We understand that border crossing permits are an inconvenience for travelers and want to make the process as easy as possible for you.
Please find the application below and take a look at the FAQ. Note that we do not reply to individual questions that are answered by the FAQ.
- Please apply between 14* and 55 days prior to the first crossing.
- Click here to open the application form.
- Enter the details of all border crossings and travel documents.
- Upload your travel document(s).
- Complete payment via PayPal or credit card.
- Receive confirmation by email, usually within one week.
* If less than a week remains, we will try our best but cannot guarantee delivery prior to departure. We recommend to apply nonetheless as your crossings will be automatically logged in the electronic border police system.
- Each crossing requires a permit at a fee of €5/person
- Montenegro levies a tax: €2/application + €3/person + €5 transaction fee. This tax applies for each crossing from Montenegro to Albania or Kosovo.
- Our fee is capped at 50 EUR for a group up to 20 persons and/or 6 permits. This does not include the fees levied by the Montenegro police.
- Payment can be completed with PayPal and credit card.
Peaks of the Balkans Trail: A full circuit requires three border crossings: 2 persons x 3 permits x 5€ + 13€ police fee = 43€.
We believe that 5 EUR per person and permit is a fair amount in return for sorting out the red tape that guarantees you a hassle free vacation time.
When is the best time to cross the green border?
The best time to hike the Peaks of the Balkans route (and other routes that see high mountain passes in the Balkans) is from mid-June to end-September. Be prepared to encounter plenty of snow and to find accommodation closed if you embark earlier or later.
Should you go earlier, prepare accordingly with the right equipment and don’t hesitate to take a local guide when needed. Always ask locals on site about the current snow conditions on the trail. Expect snow on altitudes above 1800 m until the end of June (especially northern facing slopes). The shepherd settlement in Doberdol and Milishevc see the shortest span of inhabitation, locals will arrive and leave earlier or later depending on weather conditions. It is vital to check the situation before your departure.
Why/when do I need a permit?
Regular border points at airports and road crossings don’t require a permit. As the green border in the mountains lacks a permanent border control to record your entry/exit, permits are used to add digital entrees in the border crossing system. Failing to obtain one can cause incidents with border patrols or issues at the airport / border crossing points when no legal entry into the country is detected.
How many permits do I need?
Each “permanent” crossing requires a permit. To complete the entire Peaks of the Balkans Trail only three permits are required. If you only straddle the border without crossing it “permanently” (extended stay or overnight) no permit is required. This applies for example to the following routes:
- Valbona – Cerem: via the Persllopit and Bor Pass
- Cerem – Doberdol
Are dates flexible?
The police requires a set date, no exceptions. Plan ahead and try to adhere to your dates. Walkers who were delayed or early by one or two days, say due to adverse weather conditions, losing the trail, exhaustion and similar events, have never had problems and the police showed understanding.
Please note: This is not legal council, if you have further questions please contact the police directly. Neither Zbulo nor any of its associates can be held responsible for legal charges that might occur.
I’m under 18 years old and am traveling alone?
If you’re under 18 years old and don’t travel with a core family member, the police requires written consent of your legal guardian in English.
Why does the Montenegrin police charge a fee?
In a mutual agreement all three countries signed a memorandum of understanding promising to process applications for free. Montenegro doesn’t adhere to this agreement and now asks for a fee. That’s not cool and we encourage you to write to the the Montenegrin Tourism Organisation to let them know firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I collect the permits at your office?
Permits are delivered via email as PDF files. We don’t have a front office to receive visitors.
Can I apply for a permit by sending you an email / letter etc.
No, the only way to apply is by completing the form on this website.
Does the police really check the permits?
While the Albanian police happily welcomes all visitors, the neighbors in Kosovo are stricter and conduct regular checks and patrols, especially in the Rugova Valley where the border with Montenegro is disputed. Montenegrin border guards and national park wardens can be seen on patrol in their Land Rover Defender / Lada Niva, especially in the area around Babino Polje and Vusanje. There is also a sizable police station in Plav. Keep in mind that fully equipped hikers aren’t low profile in the streets of this small town. We receive sporadic feedback from hikers without permits being asked to pay “bakshish” to avoid trouble. We recommend obtaining the permits for a worry-free holiday.
Is it possible to just get them on the go / on short notice?
No, unfortunately this isn’t possible. The police processes permits from Monday to Friday and takes a few working days to confirm. It also takes us some time to facilitate between you and the authorities.
What if I really need them on short notice? (this is an emergency!)
Apply ASAP and write us afterwards. We advise to apply in any case, even if that means starting out without permits. All your crossings will eventually be entered in the digital border police system, even while you’re on the go.
The form is designed for up to 20 persons. With more participants in the group please fill it multiple times.
Required for each participant are:
- first and last name
- birth date and location
- passport/ID copy (for permits out of Kosovo passports are recommended)
- date and location the document was issued as well as expiry date (be aware that it should be valid for another three to six months)