Quick facts about Serbia
There are many advantages for digital nomads in Serbia, from affordability to safety and work-life balance. Located in Southeast Europe, it is a landlocked country bordering several EU countries.
Serbia lies outside the Schengen zone, so that you can take a break from a Schengen visa here. If you visit one of these great countries for digital nomads, your next stop can be Serbia.
Quick Visa Facts
Living in Serbia as a digital nomad
Serbia is an excellent choice for starting your digital nomad career. If you don’t have a registered business yet, you can do it in Serbia and gain a long-term visa in exchange for it. Your life in Serbia will be very comfortable, especially if you make an income greater than $3500, a requirement for a long-term stay in Serbia.
Attractions and best places to visit
Except for the buzzing capital, Belgrade, there is much to see in Serbia, including other big cities like Novi Sad, Subotica, and Niš. Serbia features gothic-style architecture and massive cathedrals and castles throughout the cities.
The coffee culture is strong, and there is no place in Serbia without a cafe with internet service. You can travel around the country and work from any location while exploring beautiful mountains, spas, towns, and villages.
Serbia’s capital and largest city has a lively nightlife, hundreds of restaurants and cafes, and an incredible street food scene. Belgrade has a rich history which you can discover by visiting museums and the Kalemegdan fortress. The city sits at the junction of the Danube and Sava rivers, and you can enjoy these fantastic views from the waterfront.
Subotica is a must-see city in northern Serbia and is almost at the border with Hungary. The main reasons to visit this city are the art nouveau architecture and Palić lake.
Novi Sad is a charming city on the Danube River’s banks. Serbia’s second-biggest city has a laid-back vibe, with people lounging in the various parks. Perhaps its most renowned event is the annual Exit music festival, which takes place in July at Petrovaradin fortress.
This is a prominent tourist location in western Serbia’s highlands. From skiing in the winter to hiking in the summer, it has everything you need for a perfect getaway. With huge meadows and charming old villages, the area is highly picturesque.
Đerdap National Park
This stunning park features four gorges that run 115 kilometers (72 miles) across the lowlands. The park is near the majestic riverside Golubac fortification on the Danube River.
Serbia’s third-biggest city and a vibrant university town is a convenient layover spot between Belgrade and Sofia or Skopje. The city dated back to 279 BC and was home to Constantine the Great.
This scenic mountain is perfect for a relaxing holiday in nature. Tara’s primary feature is its coniferous woods, making it the most wooded peak in Serbia and the area. The accommodation through the mountain is affordable and usually features WiFi, so this may be a perfect hidden gem for digital nomads.
Digital Nomad Hotspots
Serbia’s biggest digital nomad hotspot is Belgrade, but amazing cities for digital nomads are also Novi Sad and Niš, which feature many coworking places and affordable accommodation.
Belgrade has launched an initiative called BelgradeGetsDigital that aims to attract digital nomads to the city. You will find all the information about visas, networking events, and even some Serbian lessons there.
Serbia has evolved into a highly desirable remote-working location for long- and short-term visits. There are various reasons, including inexpensive living, fast internet, a vibrant startup sector, and many coworking spaces.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Serbia is one of the most attractive factors for which digital nomads choose this country. Staying in Belgrade is more expensive than staying in smaller cities or suburbs. However, it is still very affordable and is comparable to cities in the US with a population of about 200,000 or less.
One-bedroom apartments in Belgrade range from $250-$700, with the average cost for an apartment in the city center being around $500. But if you rent an apartment outside of Belgrade, you will pay for one-bedroom apartments on average between $200-$300 per month.
Dining out is less expensive than you would expect in a US city, with market prices comparable to the US. Eating in an inexpensive restaurant will cost $5-$15 per meal, while the coffee is $1-$3.
Utilities are about $100 per month, while internet plans range from $15-$30 per month. On average, a single person will spend around $500 monthly, without rent, while a family of four will pay $2000.
Digital Nomad Essentials
Serbia has the infrastructure to accommodate its people as well as the rising digital nomad community when it comes to the internet connection. The internet speeds are excellent, the plans are inexpensive, and almost all establishments offer an internet connection.
Serbia had an average fixed internet speed of 69.6Mbps. However, according to speedtest.net, the country’s average internet speed in June 2022 was 54.02Mbps, placing it 63rd in the world. So, suffice it to say that you won’t have any connectivity troubles if you wish to work remotely from Serbia.
