– FOREIGN CITIZENS AND CUSTOMS OFFENSES –
The importance of being informed on customs regulations of the Republic of Serbia is illustrated by the fact that customs offenses are characterized by extremely high penalties. Thus, for the offense referred to in Article 292. The Customs Law (this category includes failure to declare goods entering the customs territory of the RS), a fine ranges from one to four times the value of goods.
Free entry of goods to the Republic of Serbia
The Customs Act stipulates that certain types of goods are not subject to customs duties and passengers can enter them free of charge in the country. This includes personal luggage (items you need for a specific trip); medicines for personal use; 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250 gr. tobacco; one perfume; one toilet water; one litter of wine; one litter of alcoholic beverages.
Is your personal laptop considered part of your personal luggage?
The customs authority shall, in each specific case, determine which items constitute the personal baggage of passengers and, accordingly, determine whether they are subject to customs clearance or not. You are allowed to carry your laptop with you, but customs officials are obliged to determine whether it is really a matter of an item that is an integral part of your personal luggage or is a new device subject to import duties.
Abbreviated customs procedure
The provisions of Article 107 of the Customs Law stipulate that goods that a passenger has imported from abroad, which is not of commercial character and is intended for use for his own needs or needs of the household, and which value does not exceed 3,000 EUR in dinar counter value, can be customs cleared in an abbreviated procedure, at the border crossing, with the application of a single customs rate in the amount of 10% (plus VAT).
For goods cleared in the so-called “abbreviated procedure” shall be completed by the authorized customs officer submits the Calculation of Importation Duties (CPD), with the exact name of the goods subject to customs clearance.
The passenger declares whether he agrees with the finding of an authorized customs officer in respect of the quantity, type of goods and the established customs value of the goods, as well as with regard to the amount of import duties. If the passenger agrees with the finding of an authorized customs officer, upon the payment of import duties, the authorized customs officer shall hand over to the traveller a certified copy of Calculation of Importation Duties and place the goods at his disposal.
If the passenger does not agree with the finding of an authorized customs officer or does not pay the total amount of import duties, he is obliged to submit to the customs authority a declaration for the transit of goods to the competent customs office where the regular customs procedure will be conducted.
Note by the lawyer: The implementation of the abbreviated procedure is a simplified form, with the aim of faster ending of the procedure for goods that can be customs cleared in such a procedure, with the application of a single customs rate. Such a procedure is not mandatory, as the traveller can always require that the customs clearance of the goods he carries with him and which value does not exceed the value of EUR 3,000, is carried out in a regular customs procedure, by submitting a written customs declaration, at the rate prescribed by the Customs Tariff.
Characteristics of a customs offense procedure conducted against a foreigner
The urgency of the misdemeanour proceedings in procedure conducted against a foreigner is especially emphasized in the provision of Article 303 of the Customs Act, which provides that, if the perpetrator of a misdemeanour is a person whose residence is outside the customs territory of the Republic of Serbia, and all conditions for issuing a misdemeanour warrant have been fulfilled, misdemeanour warrant must be issued within 48 hours.
Note: All details of the misdemeanour proceeding conducted against a foreign citizen, in detail explained in PART ONE, also apply to customs misdemeanours involving foreign citizens.
Košutić Šeperac Radenković
FOREIGN CITIZENS IN THE MISDEMEANOR PROCEDURE – PART TWO
– TAKING IN AND TAKING OUT THE MONEY FROM THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA –
One of the most common violations in practice that is committed by foreign citizens or non-residents, is a violation of Article 63, paragraph 1. point 14. Of Law on Foreign Exchange Operations. This provision stipulates that a non-resident-natural person shall be fined for a misdemeanour in the amount of 5,000 to 150,000 dinars, if he fails to act in accordance with the regulations of the National Bank of Serbia.
In accordance with the Law on Foreign Exchange Operations, a number of by-laws were adopted, of which the Decision on conditions for personal and physical transfers of funds for payment abroad and from abroad (“Official Gazette of RS” No. 67/06, 52/08 and 18/09). The cited decision prescribes, among other, the conditions for physical transfers of funds from the Republic of Serbia and to the Republic of Serbia.
