Legal and Tax Residence in Serbia via Company Registration

You can acquire legal and tax residence in Serbia if you register a business company in the country. Please find below information on the application procedure, documents, and costs involved.

Serbia’s efforts to join the EU attract foreign investors interested in its citizenship. To take advantage of this trend, the Serbian authorities offer them the opportunity to obtain a legal residence permit within one month by registering a local company or a branch. Your residence permit can lead to your Serbian citizenship in the future. The actual timing depends on the nature of your objectives and proper professional assistance.

Legal and Tax Residence in Serbia

Advantages of the legal and tax residence in Serbia via company registration 

  • Qualified personnel: 3 of the 22 Serbian public and private universities are on the Top 200 list in the 2021 European University Ranking. Many accredited study programs of all levels in the country are taught both in Serbian and English. Serbia ranks 4th among 76 countries for business English (according to EF EPI – the top world ranking of countries and regions by their nationals’ English skills).
  • Competitive operational costs: according to the Eurostat study of the Price levels for energy, furniture, household appliances, and consumer electronics, Serbia has one of the most favorable situations of all 37 participating countries. The average price of new dwellings was at about 1,500 euros per square meter in 2021. The average net salaries and wages are slightly more than  630 euros.
  • Duty-free access to markets featuring 1.3 billion consumers (in 2020, according to the World Bank): the EU – 447.5 mln consumers, 63.2% of the total export. Turkey – 83.4 mln consumers,  1.9% of the total export. EFTA – 14.3 mln consumers, 1.1% of the total export, CEFTA – 13.3 mln consumers, 15.9% of the total export, the USA – 328.2 mln consumers, 1.9% of the total export. EAEU – 181.8 mln consumers, 5.1% of the total export. UK – 67.2 mln consumers, 1.7% of the total export. Japan – 126.3 mln consumers, 0.5 of the total export. 
  • Political and economic stability: since 2014, the Serbian Government has been implementing various programs aimed at reducing the state debt, enhancing financial responsibility, reforming the state sector, and upgrading the efficiency of state institutions.
  • Financial stimuli: tax incentives are available. Tax breaks for startups. Up to 75% reduction of the payroll tax. Serbia has 54 treaties on double taxation avoidance with most European countries, as well as Russia, Canada, the UK, the UAE, etc. There are 15 Free Trade Zones in the country and hundreds of international companies with a turnover of a few billion euros per year.
  • Geographical position: it’s easily accessible from most European countries by car. Nikola Tesla Airport is 20 minutes away from the center of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It takes 45 minutes to get there from Montenegro, 1.5 hours – from Bucharest, Istanbul, Prague, Rome, Vienna, Zurich, Munich, and Athens, 2.5 hours from Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Kiev, London, Paris, and Amsterdam, 3 hours from Moscow, Dublin, and Barcelona, 45 minutes by plane to the Adriatic Sea coast.
  • Tourism industry: Serbia has over 50 well-developed resorts and spa facilities, and 4 ski resorts.
  • High-quality education: there are many international schools in Serbia including British, French, Russian, and American schools. Tuition fees are lower, compared to similar international schools located in Western Europe. The University of Belgrade was founded in 1808, and it is on the list of top universities in the world.
  • Benign taxation: the corporate tax and the dividend tax are levied at 15%. You can benefit from the double taxation agreements if you start a business company in Serbia. Your worldwide income is taxable in Serbia on a progressive scale: 0% – for income below 18,000 euros per year; 10% – for income between 18,000 and 53,000 euros; 15% – for income above 53,000 euros per year. The chances to obtain tax cuts of up to 50% are quite feasible.
  • The real property tax varies depending on the type and the location of the property but it normally does not exceed 0.4% of the property cost. Tax cuts are possible.
  • The wealth tax is 0%.
  • Inheritance and gift tax is 1.5% – 2.5%. Tax cuts are possible if the property is passed from generation to generation in one family.
  • VAT: 20%

The requirements to meet when applying for legal and tax residence in Serbia via company registration 

You do not have to invest a large sum of money into the Serbian economy if you want to acquire a residence permit by opening a company in the country. In addition, the company can have only one full-time employee: the founder.

The status of a resident is granted to those who reside in Serbia for at least 183 days, continuously or with breaks, over a period of 12 months. If you would like to become a tax resident of Serbia, you have to apply for the status individually and submit proof of your stay in the country for the required period.

Though the standard procedure of acquiring legal residence in Serbia is designed to take one month, it usually takes up to 2 months. You will need to make one or two visits to the country and spend a couple of weeks there to pass all the formalities. The residence permit is issued for six months. You can extend it and get a 12-month permit before it expires.

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The procedure and application documents for the legal and tax residence in Serbia via company registration 

It is not too difficult to become a legal and tax resident in Serbia by registering a company or a branch of your existing foreign company. Moreover, we can help you with compiling the required and additional documents that may be asked during your application for the company registration/residence and account opening.

  1. Order a free private session with our expert.

You will need to prepare the following set of documents:

  • a copy of your passport, notarized
  • the projected company name (three alternative options) 
  • a brief description of the intended business activities
  • your proof of address
  • the proof of the legal source of your income
  • health insurance covering your stay in Serbia.

You can book a free online consultation with our expert to be sure you know all the requirements. 

  1. Submit to the Serbian company registration authority your portfolio of application documents. It will take them 3 to 4 days to process the documents. 

Please note that if you do not want to visit Serbia at this stage, you will need to sign the Power of Attorney (apostilled and translated into Serbian) issued to a local lawyer, who will submit the documents on your behalf. Experts recommend that you translate the document in Serbia. Our experts will help you with these arrangements.

