Stefan P, Author at Welcome to Serbia

The purchase of an unregistered apartment in Serbia – 7 problems you could be faced with

The purchase of an unregistered apartment in Serbia – 7 problems you could be faced with

 

Because of the lower price of unregistered apartments, the purchase of this type of property has become very popular in Serbia. What are the consequences that lie behind the purchase of an unregistered apartment and what’s the risk for the buyer? Is it possible at all to buy or sell such property legally?

 

 

 

What is an unregistered  apartment – property?

 

Unregistered property in Serbia is the property which has not been registered in the Real Estate Cadaster. In case a property is not registered in the Cadaster, and the buyer still wants to purchase it, he/she should be informed that such decision could lead to severe consequences. The risk is there because the law stipulates that real estate ownership rights can be acquired exclusively by registering the property in the cadaster.

 

The reasons behind an unregistered house or apartment can be various, but the majority of these reasons can be easily solved, with a certain amount of time and some extra effort. You can register a property and ownership rights at the competent institution or the cadaster.

 

According to the law, a person holding the property rights is under the obligation to file an application for registering property and ownership rights. This can be done by the current property owner, as well as the person who purchased an unregistered property. However, before making a purchase, it is crucial to check whether the unregistered property is legal or illegal.

 

 

 

Legal and illegal unregistered properties

 

Legal unregistered property represents newly built apartments that have not been registered in the cadaster yet, but were built in accordance with the construction permits. Old apartments and other property with duly and complete documentation also fall into this category, and it is mostly relatively easy to register them.

 

The situation is much more complex when it comes to illegal unregistered property, and this concerns, for example, illegal buildings built after 2015 or state residential buildings built 30 or 40 years ago, for which no occupancy permit was ever issued. It is neither possible to register this type of property, nor to legally buy it or become its owner. Although according to the law it is theoretically possible to legalize illegal buildings provided that they meet at least the minimum legal requirements, in practice, the process of legalization is in significant stagnation.

 

 

 

Is it possible to purchase an unregistered apartment?

 

When it comes to the purchase and sale, according to the law, the status of registered and unregistered property is equal. This means that it is possible to buy or sell a property even when it is unregistered, but with a certain amount of risk. It is crucial to determine whether the property is simply unregistered or unregistered and illegal, since illegal property cannot be registered. When it comes to the legal property, which is solely not registered, the process of registration can be completed with no bigger issues.

 

 

 

How to register an apartment?

 

The first step is for the person who purchased an apartment in a building to file a petition for the registration of the building. Then, the ownership rights of the investor are transferred to the petitioner. The next step is gathering the documentation proving the owner or the occupier of the land on which the building was built. Usually, that is the investor, a municipality or a competent state authority, depending on the size of the building. Additionally, you will need a building permit and an occupancy permit for the registration.

 

 

 

When is a property illegal?

 

A property is illegal when no permit was issued for its construction or when the construction of a property was not executed in compliance with the permit issued, for example, when the square meters of a building are more that authorized. Even this type of property can be purchased, provided that the seller filed an application for its legalization, the process of which shall be completed by the buyer. In case you decide to buy this type of property, make sure to request a certificate confirming that the property is under the process of legalization.

 

 

 

What are the risks of buying unregistered property?

 

  • In some cases, it may turn out that the apartment cannot be registered at all or at least not registered in due time. Thus, the new owner may not register the ownership in their name.

 

  • If you wish to sell the property and you’re not its registered owner, or if you find yourself in the position where it’s necessary to prove that you are the owner, you won’t be able to do this. In these situations, you will have to rely on the other party’s understanding that you are the actual property owner.

 

  • There is a risk that the government could change the terms and provisions for apartment registration.

 

  • When buying an apartment which is under the process of legalization, the legalization application could end up being denied after its purchase.

 

  • In the event of a failed legalization, the government may order for the demolition of the property, although this happens rarely.

 

  • When it comes to buying a partially registered apartment, certain issues may also arise. For example, one room is unregistered and its area is extended at the expense of the joint building space, but without the consent of other building residents. The unregistered part of the apartment may be confiscated by the apartment owners’ association.

 

  • It is not possible mortgage an unregistered property and, as such, that property cannot be used as security in case of loan debt. Unregistered property may discourage potential buyers who are looking to buy the property by means of a bank loan.

 

 

 

How to determine whether a property is registered or not?

 

The information on whether a property is registered in the Republic of Serbia is publicly available at the website ekatastar , where you can also check exactly how many square meters of the property is registered. The registered apartment search may be done based on the apartment address or the number of the cadastral plot where the house or the building is situated. You can also obtain information on whether there are any types of encumbrances, notes or pending requests, such as mortgages, restraints on disposal or any dispute.

 

The information obtained for a specific property is not final, but rather informative. For this information to become an official document, it has to be certified by a competent authority.

 

 

 

Conclusion: Should we avoid purchasing an unregistered property?

 

Although you can get by much cheaper if you decide to buy an unregistered property, real estate experts advise caution. Before making a final decision, you are advised to thoroughly check all the information and consult your lawyer or real estate agent.

 

It is possible that the current owner simply forgot to register the property in their name, and the previous owner remained registered as the property owner. If the current owner possesses complete documentation, there are no impediments for you to buy such property, and then register yourself as the owner. In addition, you may ask the seller to register their ownership before executing a purchase agreement, which would simplify and speed up your process.

