Immigration to Serbia
Living and Working in Serbia
The Republic of Serbia, commonly known as Serbia is a country situated at the Southeastern and Central Europe surrounded with several countries like Hungary to the north, Romania to the northwest, Bulgaria to the south east, North Macedonia to the south, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia to the west, Montenegro to the southwest and also claims a disputed border with Albania, which is known as Kosovo. Belgrade is the capital and the largest city followed by Nova sad, the second largest city in Serbia. Serbia is not popular as a mass-tourism destination amongst international tourists; however it has a diverse range of touristic places. The tourism is mainly diverted towards mountains and spas of Serbia. Almost two thirds of all foreigners visit these two cities. The famous mountain resorts are Kopaonik, Stara Planina and Zlatibor. The biggest spas are Vrnjačka Banja, Soko Banja and Banja Koviljača. Other touristic places in Serbia are natural wonders like Davolja varoš, Christian pilgrimages across Serbia and river cruising in the Danube. There are also many bustling music festivals held in Serbia, for instance EXIT, having foreign crown form different 60 countries; and the Guča trumpet festival. It is considered as a developing country due to its sluggish economic performance. Religion followed in Serbia is Christians 84.6%, Catholics 5%, Muslims 3.1%, Protestants 1%, Atheists 1.1, and 5.1 % others.
A beautiful country where authentic Eastern European culture can be experience. Living in Serbia is much cheaper and safe as compared to other European countries. Expats who have been living here for few years, don’t want to leave Serbia, as it’s a great place full of fun things to do, delicious food (mostly heavy and meat-centric), modern nightclubs, all at an affordable cost. Mostly people here known and understand English. Serbs are generally helpful and friendly. Unemployment rate is a bit high in Serbia therefore effort is needed to get a job in Serbia. Getting a job in either a US or German company will be an added advantage as they pay higher wage. Serbia is a perfect place if you love to enjoy outdoors with calm forest, rivers and lakes. It was estimated that approximately 823, 011 immigrants lived in Serbia in the year 2020. These immigrants were mostly from Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany, Montenegro and North Macedonia. Serbia mostly grants permanent visas to foreigners or expats who want to relocate to Serbia and take up Serbian citizenship.
All the restrictions regarding the covid-19 pandemic have been lifted by the Serbian Government and travelers can enter Serbia, however showing the proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test result is must. Precautions must be taken while visiting the hospitals, pharmacies and labs like applying masks and sanitizing hands. There are five main international airports in Serbia like Belgrade, Kraljevo, Niš, Vršac and Užice.
You need a valid passport and a visa to enter Serbia. There are some countries from where you can travel without visa for 90 days like Australia, Ireland, United States, United Kingdom, etc. The citizens of rest of the countries require visas, so please check on the links given below. Reaching Serbia by flight is possible.
Travel to Serbia by flight is the fastest and easiest way. Travelling by flight, also depends on the place you are travelling from. Direct flights are available and operated by the Qatar Airways, Flydubai and three other Airlines from most of the major cities like Ahmedabad (India), Istambul (Turkey), Dubai, Doha, Frankfurt (Germany), Munich (Germany)of the world to reach the major cities like Belgrade, and Zemun, five times a day. There are many indirect flights from other European cities with airlines such as Air France or Swiss Air, moreover there are no direct flights from USA to reach Serbia.
There are plenty of trains running from Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania and Turkey till Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. The rail route of Bar in Montenegro to Belgrade is most scenic one. International trains have comfortable and luxurious coaches with bars and dining cars.
Driving till Serbia from United Kingdom take approximately two days, including travel across Belgium, Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Romania. The E70 motorway lies in the west, via the border with Croatia. An alternative but longer route is to drive overland via France, Switzerland and Italy.
Although Serbia is a landlocked country, still Belgrade is a famous destination for Danube river cruises traveling by the river.
Serbia has several means of transport, so that you can travel with buses, taxis, cars, and flights. Always carry a copy of your passport and visa.
There are several airports in Serbia and domestic flights are the fastest and easiest way to travel around. Expats prefer traveling by plane within the country also, however this can be expensive and domestic flights are scheduled just a few times a day.
Driving in Serbia is possible as the road conditions are getting better day by day, however road rules are ignored very often by drivers and pedestrians, so it is suggested to be attentive while driving on the road. There are toll booths along motorways and the charge varies depending on the size of the vehicle. Keep cash along as foreign registered vehicles have to pay higher charge than the locals.
Buses are also an option in the whole country to roam around as they are cheap and comfortable. There are several local bus companies giving services from the cities, smaller towns and tourist spots. Their buses will take you to the famous destinations and least popular sights and places of interest.
