The Republic of Serbia has officially closed its border crossings for passengers in road, rail, air and water traffic at 8.00 a.m. on 20 March 2020. The passing of humanitarian aid and crossings of national importance that are approved by the competent authority are still allowed. International passenger traffic to and from the Nikola Tesla Airport has been suspended in accordance with the Government of Serbia’s decision on 19 March 2020 from 12.00 p.m. onwards.
As a result of those measures, the question of the status of foreign citizens has arisen.
The Government of the Republic of Serbia consequently enacted the decision regulating the status of foreign citizens who were on the territory of the Republic of Serbia when the state of emergency was declared – Decision on status of foreign citizens in the Republic of Serbia during the state of emergency dated 24 March 2020.
According to this decision, all foreign citizens who were lawfully on the territory of the Republic of Serbia when the state of emergency has been declared (15 March) or who had valid residence permits issued on this date, may lawfully remain in the Republic of Serbia while the state of emergency is in effect without the obligation to initiate proceedings to further determine their status.
Furthermore, identification cards provided for foreign citizens and the asylum seekers will be considered as valid during the state of emergency, even if they expire during this period.
Finally, the Government also adopted Decision on the validity of work permits issued to foreign individuals during the state of emergency on 27 March 2020, which states that all issued work permits shall be deemed as valid during the state of emergency, regardless of whether they expired during this period.
All the above-mentioned measures above are temporary, and after the state of emergency is terminated, all regular procedures will be effective.
By Milena Jaksic Papac, Partner, in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners