Jun 12, 2024

Corporate Account Setup in Serbia for International Clients

Nowadays, setting up bank accounts abroad has become a formidable task for non-residents. Risk-averse, banks often decline services to individuals from non-EU countries. Serbia, however, offers a refreshing contrast to other European jurisdictions. The nation grants non-residents, particularly those who have incorporated a company in Serbia, a chance to open corporate bank accounts remotely.

Yet, the path to banking in Serbia for non-residents is not without its complexities. In this situation, professional advice is highly recommended, as Serbian banks are selective in their dealings with non-resident clients. A significant influx of foreign customers may prompt additional scrutiny from regulators and attract unwanted attention to the bank. Hence, banks are vigilant. To make sure everything goes smoothly, it is a great idea to get help from a seasoned industry expert. 

Corporate account in Serbia

Why choose Serbian banks?

It is largely due to the stringent regulations of the National Bank of Serbia that Serbia’s banking system is recognized as both stable and trustworthy. Local banks’ strict adherence to international standards for financial reporting and proficient risk management contributes to their overall resilience.

Here’s why corporate banking in Serbia is worth your while:

  • Low Operating Costs: Serbian banks are known for their cost-effective banking operations, offering services at rates lower than many other European counterparts. They also boast significantly reduced credit rates.
  • Services for Non-Residents: Catering to an international clientele, Serbian banks provide multilingual services, including English. This is why they are an attractive option for foreign investors and businesses willing to establish bank accounts.
  • Cutting-Edge Banking: With a suite of modern online platforms and mobile apps, Serbian banks make managing accounts simple and accessible. Their product offerings include investment accounts, mortgages, deposits, and a variety of card services.
  • European Market Connectivity: Serbia’s journey towards EU integration spells new prospects for its banking sector, including potential collaborations with European entities and cross-border transactions.
  • Guaranteed Deposits: Should any financial challenges arise, Serbian banks ensure the protection of client assets. They guarantee reimbursement as per the deposit insurance fund’s stipulations.

Banks actively support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through dedicated lending schemes and consultations. Tailored flexible financing options are available to assist entrepreneurs and emerging startups in meeting their business requirements.

Information for non-residents

Admittedly, a limited number of banks in Serbia are open to international applicants, and each comes with its own restrictions. This means that non-residents must be prepared to meet the specific criteria set by these banks. NB: Companies based in the states that are blacklisted (or greylisted) by the FATF will not be considered for account opening.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has identified the following countries as high-risk:

  • Sri Lanka
  • Bahamas
  • Ghana
  • Yemen
  • Botswana
  • Ethiopia
  • Pakistan
  • Syria
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia.

Serbian banks do not offer any services to residents of North Korea and Iran. 

Businesses in the cryptocurrency or gambling sectors, which are deemed high-risk, are also not serviced by certain Serbian banks. The available fiat currencies for accounts in these banks are the Euro (EUR), U.S. Dollar (USD), Serbian Dinar (RSD), and Swiss Franc (CHF).

The banks we suggest for collaboration offer remote account openings. Some require a minimum deposit of EUR 100,000, but this is not common across all institutions, and minimum balance conditions may vary as well.

Credit card services are selective. While not all banks provide them, many support transactions via the local Dinar card or the international Visa network.

To establish a client relationship with a Serbian bank from afar, you will need a proxy to act for you in Serbia. An Offshore Pro specialist, once given power of attorney, can help you with this. Acting on the client’s behalf, they will manage any issues that may occur.

NB: If you are a non-resident who has already faced rejections from banks in other countries, Serbian banks may similarly refuse your application.

To foster a trusting relationship with the bank, clients are advised to make several uncomplicated transactions. These should be conducted with utmost transparency and simplicity so that they are free from any ambiguity. Such practices will allow non-residents to establish themselves as reliable and stable banking partners.

Should the bank flag any transactions as suspicious, they might request further documentation from the client. It is crucial that you promptly submit the requested information (as a rule, within 24 hours). These actions will help you prevent any possible account suspension or transaction freezes.