 

 

As previously clarified, there are two types of unregistered property, the property for which the legalization procedure was initiated and the property where such procedure was not initiated, mostly because the legalization of such property is impossible. The later should not be purchased, since there is no valid ownership documentation for it.

The demand for property in Serbia is high, and one of the reasons behind it is the fact that you may obtain a temporary residence permit by purchasing a property, and you should thoroughly check the status of the property you’re looking to buy. For more information on the subject, feel free to contact our team Welcome to Serbia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco-village in Serbia – New trend on the real estate market

Eco-village
Climate change and the rising pollution in big cities, together with the energy crisis, have imposed new standards when choosing a place to live. Even though planned communities existed in nature before, the possibility of working remotely has greatly influenced their popularity. Thus, real estate in Serbia outside the big cities have become the most sought-after not only for living, but for investing into, as well. Many celebrities are increasingly deciding to relocate to quieter ares, and Novak Đoković has joined this trend, having built a villa next to the lake itself in the Srem district. Can you picture living in a natural and eco-conscious setting, far away from the city crowd and stress?

 

What exactly are eco-villages, and why are they so well-liked?

 

For more than two and a half years, the trend of rising demand for real estate outside of big cities has been present. At the very beginning of the implementation of quarantine in 2020, numerous citizens decided to replace the four walls and daily stress with a more meaningful and conscious life. This aspiration was additionally supported by daily air pollution, traffic jams and unhealthy diet. However, houses in weekend getaway settlements are generally very demanding in terms of renovation and maintenance, thus, the so-called “eco-villages” have grown in popularity on the real estate market. There are various locations in Serbia where such real estate is now being built or planned, as well as in the wider Belgrade area. Some of the locations include mountains, such as Avala, Fruška gora, Zlatibor and Kosmaj; near the city Aranđelovac, in Vrnjačka banja, on the shores of Srebrno jezero, and in the municipality Sopot.

 

Ecological urban construction entails building contemporary structures with the use of traditional materials, which are environmentally acceptable. In this manner, one receives a quality place to rest and live, as well as healthy food, clean air and undisturbed sleep. Nonetheless, there was a step further taken in the construction of eco-villages. These villages comprise whole communities which operate as separate entities and share community values. They are founded on the principles of renewable energy sources, eco-friendly construction and environmental preservation. Their usefulness stems from the strong relationship between the people and the nature, which fosters harmony in the environment.

 

 

 

What distinguishes eco-villages from the classic real estate in Serbia?

 

  • Living in harmony with nature brings the harmful effects a man has on the current living environment to a minimum.
  • Eco-friendly and recycled materials, as well as cutting-edge building systems, are used for the construction.
  • Due to the energy-efficient construction of the facilities, the minimum use of energy is ensured.
  • A high percentage of energy independence is provided with renewable energy sources.
  • Responsible water usage is made possible by specialized filtration systems, rainfall collection systems, and effective waste water management.
  • Regular disposal and recycling of waste are carried out.
  • Access to organic food that is easily available, fresh and relatively cheap in Serbian villages, is provided by cooperating with local farmers.
  • The eco-village use environmentally friendly modes of transportation such as electric cars and bicycles.
  • A complex of facilities with a variety of uses, including indoor and outdoor children playgrounds, conference rooms, spa & wellness centers, a mini-zoo, sports fields, coffee shops, restaurants, and bungalows, is planned to be constructed inside these villages.

 

 

What kind of houses are available and what is the price per square metre?

 

These types of properties in Serbia range in size up to 400 m² and are often in the A shape. The option of building an indoor or outdoor pool is available as a part of several different projects. While you can modify the interior to suit your needs, it is also possible for an architect to provide new preliminary design drawings just for you. For heating and cooling, the majority of the houses are equipped with heat pumps, and solar energy is used to generate the power. The plot ranges from 5 to 20 ares of green area, in addition to vast areas of shared land, woods, and the previously mentioned sporting and recreational facilities.

The eco-villages have a special benefit of having a maintenance service which is in charge of cleaning and upkeeping roads, plots, grassy areas and fences. This is essential if you do not want to take on these responsibilities or simply do not have time for them. Additionally, the security service is available on demand 24/7.

 

 

The following variables affect the price of the house in the eco-villages:

 

  • Plot locations in the eco-village
  • Plot size
  • Preliminary design of the house

 

Depending on the mentioned variables and the type of the village, the prices for a house on Kosmaj or Fruška Gora per square metre range from 1,500-1,600 euros up to 3,000 euros. A 54 square metre house with a yard and a parking place typically costs approximately 80,000 euros. According to the real estate agents, the house of 108 square metres with 10 ares of land would cost 130,000 euros, while the house of 130 square metres with 10 ares of land would cost 150,000 euros, i.e. 1,100-1,200 euros + VAT per square metre.

 

In the case of smaller-scale projects, the number of houses is around 11, while the larger-scale projects count up to 100 houses. Nevertheless, to ensure the peace of mind of its residents, the villages most commonly have just a few rows of houses or 3 to 4 buildings. In some cases, such as the eco-village on Zlatibor, the construction of 18 facilities is planned, with the option of extension afterwards. This village, located at 1,320-1,370 metres above sea level, is known for its beneficial climate and 360-degree sightseeing platforms. A special benefit is that you can reach the Zlatibor’s city centre in 15 minutes and enjoy the rich offer this mountain provides.

