Positively, Serbia is party to relevant human rights instruments, including the 1954 and 1961 Conventions, although it has not acceded to the two Council of Europe statelessness conventions. There is limited data on the stateless population in Serbia, and no dedicated statelessness determination procedure. However, there are ad hoc procedures for identifying statelessness and a ‘stateless’ protection status does exist in law, providing for a right to work, education, social security and a travel document, as well as protection against discrimination. There are some protections against arbitrary detention including a time limit in law, and a policy of setting a country of removal prior to detention, but there is no automatic right to residence or documentation on release.
Efforts to prevent and reduce statelessness are inhibited by gaps in the implementation of safeguards against childhood statelessness and birth registration requirements. The law prevents statelessness for most children born on the territory or to Serbian nationals abroad, foundlings, and adopted children, providing for an automatic right to acquire Serbian nationality. However, the safeguard for children born in Serbia is implemented in such a way as to apply only to minors, and a request must be submitted to the competent authority for a decision to be made on the acquisition of nationality. Bylaws on birth registration require parents to present birth certificates and identity documents, increasing the risk that births remain unregistered.