Serbian citizenship has been increasingly obtained through a special procedure designed to attract individuals deemed of interest to the state. In recent years, Russians have been the most successful in utilizing this process.
In June 2020, American Charles Cather was granted citizenship through this method. In a YouTube video, he shared that he had been living in Serbia since 2010 and had never applied for citizenship due to the language requirement. However, a government representative approached him and expressed gratitude for his contributions to the country and offered him citizenship.
Charles Cather is one of 358 individuals who have received Serbian citizenship through this special process for “special interest” individuals over the past decade.
The definition of “interest” is not legally defined in government decisions, but it is clear that Russians have been the biggest beneficiaries of this procedure. Out of the 358 recipients, 101 were Russian, 55 Turkish, 28 Iraqi, 24 American and 14 Palestinian. The number of people granted citizenship through this discretionary process has risen significantly, with 49 out of the 82 recent recipients being Russian.
The Serbian government recently granted citizenship to Russian artist Nikolai Mukhin and members of his family in September. Mukhin, known for his work on the mosaics at Saint Sava Temple in Belgrade, had previously expressed his desire for Serbian citizenship.
However, as an artist, Mukhin is not a typical recipient of citizenship through discretionary procedures in Serbia, which are often awarded to individuals in business or sport or those with connections to those deemed of interest to the state.
This includes individuals like Sergey Emdin, CEO of Moscow-based Demetra-Holding, and his family, as well as other Russian business people and senior managers at NIS, a majority Gazprom-owned oil company in Serbia.
Serbia has a rich history of welcoming and granting citizenship to talented and accomplished individuals from around the world. These individuals have made a significant impact in their respective industries, and their choice to adopt Serbian citizenship showcases the country’s inclusiveness and welcoming nature.
Adriana Lima, the renowned Brazilian model and actress, is one of the most recognizable faces in the fashion industry. She became a Serbian citizen in 2015 and continues to be a significant figure in the modeling and beauty world.
Cléverson Gabriel Córdova, a football player from Brazil, was the last person to receive Serbian citizenship before Steven Seagal. He arrived in Serbia in 2008 to play for FC Red Star Belgrade, and his citizenship was granted based on the proposition from the Department of Interior Affairs and the Department of Youth and Sports.
British actor and director Ralph Fiennes received Serbian citizenship in 2015 for his contributions to promoting the country and its culture. He is among a string of celebrities, including Hollywood actor Steven Seagal, ballet dancer Sergei Polunin, and several soccer and basketball players, who have been granted Serbian citizenship in recent years.
These international stars have made a lasting impact on the world and serve as an inspiration to others. Their choice to call Serbia their home is a testament to the country’s open-mindedness and its commitment to supporting talented individuals.