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Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in Serbia

Foreign Arbitral Award Serbia
Vuk Vučković Attorney at Law - Legal Consultant

Although this subject may not be on top of your mind when talking about company formation or immigration, we believe that this subject is important when talking about business, entrepreneurship, and law. It is not that rare to see one company having disputes with another one. Therefore, it is our firm belief here at Asst Office that you will find this information helpful.

In principle, a domestic arbitral award is one rendered in an arbitration seated in Serbia, while a foreign arbitration award is one rendered in an arbitration seated abroad. A domestic arbitration award can be enforced directly in Serbia since it has the force of a final domestic court decision. However, a foreign arbitral award must first be recognized by the competent court in Serbia.

The recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Serbia are governed by the Serbian Law on Arbitration. Serbia is also a signatory to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) and the European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration of 1961.

Grounds for refusal of recognition under the Serbian Law on Arbitration correspond to those listed in Article V of the New York Convention, and they are not country-specific. There are two groups of reasons, one which courts examine ex officio and the other which courts examine only at a party’s request. Reciprocity is not a requirement for enforcement; thus, the country of origin should not be a concern from that aspect.

Recognition of a foreign arbitral award can be the subject matter of an independent proceeding, or it can be decided as a provisional/preliminary question in an enforcement proceeding.

  • The advantage of an independent proceeding is that once an arbitral award is recognized, it obtains the force of a domestic final court judgment. In other words, it has an effect on everyone and can be enforced in as many enforcement proceedings as necessary to recover the entire amount of the claim. There is no need to repeat the recognition process. The disadvantage is that this proceeding can take a significant amount of time if the appeal is lodged.
  • On the other hand, recognition of the foreign arbitral award as a provisional/preliminary question directly in the enforcement procedure can be faster than the independent proceeding. However, if recognition of an arbitral award is decided as a provisional question within the enforcement proceeding, then the recognition is effective only in such enforcement proceeding. In other words, if the lender does not manage to enforce the entire claim in one proceeding, it would have to go through the recognition process again.

If you need any assistance or additional information regarding this matter, feel free to contact us, and let our Legal team provide you with valuable advice.

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Can Sole Proprietor Transfer Business to Third Party?

Can Sole Proprietor Transfer its Store to Third Party?

A Sole Proprietor can transfer her /his business to third party only if conditions stated by the Serbian Company Law and The Law About the Registration Procedure at the Agency for Business Registers. Some of them refer to who can Sole Proprietor transfer his / her business to, and other refer to what steps need to be undertaken so that this procedure can be finished.

When does Sole Proprietor can transfer to third party?

Transfer of Sole Proprietors business is possible in two cases:

  1. Between spouses;
  2. From parents to children.

In other cases, the transfer of an entrepreneurial action is not possible, nor is it allowed.

What steps need to be undertaken for this procedure?

To make this transfer possible, it is necessary:

  • Make an Agreement on the Allocation of Life Assets;
  • Verify the contract with the Notary;
  • Submit an application for verification of data in the Business Registers Agency;
  • Pay a fee to the Business Registers Agency.

What is important to emphasize is that during the transfer of the Sole Proprietors business, the name change also occurs, so it is necessary to create a new stamp at the end of the procedure. Also, new Sole Proprietor can decide to operate without the stamp. The registration number and Tax Identification Number will not change on this occasion, and the number received when previous Sole Proprietor register will be transferred as well.

An individual who took over the business and became Sole Proprietor is responsible for all previously undertaken commitments of a previous Sole Proprietor action with all her/his property, including the property she/he acquires in connection with the performance of his business. 

If you need advice or assistance regarding the transfer of a Sole Proprietors business or you wish to register as Sole Proprietor, we are at your service.

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Things To Know About Studying in Serbia

things to know about studying in serbia
Prof. Dr. Jelena Šogorov Vučković Legal & Banking Consultant

If you seek an opportunity to come and study in Serbia, here are some tips that might help you with all the formal procedures regarding applying to university and applying for a student visa and temporary residence permits. Here we will give you some basic information regarding studying opportunities in Serbia:

There are two types of studies in the Serbian system of higher education:

  • Academic studies, organized mainly at Universities;
  • Applied studies, organized either at Colleges of Applied Studies or at Universities.

