Impressive natural wonders, eclectic cities, and a distinctive heritage are just some of the facets that will greet you in Serbia. The Eastern European country is a haven for history buffs with its old towns and castles too.
But aside from tourism, you’ll find career opportunities in leading industries – including automobiles, food processing, pharmaceuticals, electric machinery, and clothing. You can see the growing IT and service sectors as well.
To live and work in Serbia, however, you may go through certain procedures as a foreign national. But don’t worry, this article explains everything about getting a Serbian work visa that you need to know.
Do I need a work visa in Serbia?
While Serbia is a European country, it is not yet a member of the European Union. The nation is still completing negotiations and is expected to join the EU by 2025. Furthermore, a foreigner can stay in Serbia without a visa for a maximum of 90 days only.
Hence, foreign nationals intending to stay longer and work in Serbia need a work visa. This includes EU/EEA nationals and third-country citizens alike. You can use this link for country-specific information.
What are the requirements to apply for a work visa in Serbia?
Most foreigners are coming to Serbia to work, and you need a Visa D or Employment Visa to do that. A Visa D is a long-term work visa for Serbia that allows you to enter Serbian borders, stay for 90 to 180 days, and participate in paid employment.
- Duly completed visa application form
- Travel document or passport valid for 90 days from the visa issuance date
- Photo taken in the last six months, with dimensions 3.5×4.5cm
- Letter of invitation from a potential employer
- Employment contract stating job description and salary
- Copy of the legal registration of your employer
- Proof of sufficient funds for your stay in Serbia (e.g., bank statements or similar document demonstrating 50 EUR or 59 USD per day)
- Return ticket or travel itinerary
- Proof of health insurance
- Medical certificate
- Proof of accommodation in Serbia (e.g., tenant lease or agreement)
- Proof of no criminal record
- Proof of academic qualifications (e.g., diploma and education certificates)
- Proof of fulfillment of job conditions (e.g., work experience, training certificates)
- Proof of payment of visa fees
Additional requirements for special occupations, as applicable:
- If working in medical care, a letter from the health institution in the Republic of Serbia stating the assignment
- If a religious worker, a contract or letter from a church or religious community confirming employment as a religious official
- If researcher or academic worker, a signed agreement with a scientific-research organization
Additional Requirements for Self-employment
- Your statement on the type, scope, and duration of activities you will engage in
- Proof of appropriate qualifications for said activity
- Proof of ownership or lease of the business premise
- Excerpt from the APR (Serbian Business Registration Agency)
Note that the diplomatic missions of the Republic of Serbia have the right to request additional documentation as deemed necessary for your application. Moreover, you must have your documents translated into Serbian.
Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students
Steps on Applying for a Work Visa in Serbia
The temporary residence permit and work permit are applied for simultaneously. To put it simply, the application begins with an offer of employment. It is followed by the residence permit application, and finally the work permit application.
In most cases, you need an employer to apply for a residence and work permit on your behalf. But you can also initiate the application yourself using Serbia’s online e-consulate service. Nonetheless, you need the same set of documents and will follow a similar procedure.
Here’s a more detailed guide on getting this Serbia work visa:
1. Find employment in Serbia
Foreign workers in Serbia are regulated by the National Employment Service (NES). This organization conducts a market test before allowing Serbian companies to hire foreign talent. When there is no suitable candidate locally, the employer can move forward with hiring foreign applicants.
Once your employer receives authorization from NES, they can begin your work permit application with the same department.
When applying for a position in Serbia, make sure your employer is a legal Serbian company or a multinational company with a legitimate branch in Serbia.
2. Apply for a residence permit
Your employer will submit a residence permit application to the Serbian Ministry of Interior Affairs. At this stage, you have to be prepared with the requirements mentioned above, which your employer will use to strengthen your case for a Serbian work visa. The visa application form can be found here. The request fee is 200.00 dinars or 1.99 USD.
The most important documents for a residency permit are the following:
- Proof of health insurance, which must be in accordance with Serbian health insurance regulations
- Proof of secure means of subsistence, which mean your source of funds such as a salary confirmation, statement of account, or support from a guarantor
If you choose to apply online, you can visit the e-consulate page. You will upload similar documents and pay a set fee yourself. Most self-employed individuals without a specific employer can do this.
3. Get a work permit
Applying for a Serbian work permit and residence permit are closely related. Your employer will submit a work permit application to the NES. You will have to provide similar requirements listed above to be reviewed by Serbian authorities.
The request fee is 330.00 dinars or 3.29 USD and is usually borne by the employer, while the average processing time is around two weeks. Your employer’s request is decided within two weeks to 30 days. Once it is approved, your employer sends them to you, and you may travel to Serbia to begin working.
If you applied online, your Serbian work visa will be electronically approved before your intended arrival in Serbia. You can collect it from a diplomatic or consular mission of Serbia in your country of residence. Visit Serbia’s e-consulate procedure page for further information.
As mentioned, Visa D will grant you employment and residence rights for 90 to 180 days and is renewable. You will be eligible for permanent residency after five years of temporary residency.
I hope this article on how to get a work visa in Serbia was helpful! If you’re interested in studying in Europe, make sure to check out the Available Programs in Europe for International Students!