Montenegro

Last updated October 26, 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.

Getting There

US travelers can enter with either a negative COVID-19 test result not more than 72 hours old or a positive COVID antibody test.

ILP volunteers don’t need visas for Montenegro, and the former 90-day limit has been temporarily removed. 

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.

Daily Life

This little country initially handled the virus exceptionally well, declaring it was officially Coronavirus-free on May 25th. 

However, as tourism reopened, there was an increase in cases. Initially it appeared that they would be in check with restrictions taking place, but currently the numbers are still on the rise. Budva was declared a “red zone” in October, bringing more restrictions, which, along with the tourist season ending, will hopefully bring case numbers back down. ILP volunteers have been back in Montenegro since September 2020 and are having amazing adventures despite the changes in restrictions. To see some of their experiences, check out the takeover reel on Instagram

As of October 26th, the number of active cases is currently around 598 per 100,000 people. (By comparison, Utah is at 848 active cases per 100k and the USA as a whole is around 877 per 100,000).

Schools opened early summer. Although public schools have opened and closed with fluctuations in the number of cases, the school where ILP volunteers teach at is a private center that has different regulations than public schools. In mid-October, Budva became a red zone. Kindergarten classes are continuing outdoors as they were previously, but changes are being made for the school-age classes. The school is considering a few different options, including a different location and online teaching to stay in compliance with the new restrictions. 

Beaches, stores, tourist sites are all generally open which means you can soak up the best of what this coastal city has to offer.  We’ve heard good things from our volunteers in-country who are visiting Old Town, hanging out at the beach, and enjoying what Budva has to offer. Some tourist-oriented businesses are slowly starting to close down as they do at the end of every summer when tourists leave. Restaurants have restrictions on the number of people and masks are required everywhere except for national parks and beaches with proper social distancing measures. There are also some more restrictions that are outlined below. 

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).

Nationwide, there’s a limit of 40 people for outdoor gatherings, and 20 in public places, however in Budva, there’s a restriction that doesn’t allow visits to residential buildings unless you live there. Private gatherings are also restricted (birthdays, weddings, etc).

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.