If you prefer to submit the documents in person, we offer our assistance in booking you the local accommodation, the VIP airport pickup service, help with your last-minute paperwork.

Another issue will be your Serbian company’s legal address. You can rent or purchase an office or an apartment to meet this requirement. The rent starts from 200 euros per month.

The recruitment of the local accountant is a must, as you need to submit the relevant details to the bank, and the accountant will take care of your taxes. The accounting services are going to cost you from 600 euros per year. We can help you to contract a reliable accountant.

  1. Get a ‘White Card’ from the police office nearest to your local address in Serbia.

Depending on your citizenship and residency you can stay from 30-90 days.

Besides, you will need to obtain a personal bank account, deposit from 1500 euros, and get a bank statement. This needs to be done before you go to the Immigration Office.

2 photos of your face will need to be taken. You can check with our expert the required parameters of the photo. 

  1. Apply for a legal business residence permit in Serbia after you have the certificate of your company registration and get the “White card”. You have to submit the following documents:
  • a copy of your passport
  • a certificate confirming your ownership of the company (an extract from the Serbian Company Register)
  • a certificate confirming your sufficient funds to sustain yourself (a deposit of 1,000 euros in a Serbian bank will be sufficient)
  • a health insurance policy valid in Serbia (and a medical certificate for people over 50)
  • a CV translated into Serbian
  • two photographs.
  1. You may rely on our expert’s advice regarding this meeting. The interview can be taken on the same day when you file an application for residence or on the next day. After that, you are free to travel around Serbia and come back in about a month to get a stamp on your passport. Please note: your passport must have at least one blank page.
  2. The due diligence procedure can take up to 15 days. It does not take the Serbian officials too long to process applications for residence. 
  3. If you need a work permit in Serbia, you can apply for it after you get the residence permit. This application procedure takes 5 to 7 days, as a rule. You do not have to be physically present in Serbia to obtain the work permit, but the following documents will be required anyway: 
  • a copy of your legal residence permit
  • a copy of your university diploma, apostilled and translated into Serbian
  • a copy of the company registration certificate
  • your CV translated into Serbian.

All the documents can be translated and notarized by our team. 

The timeline for your application for the legal and tax residence in Serbia via company registration

  • The Serbian company registration after the application – 1-3 weeks

This can be arranged at a distance via a lawyer. We will make sure that you have all the bank forms before you pay a visit to the bank. We will also gladly help you complete the forms if you wish.

  • Your Serbian company’s account set up after the application – from 3 to 7 days. 

Practicalities may take reasonable extra time if you rely on our assistance (the application documents, the rent of your company’s office with the legal address, the company’s seal, the accountant, etc.). 

  • Your “White card” for 90 days (i.e. a temporary permit in Serbia) – less than 1 day. 

The owner of the building where you rent an apartment will have to accompany you to the nearest police station where you will be issued a ‘white card’. It takes not more than an hour.  

  • Your residence permit in Serbia3-4 weeks after you file the application. 

Practicalities may take reasonably less time if you rely on our services (photographs, translation of your CV in English into Serbian, health insurance, a medical check (only for applicants over 50, a certificate of your company registration in Serbia, the application form, etc.). Your health insurance valid in Serbia may take 2 or 3 days but can be ordered via us in advance. 

  • Individual taxpayer number. You can acquire a taxpayer number from the Serbian tax authorities as soon as you get a stamp in your passport confirming your residence permit in the country. It is a matter of several minutes.
  • Application for a work permit. You will have to pay yourself a salary, not less than 100 euros per month. This will give you free access to the Serbian healthcare institutions and make you eligible for a Serbian pension.
  • After 6 months (more than 183 days), you can become a tax resident of Serbia and celebrate this success.

The total cost of the  legal and tax residence in Serbia via company registration

The annual company maintenance costs:

  • accounting services: at least 600 euros/year, depending on your company’s activity scope
  • contributions to social security: 1,200 euros / year
  • office rent: from 2,400 euros /year
  • miscellaneous (mail processing, agent fees, etc.): 600 euros/year
  • Personal medical insurance: 300 euros/year.

Total: at least 5,100 euros / year.

If you would like to save time, money, and nerves when acquiring legal and tax residence in Serbia, you will be well advised to apply for the services of a licensed agent in the country. The agent has vast experience in providing support to foreign nationals seeking residence in Serbia. The agent can provide the following services:

  • reservation of your prospective company name with the registration authorities
  • payment of all associated state duties and notary fees
  • verification of the company owner’s signature with a court of law or with a notary public
  • notarization of the corporate documents
  • registration of the newly created company with the Serbian Company Register
  • legal address for the company for three months
  • issuance of a Power of Attorney authorizing the registered agent to carry out on your behalf the procedures needed for your legal residence in Serbia
  • acquisition of a taxpayer number for the newly established company
  • acquisition of an electronic signature for the company owner that is required when filing tax returns
  • assistance with opening a corporate account in a Serbian bank
  • application for a residence permit (for which you are eligible as the Serbian company owner) 
  • assistance with completing all the official forms
  • appointment with the police authorities to obtain a ‘White Card’
  • translation of the documents into Serbian (this service comes at an additional fee, as professional translators need to be involved. The cost of the translation service is roughly 20 euros per page)
  • assistance in acquiring a work permit and a tax resident certificate
  • assistance in finding office space with the company legal address
  • assistance with opening a personal account in a Serbian bank.

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The price of the service package is 9000 EUR. If you would like to have more detailed information about the opportunity to acquire a legal residence in Serbia by registering a Serbian company, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@offshore-pro.info. You are also welcome to use any other means of communication that you prefer (click on the ‘Contact us’ icon above).

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