Unmanned aerial vehicles (quadcopters or drones) have long ceased to be exotic: they are used every day for shooting beautiful landscapes, festivals, weddings etc. Many countries of the world have strict laws regulating the use of drones in public areas, and Montenegro has its own specifics.
The first problem is a permission to import a drone. In the absence of this document, the device will simply be seized at the border, so make sure you have all the papers in order before the trip.
The permission is issued by the Ministry of Economy of Montenegro (Ministarstvo ekonomije). To apply for the permission, you must register on the electronic services portal, there are English and Montenegrin version of the page. A confirmation of the registration will be sent to your email.
After that, in your personal account you need to follow the links Dokumenti – Licna dokumenta – Zahtjevi – Zahtjev za izdavanje dozvole za vršenje spoljne trgovine za fizička lica. After filling it in, the next tab will be Prilaganje dokumentacije.
You need to add two files:
- Izjava da ste upoznati sa odredbama Pravilnika o uslovima za upotrebu Sistema bespilotnih vazduhoplova i vazduhoplovnih modela (“Sl.list CG”, broj 11/16),
- Tehnička specifikacija dronova (serijski broje, težina, nosivost i sl.)
Now just wait for permission.
If the drone was imported without it and was seized at the border, the customs office issues an appropriate document, which contains the data of the person transporting the device, as well as the serial number and model of the device.
The customs office gives 20 days to get a legal permission, according to practical reviews, it is enough time to get all the papers. But if permission is not granted, customs has the right to confiscate your UAV and issue a fine.
After you brought the drone to Montenegro legally, you have to register as a drone operator with the Montenegro Aeronautics Agency. The Agency regulates the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the country. The same must be done if the device was not imported, but purchased in local stores.
Registration process is very simple. Download the form Izjava u skladu sa pravilnikom o sistemima bespilotnih vazduhoplova i vazduhoplovnih modela from the Aeronautics Agency’s website fill it out and send back by email or regular mail. The Agency sends a permit, and includes you in the list of operators. As of October 2019, 493 people are legally launching UAVs throughout Montenegro. There are many foreign names in the list, which shows the simplicity of the process, regardless of citizenship.
The agency also gives you a piloting guide, and this document, along with the permissions, must be with you at the time of the shooting. You all must have an operation manual for your UAV and driver’s license (as a proof of your good physical and mental health).
In accordance with the current legislation of Montenegro, the operator of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is considered the commander of the aircraft, and a violation of the rules leads to fines from 500 to 2,000 Euros.
The most common types of drones currently registered with the Montenegro Aeronautics Agency are devices designed for amateur video shooting, weighing up to 1.5 kg with 4 motors. However, the rules (Pravilnik o uslovima za upotrebu sistema bespilotnih vazduhoplova i vazduhoplovnih modela) apply to all UAV models, including more powerful ones.
The most important condition — the drones must not pose a danger to life, health or property of people. A maximum distance from the operator to the device is 500 meters horizontally and 150 meters in height above water or ground.
The drone must not be closer than 150 meters to a group of people.
The distance to individual objects — people, animals, buildings, cars, ships, airplanes, railways, power lines and so on — must exceed 30 meters. Flights at night, as well as dropping objects from the device are forbidden. Same goes to flights near airports, unless you granted a special permission (Zahtjev za odobrenje letenja bespilotnog vazduhoplova ili vazduhoplovnih modela u oblasti CRT Podgorica / CTR Tivat).
In addition, a permission (Zahtjev za odobrenje letačkih operacija sistemima bespilotnih vazduhoplova) must be obtained for each flight in populated territory or during public events. For filming in nature and open areas, this document is not required, but in some national parks UAVs are prohibited — they scare birds.
Following all these rules, you can safely shoot magnificent films from the air!