Taking in the foreign currency to the Republic of Serbia
When it comes to bringing foreign money to the Republic of Serbia, the Decision stipulates that a non-resident – a natural person may freely enter into the Republic effective foreign currency, with the obligation to notify the equivalent of more than 10,000 Euros or counter value in another foreign currency to the competent customs authority, who thereby issues a certificate.
Lawyer’s advice: The only obligation of a foreign citizen when entering a foreign currency is to report the money which exceeds the value of 10,000 Euro, when entering the Republic of Serbia to the customs authority, in order to avoid misdemeanor liability.
Taking out the foreign money from the Republic of Serbia
The violation of which in this text is the word, also refers to the physical carrying out the effective foreign money over the amount permitted by the stated Decision.
Non-residents-natural persons may take out abroad effective foreign money up to the amount of EUR 10,000 or equivalent in another foreign currency, as well as effective foreign currency exceeding this amount:
– if they report it upon entering the Republic on the basis of a certificate of the introduction of effective foreign currency in the Republic, which is provided and authenticated by the customs authority,
– the money he raised from a foreign currency account or foreign currency savings account with a bank in the Republic, based on the bank’s verification
– the money that was acquired by selling RSD (dinar) received by the previous usage of the payment card in the Republic, based on the confirmation of the exchange.
Lawyer’s advice: If you are planning to take out the money that exceeds 10,000 euros from the Republic of Serbia, make sure you have documentation, which shall be enclose as evidence to the customs authority that this money belongs to the allowed take out of funds, in accordance with the Decision.
For example, when you are in transit through the Republic of Serbia, you need a receipt from the customs office of the place of entry of money exceeding 10,000 EUR in the Republic of Serbia (border crossing), in order to document to the customs authority in the place of exit from the Republic of Serbia, that conditions have been fulfilled for the legal transfer of funds abroad.
Temporary confiscation of money or protective measure of confiscation of objects?
Effective foreign money that a foreigner takes out abroad, contrary to the regulation, the customs authority temporarily confiscates and at the same time issues a certificate.
In practice, there were often situations where effective foreign money upon the explicit inquiry of authorized customs officials was not reported, and these funds are often hidden during the crossing of the state border, which defines that effective foreign currency, as the object of the misdemeanor, is wholly confiscated, i.e. a protective measure of confiscation of objects has been imposed.
For the foreign currency offenses that were hereby mentioned, in addition to the fine, the provision of Article 64 of the Law on Foreign Exchange Operations, stipulates the mandatory assertion of the protective measure of confiscation of objects, used or intended for the commission of the misdemeanor, or which were caused by the commission of the offense, but exceptionally may make a partial confiscation of objects, if the motives or other circumstances under which the offense was committed, indicate that it is not justified to confiscate the objects as a whole.
In each specific case, the Court is obliged to determine whether the defendant needs to be deprived of all the money, or only partially and in this assessment, the documentation that the defendant has, the purpose of the travel and the transfer of funds, etc., shall be taken into account.
Košutić Šeperac Radenković
– CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MISDEMEANOR PROCEDURE CONDUCTED AGAINST FOREIGN CITIZENS –
Are foreign citizens in the same position as citizens of the Republic of Serbia?
All the basic principles of the misdemeanour procedure, the principle of legality, determination of material truth, urgency and the use of the language shall be applied in the misdemeanour procedure in which the defendants are foreigners, i.e. person who do not have citizenship of the Republic of Serbia are indicted.
Detaining a suspect for the commission of a misdemeanour before initiating proceedings
The specificity of the misdemeanour proceedings in which as defendants appear foreigners is the urgency of such a procedure, due to the fear that a foreigner will leave the Republic of Serbia and thus, avoid misdemeanour liability. The provision of Article 190 of the Law on Misdemeanours prescribes the institute of detaining a suspect for the commission of a misdemeanour before initiating proceedings.
This measure is carried out by authorized police officers, without a court order and without a prior written notification. The arrest of the suspected, shall be carried out without delay, and the perpetrator shall be transferred to the judge on duty.