 

Even though the majority of eco-villages are still under construction process, the house sale is on-going. This type of real estate is quite well-liked in Serbia, particularly among foreigners. The reason for this lies in the following -purchasing a property in Serbia is a relatively straightforward method to acquire a residence permit. In addition to getting a house and a piece of land that you do not have to bother about maintaining, purchasing a house in one of these eco-villages also gives you access to a forest with walking trails, a shared recreation space, and a healthy environment. Apart from gaining a house to live in or go on vacations, you have the possibility of renting it, because tourists find this type of houses attractive.

 

Can you already picture yourself as the owner of one such real estate in Serbia, in this paradise? If the answer is affirmative, contact us to help you find an ideal house which suits your needs: office@welcometoserbia.org or +381601849443 (WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram).

Real Estate Serbia: While sales drop, prices remain high

Real Estate in Serbia: While sales drop, prices remain high

 

According to the report issued by the Republic Geodetic Authority (RGZ), in  international-scale comparisons, the Apartment Price Index in Serbia has recorded a growing trend, like in many countries. The Apartment Price Index in the third quarter of 2022 stands at 138.08 and reflects a steep rise in apartment prices, which has lasted through the year. The Index has been developed in line with international guidelines and is based on a mass apartment appraisal model, which takes into consideration not only the prices stated in sales contracts but also different property features gathered from relevant sources. Its role is to transparently display developments in the real estate market. The current Index of 138.08 means that if one purchased an apartment in the first quarter of 2019, when the basic index was 100, the value of his property has appreciated by 38%. The Serbian Apartment Price Index line graph is as follows:

 

Source of data: RGZ – – TOTAL    OLD BUILD - NEW BUILD
*preliminary indexes
Graph No. 1: Apartment Price Index in Serbia, the interrupted line marks the total number for the entire market; the light purple line marks new build, while the dark purple line marks old build.

 

When it comes to price hikes, from the first quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of the current year, the region of Vojvodina with the Index of 142.13, along with Belgrade with the Index of 141.43, topped the list. The most dynamic growth of real estate prices in the third quarter, just like in previous ones, was recorded in the regions of South Serbia and East Serbia, but this partly stems from relatively lower prices, compared to the rest of Serbia.

 

 

Old-build apartments mark the fastest growth

 

The  Property Price Index growth trend is largely fuelled by the escalating prices in the old-build sector, with the annual growth of 18.84%. This may indicate that the new-build supply is maladapted to a massive rise in demand. The third quarter of 2022 saw a continuing trend of sharp apartment price surges, which in the course of this year occasionally reached two-digit annual rates. Therefore, the apartment price growth rate in the Republic of Serbia amounted to 13% in the third quarter of 2022, while it stood at about 8% in 2019 and 2020. Apartment prices in the third quarter of the current year are up by 3.2% compared to the previous quarter. The annual apartment price growth rates are displayed on the line graph below:

 

Source of data: RGZ  OLD BUILD   – – TOTAL   NEW BUILD
*preliminary rates
Graph No. 2: Annual apartment price growth rates in percentages, for the entire market (interrupted, blue line), old build (purple) and new build (green).

 

 

Dip in apartment sales

 

The number of apartments sold in the third quarter of 2022 has decreased by 5.6% compared to the same period in 2021. This plunge signals a settling down in the real estate market, as the indicator showed a rise in the number of sales over the past eight quarters.

 

Apartment prices advanced steadily in the third quarter, too, which pushed the value of apartments for sale up by 12%, in contrast to the third quarter of 2021. However, a deceleration in market growth is noticeable, for the same indicator has jumped by as much as 26.1% in the second quarter of the current year, as opposed to the same period last year. Fluctuations in the number of sales and their value are displayed on a bar chart below. The Foundation for the Advancement of Economics (FREN) has also stated that the signs of real estate market deceleration are emerging in Serbia; nevertheless, even though they anticipate a decline in demand, prices are not expected to drop.

Source of data: RGZ Number of sales        Total value of sales
Graph No. 3: Annual growth rates of the number of apartment sales and the total value of apartment sales in Serbia, in percentages; the number of sales is marked in purple, while the total value of sales is marked in blue.

 

 

The report mentions that the downward trend in the number and value of apartment sales results from a decrease in the number of apartment sales funded through bank loans. The share of these has fallen by 25.7% in the first quarter, 25.4% in the second quarter and by 31% in the third quarter, as can be read from the following graph:

 

 

 

Source of data: RGZ  Number of loans — apartments
 Number of loans — all properties
Graph No. 4: The annual growth rate of the number of apartment sales funded through loans (purple) and all other properties (blue), in percentages.

 

 

 

When will the Serbian real estate prices firm?

 

The issue of real estate price stabilization in Serbia is related to several factors which encourage a high-price plateau. First of all, a huge demand for properties, sustained not only by the first-time home buyers but also by the growth of inflation rates, is still in evidence. The Euro is losing its real value and many Serbs and foreigners alike are investing in properties with the aim of preserving the value of money. Experts expect the negative trend of loan-funded purchases to continue as long as Euribor is growing.

