Expat Serbia

Serbia is an excellent choice for an expat because it offers a low cost-of-living combined with access to all of the amenities of a developed nation. You can enjoy first-world dining, shopping, and entertainment for a fraction of what that lifestyle would cost you back home.

Serbia is a scenic country located in the south-eastern part of Europe. Serbia shares borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Romania. In addition, you can reach any major city in Europe with just a short flight from Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla airport.

Serbia is a fast developing nation and it is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Central European Free Trade Agreement. The country is also a potential candidate for the EU (European Union).


Most of Serbia has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. The average temperature in Belgrade is 12°C, with summer temperatures typically reaching 21°C in July and winter temperatures falling to 0°C in January. In the mountains of Serbia, winter temperatures fall to -5°C.

A strong wind (known locally as Košava) blowing southeasterly from the Carpathian Mountains causes Belgrade to be able to compete with Chicago for the title of “The Windy City”.


Serbia is a parliamentary republic. The prime minister is the head of the government, while the president is the head of the state.

The Serbian government tends to position itself as a “middle ground” between Western and Eastern Europe. Even the language is digraphic, meaning that it can be written in either the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets.

Tax System

Serbian residents are taxed on their worldwide income; nonresidents are taxed only on Serbian-source income. An individual is considered to be a resident for income tax purposes if they maintain a residence or center of business in Serbia, or if they have vital interests in Serbia, or if they stay in Serbia for at least 183 total days during the tax year.

The tax rate for individuals varies based upon the type of income:

  • Income from salary: 12%
  • Income from self-employment: 10%
  • Income from yield on investments: 10%.
  • Income from real estate rental: 20%
  • Income from royalties: 20%

In addition, there is a separate annual income tax levied only on high-earners. If your total yearly income is more than three times the average annual salary in Serbia, this tax is an extra 10% of your income. If your total yearly income is more than six times the average annual salary in Serbia, this extra tax rises to 15%.

Corporations pay a 10% tax rate in Serbia and there are many deductions available to promote capital investment.

Serbia also levies a Value Added Tax (VAT) on most goods and services. The standard VAT is 18%, although some basic items are charged at a reduced rate of 8%.

Visit these pages for more details on the Serbian tax system:

Medical Care

Public health care is provided to Serbian citizens through the Health Insurance Fund (HIF). Expats can also use the public health care system for extremely reasonable fees. Private health care is widely available and is also very reasonably priced. The public system is considered excellent within the region, but expats may feel more comfortable in the more luxurious private system.

Real Estate

Real estate prices in Serbia are fairly reasonable. There are expensive neighborhoods in Belgrade, such as Dedinje, Senjak, and Dorćol. Further away from the center of town there are less expensive neighborhoods like Zemun and Novi Beograd. Home prices are much lower in other Serbian cities such as the attractive college town of Novi Sad. Real estate in the small towns and in the countryside is exceptionally inexpensive.


Serbia offers a fully modern shopping environment, including both American-style malls and the innumerable boutique stores which are more common across Europe. In Belgrade, the main malls are Ušće and Delta City, both of which are in the Novi Beograd (New Belgrade) neighborhood. Boutique stores are everywhere, but the best can be found in areas like Terazije or along the Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra (Boulevard of King Alexander).

Cost of Living

Most things are less expensive in Serbia than in the United States or Western Europe. Services tend to be extremely inexpensive. A few goods, such as automobiles and gasoline are considerably more expensive than in the US. In general, you can expect living in Serbia to cost one-third to one-half as much as a comparable lifestyle in the United States.

Map of Serbia