Residence permit


Country Report: Residence permit Last updated: 15/05/23


Nikola Kovačević

Despite their right to permanent residence under the Asylum Act,[1] recognised refugees are not issued a separate document of residence, as they are considered ipso facto to be entitled to reside in the country.

The right to reside in the Republic of Serbia shall be approved per a decision on granting refugee status or subsidiary protection, and shall be proved by an identity card for persons who have been granted the right to asylum.[2]

ID cards for persons granted refugee status are valid for the period of five years, while ID cards for persons granted subsidiary protection is valid for the period of one year.

The content of this document is simple and the ID card is a plasticised document containing a photo of the person, its surname and first name, gender, date and place of birth, country of origin, address, as well as the document number and date of issue and expiration. The document is filled out by hand by an Asylum Office official and the only proof that the document has been issued by a state administration body is a stamp of the Ministry of Interior.

ID cards that are issued to asylum seekers and persons granted asylum create an entire set of everyday obstacles. The first problem is that this document cannot prove the identity and the legal status of refugees. While ID cards issued to Serbian citizens and foreigners granted temporary or permanent residency contain unique personal number of the citizen (JBMG) or foreigner’s registration number (EBS), this document, due to lack of its biometric features does not contain any of these data. Thus, the current ID card for asylum seekers and refugees does not contain the EBS, which further causes bureaucratic obstacles for enjoying other rights such as obtaining working permit, opening of bank accounts and other every day needs which can be met only with the additional documentation issued by the Asylum Office, such as the confirmation on obtaining international protection in Serbia or EBS confirmation document.

Many institutions and the staff of these institutions are not familiar with ID cards which causes problems in local health care institutions, public notaries, sports facilities, educational institutions, supermarkets, and employers on the labour market. There have been instances in which the police officers were questioning the validity of ID cards during the routine checks.

Accordingly, plastic ID cards are the reason why refugees and asylum seekers face discrimination on almost every step of their struggle with the public or private administrations.




[1] Article 60 Asylum Act.

[2] Article 90 Asylum Act.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection