Montenegro is a beautiful country but as a former state of Yugoslavia, there are still a few remnants of this Soviet past; the use of a Cyrillic alphabet, a high Russian tourist population and notably the requirement for tourists to register their address with the police authorities for the duration of their stay. We can’t help you learn a new language but we can help with the last one!
From my own research and clearly from the many times the question has been asked on Trip Advisor, there is still a lot of confusion over what independent tourists must do on arrival into Montenegro. There are hundreds of posts on forums asking if visitors need to register with the police in Montenegro as well as how and where to do this. Hopefully, this post will be able to shed some light with our own personal experience in Montenegro and a step-by-step process to help you through the task.
Who must register and pay tourist tax in Montenegro?
Every foreign national will need to pay a tourist tax and be registered with the authorities while staying in Montenegro. However, if you are staying with a hotel or hostel or as part of a package holiday deal, this will be included in your overall cost and your accommodation will register your details for you. If you look at the breakdown for your stay you will likely see a section that says ‘local taxes’ or perhaps ‘tourist charge’ which is where you will be covered.
If, however, you are booked through another means such as a private rental, staying with friends or you have booked an Airbnb then you will need to pay the tourist tax and register where you are staying with the local authorities yourself.
As so many visitors generally stay with hotels and are likely unaware that their details have been passed on by their accommodation, this is perhaps why so many people in the forums suggest you do not need to bother with registering in Montengero or paying the tourist tax. If you don’t register there can be hefty fines on departure and government authorities state it may affect any return visits you may have planned in the future.
Where to register with the police?
So, first off, there are a lot of misconceptions about registering as a tourist in Montenegro. Should you look on either the UK Government Foreign travel advice or Montenegro’s own official tourist site both sources state that tourists must register with the police within 24 hours but this does not seem to be the case. What we found from our own experience and from many other bloggers is that you do need to register but you do not register yourself directly with the police. Travellers should instead register at a tourist information centre. Registration at a police station should only be done as a last resort.
How much does tourist registration cost in Montenegro?
During our stay (Oct 2017) the standard tourist tax was €1 per adult per day. If travelling with children they are charged at €0.50 per child per day.
When we registered in Budva, Montenegro there was an added €0.30 onto our standard tourist tax so this may have been an administration fee so you may also need to take this into account.
Step-by-step process to tourist registration in Montenegro
Our stay in Montenegro was based in Budva and so this is our first hand experience of registering with the authorities in Budva but the overall process will be the same no matter where you are in Montenegro. You must also make sure to register within 24 hours of arrival into Montenegro to ensure you do not receive a fine.
Step 1 – Know all your details
It is very important before you start to know exactly where you are staying and who with. This might sound obvious but staying in “Star Apartments with Stan” is not enough detail for the tourist agents to successfully register you and you will likely be turned away. You will require the full address of where you are staying and the registered owner of the property. This proved a little difficult for us as, while we had the full address of our Airbnb and knew the family we were staying with, we did not know which family member was the registered owner so this caused delays.
Step 2 – Pay your tourist tax at the Post Office
Before officially registering you will need to pay your tourist tax. This can be done at a local post office – look for a yellow sign with an envelope on it or the word “Pošta”. In Budva there are several options. Our first attempt did not go well as the small post office within the bus station that we had been informed of before our visit was shut. This seemed to be for the off-season so may still be an option during peak time. We found a large post office on a street near the waterfront called Mediteranska which was also open into the evenings so this might be your safest bet to ensure you can pay within the 24-hour window.
You will need to hand over your passports and give details of how long you are staying in Montenegro and how many adults and children are in your party.
Your passports will be scanned and you will be given a pink slip. Do not lose this as it is your receipt of having paid the tourist tax and will be required for the registration step and may be requested when you exit the country.
Step 3 – Registering at a Tourist Information Point
After paying your tax and receiving your paper slip you will then need to take this a tourist information office to complete the registration process. The main information point in Budva is located at the cross roads of Filipa Kovacevica and Jadranski put. This is right off the main boulevard but is somewhat difficult to spot as it is simply a small hut within a gated car park. There is a second information point located within Budva Old Town but, again, this appears to be seasonal and so was shut during our October visit.
For this step you will again need to hand over your passport to be scanned but you will also need to provide the details of your accommodation too. The easiest way to provide this is if you have an email confirmation for your accommodation details so that the tourist agent can simply copy the address details directly. As we mentioned the registered property owner is also very important here and we seemed to cause a few issues as we did not know which member of the family owned the apartment we were staying in. Our Airbnb hosts were very friendly but most of the family did not speak a lot of English and were not always available but if you can check details with you host or rental agent before you head to the office it will save time and reduce the frustration of those working in the tourist office.
If for some reason you cannot find a tourist information point open, you will need to register with the police.
Step 4. – Hold on to that slip
While your passports will have been scanned multiple times during the process you need to hold on to the pink slip and keep it safe throughout your stay as on occasion customs will ask to see it. You will need to be able to produce the slip on demand at the airport so keep it safe in your passport. Do remember that it is only one paper to cover your whole group so best to give it to the person at the back and if anyone in front of you is requested you can come forward rather than the last person be asked and everyone else (and the slip) is already through customs and away!
Tourist Information Services (Turistički informativni centar)
- Trg Sunca, Budva
- 28, Njegoševa, Budva
- Stari grad 328, Kotor
- Ulica Slobode 47, Podgorica
- Palih boraca 19, Tivat
More information on tourist information spots and local visitor info for the different regions in Montenegro info can be found on the official Montenegro Tourism website.
Post Offices (Pošta)
- 8 Mediteranska, Budva
- Popa Jola Zeca, Budva (within the bus station complex)
- Mediteranska ulica br. 1, Budva
- Stari Grad, Kotor
- Njegoševa ulica 213, Kotor
- Ulica slobode br. 1, Podgorica
- Ulica palih boraca br. 24, Tivat
These are just a few of the main post offices but if you are staying elsewhere in Montenegro or need you can use this list of post office locations or by contacting the nearest tourist information point.
We found the process itself quite straightforward but make sure you know when tourist information and local post offices are open to ensure you can register within the allotted time frame.
Have you ever had to register with the police as a traveller? How did you find the process?
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