permanent residence in serbia


“My rose, my dearest flower, my hair is getting gray, while the years are flying, time is flowing, and love is getting stronger, everyone must return to their own,” sang Jasar Ahmedovski in the 1980s, not even imagining that these words would become the anthem of returnees in Serbia at the beginning of the third decade of the third millennium.

And in order for returnees from the diaspora to integrate into Serbian society, the acquisition of Serbian citizenship appears to be the basic premise. In the following lines, we will introduce you to the ways of acquiring Serbian citizenship.

Citizenship represents the strongest legal bond of an individual with a state entity, which guarantees him the widest body of rights. Unlike foreigners who are completely denied some rights, such as the right to vote (to vote and be elected in elections), while some rights are available to them under special conditions such as the right to work, Serbian citizens without exception enjoy all constitutionally guaranteed rights.


The Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia recognizes a total of four ways of acquisition of Serbian citizenship:

1) by origin;

2) by birth on the territory of the Republic of Serbia;

3) by admission;

4) under international agreements

Acquisition of Serbian citizenship by origin is reserved for a child:

1) whose both parents at the time of his birth are citizens of Serbia or;

2) whose one of the parents at the time of his birth is a citizen of Serbia, and the child was born on the territory of Serbia or;

3) born abroad, one of whose parents at the time of his birth is a citizen of Serbia, and the other is unknown or of unknown citizenship or is without citizenship or is a foreign citizen, if the parent who is a citizen of Serbia registers him before the age of 18 with the competent diplomatic or the consular representative office of the Republic of Serbia.

On the other hand, a child acquires citizenship by birth on the territory of Serbia if both parents are unknown or of unknown citizenship or without citizenship or if the child is without citizenship. Therefore, this mode of acquiring citizenship arose from altruistic motives to provide protection to abandoned children so that they would not remain “sad orphans without anyone anywhere”, as Njegos narrated.

Finally, the acquisition of citizenship by admission is reserved for foreign citizens who have been granted permanent residence in Serbia in accordance with the regulations on the rights of foreigners. It should be immediately borne in mind that acquiring permanent residence is a long process, which in the best case implies three years of uninterrupted residence in Serbia with the approval of temporary residence (foreign spouses of domestic citizens) or five years of uninterrupted residence in Serbia (for all other categories of foreigners). In order to acquire Serbian citizenship by admission, a foreigner must meet the following conditions: 1) that he has reached the age of 18 and that he has not been deprived of legal capacity; 2) that he has a release from foreign citizenship or he will submit proof that he will receive a release if he is admitted to the citizenship of Serbia; 3) that he has had a continuous permanent residence on the territory of Serbia for at least three years; 4) to submit a written statement that he considers Serbia his state.


Here we return to the beginning of our text where we pointed out to the trend of return to Serbia of our people, emigrants who were born in Serbia, and set off to seek one’s fortune on the path to more prosperous countries of Western Europe, Australia, Canada, USA and others. Realizing the totalitarian character of these countries in times of crisis like ours caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, many of them decided to return to Serbia. This is not just about emigrants, but the second generation that was born thousands of kilometers away from the motherland also appears among the returnees.

Emigrants, their descendants and ancestors of the Serbian people (second, third generation) can be admitted to the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia if they have reached 18 years of age and have not been deprived of legal capacity and if they submit a written statement that they consider Serbia their state. What is especially important – emigrants, their descendants and members of the Serbian people do not have to be released from foreign citizenship, which means that they have the right to dual citizenship.

In order to apply for citizenship, it is not necessary for foreigners to reside in Serbia, but it is possible to authorize lawyers who would apply on their behalf. The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia decides on the requests for acquiring citizenship, and the decision is waited for between 3-6 months.

For more information on this, as well as other issues in the field of foreigners’ rights, you can contact a lawyer.


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