acquiring serbian citizenship by descent


It is a notorious fact that members of the Serbian people emigrated from the territories of the former Yugoslavia for almost a century. These emigration trends were especially pronounced during and immediately after the Second World War, as well as during the wars of the 90s of the last century, which resulted in a large number of Serbs living outside their homeland.

A number of our countrymen, even though they are members of the third or fourth generation of Serbs born in the richest countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and others, still have love for the land of their fathers and grandfathers. The Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia recognizes this category of applicants for Serbian citizenship and enables them to acquire Serbian citizenship under more favorable conditions.


Serbian origin appears as the first and most important prerequisite for a foreigner to be admitted to Serbian citizenship on this basis. Belonging to the Serbian nation implies that the ancestors of the foreigner (father or mother; grandfather or grandmother; great-grandfather or great-grandmother) were Serbs. Personal documents of ancestors in the Serbian language will be of great help in the proof process, with as much information as possible that would allow the ancestor to be placed in the Serbian national corpus – e.g. Serbian name and surname, declaration as a member of the Serbian nation/Orthodox. It is necessary to establish the Serbian origin of any of the ancestors of the foreigner in a straight descending line- e.g. father mother; grandfather/grandmother. Ultimately, the kinship relationship between the ancestor of Serbian nationality and the foreigner who submits the application for Serbian citizenship must be proven.

A foreigner who does not reside in the territory of the Republic of Serbia has the right to acquire Serbian citizenship on this basis. This condition, as a rule, is not difficult to fulfill, considering that the applicants are usually foreign citizens whose grandfathers or fathers immigrated from the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Descendants, now applicants for Serbian citizenship, are thus born thousands of kilometers away from their homeland, where they have never lived.

There is a condition regarding the age of the applicant for acquiring Serbian citizenship on this basis. A person who has reached the age of 18 has the right to acquire Serbian citizenship on this basis. Also, it is necessary that the person is not deprived of business capacity.

Finally, it is necessary for the applicant to submit a statement that he considers the Republic of Serbia to be his country. This statement can be made by a foreigner personally or by a lawyer on behalf of a foreigner, based on a Power of Attorney.

A foreigner is authorized to keep foreign citizenship in case of submitting a request for Serbian citizenship based on origin. Therefore, a release from foreign citizenship is not required as a condition for acquiring Serbian citizenship. This is an essential convenience for members of the Serbian diaspora, considering that they will not have to renounce the citizenship of the countries in which they were born and live, but will allow the simultaneous possession of a number of citizenships.


The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia decides on the request to acquire Serbian citizenship. A foreigner can submit a request in person or through an attorney. As a rule, lawyers appear as attorneys authorized by foreigners through a Power of Attorney certified abroad and duly legalized for use in Serbia.

The request for acquisition of Serbian citizenship can also be submitted for children of foreigners who are members of the Serbian nation up to the age of 18. On their behalf, the request is submitted by the parent, the applicant for the acquisition of Serbian citizenship, where the consent of the other parent is also necessary. If the child is older than 14 years, the consent of the child is also necessary.

The procedure for citizenship applications is urgent. If all the necessary documentation is submitted, the procedure can be completed in 4-6 months.

When a person acquires Serbian citizenship, he is entered in the Registry of Births, where records of citizens of the Republic of Serbia are kept. Serbian citizens who were not born on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, nor do they have a place of residence or stay in it, are registered in the Registry of Births of the Belgrade municipality “Stari Grad”.

For more information on this, as well as other issues in the field of rights of foreigners, it is best to contact a lawyer.

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