Many internet providers offer prepaid internet packages that include compact modems that may plug into your computer, laptop, or wall outlet. In addition, most cafés, restaurants, and hotels have excellent free WiFi internet access.
Serbia had an average internet mobile speed of 46.52 Mbps. Speedtest.net shows that download speeds are 43.19 Mbps on average as of June 2022, confirming the country’s reputation for an excellent connection and ranking it 44th globally.
You may get a SIM card from any mobile provider, such as Telenor, MTS, or Vip mobile, to get internet access on your phone. These cards range in price from $5 to $10 and may be obtained at various locations around most cities. For example, 5G is now only accessible in major cities, and the quality of service varies depending on the operator.
Co-working spaces are abundant all over Belgrade. They offer beautiful, comfortable offices and single desk options, and you can get a table for as little as $12 a day. Regarding amenities, you will usually find a kitchen, personal lockers, a skype room, and outdoor space.
Novi Sad has plenty of co-working places too. Hubitat is a popular facility with approximately 2,700 square feet in the heart of Novi Sad. The others worth mentioning are The EWA Hub and Space Girls group for female digital nomads.
The Mokrin House is Serbia’s unique co-living place dedicated to digital nomads and entrepreneurs. It’s in Kikinda, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Belgrade and a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Novi Sad.
Is Serbia safe?
Serbia is a friendly and hospitable country, especially to visitors, and as a result, the predominant tourist image of Serbia is frequently the kindness of its people.
It should be no surprise that this nation is deemed safe for tourists. However, the frequency of muggings or harassment remains low, so it is safe for solo female travelers.
Regarding street crime, pickpocketing is the most dangerous thing that may happen to you, especially in busy locations like bus terminals and Knez Mihailova street, Belgrade’s central pedestrian location.
One of the main concerns in Serbia is car theft, so when renting a car, stay away from Volkswagen, Opel, and other high-risk vehicles and never leave valuables in plain sight in the car.
Serbia Digital Nomad Visa Overview
The digital nomad visa for Serbia is still in the making, but the country is very open to digital nomads, and anyone who makes $3,500 or more per month can apply for an extended stay. However, for those staying less than 90 days, there is no income requirement which is excellent if you are just trying out if life in Serbia is for you.
Serbia has four types of visas:
Short-stay (up to 90 days)
Long-stay (91-180 days)
Regardless of the visa regime, any foreigner arriving in Serbia must register with the local police station within 24 hours of arrival.
If staying in Serbia for longer than 90 days, you must apply for a temporary residency permit. You can stay in Serbia for up to a year on this basis. After that, you can renew your residence permit annually until you decide to depart the country.
To work remotely in Serbia as an entrepreneur, you must register your business and get a work permit. You will choose between two types of entrepreneurship, a flat rate entrepreneur and a business bookkeeping entrepreneur.
Who Can Apply for the Digital Nomad Visa for Serbia
Even though Serbia’s digital nomad visa program is still under debate, the authorities impose a monthly income requirement of around $3,500. Essentially, this is the primary criteria for acquiring a digital nomad visa for Serbia, and anyone with this income can apply, no matter the country of origin. Also, your family or spouse can apply with you under the same requirements.
How to Apply for the Serbia Digital Nomad Visa
The Serbian National Employment Service issues all work permits. You must apply for a Serbian work visa if you are self-employed. If you work as a freelancer, your classification is self-employed.
After registering a firm with the Serbian Business Register Agency, this work permit allows foreigners to conduct business in Serbia.
A self-employment work permit is valid for the same time as a long-term D visa or a temporary residence permit – up to one year, with the option to extend.
Obtaining a self-employment work permit is straightforward; you only need to submit the relevant papers and answer a few additional questions. You can also apply for a permit or work permit extension via e-mail or in person.
Documents required to apply for the digital nomad visa in Serbia
Application form for the Serbia digital nomad visa: download a pdf here.
Copy of a valid passport.
Insurance – you can obtain insurance from any insurance company in Serbia, or check out this link for international insurance companies.
Two passport-size photos.
The landlord information: a photo of the landlord’s ID, a document or contract signed by them attesting to the fact that they rent to you, proof that they own the property you’re renting.
