THE “ABCs” FOR RUSSIAN CITIZENS MOVING TO SERBIA
In the previous couple of months, the number of Russian citizens applying for temporary residence permits in Serbia is significantly increasing. Competent bodies are overburdened with requests filed on different bases. More often than not, the domestic employers of the Russian citizens are handling these procedures that can be tiresome, complicated, and bureaucratic.
In one of our previous articles, we wrote about basic facts that foreigners need to be acquainted with before coming to Serbia.
However, in this text, we will lay out some of the relevant information regarding the immigration of the citizens of the Russian Federation to Serbia.
Russian citizens can use their right to stay in Serbia on a short stay (commonly known as a „tourist stay“) for a maximum period of 30 days. After 30 days, a Russian citizen will be obliged to leave the country, except if they submit a request for a temporary residence permit prior to the expiry of the 30th day upon arrival. If for some reason foreigner does not submit this request, they may keep returning to Serbia as many times as they need to, provided that the duration of their stay does not exceed a period of 30 continuous days.
There are two important things to consider before applying for a temporary residence permit.
The first one is the legal basis for the application – there are several options to choose from, such as employment, establishing a business in Serbia, buying a property, or family reunification. Besides these, the application might be based on reasons such as medical procedures, education, humanitarian reasons, etc. Legal grounds for the application are of utmost importance since every foreigner whose request gets approved is obliged to stay in the Republic of Serbia in accordance with the purpose, i.e. in accordance with the basis for which the permit was issued.
The second thing to bear in mind is that the permit is given for a limited period of time – the permit might be issued for a period of up to one year and may be extended by the competent authority. If the applicant fails to file a request for an extension of their stay within the legal deadline, they might be facing misdemeanour charges. The decision on the duration of the stay lies entirely in the discretionary power of the competent body.
Notwithstanding the chosen basis for the application, there is a set of documents that each individual needs to provide when applying for the temporary residence permit:
- valid personal or service passport;
- proof of means of subsistence during the planned stay;
- registered address of residence in the Republic of Serbia;
- evidence of health insurance during the planned stay;
- evidence of payment of the prescribed administrative fee.
Besides given documents, a foreigner must also provide evidence of the justification of their request, as well as other documents at the request of the competent authority. The list of necessary documentation varies depending on the legal grounds for the application.
Nowadays it is possible to file the TRP request online even before coming to Serbia, but the presence of the applicant might be requested for the scheduled interview with the authority, if necessary. The application might also be submitted personally or through a legal representative (an attorney).
Upon receiving the application, the competent body will issue its decision within the next 30 days. The request might be approved or rejected.
Temporary residence is approved by stamping a temporary residence sticker in the foreign travel document. In case the request is denied, the applicant will receive a separate written decision. Against the decision on the rejection, the foreigner can file an appeal within 15 days from the date of receipt of the decision.
LEGAL GROUNDS FOR TEMPORARY RESIDENCE
Besides this general information, there are some specific things to bear in mind when choosing certain legal grounds:
- Employment – the procedure is mostly conducted by the employer. The employee needs to provide evidence of their level of education (diploma), which is something to be considered before leaving Russia. There is an option to submit a joint request for the temporary residence permit and work permit, which significantly shortens the procedure;
- Business establishment – the business must be established before commencing the procedure for the temporary residence (this may take up to 10 days if the owner is physically present);
- Family reunification – each family member needs to provide evidence of kinship, such as a marriage certificate not older than six months, proof of the existence of a marriage union with a foreigner in accordance with the national legislation of the country where the marriage union was established, or a birth certificate proving kinship up to the third degree in a straight line;
- Buying a property – the real estate property needs to exist at the moment of application and the foreigner must actively use it as their residence during the entire stay.
All things considered and despite the bureaucracy, it is evident that Serbia is becoming home to many families and individuals looking to start somewhere fresh. An estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Russians have moved to Serbia since the end of February 2020, and more than 1,000 companies whose owners have Russian passports have registered with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, most of them in the IT sector. Most popular cities are the capital-Belgrade and the city of Novi Sad in the north. Given the widely known Serbian hospitality, it comes as no surprise that most decide to stay.
contacts: Nenad Cvjetićanin, partner