Amendments to the Law on Residence and Employment of Foreigners

Amendments to the Law on Residence and Employment of Foreigners: Simplifying the Process of Obtaining Residence and Work Permits for Foreigners in Serbia

Combining&simplifying the procedures of obtaining temporary residence and work permit

On July 27, the Serbian Parliament made significant changes to the Law on Employment of Foreigners and the Law on Foreigners. The most notable amendment involves the introduction of electronic submissions for temporary residence and work permits, which will be processed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia (MUP RS) within 15 days. This electronic procedure streamlines the application process, as the Ministry will now issue a single permit for both temporary residence and work, valid for up to three years, with the possibility of extension for the same duration. Notably, employers can also apply for a single work permit, further facilitating the hiring of foreign workers.

The primary objective of this amendment is to combine two separate procedures—the approval of temporary residence and the issuance of a work permit—into a single comprehensive process conducted entirely by the MUP. Although this possibility already existed in the previous version of the law, it was not widely practiced. The new changes aim to implement this unified approach efficiently.

Regarding temporary residence, the amendment specifies that a foreigner may submit a request for a temporary residence permit if they plan to stay in Serbia for more than 90 days from the date of entry. This duration can be extended based on the length of stay allowed by international agreements or the validity period of a long-stay visa. The Government of Serbia may also introduce an act to identify additional categories of foreigners eligible for temporary residence. The amended law allows for the approval of temporary residence for all grounds for up to three years, extendable for the same duration (previously one year with a possibility of extension). Moreover, foreigners with approved permanent residence in Serbia are now entitled to free employment, eliminating the requirement for a personal work permit. Additionally, certain categories of foreigners applying for temporary residence based on employment will find the application process simplified, as they will no longer need to provide proof of means of subsistence and health insurance during their stay in Serbia.

The amendments have clarified the right to work without a single work permit. Foreigners granted temporary residence based on real estate ownership or family reunification with a Serbian citizen, as well as those with temporary residence permits for study, scientific research work, volunteering, etc., can now work in Serbia without the need for a separate work permit.

In terms of permanent settlement, the amendments have reduced the continuous residence period required to qualify for permanent residence in Serbia from five years to three years. Additionally, a new basis for the approval of permanent residence is introduced: Serbian origin. This means that a foreigner can be granted permanent residence solely based on their Serbian ancestry, irrespective of any other conditions related to their stay in the country.

The changes also affect the D visa, which will now serve as both a basis for residence and work during its 180-day validity period. Foreigners needing a D visa to enter and work in Serbia will not be subject to the previous double procedure; their visa will automatically allow them to legally work in the country during its validity.

Lastly, the approved temporary residence and unique permit will be issued in the form of a biometric document, replacing the traditional temporary residence sticker affixed to the foreigner’s travel document.

By adopting these amendments, Serbia aims to streamline and simplify the process for foreigners to obtain residence and work permits.

For more information on the process of obtaining residence and work permits in Serbia, feel free to contact our employment lawyers at