 

Analysts estimate that the plunge in apartment sales stems from the decrease of both supply and new build, which will probably last into next year, too, having in mind that the number of building permit requests was lower in the third quarter of 2022. A slowdown in building next year will push the supply down and the prices up again. Currently, two to four buyers are interested in every property for sale, while real estate agents underline that sometimes there are as many as ten buyers interested in one apartment.

 

Source of data: https://www.rgz.gov.rs/usluge/procena-i-vo%C4%91enje-vrednosti-nepokretnosti/indeks-cena-nepokretnosti/rgz-indeks-cena-stanova

 

 

Sports association in Serbia | Starting up a sports club in Serbia

Starting up a sports club in Serbia

 

For the purpose of undertaking sports activities, a sports organisation in Serbia may be set up as an association, business entity or entrepreneur. Depending on the manner of organisation and territorial scope, a sports organisation may be:

 

  • A sports association set up by minimum three legally competent natural persons and/or legal persons, associated in order to achieve a common goal. This is the form in which sports clubs are set up.
  • A sports society created through association of sports organisations for the purpose of regulating and achieving common goals and interests, and also of having joint performance in the area of sports.
  • Professional sports associations created through association of sports professionals, such as associations of instructors, umpires and the like.
  • Branch and territorial sports associations created through association of several sports organisations and associations.

 

 

 

 

Sports association (club) in Serbia

 

A sports association in Serbia, just like any other association, may be set up by domestic or foreign, natural or legal persons, for the purpose of undertaking a specific sports activity, i.e. achieving sports-related goals. Set-up goals may differ and they most often refer to the popularisation of a specific sports branch. In order to acquire the status of a club, membership in authorized associations and the possibility of participating in competitions, you need to first set up a sports association.

 

The law specifies that a sports association while being set up cannot use the term “club”, as this term may be entered only subsequently, after the decision of the authorized sports inspector has been obtained. A sports organisation participating in sports competitions should contain the term “club” or “sports club” in its name and also the name of the branch or branches it competes in. Furthermore, in order to participate in competitions, the club needs to be registered with the authorised national branch sports association and meet the conditions in line with the Law.

As a non-profit organisation, a sports association is exempt from payment of taxes, though it has the status of a legal entity, which facilitates development of business relations considerably. It is obliged to keep its business records and submit its financial statements in line with the regulations.

 

The Sports Law provides for the possibility to acquire financial assets and revenues through membership fees, donations and grants, subsidies, inheritance, sponsorships, dividends, services and other activities. A sports association may use its property solely for the purpose of achieving the goals defined by the Statute. Furthermore, a sports association may set up a business entity or another legal person in order to obtain the assets required for achieving its sports goals.

 

 

 

 

Procedure for setting up sports associations in Serbia

 

The first step in the process of setting up a sports club in Serbia is to convene the founding assembly, whether it is a football, volleyball, basketball or any other sports club. The founding assembly is to decide on the name and the seat of the club and its legal form, and also to appoint the persons authorised to represent the club. Furthermore, it should adopt the Statute and sign the Articles of Association. The Statute defines the goals on account of which the association is being set up, and also the key activities for their achievement.

 

 

 

 

Is it possible to set up a sports school in the form of a sports association?

 

Legal and natural persons not participating in sports competitions whose core activity is sports training and advancement of third parties (not its members), inclusive of a market fee, or sports exercising, may be founded solely in the form of a business entity (LLC) or an entrepreneur.

This category includes football schools, tennis schools, swimming schools, martial arts schools, dance studios, camps, and also sports academies, fitness and other sports centres. While a business entity may be set up by a natural and/or legal person, an entrepreneur must have appropriate sports knowledge. They are not allowed to include in their title such terms as “club”, “sports club” or “association”, but only “school”, “academy”, “sports centre” or “sports school”.

 

Although the procedure for setting up a sports organisation in Serbia is relatively simple, in order to follow it through independently, you need to know that the issues such as the legal form, name, core activity, organisational structure and the like are regulated by the law. Furthermore, you should bear in mind the obligations and responsibilities of the founders, members, legal representatives, and also the obligations related to reporting and payment of taxes. All these and many other details are defined by a series of regulations contained in the Law and Rulebooks. We, therefore, recommend that you consult us beforehand to receive guidelines on all available options.

 

 

 

Remote asset managment – Serbia

If you own a company, real estate or funds and you are not currently able to manage it directly, we can offer a solution to protect your assets and interests.

Depending on your needs, assets can be managed, controlled and preserved by:

  1. Giving a power of attorney. Giving our attorney the power to manage your immovable and movable property.
  2. Authorising our legal representative (natural or legal person) to represent and manage your company.
  3. Completely reorganizing the structure of ownership over your property by the means of a special legal form – endowment (it is the same as a trust and foundation in the West), where all the client’s assets can be owned by the endowment regardless of their location.
  4. Will and inheritance.

 

You remain the only owner of your assets and our attorney or legal representative manages solely in compliance with your orders and instructions.

fter holding a meeting and consultations with you, we will send you an opinion and a suggestion which is the best and the most efficient way to manage and preserve your assets.

 

 

 

  1. An attorney authorised to manage your immovable and movable property

 

An attorney can be authorised to conduct a limited or broad spectrum of activities on behalf of the principal, based on a special, i.e., general power of attorney.