Serbia joined the Bologna Process in 2003 and thus initiated a gradual reform process, which received its legal support in 2005 by the adoption of a new Law on Higher Education. This law formally introduced the European Credit Transfer System, a three-cycle system of study, and the diploma supplement. This reform process lasted until 2007 and from then on all new students’ study under the new reformed study programs.

Academic studies

The three-cycle system of academic studies includes:

  • Bachelor studies, which usually last four years with 240 ECTS, although three-year/180 ECTS Bachelor programs are also available;
  • Master studies lasting one to two years with 60 to 120 ECTS;
  • Doctoral studies (Ph.D.) with a minimum of three years of study or 180 ECTS.

Of course, some exception can be found like those in the field of medical science studies, like studies of medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine studies, that are organized through integrated studies that last six years and must carry a minimum of 360 ECTS. Additionally, integrated pharmacy studies with 300 ECTS have been introduced.

Applied studies

The two-cycle applied (vocational) studies consist of:

  • Bachelor applied studies, which last three years and have 180 ECTS;
  • Specialist applied studies, which carry 60 ECTS and last one year;
  • Master applied studies, which last two years and carry 120 ECTS.

All higher education institutions must be accredited in order to obtain a license issued by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Development. Private higher education institutions (not founded by the state) have the same status as public ones.

The principal language of instruction is Serbian for all educational levels. There are also study programs which are accredited in foreign languages, mostly in English, and in many Universities and Colleges, there are additional possibilities for foreign exchange students, such as organizing consultations with professors in English, etc.

At elementary and secondary levels, other languages of instruction include Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, Romanian, Russian and Slovak.

There are around 150 study programs at all educational levels that are accredited in English or other foreign languages that are available from the academic year 2018/2019.

Studying in the Serbian language can also be interesting for international students, as well. This significantly broadens the possibilities regarding the number of study fields and programs available. Besides, if you want to immerse yourself into the experience of living and studying in Serbia, it is always recommended to learn at least some Serbian.

Studies of Serbian residents at public institutions can either be financed by the state or by the students pay tuition for their studies. Students who study at private higher education institutions pay fees as determined by the higher education institution.

In some cases, there is a difference between the amounts paid by domestic and foreign students regarding tuition fees.

Tuition fee is determined by the institution and usually ranges from 1.000,00 EUR to 5.000,00 EUR per year.

For more information regarding studying in Serbia or how to acquire temporary residence permit as a student, feel free to contact us.

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Invest in Serbia – Immigrate to Serbia and Europe

Invest in Serbia – Immigrate to Serbia and Europe

“The Serbian government has also moved ahead with an ambitious economic and structural reform agenda which will contribute to a more attractive business environment: restoring growth, improving competitiveness, and creating new jobs. The Serbian administration will be more efficient, Serbian citizens will have access to better public services, better education for their children, and better healthcare.” – Mr. Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Statement at the Serbian Parliament, 10 December 2015.

If you asked yourself why Serbia, then words of Mr. Johannes Hahn must be first when answering this question. Besides these kind words, there are also a few more essential things to take into consideration when talking on this subject.

Geographic location

Connecting the East and West, Serbia is often referred to as a gateway of Europe. Corridor VII – the River Danube and corridor X – the international highway and railroad, intersect on the Serbia territory, therefore providing excellent connection with Western Europe and the Middle East.

So, if you are looking for a location for your company and want to set your business operations close to European Union (EU), South East Europe (SEE) or the Middle East, Serbia is the perfect country for you.

Accessibility

There are two international airports in Serbia, one in Belgrade and one in Niš. Additionally, there are several international airports situated in a region that is close to Belgrade and especially Novi Sad, which is the second largest city in Serbia and the capital of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.

The airport in Budapest is only 2h 42 minutes from Novi Sad, Timisoara airport is 2h 41 minutes away from Novi Sad and Osijek airport is only 1h 45 min drive from Novi Sad.

Free Zones

Additionally, benefits for companies represent 14 free customs zones. Fiscal benefits like exemptions from any tax burden for FDI, VAT and specific local taxes, free of customs duties on import of goods, equipment and raw material used in exporting production and construction material for the building of infrastructure and financial benefits such as free cash flow are just a few of the many that 220 companies already use.

Access to Markets

If you are in a manufacturing business, Serbia can be especially interesting to you. Due to trading agreements, Serbian companies have access to a market of more than 1.1 billion Consumers that include the EU, the Russian Federation, the USA, Kazakhstan, Turkey, SEE, the European Free Trade Agreement members and Belarus. Also, the Serbian market is the second largest in SEE.

