal such as work permits based on employment on local payroll, for example, if the application is rejected.
Notarization requirement eliminated. New and renewal work permit applications no longer require notarized documents.
Applications from abroad. Beginning January 1, 2020, foreign nationals will be able to apply for a long-term stay visa while they are abroad. The long-term stay visa will allow them to start work within 30 days of their work permit being filed once they arrive in Serbia. Additionally, foreign nationals will be able to apply for a Temporary Residence Permit online from abroad.
Joint temporary residence and work permits. Starting December 20, 2020, foreign nationals will be able to apply for a joint temporary residence and work permit online from overseas. The two processes will be merged and applicants will no longer need to wait for 30 days in country before starting work.
- Serbian trends. This is the first time such a relaxation of immigration law and processes has been introduced in Serbia, which currently imposes a comparatively lengthy time during which foreign nationals do not have the right to work after entering Serbia.
- Regional trends. Other countries across the region are also simplifying immigration processes by merging separate procedures and allowing the submission of digital documentation online. For example, Belgium has introduced a Single Permit process and countries including the United Kingdom have introduced and trialed digital document scanning processes to reduce the documentary burden.
As Serbia's population continues to decline due to brain drain and an aging workforce, Serbia may further simplify its migration policies to attract skilled migrant workers to the country.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.