In which cases can the institute of detaining a suspect for the commission of a misdemeanour be applied?
Authorized police officers may arrest a person found in the misdemeanour, in the following cases:
1. if the identity of that person cannot be determined or there is a need for identity verification,
2. if the person does not possess permanent or temporary residence,
3. when leaving the country would lead to avoidance of misdemeanour liability, and these are violations for which a misdemeanour warrant cannot be issued,
4. if the detention is preventing from continuing the offence.
In cases of the detention of foreigners, the experience so far shows that it is possible to determine the fulfilment of any of these four conditions; often foreigners do not have any personal identification documents on the basis of which their identity could be determined, they do not have a place of permanent or temporary residence, by virtue of the act of going abroad, they can certainly avoid responsibility for the misdemeanour, and the detention prevents them from committing the offense.
When is the police authorized to detain a foreigner?
If the perpetrator of the misdemeanour is found in the commission of a misdemeanour and cannot be immediately brought to the judge and there are grounds for suspicion that he will escape or the danger of continuing the misdemeanour, the authorized police officer can keep the perpetrator for a maximum of 24 hours.
Lawyer’s advice: In such a situation, an authorized police officer is obliged to notify a person, at the choice of the detainee (which is in most cases the selected defender), as well as the diplomatic consular representative of the state whose citizen is detained, i.e. representatives of the relevant international organization, if the detainee is a refugee or stateless person.
Enforcement of a judgment in a misdemeanour procedure before the decision on the defendant’s appeal
It is a general rule that a conviction in a misdemeanour procedure is enforced when it becomes legally effective.
When can a judgment determining the liability of a foreigner be enforced?
From the basic rule to enforce a final judgment, the Law on Misdemeanours in Article 308 allows the enforcement of a judgment even before its finality, in cases where the defendant cannot prove his identity or does not have a place of residence or does not live at the address on which he / she is registered, or if he goes abroad for the purpose of staying, and the court finds that there is a reasonable suspicion that the defendant will avoid the enforcement of the sentence imposed.
In which deadlines does the appeal decide?
In the event that the defendant declares an appeal against a judgment ordering the enforcement of the judgment before its finality, the court is obliged to submit the appeal with the case file to the second instance court within 24 hours, counting from the time when the appeal was received, whereby the second instance court is obliged to decide on the appeal and to deliver its judgment to the first instance court within 48 hours counting from the time of receipt of the file of the case.
Use of the language of a foreign citizen in a misdemeanour procedure
The accused has the right to use his own language, in all stages of the misdemeanour procedure and if the procedure is not conducted in the language of the person participating in the misdemeanour procedure, oral translation of the statement, but also the documents and other written evidence, must be provided.
Lawyer’s advice: In the record of the defendant’s hearing, it must be noted that the defendant is informed about the right to use the language, which, in case of omission, is a violation of the provisions of the misdemeanour procedure and the reason for the abolition of the first instance decision.
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RELEASE FROM SERBIAN CITIZENSHIP
Why to require a release from the citizenship?
The most common reasons why citizens of the Republic of Serbia decide to submit a request for release from the citizenship, is emanated by the foreign legislation, which conditions admission to the foreign citizenship, by prior release from the citizenship that is already possessed by a candidate.
How and where to start the procedure?
The procedure may be initiated in person or by a lawyer in Serbia, or before the competent diplomatic-consular mission of the Republic of Serbia abroad.
Initiating the proceeding – proceeding in Serbia
The proceeding is initiated by submission of the request for release from the citizenship in a standard form, including all stipulated documents.
To whom should you submit a request and which documentation should be enclosed?
The procedure for termination of the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia shall be initiated by the request, submitted to the competent police department, in person or by proxy. Upon a submission of the request to the competent police department, the following documents should be enclosed:
a guarantee that the party will be admitted to foreign citizenship, or proof of foreign citizenship , translated by an authorised court interpreter
excerpt from the marriage register
certificate of citizenship of the Republic of Serbia
certificate that there is no criminal proceedings in the Republic of Serbia, issued by the Primary Court in the place of last permanent residence in the Republic of Serbia
confirmation from the Administration of Public Revenue of settled taxes, both on local and the Republic level (issued in the place of the applicant’s last permanent residence in the Republic of Serbia)
certificate issued by the Centre for Social Work that the applicant has settled property-legal obligations between parents and children
Photocopy of passport or identity card;
If the State issuing the guarantee is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, the document must be authenticated by the apostle stamp.
