Last updated September 24, 2020
Today’s Status, Looking Towards Spring 2021 — Green
For Fall, we had carefully been watching the virus situation and the entry requirements for US citizens and were able to move forward with a program here for the Fall 2020 semester which is very exciting. We anticipate having Montenegro available for our Spring 2021 volunteers as well.
Also, this info is changing often. Our goal is to keep things current with weekly updates, so check back frequently.
Until recently, Montenegro was only allowing visitors who were coming from countries with a low number of active cases (which didn’t include US travelers). However, now US travelers can enter with either a negative COVID-19 test result not more than 72 hours old or a positive COVID antibody test.
You don’t need a visa to enter Montenegro: all tourists get a 90-day stay. Since your ILP semester is longer than 90 days, volunteers typically leave the country and visit nearby spots. Recently, the 90-day limit was ended for Covid-19, allowing ILP volunteers to stay longer than in previous semesters.
We get to vacations later, but traveling out of the country may be a little tricky depending on the quarantine and border policies of the countries you may want to vacation to. We’re carefully watching which countries have restrictions for US passport holders, versus countries in Europe who are more concerned with where you have been traveling recently.
Montenegro’s two airports (Podgorica and Tivat) have been open since June 1st for international flights.
This little country initially handled the virus exceptionally well, declaring it was officially Coronavirus-free on May 25th.
However, as tourism reopened, there was a brief uptick in case numbers. After applying some restrictions (social distancing, mask-wearing, limited public gatherings, etc.) the increase turned the other direction to a slight daily decrease in new cases. As of September 28th, the number of active cases is currently around 589 per 100,000 people. (By comparison, Utah is at 498 active cases per 100k and the USA as a whole is around 775 per 100,000).
Schools opened early summer, but with the recent uptick in cases, public kindergartens have been closed. The school where ILP volunteers teach at is a private center and because of ILP’s small-group style of teaching, teaching will be able to continue even if public schools and kindergartens are closed. This all depends on the details of the restrictions at the time.
Beaches, stores, tourist sites are all generally open which means you can soak up the best of what this coastal city has to offer. You can get an idea of what’s open (and what restrictions are currently in place) on this site.
Out & About
A July 22nd announcement outlined that wearing protective masks outdoors and indoors is mandatory throughout Montenegro, except on beaches and in national parks (if physical distancing regulations are followed).
Things are looking good for bus routes and taxis to some of our favorite places in Montenegro. Think about spending weekends and vacation time exploring dozens of beaches, taking mountain hikes to glacial lakes, and photographing ancient monasteries hiding in the cliffside.
Out of country travel is extremely limited now and may not be possible to many places. In a nutshell, in order for you to travel out of the country, that country has to let you in and Montenegro has to let you back. A lot of popular destinations in Europe aren’t allowing US travelers but potentially, volunteers may be able to check out places in south eastern Europe, spots like Serbia, Slovakia, and North Macedonia. That list could shrink or expand, but that’s what things are like now.
Can I still apply for Montenegro?
Absolutely! We currently have volunteers abroad for a Fall 2020 semester, so if you’re considering volunteering Spring 2021, we’d recommend getting a jump on your application ASAP. Or if you’re considering traveling in Summer 2021, Fall 2021, or even Spring 2022, now is a great time to start your application for those semesters as well.
We are so excited for volunteers to be back in Montenegro!
What is traveling and living in Montenegro like right now?
For Montenegro, things have slowly been opening back up both for domestic and international tourism. We’re seeing similar precautions you’re taking at home (like wearing a mask and social distancing). Just like there is a risk to go out in Utah right now, there will be risks to traveling anywhere, including Montenegro.