Serbia: Legislation Update

Proposal of Amendments to the Law on Citizenship

In May 2023 the Government of the Republic of Serbia submitted the official Proposal of the Law on Amendments of the Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia (the Proposal), which is currently in the process of deliberation within the National Assembly.

The Proposal mainly facilitates a much easier path to acquiring Serbian citizenship.

The key changes are outlined further below, although it should be noted that there are other novelties that affect specific groups (e.g. persons granted asylum, persons born abroad with one of their parents being a Serbian citizen).


Dismissal from foreign citizenship is no longer a precondition for acquiring Serbian citizenship

A foreign citizen who reached the age of 18 and is provided with permanent residence in Serbia needs to fulfil only one condition for acquiring citizenship – to provide a statement that he or she considers the Republic of Serbia to be his or her country.

It is no longer necessary for a foreign citizen to renounce his/her foreign citizenship in order to obtain Serbian citizenship.


It is possible to obtain Serbian citizenship after one year of temporary residency

In addition, a foreign citizen can apply for Serbian citizenship in case of living in Serbia for at least one year on the basis of temporary residence, based on the following cumulative grounds:

  • the person acquired a high-school education or higher education in the Republic of Serbia or holds a decision of recognition of a foreign higher education certificate, which decision must be issued by a competent Serbian authority;
  • the person is self-employed, employed or engaged based on an out-of-employment basis with a domestic-based employer; and
  • provides a statement that he or she considers the Republic of Serbia to be his or her country.


Spouses – a person can acquire Serbian citizenship if his or her spouse holds Serbian citizenship under the previous conditions explained in points a) to c) above, provided that the person provides a statement that he or she considers the Republic of Serbia to be his or her country.

Considering the recently adopted amendments to the Law on Foreigners and Law on Employment of Foreigners, it is possible that the prerequisite for acquiring Serbian citizenship will be increased to three years of living in Serbia based on temporary residence, which will match the new requirement for permanent residency under the said amendments.


Extending the condition regarding marriage duration for foreigners to obtain citizenship

Under the Proposal, a foreign citizen who has been married to a Serbian citizen for at least ten years (instead of three years as per the current requirement) can apply for Serbian citizenship by providing a written statement confirming Serbia to be his or her country.


The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.