How to open an account in Serbia

Changes are taking place on the map of promising financial jurisdictions. Fewer banks are ready to cooperate with shell companies and other offshore businesses. Non-resident (foreign) business is considered risky.

 

Against the background of such trends, opening an account in Serbia is a very relevant decision today, since you can find a common language with local bankers, knowing certain nuances and applying proven algorithms to achieve a result.

 

experts of the Lawrange team are ready to help with opening an account in a bank in Serbia. More than 10 years of experience in supporting international business and strong partnerships with representatives of foreign banks create the necessary prerequisites for successfully solving the problem with registration corporate accounts.

 

Features of Serbia as a financial jurisdiction

In recent years, the Serbian government has been actively involved in reforming the country’s economy in general and the financial sector in particular. Country closely cooperates with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The Serbian parliament has passed several laws to stimulate foreign investment. The international financial community notes the stabilization of the national currency, in particular, the absence of inflation surges.

 

Important! Financial Serbia’s sector is approaching the standards adopted in the European Union, both in terms of the use of modern technologies for protecting personal data and in terms of the quality of service.

 

Serbia plans to join the EU in 2025. And this makes its own adjustments in the sphere of servicing non-resident clients by banks. In the summer of 2019, the country announced its accession to the CRS Standard and the exchange of banking information. Non-resident banking is gradually tightening the requirements for customers. This trend will continue in the future. But at the same time it is quite possible to open an account for a foreigner . The main thing is to transfer to the bank the necessary documents and information about the legality of funds, as well as to communicate correctly with bankers.

 

Conditions for successfully opening and maintaining an account in Serbia

In circumstances when European banks completely refuse to open accounts for representatives of foreign business, moreover, they massively close already opened accounts, regardless of the reputation of the companies, it is very important not to get confused. The rationale behind everything is the desire of the governments of influential countries to make international business transparent. And if an entrepreneur is ready to “open cards” completely, there will be banks willing to cooperate with him. An example of this is the banks of Serbia.

 

For your information! Consider the following nuances:

  1. When deciding to open an account for a non-resident (individual or company), the bank officer takes on a huge responsibility. The decision he made could not only destroy his own career, but also cause irreparable damage to the reputation of the banking institution. Therefore, he checks each potential client as carefully as possible. This approach is not nit-picking at all, but a real necessity.
  2. For Serbian bankers, it is extremely important to keep the client in touch, to instantly answer any questions that arise and to send additional information upon request. You need to be in touch literally 24 hours a day.
  3. After opening an account, the bank literally “under the microscope” analyzes the first transactions of a new client. Additional information on them can be requested at any time. This is a kind of test, after passing which it will be possible to work in a more relaxed mode. If you do not promptly and correctly respond to bank requests for transactions, then you can easily get into the list of suspicious customers. This is a direct route to closing an account.

 

Options for opening an account in Serbia

Option 1.

Open an account for a foreign company.
This is the most difficult option to implement, but possible with our support. The option remains available to open a bank account for a Scottish, Irish or Canadian partnership. Other offshore and onshore jurisdictions should be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have such a need, we are ready to advise you on this issue.

 

Option 2.

Open an account for a branch.
It is about creating a real presence in the country. Moreover, if there are business contacts and counterparties in Serbia, register a branch is a profitable step in the development of the business as a whole. Our company will help you to comprehensively solve both issues: with the registration of a branch, and with the registration of an invoice.

 

The creation and further support of a branch will be relatively inexpensive. At the same time, the branch is a constituent part of the parent company, but it has its own legal address and registration number, as well as a separate accounting department. You can open an account for a branch in almost any Serbian bank.

 

Option 3.

Open an account for a company registered in Serbia.
The solution “company registration + registration of an account in one country” is a universal option for international business in conditions of total deoffshorization. This algorithm of actions also works in the Baltic states and a number of other jurisdictions.

 

Benefits of a bank account in Serbia

The country’s banking sector is integrated into the international financial system. Two thirds of Serbian commercial banks are owned by foreigners. By opening an account in a Serbian bank, the firm gets a good platform for doing international business due to the presence of an extensive system of correspondent accounts around the world. In the country, you can find a bank, both for large enterprises and for small or medium-sized businesses. Leading banking institutions are characterized by sustainable growth, high diversification of investment portfolios and the priority of long-term cooperation with clients.

 

Despite the tightening of checks for new customers, Serbian banks continue to be an attractive and convenient option for opening an account for non-residents. Serbian banks are actively poaching clients from financial institutions in Switzerland, Austria, Latvia, Luxembourg, Cyprus.

 

Note! Among the main arguments in favor of Serbia:

  • you can open an account both in the national currency – Serbian dinars (RSD), and in other popular world currencies;
  • the country is not included in the “black lists” and is not perceived as offshore;
  • banking services are provided in most banks in Serbian, English and Russian;
  • compliance in banks is quite understandable and loyal;
  • tariffs are set low in comparison with other European countries, transaction commission – 0.25-0.4% of the transaction, but not more than 420 euros;
  • minimum account balance – no more than 500 euros;
  • SWIFT payments available;
  • using a Serbian bank account, you can work with jurisdictions around the world;
  • in the course of negotiations with bank representatives, you can get an exclusive offer for the registration of an account for the specifics of the business.

 

List of documents for opening an account in Serbia

Important! The requirements of banking institutions regarding the required package of documents for registration of an invoice are influenced by: a) jurisdiction of business registration; b) structure of the company; c) directions of activity. After consulting and agreeing on services for opening an account, the specialists of Lawrange JSC will prepare for you an individual list of documents that will be required.

