Film in Serbia
• Filming in Serbia – Do You Need a Residence Permit?

Filming in Serbia – Do You Need a Residence Permit?

Filming in Serbia – Do You Need a Residence Permit?

Over the last few years, Serbia increased its efforts in supporting the film industry and encouraging foreign productions to shoot in Serbia.  Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the Serbian Government doubled the budget for investment in the film industry in Serbia at the beginning of 2018 by introducing the Decree on Incentivizing Investments in the Production of Audio-Visual Works.  In this respect, the most noteworthy change is the improvement in the position of foreign actors and production crew members who are engaged for production of audio-visual work in Serbia.

As a general rule of thumb, foreigners who are members of production crews or actors’ groups no longer have to obtain work permits in order to shoot in Serbia.  However, if the filming period is longer than 90 days, foreigners will have to obtain a permit for temporary residence in Serbia.  This is a significant improvement as the procedure of obtaining a temporary residence permit in Serbia is less complex and more streamlined than the procedure of obtaining a work permit.

On the other hand despite the latest changes of the Foreigners Act and bylaws related to obtaining temporary residence permit, not much has changed, in addition to the general formal requirements, foreign production crew members and actors have to satisfy an additional prerequisite as to obtain a temporary residence permit.  Our practice has proven that in most cases they have to prove that they are members of a production crew and/or actors’ group – this is typically satisfied by providing an executed agreement with the producer of an audio-visual work and that they are seconded to Serbia to produce the audio-visual work, but Serbian Ministry of Interior, Foreigners Department authorities may require additional documents if the provided agreement does not suffice.

The procedure of obtaining a temporary residence permit usually lasts up to 4 weeks whereas the residence permits are issued for a period of up to one year.  If the filming lasts longer than a year, the validity of residence permit may be prolonged by an additional year and so on.

The significant decrease in administrative requirements regarding foreign production crew members, coupled with other incentives in Serbia, give rise to the idea that Serbia will become an even more attractive international filming destination.

This text is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Should you require any additional information, feel free to contact our memebers:

 Marija Oreški Tomašević, Partner

SOG / Samardžić, Oreški & Grbović Law Firm

Nevena Milošević, Associate

SOG / Samardžić, Oreški & Grbović Law Firm