All of this represents an excellent opportunity for those who are considering starting a business or expanding your business to Europe. If you choose to register a company in Serbia, this will mean that you can apply for a temporary residence permit in Serbia.

On the other hand, if you want to move to Europe, but you are not sure which country to choose, we assure you that Serbia is the right choice for you. From rich cultural and historical heritage to low costs of living, Serbia is a place for people that are considering moving to Europe.

If you need any information or assistance regarding moving to Serbia and Europe, contact us today, and we will provide you with the right information.

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Temporary Residence in Serbia for Indian citizens

Temporary residence in Serbia for Indian citizens
Milan Šogorov Attorney at Law - Legal Consultant

At the very beginning, we believe that it is essential to say that Indian citizens who are holders of ordinary passports and other travel documents are not required to apply for visas for visits of up to 30 days, within one year.

There are several ways to acquire a temporary residence permit in Serbia, where more usual are:

Besides this, there are also other ways to acquire a temporary residence permit in Serbia, such as:

  • Employment in a Serbian company;
  • Marriage with Serbian citizen or with a person with Serbian permanent residence permit, including common law marriage.

All the stated ways also represent grounds on which you can apply for a temporary residence permit in Serbia. In addition to this, you will also need to prove that you are medically insured in Serbia and that you have enough money to sustain yourself while staying in Serbia.

Application for the residence permit is submitted to the Ministry of Interior Affairs with all necessary documents.

It is our firm belief that easiest way to acquire a temporary residence in Serbia would be either by registration of a business in Serbia either as a company or Sole Proprietor or based on possessing a property in Serbia.

Although you do not need a visa to stay in Serbia up to 30 days, we recommend that, if you are planning to apply for temporary residence in Serbia, fist you acquire D visa. This type of visa is also referred as long stay visa and is issued for stays that cannot be longer than 180 days in the period of 6 months, counting from the day of the first entry. It is important to emphasize that before you apply for D visa, you will need to be approved with C visa.

Documents that you will need to acquire D visa are:

  • Valid passport (passport must be valid at least 90 days from the issue date of visa)
  • Letter of invitation:
  1. for a private visit – invitation letter certified by the relevant authority of the Republic of Serbia;
  2. for a business visit – invitation letter by a company in Serbia;
  3. for a tourist trip – a proof of payment for the trip issued by a travel agency (voucher or another type of payment receipt);
  • Completed visa application form;
  • Photo (size 3.5×4.5cm);
  • Return ticket or Itinerary (copy of Driving License and Insurance if you travel by car);
  • Proof of having enough funds for staying in Serbia;
  • Health insurance
  • Visa fee.

Application for the visa is submitted to the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in New Delhi.

If you are an Indian citizen and you have questions regarding the procedure or costs of acquiring a temporary residence, please contact us, and we will give you our best words of advice.

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5 Things To Know Before Signing a Business Contract

5 Things To Know Before Signing a Business Contract
Milan Šogorov Attorney at Law - Legal Consultant

Business contracts can be viewed as a legal document and as a promise between two or more people or companies. Generally, it is a written document or oral promise between two or more people or companies, offend referred to as Contractual Parties or simply Parties, who agreed on certain terms, rights, and obligations.

It is our belief that it is always better to put everything in writing and prevent any misunderstanding with your clients or business associates.

A contract may be used to define various transactions, such as the sale of land or goods, or the provision of business services. Whether you are a sole proprietor, digital nomad, freelancer, blogger or you manage a company, a contract is something you will undoubtedly come across. Therefore, there are several things you need to know before drafting and signing one.

Rights versus Obligation

When drafting or signing a contract be sure to stipulate and to carefully read what are the rights and obligations of each Party. You need to make sure that every Party knows when and what they should or should not do.

This means to stipulate things like payments, deadlines, exclusivity, the scope of work, confidentiality clause and any other specific term or condition that is important to you. Simply put, write what you give and what you get.

Even if some terms cannot be stipulated in the contract and will be stipulated additionally, the state in your contract when will be those terms stipulated and how will be stipulated – e.g. Annex to Contract. Small details are everything in business cooperation.

Define how will you solve misunderstandings

It is important to define what will happen if any Party breaches the contract. Contractual penalties or liquidated damages should be part of the contract upon a specific breach by one Party e.g. late performance. These can be stipulated as a hold of advance payment, payment of compensation or termination of a contract.