Public transport in Serbia is reliable, however it is crowded. Taxi services outside the metropolitan city Belgrade is costly. All licensed drivers have a badge and blue license plate. After sitting in taxi make sure the taximeter is switched on. Avoid taxi services offered at the airport (arrivals) as those services have a vast history of dishonest drivers ripping off the passengers.
- Passport with six-month validity
- No visa required for less than 90 days stay (also depends on your nationality)
- Passport size photographs
- Proof of vaccination
Residents of Serbia are called the Serbs, who belong to a South Slavic ethnic group native to neighboring countries in the Southern part of Europe. They share a common Serbian ancestry, culture, history and language. Majorly Serbs follow Eastern Orthodoxy also known as Serbian Orthodox Church. Smaller groups of Serbs adhere to other religions like Roman Catholic, Protestantism and Sunni Islam.
People of Serbia value and take part in art and literature, icon painting, music, dance, medieval architecture. Serbs also have noteworthy classical music and work of philosophy. Notable philoserphers are Svetozar Marković, Ksenija Atanasijević, Radomir Konstantinović, Mihailo Marković etc.
Novak Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player, who is one of the greatest men’s players in the history of Tennis. Serbia has also produced numerous popular painters such as Paja Jovanović. He is one of those who painted massive canvases on historical themes such as the Migration of the Serbs in 1896. Marina Abramović is a renowned performance artist, writer and art film maker.
Job offers in Serbia:
Getting a job in Serbia is a hard nut to crack but it is not an impossible thing. A employer must confirm from NES (National Employment Service) if there is any Serbian nationals who qualify for the job, before hiring a foreign employee. After proper checking and justification, if the need of a foreign citizen is established, the employer may apply for a work permit.
On the other hand, Serbia is a good place to work and live. Work visa/permit is required to work in Serbia. These are issued by the Serbian government which has a duration three to twelve months depending on the contract and the nature of employment. In order to get a Serbian work visa, following requirement has to be met:
- A Visa application form duly completed
- Passport which has a validity for minimum 90 days from the date of Visa
- An invitation letter from the Employer/Company in Serbia
- Health Insurance
- Passport Size Photo
- Statement and evidence of funds/income sufficient for staying in Serbia
- Return tickets to leave Serbia (depends on the stay period)
- Receipt slip of Visa Fees (Paid)
All the above official documents must be translated into Serbian language. It takes two to three days to complete the application process and obtaining the work permit.
Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners
Renting a property for an expat in Serbia is possible. The landlords believe that they can earn more money from short term tourists rather than long term visitors. The rental prices in major cities such as Belgrade, Niš, and Novi Sad are higher. The rental rates in Jagodina, Novi Pazar, Pirot, and Šabac are cheaper. Hiring a real estate agent who is fluent in Serbian will be beneficial as the minutes of the property and contractual details will be fully understandable. It is also suggested to look for the sign called “For Rent” outside the property and online advertisement.
Many properties for rent are available in Serbia which you can find on the websites. The popular website to find apartment is airbnb.co.in. This website has vast information about apartment and home rentals like condos, single rooms, houses, garages, office space and land. Property images, descriptions, specs and prices are also mentioned on the website. It is suggested to make a contract before you take the property on rent for long term. The amount of rent may vary from city to city as it depends on the place and size of the property.
The climate of Serbia is continental in the northern areas, the weather is cold dry in winters and warm humid in summers with well distributed rainfall patterns and Mediterranean climate in the southern areas, has hot dry summers and autumns with average relatively cool and rainier winters with heavy mountain snowfall. Serbia has four distinctive seasons i.e summer, winter, spring and autumn.
Winter in Serbia starts from December and lasts till March. Snowfall can be seen for almost thirty days in winters, especially in the capital city called Belgrade. Generally, the southern areas consisting of mountain ranges, experiences more snowfall. Winter is not the best time to visit Serbia.
At the beginning of the mid-March the day starts becoming more pleasant as the temperature increases. Spring has only two months and ends in May. April is the start of the Spring season and the temperature rises more than 20°C. Spring Season is the best time to visit Serbia as days are longer, outdoor activities are on its peak, hotels and restaurants are busy in welcoming guests.
Summer starts from the month of June and ends in the month of August. During this season, the peak travel time is from the last week of July till mid-August, hence there are majority of tourists visit Serbia. It is the best time to go to the river or sea side as the weather is hot and sunny. The temperature goes from 25°C to 30°C. However, in July and August the temperature in the afternoon rises up till 40°C. June is the wettest month, so it is suggested to take clothes accordingly.
