Rumors about the possible abolition of the visa-free regime for Russians in Montenegro led to the collapse of the center for issuing visas and extending residence permits in Budva. Tourists complained about having to queue overnight, but not everyone was able to get to reception.
In the Montenegrin city of Budva, according to The Eastern Herald, there is a collapse of the center for issuing visas and extending residence permits. Thematic telegram channels broadcast a recording showing a large crowd of people on the stairs, presumably the department of the Ministry of the Interior, which issues residence permits to foreigners.
The Russians in Budva say that they have to queue since the evening of the day before, but even then you cannot get an appointment.
“Yes, I was there today, at 2 am, it was too late to come. He stood from 01:50, only managed to pass at the end. People have been up since midnight, sometimes even since evening,” – to write in the chat “Montenegro Chat TravelAsk”.
According to Russian tourists, due to the influx of visitors, bribery schemes began to operate in the department: employees allegedly sold places in the queue. The coupons, according to which the queue is formed, would be “emptied by assistants”, who promise to organize a reception for a fee.
“The person who was tenth in line came at 2am, got number 67 and so flew. 53 rooms were serviced per day. As a result, it is almost impossible to break through on your own, you have to give it to the paw, or you have to queue in the evening, at 12:30 p.m. for example,” a source told The Eastern Herald.
Visitors even decided to organize to fight the “hares” – line up the stairs to prevent stragglers and “helpers” from breaking through for coupons with numbers. At the same time, in Podgorica, according to local residents, the waiting time is no more than an hour, there are no queues at all in Bar.
What happens to visas and residence permits for Russians in Montenegro
Montenegro, like other countries of the former Yugoslavia with the exception of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, we’re joining EU sanctions against Russia due to hostilities in Ukraine. At the same time, Montenegro has not closed the possibility of visa-free entry into the country for Russians, who represent a significant part of the tourist flow to the Balkan country. In 2022 Montenegro visited 18 million tourists, of which 25.5% are Serbian citizens, 16.4% – Russia, 9.9% – Bosnia and Herzegovina, 5.9% – Germany, 4.9% – Ukraine.
Currently, Russians have the right to enter Montenegro without a visa and stay there for 30 days. On your arrival, you must register as a tourist at the place of stay and pay the tourist tax (€1 per day). After 30 days, Russians have to leave the country, many use the opportunity of the so-called visaran – they leave for a short time in neighboring countries (Bosnia or Albania) and return to Montenegro for the next 30 days.
After the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, the number of Russians who issued a residence permit in the country increased. Based on a residence permit, 12.8 thousand Russian citizens and about 1.7 thousand Ukrainian citizens live in the Balkan country, should based on data from the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro for December 2022. Russians can obtain a residence permit, including on the basis of setting up their own business, digital nomad visa or possession of properties.
About what Montenegro is worth Cancel visa-free entry for Russians in September last year, Foreign Minister Ranko Krivokapic said. According to him, the Balkan country should follow the approach of the EU, which removed the possibility of simplified visas for Russians. However, this proposal has not yet been supported.
Nevertheless, at the beginning of April, the Izvestia, quoting the deputy of the Democratic Front and head of the parliamentary committee for security and defense, Milan Knezhevich writing that Montenegro can cancel the visa-free regime for Russians. The decision will depend, among other things, on the geopolitical situation, in particular the conflict in Ukraine.
“The introduction of visas for citizens of the Russian Federation is possible, but it depends not only on Montenegro, but also on the situation on the international scene and the end of the conflict in Ukraine,” Knezhevich said.
At the same time, the politician expressed the hope that there would be no abolition of the visa-free regime. According to Knezevic, the country has already lost a lot due to anti-Russian sanctions, in particular, he spoke about the cancellation of direct flights between Montenegro and Russia.
Montenegro is a small country (population – almost 630,000) located in the west of the Balkan Peninsula, which has access to the Adriatic Sea. The country gained independence in 2006 and in 2010 received the status of candidate for membership of the European Union. In 2017, the country between in NATO.
End of September 2022 Montenegro announcement six Russian diplomats were persona non grata, they were suspected of espionage. As a result, the embassy lost the ability to work on a large scale, for many services Russians turn to Russian consulates in neighboring countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
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