CLIENT ALERT – SERBIA: Mandatory online registration of companies starting 18 May 2023

Serbia electronic company registration

Starting from May 18, 2023, the establishment of companies, including limited liability companies and joint-stock companies, must be done exclusively in electronic form. This procedure shall be carried out through an application provided by the Serbian Business Registers Agency (SBRA). All documents accompanying the application must be submitted in electronic form and signed with an electronic seal.

For other legal forms of companies, requests can be filed either through traditional means or electronically. They will also be registered with the Serbian Business Registers Agency.

However, requests for modifying company data still need to be submitted in paper form. The director of the Serbian Business Registers Agency has announced that these requests will also be available in electronic form in the near future.

There are four important prerequisites to submit an electronic application. The applicant must have the following:

  • A qualified electronic certificate (electronic signature) issued by a certification authority in the Republic of Serbia.
  • An electronic card reader and the NEXU application for electronic signature.
  • The ability to make electronic payments using Visa, Dina, or MasterCard.
  • An account opened in the system of the Serbian Business Registers Agency to access the application.

A document not created in electronic form can be scanned and converted into electronic form, with certification through an electronic signature or seal from the issuing entity (authority, notary public, or Serbian lawyer).

To obtain a qualified electronic signature, applicants must be physically present in Serbia, but they can also act through representatives such as law firms that have an account with the SBRA and a qualified electronic certificate.

Regarding foreign individuals, they must approach a certification authority in Serbia to obtain electronic certificates, under the same conditions as Serbian nationals. Electronic documents issued by foreign authorities are not accepted unless they are certified to ensure their authenticity within the process. Qualified electronic certificates are issued by certification authorities in Serbia, and currently, five such authorities are registered: the Post’s certification authority, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Interior, as well as Halcom and E-Smart Systems.

The objective of this change is to simplify the process of business establishment by reducing processing times and associated costs. This initiative aligns with the overall digitization of Serbian economic operations, in accordance with the amendments made to the Law on Registration Procedure with the Business Registers from 2021.

It is also worth noting that these changes harmonize the Serbian company law with that of the European Union, which has witnessed a significant trend toward digitization in the past decade, aiming for greater efficiency.

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