First of all, I would like to mention that the procedure for foreign visitors’ registration is not unique and it is used in most countries around the world. Usually, visitors fill out an immigration card before entering a country where they indicate their destination and hand it to the officer at passport control. If the passport control system is already connected to the police and other state authorities, you are all set. However, if they are not connected, the responsibility to inform the police or another competent authority lies with the hotel or the visitor themselves. Montenegro uses the latter.
The procedure for registering visitors and the cost of the accommodation fee is governed by the relevant laws (Zakon o strancima and Zakon o boravišnoj taksi). The migration registration is required for any foreigner who doesn’t have a valid residence permit in Montenegro.
There are some significant rules visitors should know about registering their stay upon entering Montenegro.
1. From 2015, an electronic registration system has been carried out. The National Tourism Organization of Montenegro runs the database through the local offices (TO offices). Once you registered with the TO office, your data goes to the police. In the region of Boka Kotorska (Tivat, Kotor, Herceg Novi) the TO offices still issue a migration card (called bijeli karton) while this is not the case in other cities.
2. If a foreign citizen resides in a hotel or a mini-hotel, as well as in apartments that are officially registered to rent, they should be registered by the hotel administration/apartment owner. It is best to check if you are staying in a private residence before you register in the database.
3. In the case a foreign visitor resides in a private sector (at a family or friend's home), they are obliged to register themselves in person and should find the nearest TO office immediately.
4. A foreign visitor should be registered no later than 24 hours from the moment they passed through the Montenegrin border (excluding weekends and holidays). In the summer, TO offices in touristic cities along the seaside usually work every day from 8.00 to 20.00, including the weekend.
5. To register, you should bring your passport, voucher with paid tax and the Owner Certificate from your place of accommodation (called List Nepokretnosti). You can also say the name of the owner and their personal number (JMBG).
6. Tourist daily accommodation tax is charged (called boravišna taksa). The fee varies depending on the season and city. It is approx. 1 euro per day for an adult and 35-40 cents per day for those 12 to 18 years of age. Children under 12 years and owners of real estate in Montenegro are not charged.
7. You can pay the tourism accommodation fee at any bank, post office, and in some TO offices (until 13.00). The banks work until 16.00 on working days and until 13.00 on Saturday. Post offices work until 20.00.
8. TO offices are not permitted to register latecomers. In case you register late, you will need to go to the inspector for foreigners who will register you after you pay the fine.
9. The fine for delaying registration and the absence of registration starts from 60 to 600 euro per person up to a ban on entering Montenegro. The fine can be reduced if you pay it within eight days. For instance, if your fine is 60 euro, it will cost you only 40 euro if you pay it within eight days.