Getting Serbian Citizenship By Descent in in 2022

Serbian Citizenship By Ancestry 2022

Are you even “vaguely Serbian”? You could qualify for a second passport in 2022…

With a diaspora of around 5 million people worldwide, more people have Serbian roots than one would think. And if you have Serbian parents, grandparents, or even earlier ancestors, you could be eligible for a Serbian passport in 2022…

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Getting Serbian Citizenship By Descent in 2022

Serbia is one of the six countries (seven with Kosovo) that came into existence after the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. 

And while Yugoslavia was once under the patronage of the Soviet Union, it later distanced itself from its larger brother. It offered a much greater deal of freedom to its citizens…. including the freedom to leave the country.

As a result, in the 1950s and 1960s, many Yugoslavs, including hundreds of thousands of Serbs, left the country in search of a better life abroad. Primarily, these emigrants went to Western Europe — Germany, Austria and France — but also to the USA and Canada.

In fact, it was estimated that between 1-1.2 million people of Serbian descent lived in North America by as early as 2008.

But many of them have lost their Serbian citizenship along the way.

The good news is that, going into 2022, descendants of Serbian emigrants have the opportunity to claim back their long-lost native citizenship.

If you are of Serbian descent, you should pay close attention. While Serbia is not part of the EU or the Schengen Area, it offers a dynamic economy, inexpensive living, and all the amenities you could want.

Moreover, its passport, which scores a solid B+ grading in the Sovereign Man Passport Index, offers the bearer visa-free access to 123 countries, including China, Russia, Japan, the Schengen Area and Turkey. 

The country’s ancestry program at a glance

According to the Serbian Citizenship Law, you become a Serbian citizen by origin if:

  • Both of your parents were citizens of Serbia during your birth, OR
  • Only one parent was a citizen of Serbia during your birth, AND you were born in Serbia.        

If you were born abroad to only one Serbian parent, you can still become a citizen, but there will be an extra step to take — before you turn 23, you need to register as a citizen of Serbia in one of its overseas consulates.

The same citizenship law allows for another way to request Serbian citizenship even if neither of your parents were Serbian citizens when you were born.

Article 18 states that if you descend from a Serbian citizen directly, you are eligible for Serbian citizenship even if your ancestor left Serbia many decades ago.

According to the law, your Serbian ancestor must have left Serbia for good and settled permanently in a foreign country (such as the United States).

According to our contact on the ground, there is no limit on the number of generations you can go back, as long as you can prove that your ancestor indeed was Serbian, and that you are their direct descendant. 

In practice, finding the proper documents may be challenging if your ancestor left Serbia before the 20th century. Just like in most neighboring countries, recordkeeping was poor back then. 

Of course, it doesn’t mean that you (or your lawyer in Serbia) shouldn’t try anyway, even if your great-great-grandfather left Belgrade for New York in 1880. You could always get lucky.

NOTE: Be sure to join Sovereign Man: Confidential if you’d like to learn more about the exact process steps and documentation required for Serbia’s ancestry program. 

Inside, you can gain access to our series of in-depth SMC Black Papers covering all of the top European Citizenship By Ancestry programs in detail. And you can also gain access to our rolodex of vetted legal suppliers in each country covered.  

Subscribe to SMC here.

So what happens next?

When you have all the required documents ready, you must submit them at your nearest Serbian consulate. Alternatively, your attorney in Serbia can submit the package for you directly in Belgrade.

Our contact on the ground has helped several clients from North America obtain citizenship by ancestry, and told us that the application process was surprisingly quick. 

In the case of Americans and Canadians, it usually takes 3-4 months.

Reportedly, the Serbian government tends to make the process very quick for citizens of Western countries only. Thus, a Turkish citizen with Serbian ancestry will likely see their application spend years in the reviewal process without any resolution.

Unfair? Yes, but that’s the current reality.

After a positive resolution, it will still take a few months for the government to register you as a citizen in their system. When this is done, you can simply apply for a Serbian passport at any Serbian consulate.

As a plus, there is no need to renounce your current citizenship(s) when you obtain citizenship through ancestry in Serbia.

That’s different from when you become a Serbian through standard naturalization (after living in Serbia for eight years). In this case, Serbia would want you to renounce.

As for your kids, they will also be able to claim their citizenship since they are now descendants of a Serbian citizen (you).

And very generously, our attorney on the ground tells us that Serbia also allows your spouse to apply for Serbian citizenship after you become a citizen yourself, without having to live in the country.

That’s exceptional; so far, we have only seen a handful of countries with Citizenship By Ancestry programs do that. And your spouse will not need to renounce their citizenship either…

The bottomline

After the past 18 months, the one thing you want for certain is additional options – greater optionality forms an essential part of any robust Plan B. And if you can get a solid second passport from a gorgeous European country for next to nothing in 2022, you should absolutely go for it.

Yours in freedom,

Team Sovereign Man

PS: Contemplating a stint overseas? Discover all your best residency and citizenship options — with step-by-step guidance on how to apply — join Sovereign Man: Confidential today.

About the author

Andre Bothma

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