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Everything you need to know about life in Serbia

Why Serbia?

Serbia is known as a welcoming country with warm people, extraordinary nature, and historical and cultural heritage.

Belgrade as the capital offers various commodities and natural treasures several hour’s drive away. Furthermore, living in the countryside with a strong internet connection is becoming more and more popular.

The progressive development of the IT industry has caused an increased number of local and global IT companies in Serbia, providing a growing chance for local people and foreigners to find and develop a professional career in this industry. 

Working in IT from Serbia is very appealing to many since it gives you a chance to work for global clients with a competitive salary and with affordable living costs.

In the current uncertainty and turbulent time, Serbia is one of the few countries where now it is relatively easy for people from other countries to move for a living and find a job in their field of expertise.

Serbian airline Air Serbia provides regular flights worldwide.

Official website:

https://www.airserbia.com/en/

Upon arrival, you must report to the police within 24 hours. This kind of report is called a white card and must be done by the owner of the place where you are staying (hotel, Airbnb, private apartment, or house). It is also possible to use the service of electronic submission of requests for approval or extension of temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia.

For all procedures in general, it is good advice to have a basic set of documents with you – an ID card, passport, birth certificate, wedding certificate, diploma.

Staying in the country without a visa is allowed for up to 30 days.

During this time, ideally, you must obtain a residence permit. 

There are several options for obtaining a residence permit such as work, family reunification, study, real estate.

In some circumstances, if you didn’t have time to do so, you have a solution to leave the country and re-enter. In such cases, it is convenient to take a trip to Bosnia with a visa not required (for instance, the trip to Belgrade – Bosnia in both directions by car takes 4 hours).

More information you can find on the official government website:

https://livinginserbia.gov.rs/

https://livinginserbia.gov.rs/procedures

You need to get a work permit for employment, but this is a fairly simple procedure.

In the case you decide to open a company, you still need this permit.

You can open a non-resident account with only a passport and registration. You should be prepared to may be asked to confirm the origin of the funds on the account. In this case, sufficient proof is a contract with the employer or the availability of funds in the country of origin.

Some European banks are reluctant to open accounts due to sanctions but still, there are banks where any foreigner can open an account.

Apartment prices have risen recently, but you can always find adequate options.

The price range for a one-bedroom apartment is from 200 to 450 euros, depending on the city area, furniture, renovation, parking lot, and other facilities.

Also, the price varies due to the city you choose for living, so consequently, Belgrade is overall more expensive for rent and living compared to other cities in the country.

Most of the rental ads are posted by agencies that generally charge a commission of 50% of the monthly cost.

The most popular sites for finding accommodation:

https://www.nekretnine.rs/

https://www.oglasi.rs/

https://www.halooglasi.com/nekretnine/izdavanje-stanova

https://cityexpert.rs/*

https://www.nadjidom.com/

* most of the rents on this platform are without agency commission

Belgrade has well-developed public transport including buses, trolleybuses, and trams and for using this kind of transport you need a card that you can buy at the bus stations.

There are intercity buses and trains, but the railway is under reconstruction in some places so it is recommended to check the train route first. Although public transport is usually reliable, it can be congested and standards are variable.

Useful websites:

https://getbybus.com/en/country/serbia

https://www.tob.rs/en/info/useful-info/city-public-transport

When it comes to air transport, there are flights to Europe, important hubs such as Istanbul, Doha, Dubai, and flights to New York as well.

Official Serbian airline website:

https://www.airserbia.com/en/

Living in Serbia

Serbia is a small country in the heart of Balcan with about 7 million people living here. The biggest cities are Belgrade as capital, Novi Sad and Niš.

According to the world’s largest ranking of countries and regions – EF English Proficiency Index, Serbia is #14  and Belgrade is one of the 19 cities with the highest rank of very high proficiency. Visit link.

Serbia offers a variety of destinations for leisure time activities where you can actively spend time in nature or see different cultural, historical, and touristic sites.

Where to look for a job?

The biggest base of IT-related job offers in Serbia is covered with platforms
Joberty, Poslovi Infostud and Startit.

The social platform Linkedin is very useful in the quest for desired job positions and connections with potential employers.

Writing directly to the companies you are interested in proved as a good practice and this approach usually gives the best results.

Your Business

You can work for an existing company or open your own. Models available are LLC and lump sum action (something like IP). 

Lump-sum action

Depending on the type of activity and place of registration, the lump sum business pays a lump sum tax of 200-500 euros per month. 

The limit per year is 6,000,000 dinars (approximately about 50,000 euros).

Also, there are additional taxes – mandatory registration in the VAT system. 

The rest of the administration is quite simple, but it is advisable to have an accountant ( approximately cost per month is 30-50 euros).

LLC

This is the more complicated solution but if you want to develop your own business, this is, in general, the only option. 

There are several tax breaks If you have an IT business, especially for foreigners. For example, in the first three years, taxes and social benefits are reduced by 70% if a company is entered into the register of innovative companies.

In general, taxes are quite high – for instance – if 1000 euros monthly is an employee’s salary, the company will pay about 600 euros in taxes.

Also, there is Corporate Income Tax – 15% and Dividend Tax – 15% which also need to be taken into account.

Useful websites where you can find more information

Services and useful applications for everyday living