This article discusses Serbian citizenship by descent, its eligibility criteria, benefits, and how to acquire it in 2023.
Serbia is among the best countries in Eastern Europe for investors and entrepreneurs, thanks to its business-friendly environment, highly skilled workforce, and relatively lower tax rates. Moreover, the capital, Belgrade, is one of the most underrated European capitals.
If you have Serbian roots, Serbian citizenship by descent is worth exploring. The process is tedious, but that’s where we come in. At Nomad Capitalist, we’ve helped many clients trace their ancestry, reconnect with their roots, and get a second passport without doing any legwork, and we can do the same for you too. Talk to us about our citizenship by descent service and get ready to expand your passport portfolio.
Serbia gained its independence in 2006, which makes it a relatively young country.
The country was an integral part of Yugoslavia for most of the 20th century. Yugoslavia, back then, comprised Serbia and most of its neighboring countries.
Serbia may be an underrated country, but it has much to boast of, like a relatively strong passport, a business-friendly environment, and EU candidacy status.
According to the Nomad Passport Index, the Serbian passport allows visa-free access to 137 countries, including the EU, Japan, China, Singapore, Russia, UAE, etc.
Now, if you are a passport holder of a Western nation, you may think that 137 is not that big of a number to acquire foreign citizenship – but here’s the twist.
Serbia is one of the only three countries in the world which allows visa-free access to Russia and China, while at the same time enjoying the same travel privileges throughout continental Europe.
That’s why we’ve listed the Serbian passport as the fastest-growing passport in the world.
Serbia is one of the best countries in the Balkans and Eastern Europe to plant a business flag.
It has a corporate income tax rate of 15%. The rate is definitely on the lower side. However, that’s not the only reason we love Serbia as a business-friendly jurisdiction.
The best part about starting a business in Serbia is its people. In our experience, Serbian citizens make excellent employees. Whether you are looking for on-site workers or remote help, Serbians don’t disappoint.
That’s why we’ve included Serbia in our list of the best countries for hiring remote workers.
We’ve often called the Serbian capital Belgrade, one of the most liveable yet most underrated capital cities in Europe.
The city has everything, from welcoming people with a laid-back nature to vibrant nightlife to a fantastic ambiance.
From annual beer festivals to the versatility of seasons to some of the most unique traditions in the world, Serbia truly has something for everyone.
If you acquire Serbian nationality by descent, your kids will also be eligible to become Serbian citizens.
Moreover, Serbia is one of the few countries that allows your spouse to apply for Serbian citizenship without any residency requirements after you acquire Serbian citizenship by descent.
Serbia’s personal income tax rate is 20%, while the corporate tax rate is 15%. The tax rates may not be the lowest, but they’re far lower than what you’ll find in most Western nations.
The Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia states the foundation of acquiring Serbian citizenship by descent.
According to Article 6 of the Serbian Law on Citizenship, Serbian citizenship can be acquired through the following means:
- Birth in the territory of the Republic of Serbia
- According to international treaties
According to Article 7 of the Serbian Law on Citizenship, you can acquire Serbian citizenship if:
- Both of your parents, at your birth, were citizens of Serbia.
- You were born in the territory of Serbia to a Serbian citizen parent (at the time of your birth)
- You were born abroad to a Serbian citizen parent (at the time of your birth) while the other parent was unknown, of unknown citizenship, or stateless.
Articles 9 and 10 further explain the conditions surrounding the eligibility of acquiring Serbian citizenship by descent for people born abroad to a Serbian parent.
Article 7 already dictates that a child born abroad, whose one parent was a Serbian citizen at the time of the child’s birth, can acquire Serbian citizenship by descent.
However, some other conditions have to be met. If the other parent is a foreign citizen, then the responsibility to register the child as a Serbian citizen in the competent diplomatic or consular office of the Republic of Serbia falls on the Serbian parent.
Moreover, the Serbian parent must apply to the competent state authority to register the child in the Register of Citizens. All this has to be done before the child turns eighteen.
If the child has a guardian, the responsibility of the registration and application falls on the guardian.
A child born abroad to a Serbian citizen will acquire Serbian citizenship by descent without meeting any of the conditions stated above if they run the risk of being stateless.
A child aged fourteen or above must consent to acquire citizenship in Serbia.
A foreign national aged eighteen or above, born abroad to a Serbian parent and a foreign citizen parent, can obtain citizenship of the Republic of Serbia by the age of 23 if they apply to the competent Serbian authority to register themselves in the Register of Citizens.
Although it doesn’t fall under acquiring citizenship by descent per Serbian law, there is a way you can obtain Serbian citizenship even if your parent(s) weren’t Serbian citizens at the time of your birth – enter Section 3 Article 18.
The above mentioned Article discusses acquiring Serbian citizenship by admission.
According to Article 18, an emigrant and their descendants can acquire Serbian citizenship by admission if:
- They are aged eighteen or above.
- They are of working capacity.
- They submit a written statement declaring that they consider Serbia their state.
Article 18 defines an emigrant as someone who left Serbia to reside permanently in a foreign country.
Marital partners of the individuals who acquired Serbian citizenship under Article 18 can also acquire citizenship of Serbia if they submit a written statement declaring that they consider Serbia their state.
You will need the following documents to apply for Serbian citizenship by descent:
- Filled-out application form
- Your birth certificate (must mention the names of both parents)
- An official/certified document proving Serbian ancestry
- A photocopy of your valid passport/ID card
- Two passport-size photos
The documents mentioned above aren’t the only ones you may have to submit. Depending on your situation and place of birth, you may be required to submit additional documents like your parents’ birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs decides to grant or refuse Serbian citizenship to the applicants.
Yes, Serbia recognizes the right to hold dual nationality, meaning that you won’t have to renounce your current citizenship if you acquire Serbian citizenship by descent.
This is not a blanket statement, though. Serbia will require you to renounce your current citizenship if you acquire Serbian citizenship by standard naturalization.
Very few people get the opportunity to claim second citizenship by descent. If you are one of those people, especially if your bloodline gets you citizenship like Serbia’s, you should jump at the opportunity.
However, if you’re not a part of this lucky club, don’t fret. There are many excellent residency and digital nomad programs in the Eastern European region that can catch your interest.
If you want to acquire Serbian citizenship by descent but also want a completely hands-off approach, set up a call with us. We’ll make sure that you sit back and relax while we sort out all the complexities of your second citizenship process.