Work permit in Serbia | Permanent and temporary residence in Serbia

Amendments to the Law on foreigners from 2023 brought numerous novelties compared to the legal solutions from 2018 and 2019.


The single permit for residence and work is a new institute introduced by amendments to the Law on Foreigners (‘Official Gazette of RS’, No. 62/2023). It is a permit issued to foreigners by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, and whose procedure unifies the procedures for acquiring the right to residence and work in the Republic of Serbia.

The procedure for obtaining a single permit is fully digitized through the internet platform, and takes place before only one state authority. The accompanying evidence is submitted in the form of an electronic document in the original (electronic) or in the form of a digitized document. The procedure for issuing a single permit is urgent, with a prescribed resolution time of 15 days, but in practice, it often takes much longer.


A single permit is issued with a validity period of maximum 3 years, with the possibility of extension under the same conditions. The unique permit replaced the temporary residence sticker, which is affixed to the passport of a foreigner who has been granted temporary residence in Serbia.

The request for an extension can be submitted until the last day of the approved temporary stay. The period between the expiration of the residency permit and the issuance of a new one is considered a legal stay. The foreigner is required to leave the country only if the request is denied.

A common legal ground for applying for a temporary residence permit is a company formation  in Serbia. Being a founder or serving as the Managing Director of a Limited Liability Company, provides the legal basis for applying for a single permit in the country (Self-employment).

The possibility to work in Serbia, besides Self-employment, is enabled on other grounds to the categories such as foreigners with approved temporary residence on the basis of employment, family reunification with a citizen of the Republic of Serbia or on the basis of ownership of immovable property.

The request for issuing a single residence and work permit, apart from the employee himself, can also be submitted by the employer on behalf of the foreigner (even for several foreigners), as well as another person authorized by the foreigner.

By issuing a biometric document, foreigners are enabled to access and use the eGovernment service, and consequently, the possibility of using an electronic signature is created.



To obtain permanent residence in the Republic of Serbia, foreigners previously needed to reside continuously for 5 years with an approved temporary residence permit. Under the new regulations, this requirement has been reduced to 3 years. Additionally, foreigners with approved permanent residence in Serbia are now exempt from special formalities related to obtaining a personal work permit.

Another significant change is that the identity card for foreigners, issued to those with permanent residence in Serbia, now serves as the permit for permanent residence. This card is renewed every 5 years without reassessing the conditions for permanent residence, eliminating the need for a sticker on the residence permit.

The new regulations also introduce a basis for acquiring permanent residence through Serbian origin. However, the law does not specify the degree of kinship required, leaving the interpretation of “origin” open to practice.

Furthermore, foreigners who have spent at least 3 years in Serbia on an approved right to asylum can now apply for a permanent residence permit.