Autumn starts from September and ends in November. This season means fast decreasing of the temperature, as the normal afternoon temperature drops to 20°C.
For more information please visit: weather-and-climate.com
The official language of Serbia is Serbian, which also serves as literary standard of Serbia. Serbian language has eight dialects such as Šumadija-Vojvodina, Smederevo-Vršac, Kosovo-Resava, Prizren South Morava, Svrljig-Zaplanje, Timok-Lužnica, Eastern Herzegovina and Zeta-South Sandžak. Other languages spoken in Serbia include Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, Macedonian, Romani, Romanian, Rusyn, Slovak, etc. The Yugoslav Sign Language is also used in Serbia by the deaf and mute people. Serbs are multilingual, fluent in English, Russian and German as well. English is the language spoken by more than 50% population of Serbia. It is also used in educational institutions and government offices. There are many other non-official, minority languages and some Serbian dialects are used by the locals. Minority languages spoken by Serbs are Czech, and Ukrainian. It is advised to take a tour guide or a Serb friend with you to communicate in the rural areas or the areas where people don’t speak English.
For more information please visit: en.wikipedia.org
Road conditions in Serbia are quite smooth across the country, however, there are few patches where you will find potholes. Highways are wide and well maintained. Major cities like Belgrade, Novi Sad, Subotica and Niš are well connected by the road networks. There is congestion on major routes on weekends in big cities during rush hours. Drivers in Serbia tend to be aggressive, however, it is suggested to be attentive while passing by curves. Serbia is expensive, especially tolls on motorways are very high, for example, route from Belgrade to Subotica, a two-hour drive costs around 500 dinars. In Serbia motorways have three lanes in each direction, which includes the hard shoulder.
Basic traffic rules in Serbia:
- Right Hand Drive
- Minimum age to get a driver’s license is 18 yrs.
- Seatbelt is compulsory for all passengers in a car
- Helmet is compulsory while riding a bike/motorcycle
- Third party vehicle insurance is a must
- Children above 12 years of age can sit on the front seat
- Talking on mobile while driving is offensive
- Drink and Drive is not permitted. If the alcohol in blood is 0.03% or higher, it’s illegal. There is a zero-tolerance policy for professional drivers, New Drivers and HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) drivers
- Trams must be given priority over all vehicles
- Speed Limits in Serbia:
- Highways – 120 km/h (74 mph)
- Motorways – 100 km/h (62 mph)
- Urban roads – 50 km/h (31 mph)
- School areas – 30 km/h (18 mph)
For more information on traffic in Serbia, please visit: rac.co.uk
The climate of Serbia is continental in the northern areas, the weather is cold dry in winters and warm humid in summers. There are well distributed rainfall patterns and Mediterranean climate in the southern areas. The summers are hot and dry. Serbia has four distinctive seasons, summer, winter, spring and autumn.
Winter in Serbia starts from December and lasts till March. January is the coldest month. Snowfall can be seen for almost thirty days in winters, especially in the capital city Belgrade. Generally, the southern areas consisting of mountain ranges experiences more snowfall. Winter is the best time to visit Serbia especially during November to March to experience the Ski season.
Spring starts mid-March when the temperature increases and the day’s start becoming more pleasant. This season has only two months and ends in May. In April the Spring season is in full swing where the temperature rises more than 20°C. This is the best time to visit Serbia as days are longer, outdoor activities are on its peak, hotels and restaurants are busy in welcoming guests.
Summer starts from June and ends in August. During this season, the peak travel time is from the last week of July till mid-August. Majority of tourists visit Serbia during this period. July is the warmest month. It is the best time to go to the river or seaside when the weather is hot and sunny. The temperature varies from 25°C to 30°C. In July and August, Serbia may face extreme heat with temperature rising up till 40°C, especially noon time. June is usually the wettest month with an average of 13% of the total annual rainfall.
Autumn starts from September and ends in November. This season means fast decreasing of the temperature, as the general afternoon temperature drops with 20°C.
For more information please visit: weather-and-climate.com
Cash, cards or online payment are the payment methods by Serb vendors and shopkeepers. Prepaid cards and e-Wallet are the most common and popular ways for customers to purchase online and offline. Mint prepaid card is a secured and fast universal cash payment option, which is also easy to use. Visa, MasterCard, Cheque and invoice are some of offline methods to transfer money in Serbia.