 

Tentatively, this list contains:

  1. completed application form for opening a bank account (we are ready to help with filling in);
  2. extract from the commercial register / Certificate of Incumbency / Share Certificate / Certificate of Good standing – a document indicating the beneficiaries, directors and founders with an apostille, not older than 3 months;

    *** Note: If the structure of the company includes several separate entities, then similar documents not older than 6 months should be submitted for each company.

  3. copies of foreign passports of beneficiaries, founders and directors – notarized, not older than 3 months;
  4. diplomas, resume, utility bill of specified persons;
  5. optional – a statement from the previous bank account + valid contracts, if the company has a history;
  6. optional – power of attorney for the account manager, if he is not the founder or director of the company;
  7. optional – a power of attorney for our representative to certify the right to open an account, as well as a card with sample signatures;
  8. an agreement with a bank – signed by a representative of our company or by a client (during a personal visit to Serbia).

*** Note: Documentation is translated by the bank into Serbian, which requires additional payment.

 

For your information! To successfully resolve the issue with a bank account, it is worth preparing a description of the company’s activities. An example would be a PDF presentation, Power Point in English. Such a presentation displays information about counterparties, turnovers, goods and services, and explains the need to open an account in Serbia. In the course of compliance, bank representatives scrutinize the company’s website, the reliability and relevance of the information about the company presented there.

 

Registration procedure

To achieve the result as quickly and successfully as possible, all the details of the upcoming work are agreed upon by us at the first consultation with the client. Then a package of documents for the bank is prepared, and the application form is filled out. If you plan to open an account remotely, then you should issue a power of attorney to a representative of our company who will deal with this problem.

 

The invoice registration procedure consists of the following stages:

Phase 1.

Pre-approval of the client’s candidacy by a banking institution – takes about a week.

 

Phase 2.

Sending original documents under apostille to Serbia to our representative (or a client’s visit with documents to Serbia) – if the client’s candidacy is approved during pre-approval.

 

Phase 3.

Submission of documents to the bank , identification, signing of bank forms and conclusion of an agreement for opening an account (if you personally visit the bank, communication with the banker is conducted in English or Russian).

 

Phase 4.

Receiving in person or by mail of everything you need to manage your account . These are: a) an agreement with the bank; b) corporate card; c) a local SIM card for accessing client banking.

 

Terms of opening a bank account

For foreign companies (partnerships or other firms), the invoice processing time is from two to four weeks . The countdown starts from the moment the original documents are submitted and translated into Serbian.

 

Attention! Since the bank reserves the right to request additional information and documents, the processing time may increase. Lawrange JSC is not responsible for changes or failure to comply with the stated terms for opening an account, if these circumstances occur.

 

Opening a merchant account

You can also open a merchant account with a bank in Serbia. To do this, two conditions must be met:

  1. get a Tax ID in Serbia;
  2. the account is opened in the national currency – Serbian dinars (RSD).

 

Cost of account opening service in Serbia

The costs of opening an account vary depending on the chosen bank, the jurisdiction of the company registration, the specifics of the business. At the same time, Lawrange JSC, by default, only works with trusted and reliable banks. Among such banking institutions:

  • Raiffeisen Bank;
  • API Bank Ad Beograd;
  • Unicredit Bank;
  • Banca Intesa;
  • Postal Saving Bank (Banka Poštanska štedionica A.D.);
  • Direktna Bank;
  • Societe General Srbija;
  • Komercijalna banka.

 

*** Note: This list is not final, we are constantly updating and updating offers for customers.

 

Important! As a top priority, we recommend and consider for API Bank customers . This financial institution has a good reputation and extensive experience in cooperation with medium and small businesses. It is also a bank where money of an individual will be safely stored and multiplied. Here you can receive first-class personal service.

 

API Bank highlights:

  • the cost of opening an account with the support of Lawrange AS – 1750 EUR;
  • an account can be opened either by a power of attorney to a representative, or through a personal visit;
  • in some cases, remote opening or visiting bank branches in Serbia, Kiev or Latvia is allowed;
  • the list of documents for issuing an invoice should include a certificate of good condition, as well as other corporate documents of the company under an apostille not older than 3 months;
  • commission for outgoing payment minimum 0.25%, maximum – 576 USD;
  • incoming payments – free;
  • no minimum deposit required
  • from 15.12.2020 the bank stopped working with dollar payments;
  • the possibility of servicing an IT business is being considered, but the bank refuses clients whose activities are related to online commerce or online advertising;
  • Substance is not required, but management or audited reporting is requested by the bank.

 

Conclusions

In connection with the widespread refusal of European banks to work with non-residents, especially with immigrants from the post-Soviet space, becomes an obvious benefit of cooperation with those financial jurisdictions where requirements for clients have not yet skyrocketed.

 

Serbia is a European country with good prospects for economic development and sufficient authority in the international arena. This state is not associated with offshore companies and does not appear on black or gray lists. By opening an account with a local bank, you can confidently and calmly work with contractors from all over the world.

 

FAQ

How to open an account in Serbia online?

Online account in Serbia is not issued. But the option of remote opening is possible (without a personal visit of the client to Serbia) through a representative of JSC Lawrange.

 

Which is the safest bank in Serbia?

Local banking institutions are integrated into the international financial system, their stability indicators meet high European standards.

 

What are the terms for opening an account in Serbia?

About 2-4 weeks from the date of submission of the original documents.

 

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