Depending on whether the power of attorney is given to conduct activities related to state or private entities, i.e., third parties, the powers of attorney do not have to be given by the principal within an internal procedure of the given state or private entities. Instead, they can be submitted by the attorney given that the power of attorney has previously been certified by a competent notary public and, if necessary, legalized, i.e., apostilled and also translated into a local official language.

The powers of attorney are, among other things, given for the purpose of representation in relation to bank accounts i.e., to manage and control them, to act before the state administration and tax bodies in respect of personal income, disposal of real estate, tax liabilities, maintaining real estate – in relation to the providers of public utility services, cadastre, law and accounting firms, and other state or private entities.

 

 

 

  1. A legal representative (natural or legal person), authorised to manage your company

 

A legal representative (CEO) is a person managing your company affairs but does not perform those duties at his discretion. The aforementioned party acts strictly in compliance with the instructions of the real owner with whom it has a contractual relationship and in compliance with local laws.

If the owner wants that, the appointed CEO can have broader authorities but the real owner will still be able to replace the CEO or revoke his decision at any time.

 

A legal entity can be a legal company representative as well.

The CEO of that legal entity shall delegate a person to sign all the documents of your company on behalf of the legal entity – legal representative and perform all other activities necessary to manage the company.

 

 

 

  1. Turning property and capital into the property and capital of an endowment registered in Serbia.

A special legal form called endowment, registered under the laws of the Republic of Serbia, allows the accumulation of property and capital, which have been invested, i.e., gained by the decision of the endowment founder and which, after becoming the property of the endowment, shall no longer be considered the founder’s property. Although the founder remains in control over the invested property and capital, the endowment protects them from any third parties’ pretensions in legal transactions.

Having in mind that the endowment activity is determined by the founder and in the interest of the founder, members of his family or third parties, the founder issues internal documents determining the spectrum of goals for the realization of which are used the assets, which makes this legal form complete in terms of risk protection, control and flexibility.

 

 

 

  1. Will and inheritance

Testamentary inheritance will enable you to dispose of your property and be sure that your relatives will be protected.

We will make sure that your testamentary will is valid in terms of business testamentary capacity, substantive issues of the testamentary inheritance and form.

When it comes to foreign nationals’ estate in Serbia, consisting of real estate located on the territory of Serbia, the only applicable law is the law of the Republic of Serbia.

When it comes to foreign nationals’ estate in Serbia, consisting of movable property located on the territory of Serbia, the applicable laws include but are not limited to the law of the Republic of Serbia.

 

We can offer you these services also for your property located in Switzerland, Andorra and other European countries.

 

 

 

 

Procedure and pricing:

 

If you are currently outside of Serbia, you can appoint an attorney or a legal representative by giving a power of attorney.

 

The fee for our services will be determined based on the best proposed solution for property management and it could be expressed as:

  • a fixed monthly or annual amount
  • a percentage relative to the value of the managed property or
  • a one-time fee based only on the agreed and taken actions, without the need to pay fixed fees.

 

In the best interest of your relatives and in order to be responsible towards the years of making effort to obtain property, we recommend you to decide who will dispose of your property in a timely manner considering the current turbulent events.

 

 

Our team that consists of layers, bankers, accountants and international consultants can help you to manage and protect your property in Serbia, so do not hesitate to contact us for any questions.

 

For more information, please feel free to contact us.

nb@welcometoserbia.org or +381601849443 (WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram).

 

Visa run – are you risking deportation?

A visa run or border run is a brief trip out of the country and back in order to “restart the clock” on one’s allowed period of stay, where it would otherwise have expired. Many foreign citizens, who work or live in a country where it is difficult or not possible to extend a visa — will be familiar with such trips.

In some cases, a visa run is necessary to activate new visas or change the immigration status of a person. An example would be leaving a country and then returning immediately to activate a newly issued work visa before a person can legally work.

 

 

Visa runs are frowned upon by immigration authorities as such acts may signify that the foreigner wishes to reside permanently and might also work illegally in that country ; purposes that visitors are prohibited from engaging in and usually require an immigrant visa or a work visa. Immigration officers may deny re-entry to visitors suspected of engaging in prohibited activities, especially when they have done repeated visa runs and have no evidence of spending reasonable time in their home countries or countries where they have the right to reside and work.

 

To combat visa runs, some countries have limits on how long visitors can spend in the country without a visa, as well as how much time they have to stay out before “resetting the clock”. For example, Schengen countries impose a maximum limit for visitors of 90 days in any 180-day period. Some countries do not “reset the clock” when a visitor comes back after visiting a neighbouring country. For example, the United States does not give visitors a new period of stay when they come back from visiting Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean; instead they are readmitted to the United States for the remaining days granted on their initial entry. Some other countries, e.g. Thailand, allow visitors who arrive by land from neighbouring countries a shorter length of stay than those who arrive by air.

 

 

In 2014, the Serbian Government legislated that entry into Serbia would be visa-free for 90 days for holders of foreign passports having a valid Schengen, other member states, UK, United States and Australia. Russian citizens have a visa-free stay for 30 days, abut the 90 days stay in 180 days applies to them as well. Any visitor who stays longer than 90 days requires a visa.

