ImmigrationLaw on Foreigners – Changes in 2024

June 1, 20240

Background and Context

In 2024, Serbia has implemented significant changes to its Law on Foreigners and Law on Employment of Foreigners, marking an important improvement in immigration policy. These changes have sparked discussions both domestically and internationally, influencing how Serbia manages its borders, integrates immigrants, and addresses global migration trends.

Serbia, located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, has historically been a transit country for migrants seeking to reach Western Europe. The country’s immigration policies have evolved in response to geopolitical shifts, economic factors, and humanitarian considerations. In recent years, Serbia has faced challenges in managing irregular migration flows while striving to uphold international human rights standards.

Key Changes in 2024

  1. Visa Regulations: The new law introduces streamlined visa procedures aimed at attracting skilled workers, investors, and entrepreneurs. It includes provisions for long-term visas and residence permits tailored to individuals contributing to Serbia’s economy and society.
  2. Temporary Residence Permit: Temporary residence permits are granted for a specific duration depending on the purpose of stay. Temporary residence can be prolonged under same or different conditions. Renewal applications must be submitted before the current permit expires, and applicants must provide updated documentation as required.
  3. Border Controls: Strengthened border controls are part of the new legislation to manage irregular migration more effectively. This involves enhanced surveillance technologies and cooperation with neighboring countries and international organizations.
  4. Humanitarian Considerations: The law reaffirms Serbia’s commitment to humanitarian principles, ensuring that vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied minors and victims of trafficking receive appropriate protection and support.

Temporary Residence in Serbia:

A Guide to Regulations, Requirements, and Process

Temporary residence in Serbia is a pivotal status for individuals looking to stay in the country for extended periods, whether for work, family reunification, education, or other purposes. This guide explores the regulations, requirements, and application process for obtaining temporary residence in Serbia.

Regulations and Eligibility

Temporary residence permits in Serbia are governed by the Law on Foreigners. The key regulations and eligibility criteria include:

  1. Purpose of Stay: Applicants must specify their reason for seeking temporary residence, such as employment, family reunification, study, or long-term stays without gainful activity.
  2. Financial Means: Applicants must demonstrate sufficient financial means to support themselves during their stay in Serbia.
  3. Health Insurance: Proof of health insurance coverage valid in Serbia is required for the duration of the intended stay.
  4. No Criminal Record: Applicants must provide a certificate proving they do not have a criminal record in their country of origin or any other country they have resided in for the past year.

Types of Temporary Residence Permits

There are several types of temporary residence permits in Serbia, each catering to different purposes:

  1. Temporary Residence for Employment: Issued to individuals who have a job offer from a Serbian employer. A work permit is typically required in conjunction with this residence permit.
  2. Temporary Residence for Family Reunification: Granted to spouses and dependent family members of foreign nationals who hold temporary or permanent residence permits in Serbia.
  3. Temporary Residence for Study: For individuals enrolled in recognized educational institutions in Serbia.
  4. Temporary Residence for Other Purposes: Covers individuals who wish to reside in Serbia for purposes other than employment, family reunification, or study, such as retirees or investors.

Application Process

The application process for temporary residence in Serbia generally involves the following steps:

  1. Application Submission: Applications are submitted to the Serbian diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate) in the applicant’s country of residence or directly to the Serbian Ministry of Interior if the applicant is already in Serbia.
  2. Documentation: Applicants must provide a completed application form, valid passport, proof of purpose of stay (e.g., employment contract, proof of enrollment), proof of sufficient financial means, health insurance, and other supporting documents as required.
  3. Biometric Data: Applicants may be required to provide biometric data (fingerprints) during the application process.
  4. Decision Making: The Serbian authorities review the application and typically issue a decision within a specified timeframe. Applicants are notified of the decision, which can include approval, denial, or a request for additional documentation.

Duration and Renewal

Temporary residence permits in Serbia are initially granted for a specific duration depending on the purpose of stay. Permits can be renewed if the conditions under which they were initially granted remain unchanged. Renewal applications must be submitted before the current permit expires, and applicants must provide updated documentation as required.

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