Foreign citizens are required to obtain visa in the nearest consular office or embassy of the Republic of Serbia in order to be able to enter Serbia, unless specific non visa regime is applied to their country of origin. For example, non visa regime applies to citizens of EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Montenegro etc. who may enter Serbia freely without visa, with a valid passport and reside in it up to 90 days within 6 months period.
Foreign nationals intending to work in Serbia or to reside in Serbia for more than 90 days within 6 months period must obtain a temporary residence permit. The foreigner should apply for temporary residence permit before the Ministry of Internal Affairs i.e. the police within 90 days as of the arrival to Serbia.
The list of documents submitted to the police differs depending on the fact whether foreign national will establish employment in Serbia or not. In the case the foreign national will not be employed in Serbia, the foreign national must submit the documents supporting the purpose of his/her staying in Serbia. E.g. for the employees who are seconded from abroad to Serbia (whereby they remain employed abroad), the secondment agreement or the secondment letter should be submitted and in the case of registered local directors the excerpt from the local registry should be submitted etc.
Issuance of the temporary residence permit is in competence of the police which is supplemented with discretion right and may require any additional documents they deem necessary. Once documents are submitted, the police will issue respective temporary residence permit within approximately one month from the date of submitting the documents. If a foreign national applies for the temporary residence permit for the first time the issued permit will last up to six months, with the possibility of its extension without any restrictions (duration of each extended permit may be up to one year).
As a general rule, every foreigner who exercises the right to work in Serbia is obliged to obtain a work permit. Foreigner cannot legally start to work on a Serbian territory until he/she is provided with the adequate work permit. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, the most important ones being that foreigners who reside in Serbia for less than 90 days within 6 a month period, and who: (i) are shareholders, representatives or members of corporate bodies who have not entered into an employment relationship, or (ii) seconded employees who perform work on the basis of a contract for the purchase of goods, the lease of machines or their installation, delivery, or repair of a combination thereof, or for training purposes, or (iii) participate at business meetings, are not required to obtain a work permit.
Once the temporary residence permit is approved, the local company i.e. local employer should apply to the National Employment Service (NES) for issuance of the work permit for the foreign national. The list of documents to be submitted differs depending on the type of work permit required, i.e. whether the employer applies for (i) employment permit; (ii) secondment work permit, (iii) work permit for moving within the company, (iv) work permit for an independent professional, (v) work permit for training and specialization or (vi) work permit for local entrepreneur. The NES usually issues the work permit within 2-3 weeks as of submission of documents, and the work permit is usually issued for the period of validity of the temporary residence permit.