For dual nationals, it is also important to use the same passport when you enter and exit Serbia.

Although visa-run may seem as a convinient and easy solution for staying in a foreign country for a longer period of time, this is a not something that can be recommended and bears risks of government penalties, getting banned from entering the country and deportation.

 

 

If you wish to live and work in Serbia legally without fear, please visit our website www.welcometoserbia.org and contact us at +381 60 1849 443 or office@welcometoserbia.org

 

 

Internet banking for non-residents in Serbia

Over the last decade managing personal and corporate bank accounts via internet, on Client’s telephone or personal computer, has become international bank standard. When it comes to non-residents in Serbia, they are subject to special set of rules regulating this matter. Nevertheless, these rules are not drastically different from rules that apply to Serbian residents, so it is safe to say that internet banking for non-resident’s personal accounts is not limited per se, while corporate internet banking for non-residents, as signatories to resident accounts, is not limited at all.

 

 

The most evident limitation of non-resident internet banking is the inability to execute payments in foreign currency online. This limitation is based on local foreign currency regulations and extend to resident accounts as well. In that sense, there are two ways to execute payments in foreign currency:

 

  • personally, by signing payment order in front of bank employee,
  • authorizing physical person that than conduct such actions.

 

 

 

Generally, there are two ways to authorize other physical person to manage Client’s account, regardless of whether the authorization is in any way limited or not:

 

  • withing the bank procedure, which requires personal presence of both (or more) physical persons,
  • via external, duly certified PoA.

 

 

Limitation that relates exclusively to non-resident accounts consists of inability to execute payments in local currency online, as well. In accordance with foreign currency regulations, Clients who obtain Serbian temporary residency permit shall be treated as resident after a period of one year from the day of obtainment of temporary residency permit, which means that their account can be converted to resident account, so that this limitation can be removed from their bank profile.

 

When it comes to interface used by Serbian banks, depending on the particular bank it is sufficiently user-friendly. Technical solutions offered to retail Clients are often simple and colorful, while corporate Clients can often choose between bank’s in-house solution and external solution. Internet bank is always available in English version and support for English version users is constantly getting more operative, regardless of the bank.

 

Keeping the above mentioned in mind, it is clear that non-residents can use the internet banking mostly in order to monitor the accounts, as well as to execute intra account payments and transfers, such as foreign currency conversion.

 

Most reliable and simple mechanism needed to overcome stated limitations is offered by the banks themselves: standard and special debit cards. Local banks issue Visa and MasterCard debit cards to residents and to non-residents. Debit cards can vary from standard to “Platinum” or “Gold” versions and all versions are equipped with CVV/CVC code needed for internet payments. Visa and MasterCard debit cards issued by Serbian banks can be used world wide and are fully compatible in terms of linking them to popular payment processors or similar platforms.

 

In that sense, debit cards are the main instrument of payment execution both in case of local currency and foreign currency transactions.

Special Permits in Serbia

Special Permits in Serbia

Licenses for the Companies (Businesses) in Serbia

 

 

In order to start most of businesses in Serbia, it is enough to be formally entered in a relevant register, i.e. to be formally registered with a competent institution. However, in order to perform certain activities, due to their special nature, it is necessary to obtain an additional approval. In Serbia, licenses are issued by competent institutions after the submission of a request.

 

That way, in order to, for example, perform educational activity, all educational institutions, from elementary schools to faculties, as well as other institutions performing the activity of adult education, shall first obtain a permit issued by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development. The special permit is also required for psychological counselling centres, as well as adult foster care home, in case it is an entrepreneurial activity. A permit issued by a local government unit is required for the performance of the activity of social protection for older people and people with special needs (in-home support).

 

When it comes to the insurance agent and brokerage activities, they require a license issued by the National Bank of Serbia. In order for you to register as a bankruptcy manager, it is necessary to obtain the licence. On the other hand, in order to perform the public bailiff activity, it is necessary to obtain a permit issued by the Ministry of Justice. Customs representation and audit activities also require a special permit.

 

In order to perform the taxi driver activity, it is necessary to obtain a permit issued by a local government unit, while the private security activities require a permit issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A permit to work in an employment agency is issued by the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs in case certain conditions have been met. Apart from these, special permits in Serbia shall be obtained for the following activities as well:

 

  • Providing services related to cryptocurrencies
  • Real estate business
  • Performing pharmacy, medical practice and health care activities
  • Investment funds, venture capital funds
  • Payment institutions
  • Broker-dealer activities

 

 

Licences in Serbia for the provision of services related to cryptocurrencies

 

The Law on Digital Assets prescribes the obligation of the service provider to obtain the permit for providing services related to digital property, i.e. crypto license issued by the competent authorities. The license shall be issued before starting to provide the services. Depending on the type of digital assets, crypto licenses in Serbia are issued by the National Bank of Serbia and the Securities Commission.

 

The Legislator defines the minimum financial, technical and organisational standards, while the competent authority gives approval to the selection of the members of the service provider management. In order for a legal entity to obtain special permits in Serbia, it is necessary to provide the minimum capital in the amount of EUR 20,000-125,000, depending on the services that it wants to provide.

