With a dynamic economy and attractive location on the Adriatic coast, Montenegro is a beacon for thousands of people looking to relocate.
That’s a big step that can have a dramatic impact on your way of life.
Everything from applying for a residence permit to hiring a moving service should be on your Montenegro move checklist.
Especially if this is your first time moving overseas you may find that there are a few surprises in store. Planning and patience are the two best tools.
Moving to Montenegro is an excellent choice for many people.
This practical guide will lead you through the process with the goal of avoiding as many headaches as possible. Make this step-by-step plan your bible for guiding your relocation process.
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Set Your Moving to Montenegro Plan in Motion
You’ve decided that it’s time for a change of scenery and Montenegro landed at the top of your shortlist. Here’s how to make the move work out positively for you and your family:
- If possible, plan to visit Montenegro and stay on the 90-day tourist allowance for reconnaissance and research.
- During that time work on picking a town to live in and finding a job or forming a company.
- If you have a job lined up, are going to be studying in Montenegro or are marrying a Montenegrin citizen you may be able to get the process started for a temporary residence permit.
- Hire a mover and return to your home country to pack up your life. (Note that if you plan to return to Montenegro as a tourist the 90-day “clock” doesn’t reset until 180 days has passed since you entered Montenegro. And if you have a temporary residence permit you can only be away from Montenegro for up to one month in a calendar year.)
- Gather any documentation you need to apply for residence in Montenegro and have it translated and apostilled (if necessary).
- Sell your car and other belongings that would be more expensive to ship to Montenegro than to replace once you arrive.
- Return to Montenegro with your family and the essentials you’ll need until all of your belongings arrive.
- Go about completing the search for a home and a job. Start the residence application process as soon as possible. It might take weeks to process and some of your supporting documents must have been issued within a certain window.
How to Get to Montenegro
If you’re moving to somewhere in Montenegro along the coast, the standard recommendation is to fly into Tivat; Podgorica is usually best if relocating to inland areas, however it can be helpful for those choosing to live in Kotor.
Dubrovnik’s airport is just across Montenegro’s northwestern border with Croatia. Many tourists use it as a point of entry for vacations in Montenegro and it could work for when you relocate here, but note any added legal implications that come with adding another country to your travels.
For most people, it will make the most sense to send your belongings to Montenegro by sea. There are three major ports here, in Bar, Kotor and Zelenika. If you’re coming from a short distance away, say Croatia or Serbia, it might be possible to bring your furniture to Montenegro by truck.
Hiring a Moving Service in Montenegro
There are a few options for moving companies that can handle your move to Montenegro. Most of them are branches of worldwide operations, including:
- A1 Auto Transport is a full-service, international company that specializes in moving cars abroad, but can also handle the rest of your belongings.
- AGS Podgorica which offers both storage and moving services with options for air, land and sea transportation of your belongings.
- Allied Pickfords is a global company that specializes in full-service relocations for corporate employees.
Important Legal Requirements for When You Arrive in Montenegro
If you are staying with friends or have a residence already arranged when you arrive in Montenegro, you are required to register with the local police authorities within 24 hours of arriving.
This does not apply if you are staying at a hotel — they will take your passport number and register you automatically.
What to Know About Moving to Montenegro From the US
A slower pace and lower tax rate are just two of the many reasons why Americans are moving to Montenegro from the US. It’s an increasingly popular choice and a well-trodden path, but there are a few details to keep your eye on.
Do You Need a Visa if Coming From the US?
Americans with a US passport do not need a visa to enter Montenegro. You can stay for up to 90 days, which should give you ample time to arrange a temporary residence permit.
Note that the State Department occasionally issues security alerts for US citizens in Montenegro. These are usually fairly standard boilerplate, however there seems to be a recent trend of extremists making rare, but tragic attacks on large groups of people in European tourist areas.
That caveat comes with the corresponding note that Montenegro is one of the safest countries in the world. Violent crime is remarkably low and most people feel safe walking the streets at any time of day.
Is There a Double Taxation Treaty in Place?
Montenegro does not have a double taxation treaty with the US. Also, as you’re probably aware, US citizens must report all of their worldwide income to the IRS, even if they are a tax resident of another country.
This situation means that you might want to take special steps to minimize your personal income tax liability, especially for your first year after moving to Montenegro.
Information for UK Citizens Who Are Moving to Montenegro
Keen on following in the footsteps of Lord Byron? Or maybe you’re worried what Brexit will mean for your EU credentials? Moving to Montenegro from the UK has been a popular choice for decades.
Do Those From the UK Need a Visa?
If you carry a full British Citizen passport you do not need a visa to enter Montenegro. Once there, you can stay for up to 90 days (within the first 180 days after you arrive) under these tourist provisions.
After that, you need to apply for a visa or temporary residence permit from Montenegro’s Ministry of Interior Affairs.
Do Montenegro and the United Kingdom Have a Double Taxation Treaty?
The treaty with the UK is one of Montenegro’s oldest. In fact, it carries over from the days of a unified Yugoslavia.
The agreement covers corporate and personal income tax as well as taxes on capital gains. Even though this should simplify things, you’ll still need to be extra careful when filing your tax returns after moving to Montenegro.
Successfully Moving to Montenegro
Montenegro has a sunny climate, friendly people and a pro-business government. It’s great news that you’ve chosen it as your new home.
In order to make your move as painless as possible, it’s best to:
- Draw up a step-by-step plan.
- Get help with applying for residence early on to avoid mistakes after the fact.
- Find a place to rent or property to buy.
- Hire a trustworthy moving company.
- Pay close attention to the legal and tax requirements that apply to you.
Of course, there are other aspects of your new life that you’ll need to plan for. In addition to the physical move and legal requirements for living in the country:
- Consider the different primary, secondary and international schools in Montenegro, and which system is best suited to you or your family.
- Understand the banking system and the steps involved in setting up an account.
- Connect with the expat community, who may be able to offer advice and friendship once you arrive.
Get in touch if you have follow-up questions about moving to Montenegro. I’ll be happy to help figure out how to make your move as pain-free as possible.