Simplified procedure for admission to Serbian citizenship
Last year’s announcements of the liberalization of the citizenship regime of the Republic of Serbia have aroused great interest. Although this possibility was announced by the highest instances, our team of experts responded to a large number of inquiries from Clients and Partners, stressing the need for these initiatives to be legally formalized. Accordingly, we are pleased to inform you that the first draft of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia has been published.
One of the key motives for changing the legal solutions is to attract and retain highly skilled foreign nationals with certain skills and knowledge that could be considered as key for the development of the local economy. This initiative comes after the launch of the procedure for changing legal solutions, which will combine the processes of obtaining residence and work permit in a single procedure in which foreign nationals will be able to obtain temporary residence and work permit in Serbia at the same time.
Among those interested in obtaining Serbian citizenship, draft Art. 14 and Art. 15 attract the most attention.
Draft of Art. 14 introduces the possibility to apply for citizenship for foreigners with permanent residence permit in Serbia, eliminating a key condition from the current version of the Law, according to which the same right was intended for foreigners who had maintained their permanent residence permit in Serbia for at least three years before applying for citizenship.
Draft Article 15 introduces a completely new possibility – the right to apply for citizenship for foreigners who have been residing in Serbia on the basis of a temporary residence permit for a period of at least 1 year before the application and who are employed on the territory of Serbia.
Regardless of the possibility of the above-mentioned regulatory changes and in accordance with the commitments that Serbia undertakes in the process of harmonizing legislation and procedures with the EU, it is reasonable to expect that the procedures for obtaining residence permit and permanent residence permit will become more and more complicated, given that these two categories of legalization of foreigners represent the entry door for admission to citizenship. Our extensive practice in the field of immigration services also confirms the thesis that state authorities will use all legal and discretionary mechanisms to filter applicants according to state interests in a broader sense already at the first stage, i.e. when applying for temporary residence permit.
Thus, control over the legality of the application, the documentation submitted, the concentration of life and business interests as well as the overall legitimacy of the application will be raised to a much higher level with the zero tolerance for violation the conditions of visa-free regime (so-called visa-run). In this regard, the refusal to grant a residence permit will close the door to any possibility of legalization of foreign nationals and will be grounds for deportation.
The Association “Welcome to Serbia” has the necessary expertise, considerable experience – gained through the engagement of founders and members in this field and in other European jurisdictions – and adequate personnel – through active cooperation with attorneys-at-law specializing in work with the Department for Foreigners of the Ministry of Interior.
We will be pleased to assist you not only in implementing, but also in properly articulating your interests on the territory of Serbia, which will help you in coordinating with the competent governmental authorities in all aspects of your presence. Our team of experts is ready to provide the basis for your long and peaceful stay in our country and the first step in this regard is obtaining your temporary residence permit.
Association “Welcome to Serbia”