 

 

Special permits in Serbia for real estate brokerage activity

 

The Law prescribes the obligation to enter a legal entity into the Agent Register. The final decision on that is adopted by the competent minister within 30 days. After that, it is possible to start performing the real estate brokerage activity. The Law prescribes basic conditions for entering the legal entity into the Register, including adequate business premises, insurance contract, as well as professional competence of at least one person, who is the founder or an employee. Professional competence for the performance of real estate brokerage activity is determined based on a professional exam.

 

 

Licenses required to perform pharmaceutical activities

 

Before opening a pharmacy, it is necessary to obtain a permit issued by the Ministry of Health. This is also required for the activities related to medical and dental practice, as well as health protection. A competent inspector shall check if the conditions related to the staff competence, building adequacy, acoustic and thermal insulation, waterproofing, access to the electrical grid, appropriate indoor temperature (18-25°C), etc. have been met. The pharmacy shall display the inscription “Pharmacy”, name and surname of a pharmacist in charge, as well as the pharmacy symbol, i.e. one of the following symbols: bowl with a snake, scales, mortar and pestle, white, i.e. green cross.

 

When it comes to veterinary and agricultural pharmacies, these require special permits issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. In order to produce pharmaceutical products, it is necessary to obtain a document confirming that conditions regarding the production of a specific medication have been met.

 

 

Special permits in Serbia related to investment funds

 

A management company and portfolio manager, who have previously been given the permit by the competent Commission, perform organization and management activities and adopt decisions on investing the investment fund assets. The management company shall meet the minimum organizational, staff and technical requirements, prescribed by the Commission. Monetary part of the management company capital stock is at least EUR 125,000 but that part can be kept as securities during the operation of the company. The management company shall engage at least one portfolio manager to manage the investment fund.

 

It is prescribed by the Law that venture capital funds that invest their assets into start-ups and companies in the early stages of their development shall be managed by the management company.

The management company shall determine an investment strategy and guarantee that the venture capital fund meets all the required conditions. In addition to the requests for the issuance of the permit for the venture capital fund, the management company shall submit a request for the issuance of the permit for the depository in charge of preserving the fund assets, monitoring cash flow and operation. The depository can be a credit institution headquartered in Serbia, which has the Commission’s permit for a specific fund.

 

 

Requirements for obtaining payment institution licenses in Serbia

 

A company that intends to provide payment services, such as payment institution, shall submit the request to the National Bank of Serbia in order to obtain a licence in Serbia. The request shall be supported by a list of payment services, memorandum of association, a proof that they have the prescribed amount of seed capital (at least EUR 20,000-125,000) at their disposal, description of the organisational structure, procedure and internal control and internal audit mechanisms, information about the future management, etc.

 

 

How to open a brokerage company in Serbia?

 

The request for the permit to perform broker-dealer activity shall be submitted to the Commission, along with the memorandum of association, operating rules, tariff rulebook and a proof of fulfilment of the conditions such as minimum capital stock, staff, technical and organisational competence.

 

For the purpose of performing dealing activities, brokers shall have the broker license issued by the Securities Commission. A licenced brokerage company can open brokerage online accounts for its clients, i.e. brokerage investment accounts that are used to buy and sell securities.

 

 

Other activities requiring special permits

 

In order to provide public utility services, perform motor freight transportation, road maintenance, market activity, provide parking services and perform other activities of public importance, it is necessary to conclude a contract with the competent local government unit. A special permit is required for the provision of postal services, setting up wireless network for rebroadcasting cable channels, radio programs and providing Internet services. The condition for performing activities related to excisable goods (coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, oil derivatives) is to have previously obtained permits.

 

The permit is also required for building engineering and construction, manufacturing and selling weapon and military equipment, manufacturing and using particularly hazardous chemicals, as well as mining. Of course, there are other activities requiring a licence and some of them are energy-related activities. In relation to these, the Energy Law precisely determines conditions as well as types of energy-related activities requiring special permits.

 

For any additional and detailed information about special permits related to your activity, as well as the conditions that shall be fulfilled in order to start a business in Serbia, please contact us via nb@welcometoserbia.org or +381601849443 (WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram).

 

 

Business on Sale in Serbia

Business in Serbia

 

A business idea is the essence and the driving force of any business. When an idea is formed, the actual start of business operations comes on the scene, involving a series of activities which require a lot of time and effort. Furthermore, if a business is started abroad and in a totally new environment, it will be necessary to make energy and time savings, given the fact that the entire process is extremely complex and difficult. The best way to streamline and expedite the start of a business is to bypass the first most complex steps, i.e. to purchase a ready-made, already worked out business. Serbia is offering a broad market of businesses on sale from very diverse business areas. These areas, although very different, may be classified into several categories according to their subject matter:

 

 

  1. Hospitality facilities

 

A large number of businesses offered for sale are related to hospitality services. These are, primarily, the services of hospitality facility management. Apart from restaurant management, the management of numerous night clubs, cafes, bars and confectioneries is also on sale. The offer of sale of these activities most often includes the sale of space where the business is conducted.

 

 

  1. Hotel industry

 

Hotel management is a very popular business on sale, including sometimes even the management of entire tourist settlements, which simultaneously involves management of accommodation units, restaurants and other related business. In addition to management of constructed hotel and apartment accommodation, it is frequently the case that preliminary designs or designs in the course of implementation are offered for sale, and these may refer to entire complexes and settlements.