Small shopkeepers and vendors accept cash as it’s the easiest way to make payment. Therefore, it is suggested to keep some cash with you in case of emergency. Bank transfer (Swift, Hyper Wallet), Gift card (Hyper Wallet), prepaid vouchers (Hyper Wallet, PaySafecard), and Local payment cards (UnionPay SecurePay), are also the online payment methods used in Serbia. Splitit is a payment app that allows customers from all over the world to make secure and fast payments with installments. Payments can also be done by the carrier billing app such as DaoPay and Mobiamo. Serbian payment system has evolved over the time with the latest advanced technology. There are many other ways to make and receive payments online, such as GooglePay and ApplePay, etc. used in Serbia.
List of e-Wallet payment apps in Serbia:
- Razer Gold
- G2A Pay
For more information visit: https://www.paymentwall.com/en/payment-methods/serbia
Cost of living in Croatia
Serbia is cheaper as compared to all the European and other North American countries. The cost of living in Serbia is cheaper than fifty percent of countries in the world. Major cities like Niš, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Užice, Valjevo are expensive than rural areas.
The average monthly expense for a single person is approximately DIN 157,240. The monthly expense for a family of four people will be DIN 316,300. Food items and beverages are cheap compared to housing or dining. One person can enjoy fast-food items from international franchises such as Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and KFC for 7$. A person can enjoy a full mean with main dishes in lots of cheap restaurants around Serbia in the range of 7-25$. You can buy reasonable products from supermarkets like DIS, Metro, Velpro, Tempo and Lidl. Local transportation and Utilities are a bit high in Serbia.
Here are some products mentioned below, so that you will get a clear idea of the cost of living:
Amount in (DIN) (Serbian Dinar)
Whole Fat Milk
12 (a dozen)
1 Kg (2 lb.)
500 grams (1 lb)
Fast food meal
8 mbps (1 month)
Public transport ticket
Utilities (heating, gas, electricity)
1 month, 2 people in (900 sqft) flat
Utilities (heating, gas, electricity)
1 month, 2 people in (480 sqft) flat
For more info visit: expatistan.com
Education in Serbia has four levels, preschool, primary school, secondary school and higher education levels. Students have the option of attending secondary vocational school instead of standard schooling. Here they can study for two years to obtain a vocational qualification. Education system is managed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia. Free Serbian language classes is provided by the authorities for foreign students so they can understand lectures in School/Universities. If the international student is from a European Country, they can get the lectures in their mother tongue.
Serbia has 17 universities, 8 are public and 9 are private. There are 63 colleges of applied sciences, of which 47 are public and 17 are private. There are 8 colleges of academic studies, 3 are public and 5 are private. Following seven universities in Serbia are old and renowned for higher education:
- University of Belgrade (1905)
- University of Novi Sad (1960)
- University of Niš (1965)
- University of Pristina (1969),
- University of Montenegro (1974)
- University of Kragujevac (1976),
- State University of Novi Pazar (2006)
The degree in University generally takes four to five years, while Magistracy degree is for two years and the Doctorate/PhD degree is for one year in Serbia. International students and stateless students are enrolled on the same principles as the Serbian students. Serbian students are allowed to study at public universities for free of cost, on the other hand there are tuition fees for foreign students but a very low cost. Tuition costs at private schools may vary.
There is no free healthcare system in Serbia, moreover, all the employees, self-employed individuals and pensioners have to pay contributions towards the healthcare system. Healthcare system in Serbia is managed by the National Health Insurance Fund (HIF), it covers all the legal citizens and permanent residents residing in Serbia. More than 98% of the population of Serbia is covered by the health insurance.
Serbian citizens and people holding permanent and temporary residency in Serbia have the right to obtain publically financed health services. HIF covers specialist treatment, hospitalization, prescription, pregnancy, rehabilitation and childbirth. It is employer’s responsibility to enroll the employee with the HIF. Healthcare insurance cards are issued yearly and with this card access is granted to the state medical facilities and to obtain healthcare free of cost with some exceptions. Foreigners without employment in Serbia should provide proof of Private health insurance to get the residence permit. Expats who have jobs are expected to pay medical expenses unless their insurance is included under the bilateral health insurance treaty agreement between their home country and Serbia. There are well trained medical staff but also long waiting list and lack of facilities or equipment’s in public healthcare clinics and hospitals.
Emergency care is free of cost for foreigners, citizens and visitors, except doctor’s services. Hospital need cash payments first for their services. Cost of visiting a doctor depends upon the type and length of the treatment, which you have to pay right after any visit with cash or card. Bills may vary when it comes to surgery, however, it starts from near about 3000 Serbian dinars (35 Euros) which includes consultation fees, prescriptions, tests, operations, etc.
For more information visit: https://www.euraxess.rs/serbia/information-assistance/medical-care and https://eurohealthobservatory.who.int/countries/serbia
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