This article provides a breakdown of the process of how to buy property in Serbia without Serbian citizenship, including some of the specific requirements, rules and limitations.

Greetings to all aspiring property owners eyeing Serbia’s dynamic real estate landscape! This guide aims at helping you navigate this journey with confidence and ease. The Serbian real estate market presents a vibrant opportunity for foreign investors and individuals.

Can foreigners buy property in Serbia?


Foreign buyers, whether residing in Serbia or not, can enjoy ownership of various property types.

Foreigners can own various types of properties in Serbia, including commercial and residential spaces.

However, the key to unlocking these opportunities lies in the concept of reciprocity. This principle ensures that property rights between Serbia and the buyer’s home country are mutually respected and applied. Navigating this principle requires a deep dive into international agreements and Serbian law, a task best handled by experienced legal professionals.

What types of property can be purchased by a foreign investor?

If you’re a foreign individual or a company looking to purchase property in Serbia, there are specific rules you should be aware of.

For Foreign Individuals and Companies Doing Business in Serbia.

Serbian law allows foreign individuals and companies engaged in business activities within the country to acquire property under certain conditions. Essentially, if you need property for your business operations, you can purchase it, provided there’s a principle of reciprocity between your home country and Serbia.

For Foreign Individuals Not Engaged in Business Activities.

If you’re a foreign individual not conducting business in Serbia, you can still acquire property, specifically apartments or residential buildings, just like Serbian citizens. Again, this is subject to reciprocity, meaning your home country should also grant Serbian citizens the same property rights.

Important Restriction.

However, there’s a limitation. Foreign individuals not involved in business activities cannot acquire other types of land unless it’s directly related to a residence or residential building. This means you can’t buy agricultural land, for example, unless it’s directly connected to the property you’re acquiring for residential purposes.

Understanding these rules is essential if you’re considering buying property in Serbia. Always consult with legal experts or authorities to ensure you’re in compliance with the law before making any significant investments.

agricultural land

What is needed for a Non-Serbian Citizen to buy property in Serbia?

The Principle of Reciprocity in Property Acquisition.

When it comes to acquiring property in Serbia as a foreigner, you might wonder about the principle of reciprocity. Is it necessary for a mutual agreement with the respective foreign country, or are there simpler conditions to meet? Let’s break it down.

Reciprocity simplified.

The Serbian law doesn’t explicitly regulate the type of reciprocity required for property acquisition. Instead, it considers reciprocity as long as the foreign country’s legislation allows foreigners to acquire property under conditions that aren’t significantly stricter than Serbia’s own laws. Additionally, in practice, the foreign country should permit Serbian citizens to acquire property within its territory, creating a sort of practical reciprocity.

Reciprocity Agreements.

Serbia has established reciprocity agreements for property ownership through legal transactions with a limited number of countries. These agreements primarily pertain to trade and navigation and were made in the early 20th century. In some cases, reciprocity is explicitly stated in the agreements, while in others, it’s implied through the most-favored-nation clause.

The countries with such agreements are the United Kingdom, the United States, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Japan.

Reciprocity with Other Countries.

For countries where there are no formal reciprocity agreements, Serbia’s Ministry of Justice has determined reciprocity based on the laws of those countries that regulate this matter. This is established through diplomatic notes or exchanges with many nations.

property purchase reciprocity agreements

Does buying property in Serbia give you residency?

Beyond investment, owning property in Serbia can open doors to residency. This section will delve into the legal pathways from owning property to obtaining various forms of Serbian residency, illustrating each step with practical advice and legal insights.

Starting with a one-year residence permit, diligent property ownership can lead you down the path to long-term and, eventually, permanent residency and citizenship.

Can I Get Serbian Citizenship if I buy a House?

Purchasing a property in Serbia does not automatically grant you Serbian citizenship. Citizenship involves a separate application process, including residency requirements. Owning property can be an investment or residential decision, but it doesn’t directly influence citizenship eligibility.

What is the process of buying a property in Serbia?

The Due Diligence Imperative.

Undertaking real estate due diligence is non-negotiable. This critical process involves verifying the property’s history, inspecting for litigation, and confirming legal registrations. Skipping this step is not an option if you value your investment’s security.

Signing the Preliminary Contract. Initiate the process with a notarized preliminary purchase agreement.

Title Verification. Engage a Serbian lawyer to ensure the property’s title is clear and legally sound.

Finalizing the Deal. The final agreement is crafted for notary signing.

Value Assessment and Taxation. The Tax Authority appraises the asset’s value, and a 2.5% property transfer tax is levied on the buyer.

Property Registration. The final step involves registering your new asset with the Area Property Registry.

Risk Mitigation. The real estate terrain is not devoid of risks. From property rights disputes to potential fraud, a vigilant approach is indispensable. This is where your legal counsel becomes your most valuable ally, safeguarding your interests with robust due diligence and ironclad purchase agreements.

Inheritance of Property by Foreign Nationals.

Regarding property inheritance, foreign individuals can inherit property under the same conditions as Serbian nationals, subject to reciprocity. However, in practice, it’s generally assumed that every state allows Serbian citizens to inherit real estate freely until proven otherwise. This means that foreign nationals can inherit property in Serbia based on presumed factual reciprocity​​​​.

inheritance in serbia

Understanding Real Estate Taxes in Serbia.

Tax on Absolute Rights Transfers.

In Serbia, the tax on the transfer of absolute rights is a unique form of taxation applied to property ownership transfers. This tax arises from property sale agreements and is typically the responsibility of the seller. However, it’s important to note that either the buyer or the seller can fulfill this obligation, depending on their agreement​​​​.

Tax Rate and Basis.

The tax rate for transferring absolute rights is set at 2.5%. The tax base is determined by the agreed-upon price in the property sale contract, which should ideally align with the property’s market value. If the agreed price is lower than the market value, the latter becomes the tax base​​.

Filing Deadlines and Procedures.

The tax obligation begins on the day the property sale contract is concluded. The responsible party must file a tax declaration within 30 days from this date. However, if a public notary certifies the contract, they will forward the contract to the relevant authorities on behalf of the taxpayer within 24 hours of the certification​​​​.

Documentation Requirements.

Required documentation for the tax process is typically provided by the public notary who certifies the contract. This includes the contract itself and any relevant declarations or notifications about tax exemption eligibility​​.

Tax Assessment and Payment.

The tax is assessed by the competent tax authority and communicated to the taxpayer. Payment of the determined tax amount is due within 15 days of receiving the tax assessment notice​​.

Consequences of Non-Payment.

Failure to pay the tax within the legal timeframe can lead to legal actions by the tax authority, including warnings, lawsuits, and forced collection of the tax amount plus interest and legal costs​​.

Whether you’re buying or selling property in Serbia, understanding these tax obligations is crucial. As always, seeking legal advice can help navigate these requirements more smoothly and ensure compliance with Serbian real estate tax laws.


Navigating the Serbian property market as a foreign national requires a thorough understanding of the legal framework, particularly the nuances of reciprocity and specific restrictions. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview to aid your decision-making process.

For more personalized advice, feel free to contact us.

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