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10 reasons to invest in Serbia

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown that has followed are making a large number of business companies suffer. What used to bring profits before now generates losses. What seemed affordable earlier now looks too expensive. Many business instruments that were efficient before the crisis are not working any longer. The whole world has been affected by the disaster.

With such a terrible situation in the background, Offshore Pro Group continues to find new solutions that can help you restore your wealth and even increase it. We have been promoting Serbia for several years at our portal and at the current moment, this small Balkan country looks especially inviting for foreign investors. Investing into Serbia now would mean securing the future for yourself and your family.

Investments in Serbia

Serbia offers the following main benefits:

  • Small company maintenance costs;
  • Inexpensive legal foreign residency;
  • An opportunity to open a bank account for your offshore-registered company;
  • An opportunity to launch an international business company;
  • High living standards.

Below please find 10 reasons why you should invest in Serbia as soon as possible.

1. Affordable legal residency in Serbia

Acquiring a legal residence permit in Serbia will open easy routes to setting up personal and corporate bank accounts in the country. Of course, you will also be free to move around the country. 

Serbia is a developing economy and the Government seeks to attract foreign investors in any way it can. One of the methods that it employs is the modest financial requirements to those foreign nationals who would like to become legal residents of Serbia. What you have to do is register a company in the country and put 1,500 euros in the bank. Two days in Belgrade (the capital of Serbia) will be enough for that. 

When you have completed this task, you will be eligible for a renewable visa that is going to be stamped in your passport. When you have the visa, you can leave Serbia straight away to come back in a year in order to have your visa extended.

Please bear in mind that you do not become a tax resident of Serbia automatically when you obtain a legal residence permit. If you want to acquire tax residency of Serbia, you have to live in the country for the best part of the year. 

When the quarantine is over (and we all look forward to the time when the borders are open again), you can easily travel from Serbia to Austria, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, and other European countries by car. There are direct flights from Serbia to the USA, Asian countries, and Russia.

2. Personal information protection

Serbians do not like it when somebody pokes his/ her nose into their business. And they try their best to cater to this national mental characteristic by passing regulations that protect privacy. 

Banking privacy is available in Serbia to a large degree. As of now, the country has not signed up for the CRS (Common Reporting Standards) and it does not automatically exchange its residents’ financial information.

Thus, if we combine the affordability of acquiring Serbian residency and the high level of personal information confidentiality available in the country, we will have an efficient privacy protection instrument that comes at a small price.

3. Large number of banks

The banking sector in Serbia is very well developed. The central location makes the country a regional business hub that welcomes foreign investors from different parts of the world.

The choice of banks that you can find in Serbia will fascinate you. If you are looking for a large European bank with a reputable name, you can choose from Erste Bank, Raiffeisen, Addiko, Credit Agricole, UniCredit, and Intesa. Hungarian OTP bank has acquired Societe Generale operational facilities in Serbia.

Serbia is also located not far away from Turkey and the Turkish giant Halkbank has set up a large number of branches all around Serbia. In addition, you will find Mirabank in the country that is headquartered in the UAE.

China in particular invests billions of euros into Serbia every year. Naturally, there is a branch of the Bank of China in the country. Russian Sberbank and ExpoBank are also there. There is American capital in Komercijalna banka и Opportunity Bank and if you would like to do business with Latin American countries, you should choose the German Pro Credit Bank. And of course, there are local banks in Serbia.

Services in these banks are available to residents of Serbia – individuals and companies. There are no restrictions on the deposit amount. 

As far as non-residents of Serbia are concerned, it has become difficult to set up a bank account in the country for this category of people/ companies. It is still possible to open a personal foreign bank account in Serbia with professional assistance but we are not prepared to predict for how long this opportunity is going to remain available.

However, this should not be considered a serious problem as becoming a legal resident of Serbia is easy and inexpensive.

4. An account in a Serbian bank and substance for your offshore company

The main problem that offshore-registered companies face is acquiring banking services. How can you prove to the bank that your business is legal if the country where your company is domiciled does not require paying taxes nor having audits?

A wonderful solution of this problem would be setting up a Serbian branch of your offshore-registered company. This is going to take a few weeks in total (opening a corporate bank account takes considerable time) and you will also have to spend a couple hundred euros per month on maintaining the branch but this is what you will get in return:

  • A Serbian tax number;
  • Real presence in Serbia;
  • Accounting records;
  • Low company maintenance costs;
  • An account in a reputable local bank;
  • An opportunity to keep the accounts separately for the parent company and for the branch, which means that you can regulate the amount of taxes payable.