Additionally, you can stipulate that Parties will first try to settle the differences amicably and only if that does not give desired results Court or Arbitration proceeding will be in order.

Court and Arbitration Jurisdiction

Court Jurisdiction must be stipulated in the contract, especially if Parties are from different cities or countries. In the 21st century, contractual Parties are often from a different continent. To settle all problems among Parties it is substantially to define which Court will be competent.

Bear in mind that you can even stipulate International Arbitration to be competent. In case of any contract breaches or problems in cooperation between Parties, not all misunderstandings can be solved amicably. Court and Arbitrations should be used as a last resort when dealing with difficulties.

Be clear with exit terms

Although business cooperation can begin on grounds that suits all Parties, there comes a time when previously stipulated terms and conditions don’t work anymore. Therefore, your contract should contain details such as notice period and how one Party should notice other Party regarding contract termination.

These terms can also include compensation or competition or some other clause. By stipulating this you will avoid any unpleasant situations and possibly keep good relations with your clients or associates. Just because you are terminating this contract that does not mean you will never cooperate again.

Consult with Professionals

If you are not sure whether something should or shouldn’t be included in the Contract consult with professionals. This can be either an Attorney at Law, Lawyer or Legal consultant. If you want to know more about contracts or you need help with drafting, reviewing or translating one, Asst Office is here to provide you with the best solutions and pieces of advice.

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Residence And Work Permit Procedure in Serbia

Residence And Work Permit Procedure in Serbia
Milan Šogorov Attorney at Law - Legal Consultant

Residence permit

In order to obtain the work permit a foreigner must, in the first place, obtain the approval for a temporary stay – residence permit.

Application for the residence permit is submitted to the Ministry of Interior Affairs with the following documents:

  1. Proof that the foreigner has enough funds to live on his own in Serbia;
  2. Proof that the foreigner possesses health insurance;
  3. Proof of the purpose of the temporary stay in Serbia;
  4. Proof that administrative fees are paid.

The Approval is issued in 30 days after the Application has been submitted. It is issued in the duration of one-year maximum (usually first two times resident permit is issued for a period of 6 months) and can be extended afterward. The Approval is issued in the travel document of the foreigner.

Once the temporary stay has been approved, the foreigner can initiate the procedure of obtaining the work permit.

Work permit

In case if the work permit is sought for employment, the application for issuance of the work permit is submitted by the Employer to the National Employment Agency. The application must be followed with the following documents:

  1. Certificate of Incorporation of the Employer;
  2. Travel document of the foreigner;
  3. Approval for Temporary Stay;
  4. Certificate issued by the Central Health Care Registers certifying that the Employer has not discharged any employees for the causes of technical, economic or other organizational changes on the workplace that the work permit is applied for;
  5. Certificate issued by the National Employment Agency that for past one month prior to the application there have been no Serbian citizens eligible for the workplace that the work permit is applied for;
  6. The proposition of the Employment Agreement in according to the law;
  7. Excerpt from the Regulation on the Organisation and Systematisation of Works related to the work of the foreigner;
  8. Diploma or another certificate on professional qualifications;
  9. A certificate stating that the foreigner meets the requirements prescribed for the work that the foreigner applies to;
  10. Proof that the administration fee has been paid.

The procedure may take up to 45 days, but usually, it is done in a shorter period.

In case if the work permit is sought for self – employment, the application for issuance of the work permit is submitted by the foreigner. An application must be followed with the following documents:

  1. Proof of professional qualifications and qualifications for the job;
  2. Proof of lease or ownership of business premises (contract or pre-contract);
  3. Proof of available equipment needed for work;
  4. Declarations on the type, duration and scope of work as well as the number and structure of employees;
  5. Letter of Invitation;
  6. Proof that the administration fees are paid.

One must begin with work no later than 90 days after obtaining a work permit.

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What Can You Do Through Power of Attorney

What can you do through Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney or PoA is a legal document that gives one person or company authorization to make certain decisions or undertake specific actions on behalf and for the account of another person or company. Although in most cases PoA is given to Attorney at Law, other forms of PoA are known, as well.

Function of PoA

There are lots of different reasons why people make out a PoA. In most cases, PoA is given to Attorney at Law to make legal decisions or undertake legal action before Courts and other Government authorities. In other cases, people use a PoA to allow a principal to handle their financial affairs or to run a business on their behalf and for their account, either permanently or for a period.