Personal bank account in Serbia with dinars deposited. You must have an official stamped letter from the bank certifying your account and the amount deposited. If you’re applying for a sole proprietorship visa, you’ll need to create a business account and complete the same steps.
Proof of residency must be obtained from the police station within 48 hours of arrival. It’s also known as the “white card.”
Proof of sufficient income: $3500 per month for at least the last six months.
Since there is a difference between Temporary Resident Visa and Sole Proprietorship Visa, the following is what else you have to submit for each visa.
Temporary Resident Visa:
A personal bank account deposit of three months’ worth of salary is required. However, many people can get away with depositing 50,000-60,000 dinars (about 430-500 EUR or $450-$530), which is around two months’ worth.
To submit your application with the needed documents, you must pay a tax of 12,690 dinars (110 EUR or $116).
Sole Proprietorship Visa:
A business bank account deposit of one month’s worth of income–roughly 30,000 dinars–is required (260 EUR or $272). Remember that this visa requires you to create personal and corporate bank accounts.
Register the sole proprietorship, which you can do online.
Register with the tax authorities within 15 days of opening your sole proprietorship (registration tax is 1550 RSD or around 15 EUR or USD).
To submit your application with the needed documents, you must pay a tax of 18,575 dinars (160 EUR or $170).
The Serbian National Employment Service charges 12,610 dinars for a work permit (about 110 EUR or $116), which you must also pay and submit with the visa application.
How much does it cost?
Those who apply for a Temporary Residence Permit will pay around $640 (610 EUR), which includes a visa fee of approximately $110 (110 EUR) and a deposit in a Serbian bank account of roughly $521 (500 EUR).
For Sole Proprietorship Visa registration fee is around $16 (15 EUR), and you also have to open a Serbian bank account and deposit approximately $270 (260 EUR). Aside from that, you are paying the visa application fee of $173 (160 EUR) and The Serbian National Employment Service fee of $116 (110 EUR). The total is approximately $575 (545 EUR).
Timeline for Applying for the Serbia Digital Nomad Visa
Serbia’s digital nomad visa takes at least 30 days to process. You must apply for a visa at least three months before your planned travel. Visas take at least 30 days to process. Your travel document/passport must be valid for 90 days on the day you leave Serbia.
The visa issue deadline is 15 days after you submit your entire application, although you can extend for an extra 30 days for good reason. In addition, you will receive a sticker that you will place on the first available page of your passport once you have a long-term D visa.
Taxes for Serbia digital nomad visa
LLCs (known as DOO in Serbia) cannot be taxed at a flat rate, whereas sole proprietors may. Sole proprietors with a yearly turnover of fewer than six million dinars (around $54,000) may be subject to a fixed rate of taxation. Flat-rate businesses are unable to participate in the VAT system.
Flat-rate business owners do not pay profit tax since they do not have to undertake bookkeeping or compute profit, but they can use the double bookkeeping approach to keep track of their finances.
Both the sole proprietors and the LLC might be VAT-registered or non-registered. For example, if an LLC or sole proprietor has a revenue of more than 8 million dinars (around $72,000) in the previous year, they must register with the VAT system. Otherwise, it may or may not be in the VAT system.
The standard VAT rate is 20%, whereas the reduced VAT rate is 10%. The tax rate for an LLC is 15%, whereas the rate for a sole proprietor is 10%. If the owner is a non-resident of a nation with which Serbia does not have a double taxation agreement, the dividend tax is 20%.
The dividend tax is calculated following the agreement when the owner is from a nation with which Serbia has reached an agreement to avoid double taxation. If an overseas entity owns a Serbian corporation, the dividend tax is 25%. If the owner is a Serbian resident, the dividend tax is 15%.
Suppose a sole proprietor’s income from salary, entrepreneurship, property rental, and similar sources exceeds 23,000 EUR in the previous calendar year. In that case, he must pay 10% personal income tax and 15% on any portion over 46,000 EUR.
Colorful and lively cities with excellent coworking spaces, cafes with one of the best coffees in Europe, and fast internet are more than enough of a reason to visit Serbia as a digital nomad.
While the digital nomad visa is still in making, you can already visit Serbia and open a business there or stay for up to three months with no tax obligations. It is up to you and how much you will like this cozy country.