Banks maintain a strict policy regarding client compliance: neither unforeseen events nor personal issues are accepted as valid excuses for not responding to bank inquiries.

Would you like to avoid complications, e.g., account restrictions or the like? Offshore Pro experts are right here to give you a hand with it. Simply use our Serbian office as your point of contact, and we’ll handle all your bank matters quickly. In this case, you will successfully avoid any issues with your account.

In the event of transaction-related questions from the bank, the Offshore Pro team of experts will intervene, ensuring the client’s reputation remains intact.

The initial inquiries from the financial institution will be addressed by us free of charge. Any subsequent inquiries incur a fee.

As an extra option, we suggest you set up a personal bank account in Serbia.

Ready to establish a corporate bank account in Serbia? Here’s your document checklist!

To initiate a banking relationship with a Serbian bank, companies are required to submit a comprehensive set of documents:

  • Constituent Documents: Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association.
  • Registration Proof: Certificate of Incorporation and Extract from the Business Register to verify the company’s incumbent status.
  • Information on Authorized Persons and Beneficiaries: Valid passport and current proof of residence.
  • Notarized and Apostilled Power of Attorney: Necessary to open a corporate account for the company.
  • Operational Documents: Business plan.
  • Other Documents: These must validate the directors’ or attorney’s powers (Power of Attorney).

Additional documents (as needed):

  • financial statements or accounting reports
  • applicable licenses and permits
  • notarized signatures
  • fully executed bank account application forms signed by your attorney (proxy).

NB: Serbian banks amend their requirements for non-residents from time to time, so always stay updated on new regulations. 

Make sure you’ve done the following to guarantee a seamless account opening:

  1. Confirm that all the documents are carefully prepared following the latest guidelines.
  2. Use the Pre-approval service to receive preliminary approval from several banks, so that you have a reliable selection of banking partners.

Non-residents may find their banking service options in Serbia somewhat restricted when compared to the country’s citizens. To significantly increase your choices, consider obtaining residency status. This is possible if you purchase real estate or register a company in Serbia.

Opening a non-resident account in Serbia: costs

The cost of opening a bank account with a Serbian financial institution is available upon request. This fee encompasses document preparation, choosing an appropriate bank, liaising with the bank, and the account setup per se.

The time needed to complete this service varies depending on the company’s structure, namely, how complex it is, use of nominee services, and some other specific details.

Below, you will find our fees for some extra services:

  • Document translation into Serbian: EUR 20 per page
  • Document notarization: Price on request.

Banks generally prefer to deal with clients they know. Hence, we recommend you provide a thorough and honest overview of your business activities and prepare all necessary documents. For inactive companies, an estimate of the expected financial turnover is often required. Alternatively, clients have the option to visit Serbia in person to open an account there, with no PoA necessary.

Serbian residence permit

Banks generally prefer to service local residents rather than international clients. Therefore, it is wise to consider securing a Serbian residence permit by investment. This document not only confirms your residency in Serbia, a country about to join the European Union, but it also potentially paves the way for future citizenship and a Serbian passport.

A residence permit in Serbia is a useful tool to mitigate political and social uncertainties while reducing your tax liabilities.

To become a Serbian resident, you can either invest in real estate or contribute to a business venture. As a tax resident in Serbia, you will also enjoy the benefits offered by the nation’s double taxation agreements.

Setting up an account with a Serbian bank: follow this procedure

Interested in becoming a Serbian bank’s corporate client? Follow these simple steps:

  1. Get in touch with Offshore Pro expert consultants.
  2. Provide details about yourself and your business. Our consultant will outline the exact information needed.
  3. Pay for services. FYI: Fees are determined by the intricacies of your business structure, along with factors like your citizenship and residency.
  4. Compile all necessary documents. For remote submissions, a power of attorney is required.

Once all steps are complete, Offshore Pro experts in Serbia will initiate the bank account opening process, which may last up to three months.

NB: No matter how thorough the preparation, service denial is still possible. However, the Offshore Pro team will strive to reduce these risks and proactively provide alternative options. Reach out to us today for further assistance!