How to start a business in Serbia, how to get a work permit and a residence permit in Serbia?
A step-by-step guide for foreign citizens who are planning on starting up a limited liability company, running a business, living and working in Serbia.
In this text, we will give you useful, practical and simple advice relating to the following questions: setting up a limited liability company in Serbia, the registration of entrepreneurs in Serbia, opening bank accounts, registration of head office address, requirements for obtaining a work permit, requirements for obtaining a residence permit for foreigners in Serbia, optimization of business expenses, the benefit of tax exemptions, applying for and obtaining state subsidies and state aid for newly established companies.
If you have decided to start or expand your business in Serbia, in this text we will briefly present the key steps in the process of establishing and registering a limited liability company.
A limited liability company is the most common form selected for companies to be established. A limited liability company is established by one or more members. The members may be natural persons or legal entities, residents and/or non-residents without limitations. The members’ liability for the company’s obligations is up to the registered and paid capital stock amount. For a company to be officially recognized, it must be registered with the Business Registers Agency on the basis of the Memorandum of Association. The Memorandum of Association certified by a notary includes the business name, head office address, activity type and code, director, the corporate structure, the capital stock amount, and other information related to the company. It should be noted that according to the Company Law, the minimum capital stock amount is 100 RSD. The legal deadline for capital stock payment is 5 years.
After successful company registration, the newly established limited liability company ( LLC) receives its company number and tax identification number. After that you are ready for the next step, i.e. opening a bank account, and deciding on specific banking products which are to facilitate monetary transactions and doing business in Serbia (e-banking, mobile banking etc.). The selected accounting agency will submit in your name all the required tax returns and communicate with the tax administration via E-uprava website. As of the registration date, the newly established company becomes obligated to pay profit tax, as well as contributions for mandatory insurance for employees.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask us!
Are members and directors required to appear in person in order to set-up a company in Serbia?
All the activities mentioned above involved in the process of incorporation of a limited liability company may be carried out without coming to Serbia, only on the basis of a signed power of attorney. The power of attorney has to have a suitable form and content in order to have legal effect in Serbia.
A company incorporated by a foreign investor, in line with the Republic of Serbia regulations, with head office in Serbia, has the status of a local company, and conducts business freely, trades in goods and services, deals in import and export, and concludes all kinds of contracts within its business activity, and under the same conditions buys and sells real estate, sets up mortgages and carries out other business transactions.
Companies established by foreigners are granted tax relief on salaries on the employment of new employees according to the Law on Contributions for Mandatory Social Insurance and the Individual Income Tax Law.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask us!
What are the requirements for employment (obtaining a work permit) and residence of foreigners in Serbia?
Temporary residence permit
The stay of foreigners in Serbia is regulated by the Law on Foreigners. A foreigner who does not require a visa or travel document for entering Serbia may stay in it for up to 90 days in any 180-days period, counting from the date of first entry, unless an international agreement stipulates otherwise.
A foreigner who plans on staying for more than 90 days is obligated to submit an application for a temporary residence permit. The basis for temporary residence may be employment, possession of real estate in Serbia, education, family reunion, medical treatment and other reasons.
The employment of foreigners, self-employment and other forms of work engagement are regulated by the Law on Employment of Foreign Citizens.
The self-employment of a foreign citizen is the employment of a foreign citizen in a company in which the foreigner is the only or control member, in line with the law.
On meeting all the above requirements, foreigners may freely stay, move, work and do business in Serbia.
It is important to point out that companies incorporated by foreigners may participate under the same conditions in procedures of receiving grants (of 35% – 45%) within the start-up programme. Besides the start-up programme, there are programmes for expansion of business and for financing the purchase of equipment, programmes for the purchase of machines and financing the costs of office space furnishing, etc. In applying for subsidies and state aid, it is essential to follow the instructions of the financial institution which grants the funds and complete the documentation, which includes the preparation of a quality business plan.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask us! We have fifteen years of experience in working with different companies.
We are looking forward to helping you and making your business in Serbia easier and more successful.
We will answer all the questions mentioned above in a very short time, and give you a clear picture of the legal framework in which you are planning to start a business and develop your business idea, as well as of the tax reliefs and subsidies you may use living, working and doing business in Serbia.
If you are not quite sure whom to ask and how much documentation, time and energy you require for this procedure, please feel free to send us an enquiry or call us, and we will send you the price of our services and schedule a meeting personally or by phone, for you to get a clear picture and make a decision in your best interest.
The author Sanja Šarić
Law expert and business consultant
Mediator in commercial disputes