The advantage of having a representative in the Republic of Serbia: Apart from stipulated power of attorney, a guarantee of acceptance into foreign citizenship, and the payment of administrative fee –amounting to RSD 31.620,00 (cca EUR 270), you should provide items 2,3,4 (or optionally, authorise your representative to secure it for you), whereby your representative is entitled to submit the request for release from the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia and to conduct the entire process (whereas items 5,6,7 will also be secured).
Initiating the proceeding – proceeding before the competent diplomatic-consular mission of the Republic of Serbia
When an applicant submits the request before the competent diplomatic-consular mission of the Republic of Serbia, along with the filled standard form, the following documents should be included:
1) A guarantee of acceptance into foreign citizenship or proof of foreign citizenship , translated by an authorised court interpreter 2) Birth certificate 3) excerpt from the marriage register 4)certificate of citizenship of the Republic of Serbia 5) Photocopy of passport or identity card 6) payment of administrative fee –amounting to EUR 441 (for Germany and Austria)
Refusal of request
What are the most common reasons for refusal of request?
I A request for release from the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia shall be refused, if the applicant is being prosecuted for an offense that is prosecuted ex officio. In the case of a person convicted of serving a sentence of imprisonment, that sentence must be sustained.
II Additionally, one of the frequent reasons for refusing requests for male citizens, older than 18 years of age, is also a hindrance related to military duty, and before submitting a request, it is necessary to verify whether the applicant has been listed in military records. After the entry into force of the Decision on termination of military service obligation, and pursuant to the provision of Article 135, paragraph 5 of the Law on Military, Labour and Material Obligations (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia” No. 88/09 and 95/10), persons who do not want to serve a military service with weapons in the Serbian Army (over 18 years), are obliged to be listed in military records and subject to reserve duty. Residents who reside abroad are obliged to apply to the competent diplomatic-consular representative office of the Republic of Serbia abroad for the purpose of listing them into military records, notified by the competent centre of the Ministry of Defence for local self-government, according to the place of the last residence of the recruit in the Republic of Serbia.
III Incomplete documentation is also a setback to the adoption of a request and correspondingly the issuance of a decision on the release from the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia, or alternately, the submission of documentation that is not authenticated in accordance with the positive legislation.
Adoption of a request
What happens to your passport after a decision on the release from citizenship?
After a decision on release from the citizenship has been delivered to you personally, either at the premises of the competent police administration in the Republic of Serbia, or in the diplomatic-consular office of the Republic of Serbia abroad, your passport and identity card will be cancelled. Therefore, in the period between a delivery of the decision on termination of citizenship of the Republic of Serbia and formal admission to the citizenship of the selected country, you should not plan any travel.
Lawyer’s advice: We suggest that your decision on release from citizenship of the Republic of Serbia will be sent to you by diplomatic means if your residence is abroad, even when you have decided to submit a request to the competent police administration in the Republic of Serbia. Therefore, you will not be prevented from leaving the Republic of Serbia and returning to the country of residence after the cancellation of your travel document.
Re-admission to the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia
How to regain the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia if you have “changed your mind”?
If you have been released from citizenship of the Republic of Serbia and acquired foreign citizenship, or your citizenship has been terminated at the request of your parents, you can regain citizenship of the Republic of Serbia. With a properly filled request for re-admission of the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia, it is a pre-condition that you have reached 18 years of age, you have not been deprived of legal capacity and submit a written statement that you consider the Republic of Serbia as your country.
Lawyer’s advice: Many countries require in their citizenship legislation, the prior consent of their competent authority for the reinstatement of foreign citizenship. Otherwise, it is foreseen to deprive the citizenship of that country.
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