What would we like to do for you through PoA?

When you decide to start a business in Serbia or some other country, you can authorize AsstOffice to reserve a business name for your company before Business Registers Agency, to draft Memorandum of Association, as well as to sign and before Public Notary certificate all Contracts, Decisions and other necessary documents regarding establishment and registration of the company, and in order to protect your interests undertake all legal actions in accordance with the Law, as well as to submit a Registration Forms, Amendments to the Registration Forms, and to take the Decision on Registration from Serbian Business Registers Agency.

Besides, this you can authorize AsstOffice to sign Contract on Dedicated Deposit and open a temporary bank account for paying prescribed share capital and sign Contract on Opening and Maintaining the Dinar and Foreign Currency bank account for your company.

Additionally, through PoA AsstOffice can manage a legal entity and therefore be empowered to act as Director or Legal Representative of the other legal entity, in this case, your company.

Furthermore, you can authorize AsstOffice to hire third parties, like one of our associates, to complete a specific task or undertake a particular action.

Durable Power

Duration of PoA can be temporary, for example, to do a particular task like recruitment and selection of candidates to employ in the company, or permanent like when you authorize AsstOffice to do accounting.

What is important is that you can revoke PoA when there is a need for that kind of action. Your security must always be at first place, and when you are signing a PoA be sure that all is stipulated in such a way that can not hurt you or your business.

If you have any questions or doubts regarding Power of Attorney feel free to contact us at any time.

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Financial Requirements For Temporary Residence in Serbia

Financial Requirements For Temporary Residence in Serbia

In essence, a foreigner will meet this requirement if they display the minimum needed amount at their non-resident bank account in Serbia. This amount is obtained by multiplying number 6 – because the residence permit is usually issued for a period of 6 months – by the average monthly salary in Serbia. The idea is clear – this rule puts the foreigner into the position of an employee in Serbia, who is assumed to be able to finance their life from these earnings.

Another option is for a foreigner to have a certain amount of euros in their account, which is calculated when you multiply the number of days spent in Serbia by 50 – since it is considered that 50 euros per day represent absolutely sufficient funds per diem in the account. It should be taken into account that this option requires significantly more funds in the account than the first option.

It is in both Serbia’s and the foreigner’s interest not only to be financially secured during the stay but to have the health insurance as well. For this purpose, when submitting a request for temporary residence, a foreigner should also provide proof in the form of a health booklet, private health insurance policy or health insurance from the home country with a special code that is valid in Serbia.

It takes about 3 weeks for getting residence permit after application.

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How To Register as a Sole Proprietor in Serbia

How To Register as a Sole Proprietor in Serbia

Choose the Appropriate Name

In accordance with Serbian Law, the business name of the Sole Proprietor must contain the name and surname of the Sole Proprietor, the label “preduzetnik” or “pr” (in Serbian) and the place where the Sole Proprietor is situated. It may also include the name, as well as the subject of the business of Sole Proprietor. Also, the name of the Sole Proprietor must be different from the name of another Sole Proprietor with the same subject of business, so that it does not cause confusion about the identity of another Sole Proprietor. Regarding registered address, AsstOffice offers you Virtual Office Service. We advise you to check the availability of the wanted business name and, if it is available, to reserve it. Reservation is valid for 60 days.

Choose Predominant Business Activity

Even though no specific document refers to this matter, we find it very important that you define what business activity you want to do. This activity will be stated in the Registration Form. If apart from the predominant activity, you want to indicate in the business name other activities that you do, you can add a precise or less precise description of these other activities in addition to the description of the predominant activity.

Prepare Registration Forms and submit the Paperwork to Business Registers Agency

Business Register Agency is organized as One Stop Shop for registration as Sole Proprietor in Serbia. Before you submit Registration Forms, it is necessary to pay prescribed state fees and to submit Proof of Payment. Together with Registration Forms and Proof of Payment for state fees, a copy of valid Passport and Permission, Consent or other Act of the competent authority, if this is stipulated as a condition for registration by Law. It takes 3 to 5 days for them to make Decision on Registration of the Sole Proprietor.

Open a Bank Account

After you receive the approved Decision on Registration of the Sole Proprietor, you can choose a bank and open a bank account as Sole Proprietor. Whether you need help with choosing the business name, preparing Registration Forms or helping you select a bank that suits your business need AsstOffice is at your service.