 

 

  1. Beauty parlours

 

Among the offered service industry businesses, you may find management of beauty parlors, which again quite often includes sale of the related space and of the entire equipment. The equipment also includes larger and more expensive pieces of equipment, such as sunbeds, medical lasers, etc, as well as the furniture required for such activity.

 

 

  1. Exchange offices

 

The business of managing exchange offices in Serbia is also quite often on offer, frequently including the equipment at extremely good locations, most often in Belgrade, but also in other cities.

 

 

 

  1. Production industry

 

Factories engaged in the production of very diverse products represent a large part of business offered for sale in Serbia. The most popular are factories producing chemicals, paper, plastic, furniture, home appliances and protective equipment.

 

 

 

  1. Trade

 

The offers often include trading in these very products, involving also car parts, as well as medical and aesthetic devices and pieces of equipment. Especially prominent is trading in textile industry products.

 

 

 

  1. Agriculture and food production

 

In reference to the above, fruit, vegetable and tea production represents the activity which ranks high in the business market of Serbia. On sale is ownership of entire farms, as well as the companies engaged in fruit processing and drying, commercial freezers or production of meat and processed meat products.

 

 

 

  1. Shops and retail chains

 

Production of other food products and supplements is a part of many offers, quite often together with shops where the trading activity is conducted. Apart from individual shops of food products, entire retail chains are offered for sale, including also pharmacies, flower shops, news stands, etc.

 

 

 

  1. Online business

 

In online environment, there are worked out websites most frequently for the sale of household and sports equipment and clothes, as well as Instagram pages with the similar purpose. However, there are often activities related to online education on various platforms and websites, usually involving a type of training for specific jobs. These offers sometimes include the sale of start-ups in the area of information technologies.

 

 

 

  1. Transportation

 

Transportation companies are quite frequent in the business market of Serbia. These companies engage in the carriage of goods, some of them in the transportation of patients or the elderly, some are courier service companies while a number of these deliver food, and in this regard entire businesses of food delivery to the address are sold.

 

 

 

  1. Agencies

 

Apart from the companies, a large number of businesses on sale include entire agencies engaged in very diverse areas – some of them are travel agencies, while others are accounting firms or employment agencies.

 

 

 

  1. Sports

 

Gyms and sports centres are another type of business that may be purchased quite easily in Serbia, most often together with the devices and equipment they require. Offers on sale sometimes include larger sports complexes with balloon halls or tennis courts.

 

 

 

  1. Hygiene

 

The most frequent offers include car wash facilities, laundry facilities, companies engaged in dry cleaning of clothes and furniture, as well as pet grooming parlours.

 

 

Therefore, the Serbian business market offers a variety of options that could suit a large number of buyers. It is not complicated to buy a business, though the offers are most often found on a variety of different websites made or specialized for the sale of other services or individual products, second-hand goods, property, etc. It has become required, therefore, within our company, to systematize this type of offers, which resulted in the website Business and Serbia. The website is intended precisely for advertising the offers relating to the sale of businesses, and also the sale of property as the other element required to live and work in our country. In our blog you may also find very informative texts about the advantages of business development in the Republic of Serbia. Welcome!

Why Is Serbia a Good Place for a Family?

Why Is Serbia a Good Place for a Family?

 

When it comes to choosing a country for your family, Serbia makes a great choice. In this respect, Serbia is characterized by:

  • good education system
  • good health care system
  • beautiful nature
  • hospitality
  • rich cultural heritage
  • interesting tourist destinations

 

 

The education in Serbia dates back to the 12th century and today it is under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia. Now, the education is divided into pre-school (kindergarten), primary (primary school), high (high school) and higher education (faculties at universities and the Academy of Arts). Serbia cooperates with many universities across Europe and the globe, which is a great chance for students to go to those countries as a part of student exchange programs.

 

 

Serbian health care system is the best in the region. On the 2018 EHCI (Euro Health Consumer Index) list, Serbia took the 18th place in Europe. Serbia ranked higher than Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, Ireland, Hungary, etc.

 

Serbia is a country of numerous natural goods. All the way from the wide plain in the north to the high mountains in the south, Serbia will surprise you with the diversity of landscapes and wildlife. Many plants and animals, which have almost been extinguished in other parts of Europe, found refuge here.

 

 

Hospitality is one of the things that characterizes Serbia and the Serbian people; it is sacred to Serbian patriarchs. Smile, kindness, good humor, friendliness, open-heartedness and willingness to help any human being are the main characteristics of the healthy social environment that Serbia can offer.

 

 

Serbia can boast of a truly huge tangible and intangible cultural heritage. And not only heritage; it can also boast of continuous active cultural affirmation. Apart from the original culture of the Serbian people, the culture in Serbia also includes cultural impacts of other countries and people affecting Serbian territory throughout history. The Serbian language, folklore and traditional stories, traditional holidays and customs, as well as art in the broadest sense of the word.

 

 

Serbian tourism keeps growing, year after year. Our country abounds in great tourist destinations. Some of the best-known are: the Uvac Special Nature Reserve, Djerdap Gorge, Đavolja Varoš (Devil’s Town), Golubac Fortress, Ovčar-Kablar Gorge, Krupaj Spring, Vlasina Lake and many other places.