Serbia Began Accepting Restitution Claims on March 1
American citizens are advised that the Agency for Restitution of the Republic of Serbia began accepting claims related to property confiscated by communist authorities after World War II on March 1, 2012. American citizens who had property confiscated, or are descendants of individuals who had property confiscated, may file claims.
An English translation of the law is available at the Serbian ministry of Finance website:
The law allows for the return of properties to former owners or their descendants either in-kind (i.e. return of the property) or, in cases where in-kind return is not possible, financial restitution. Financial restitution will take the form of bonds, up to a maximum of 500,000 euros (approximately $650,000) to any individual claimant, with terms ranging from 10 to 15 years depending on the age of the claimant. While the law states a preference for in-kind restitution, claimants should note that in-kind restitution will only be possible in circumstances where the property is still owned by the Government of Serbia. Properties that have been sold, are owned by privatized companies, diplomatic or cultural facilities, and properties in a number of other categories will generally not be returned in-kind.
The form required to submit a claim, which also includes a list of required documentation, can be found here (Serbian):
For those who need translation assistance, a list of official translators can be found here:
The law requires extensive documentation related to the property claimed, the circumstances related to its confiscation, and the rehabilitation of individuals from whom properties have been confiscated. As such, the Embassy strongly suggests that potential claimants consider employing the services of a local attorney who can assist in obtaining required documentation and provide guidance on the process. The Embassy cannot provide legal advice, serve as a legal representative or obtain property documentation on claimants’ behalf. A list of lawyers can be found here:
In addition to the firms on the attorney list, the following law firm has specifically indicated a willingness to handle restitution cases on behalf of American Citizens:
Advokati/Attorneys at Law
Dobracina 38, 11000 Belgrade
Tel: (+381 11) 3284 212
Fax: (+381 11) 3284 213
Mob: (+381) 69 651 143
The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided.
U.S. citizens may be asked to file documentation from the U.S. government confirming that compensation was or was not received by the claimant’s family pursuant to the 1948 or 1964 U.S.-Yugoslav Claims Settlement Agreement. The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission at the U.S. Department of Justice can provide this documentation. Requestors should send inquiries to email@example.com with the subject line “Attention: Restitution in Serbia.” Requests should include as much specific information as possible to enable the Commission to determine definitively whether or not it has in its files a previously paid compensation claim pertaining to a specific person, family, or address. This would include the names and surnames of relatives who might have filed claims and addresses and descriptions of the properties involved in their current restitution claims.
For further information, please visit the Agency for Restitution website http://www.restitucija.gov.rs