In 2023, Serbia introduced significant amendments to its Aliens Act, reshaping the rules and regulations governing foreign residents in the country. While some changes are being praised on social media, these revisions have also imposed stricter rules for foreigners and those facilitating their stay in Serbia. In this blog post, we’ll explore the noteworthy changes and their implications.
Extended Residence Permits
As of August 2023, residence permits can now be granted for up to three years. This longer duration simplifies administrative processes for both the government and residents.
Introduction of the “Single Permit”
The “single permit” concept streamlines the process by combining residence and work permits into a single document, valid for up to three years. This simplification benefits both foreign workers and the authorities.
Permanent Residence permit after 3 years
It is possible to apply for permanent residence permit after three years of living in Serbia on the basis of temporary residence permit.
Pre-Expiry Extension Applications
A welcome change introduced in August 2023 is the ability to apply for an extension of the residence permit before its expiration. This adjustment provides more flexibility to individuals planning to stay in Serbia for an extended period.
Stricter Rules for Foreigners and Their Hosts
The amendments extend their impact not only to foreigners but also to individuals responsible for foreigners’ presence within Serbia. This broader scope ensures greater compliance with the law.
End of Endless Visa Runs
The revised Aliens Act abolishes the practice of endless visa runs. Instead, it clearly defines a rule allowing a maximum stay of 90 days within a 180-day period. This change aims to regulate and monitor foreign visits more effectively.
Scrutiny of Passport Expiry Date
The practice of granting residence permits until the passport’s expiration date is being reviewed. This change may result in adjustments to the issuance of residence permits based on various factors.
No 183 days rule
Article 45, paragraph 2, previously requiring half of the residence permit validity period to be spent in Serbia, has been replaced. The new provision allows the Ministry of Interior to assess applications based on various elements and exercise greater discretion.
Impact on Processing Time frames
While the amendments aim to expedite application processing, the involvement of state security agencies may extend the overall time frame. Applicants should be prepared for potential delays.
Shift from Stickers to Biometric Documents
The familiar practice of placing stickers in passports is evolving into a more secure biometric document for both residence permits and permanent residence, improving document security.
Expanded Supervision Authority
The enforcement of the Aliens Act will no longer be solely the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and security bodies. The employment service and labor inspectorate will also play crucial roles in ensuring compliance.
If you want to learn more about what these changes represent in practice, contact us to get a consultation with one of our experts.