The visa policy of Montenegro is one of the most loyal in the world, residents of many countries need only a passport to enter. But there are nuances.
Montenegro has established a visa-free regime with half the planet: the passports of one hundred states give their holders the right to enter as tourists for up to 90 days every six months (90/180). Working is prohibited at that time.
Citizens of the following countries can travel without obtaining a visa: the United States of America, Canada, Australia and several neighboring island states, Japan, Israel, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, as well as European countries and almost all of South America.
Passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the end of the trip. Entry is often allowed without a passport at all, a national ID is enough, but for 30 days only. At the same time, the Montenegrins themselves need a visa to enter the USA, the UK and many other countries.
Montenegro has special agreements with some states. 30-day visa-free stay is allowed for the citizens of Cuba, Ecuador, Peru and Russia. The same rule goes to Republic of Belarus and the People’s Republic of China, but they also need a so-called voucher or an invitation letter from a legal or private person with guarantees to cover visitor’s expenses.
Montenegrin border control agent makes a final decision about the entry. In reality, the agents rarely inquire additional documents, such as a voucher, but their absence is fraught with problems.
If a person is denied entry, an airline is obliged to fly him back to the departure point at it’s own expense. That is why some air companies verify traveler’s passport, visa or other documents at check-in.
Who else needs a visa to Montenegro?
Citizens of African states and almost all Asian States. The visa application for residents of these regions should be addressed to the diplomatic missions of Montenegro, and if there are none, to the consulates of Serbia, Bulgaria or Croatia. At the same time, holders of a valid visas for the US, the UK, Ireland or Schengen countries, can enter Montenegro for up to 30 days. Visa holders for the United Arab Emirates have the same right, but their stay is limited to 10 days.
You can clarify the current status of visa rules on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro.
Tourist Registration and it’s pitfalls
Every foreign national must pay a tourist tax and be registered with the authorities while staying in Montenegro. It needs to be done as soon as you cross the border, the time limit for hotels is 12 hours, for private residences — 24 hours.
This rule is easiest for hotels guests, their data is entered into the database immediately upon arrival. All legally working hotels always register their guests, and tourists often do not even know about this rule.
If, however, you are booked through a private rental, Airbnb, or staying with friends, you will most likely need to pay the tourist tax and register with the local authorities yourself. Many small entrepreneurs simply ignore the law, although in case of violation, they will be fined.
Make sure that your passport data with the date of arrival are entered into online database, if the owner of the place you are staying in does not have access to it, contact the nearest tourist office in 24 hours.
In addition to the stamp from the border control in your passport with a clearly readable date of arrival, you need to know the address of the residence and personal information about the owner. Just a few years ago, the first and last name were sufficient, but lately the tourist offices started to ask for the individual number of a citizen, matični broj, or ЈMBG.
During high season, tourist offices extend the work hours and are open on weekends, but at other times you can unwittingly run into a problem, for example, if you arrive on Friday evening and the local tourist office is closed until Monday.
In some cities, the tourist offices will register you on Monday, no questions asked, but others will call it a violation of law and send you to the special police department what deals with foreigners.
Also, you will have to go to the police, if the entry stamp in your passport is unreadable or there is no stamp at all, and you do not have, for example, a plane ticket with your name and date of arrival to the country.
Police officer will issue a penalty for violation of the terms of registration in the amount of 60 euros, but if you pay it immediately, it is 30% less. After that you will have to register and pay the tourist tax anyway.
A foreigner can not officially stay in a tent on a beach, there is no address. Lovers of outdoor recreation must rent a place at a legal campsite. However, no one will check, where you actually live, just make sure your name is at computer database and travel as you wish.
What are we paying for?
The law on registration of foreign guests exists in many countries. Tourism is a key sector of the economy in Montenegro, and registration goes with the collection of tourist tax, boravišna taksa, which is a common practice around the world.
The tax is charged per person, per night and varies by region. An average rate is 1 euro. Children up to 12 do not usually pay the tax.
In hotels, the tourist tax is included in a room rate, and sometimes tourists even do not notice it. Close relatives of a homeowner are not paying anything, and there are few other exceptions.
The tax must be paid at the local tourist office or post office for the exact number of nights you will spend in the country. If your plans have changed, and you want to stay longer, you need to pay more. Try not to lose your receipt until departure.
In some cities the office will give you a special card as a proof of registration, beli karton, but usually all information is only in computer database. The border control agents can check your registration, and violators get a fine of 60 euros, that must be paid in a post office. This is not a pleasant experience and if you travel by plane, you might miss the flight.