Published on Thursday, 14 June 2012 21:03
By Milena Tripkovic
(EUDO CITIZENSHIP expert)
The Serbian Ministry of Interior has provided data on the acquisition of Serbian citizenship according to which around 300,000 persons became citizens of Serbia from January 1, 2004 while 37,500 persons renounced Serbian citizenship in the same period. According to the Ministry, most acquisitions pertain to citizens of several former Yugoslav Republics (Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Macedonia). Furthermore, in most cases these are the people who already have an established link with Serbia and an interest in acquiring its citizenship for educational, social benefit, employment and other purposes. In other words, such acquisitions are means of achieving benefits which are reserved only for Serbian citizens. For instance, many people apply for Serbian citizenship in order to pay lesser fees for education, some in order to be eligible for social security provisions (health, pension, etc.) and yet others to be able to gain employment in the state administration which is solely reserved for Serbian citizens. The Ministry of Interior also stated that most people who acquired citizenship in the mentioned period were residents of Serbia, but had Montenegrin citizenship on the day that State Union of Serbia and Montenegro dissolved (June 3, 2006) while others include people of Serbian origin which live in other former Yugoslav Republics, as well as refugees and displaced persons living in Serbia.
Such high number of acquisitions of Serbian citizenship was made possible because the conditions for obtaining citizenship for people with special links to Serbia are more lenient than the conditions for ordinary naturalisation. Important differences are the lack of a requirement that such people need to renounce a foreign citizenship and the lack of a residency requirement (articles 18, 23 and 52 which relate to Serbian emigrants, people of Serbian origin living abroad, refugees and Montenegrin citizens with permanent residence in Serbia). This allows for a very simple procedure of gaining Serbian citizenship for specific categories of people.
In the same period, 37,500 persons renounced Serbian citizenship in order to acquire the citizenship of a country in which they reside.
See the news
in original (in Serbian):
See the Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia
(most recent version, in Serbian):