This sort of business opportunity is available in other countries too but Serbia offers it at 250 euros per month only and the local banks consider a Serbian-registered branch of a foreign company a resident corporate entity with all the benefits that this status entails.

5. Company registration in Serbia

You can also set up an independent company in Serbia instead of a branch. There are no restrictions as to the charter capital and the company can be registered remotely. The whole process will take a couple business days with our assistance. 

When the company is registered, you can apply for banking services right away. Yours will be a resident company even though its owner is a foreign national so opening a corporate bank account is not going to be a problem at all.

The tax is 15% in Serbia but there are Free Economic Zones with tax benefits in the country. Besides, some types of businesses such as IT companies, for example, are eligible for tax cuts.

6. Citizenship of Serbia by investment

Serbia does not run an official citizenship-by-investment program as some other national states do. But the country’s authorities are open for negotiations. Everything will depend on what you can offer in exchange for Serbian citizenship.

Substantial investments into the development of certain regions or infrastructure objects are likely to bring you citizenship of Serbia as your case can be regarded as an ‘exceptional’ one. Steven Seagull, a former Prime Minister of Thailand and a number of other publicly exposed persons have acquired citizenship of Serbia via some non-standard routes.  

Moreover, acquiring a legal residence permit in Serbia is easy and if you live in the country, you can become its citizen by naturalization after a few years. Serbia is waiting to join the EU in the future. We cannot say how soon this is going to happen but probably by the time when you retire, you will have a pleasant gift in the form of citizenship of the European Union.

7. Serbian Endowment (fund-trust)

Endowment in Serbia is a mixture of a private fund and a common law trust. It is established for personal or public interests. Non-residents use Endowments for asset protection, tax planning, and wealth growth. Ownership shares and other securities can be kept there regardless of the country of their origin.

In accordance with the Serbian legislation, the Endowment beneficiaries have to be listed in the beneficial company owners’ register. However, there is an important nuance: the Trustee or the Head Manager of the Endowment are considered its beneficiary. The founder of the business structure and the real beneficiaries can avoid being listed in the register.  

We spoke about privacy protection available in Serbia above and an Endowment registered in the country is one more instrument of protecting the confidentiality of your financial information.

8. High living standards in Serbia

Relocating to Serbia right now can be problematic. But when the good times are back, you will find that living in Serbia is very comfortable. Belgrade is a large modern city that is at the same time as beautiful as Vienna or Budapest but much cheaper to live in. There are other cities of interest too and multiple small villages are very cozy to reside in.

Business infrastructure is also very well developed in Serbia. In Belgrade in particular, you can find a large choice of office buildings and everything else that is required for carrying out business operations.  

Many Serbians speak good English. 

You will also find various national cuisines in Serbia: Mediterranean, German, Turkish, etc. It is a legacy of the past and the benefit of Serbia’s central location.

If you are a lover of nightclubs and disco parties, just wait until the pandemic is over and go to the “East European Ibiza”.

In addition to all of these factors, Serbia boasts beautiful nature and local people are very friendly. You can drive to the seaside in the neighboring Croatia or Montenegro and take a boat from there to Italy.

9. Business opportunities in Serbia

Low prices, growing business, multiple banks, good food, and general freedom make Serbia very attractive for people from other countries. You can go to Serbia to spend money or to make money: you will find the country perfect for doing both of these things.

You can also consider investing into real estate in Serbia as experts predict rapid growth in this area. The landscapes are beautiful while the prices are lower than in the neighboring markets.

10. Legal support

Without doubt, it would be a good idea to involve experts in setting up a business company in Serbia or relocating to the country. The good news is that local legal services do not cost too much.   

Offshore Pro Group has a reliable partner company in Serbia that will be happy to help you with any issue: registering a company or a branch, opening bank accounts, acquiring residency in Serbia, and so on.  

If you are interested in exploring Serbia and extending your horizons, please do not hesitate to contact us via email info@offshore-pro.info or use the live chat. You are also welcome to contact us by WhatsApp.

Please do not forget that when there is a window of opportunities, there is also a chance that it will close in the future. Strike while the iron is hot.

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