T​he Balkans are opening up to expats and digital nomads as Croatia and Montenegro introduce new visa offerings.

October 10, 2022

B​y: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

BalkansT​he world keeps opening up as more opportunities emerge for digital nomads. I want to believe that this is the way of the future: people striking a balance between work and life experiences.

T​he Balkans are known for some gorgeous vacation spots. Montenegro and Croatia in particular have beautiful coastal regions that are sought after by tourists around the world.

I​f you are a digital nomad and looking to spend some time in the Balkans, you’re in luck as more options are opening up!

​Montenegro and Croatia both have something to throw into the pot for expats and nomads.

Very generally, the coastal areas have typically weather typical to the rest of the Mediterranean, with warm summers and mild winters. The interior of the country, however, has a sub-alpine climate, typified by warm summers and freezing winters.

Montenegro has often been regarded as the San Tropez or Monte Carlo of the Adriatic. Croatia has had the distinction of being likened to Monaco. Even if they were to fall short of this expectation, there are clearly aspects of the country that earned that simile.


Montenegro is offering a one-year renewable residency visa to foreign property owners. You read that correctly: based on the ownership of a property in Montenegro (regardless of its value) foreign citizens are eligible to get a residency visa. Temporary residency can become permanent if the individual spends more than 5 years in Montenegro.

Residency is extended to the spouse and children under 18 of the holder of a residency visa.

Only developed residential or commercial properties such as houses, apartments, commercial units, hotels, restaurants and holiday homes qualify for this visa. Land plots, ruins or other non-residential buildings would not qualify. You can buy land and develop it. Once completed, you can register that now-eligible property in the Land Registry and could obtain the visa.

According to the new law, applicants must have co-ownership share of at least 50% to obtain the residency visa. Essentially a maximum of two parties can claim ownership and still be eligible.

The applicant must spend a minimum of 11 months in Montenegro as a condition of this property based residency visa and its renewal. Some exceptions apply, so if you need more than one month outside Montenegro during the year, you can officially inform the Police and receive permission for up to three months abroad.

To receive the visa, you need to register your arrival with either a local police branch or tourist office within 24 hours of arrival in Montenegro.

Once all necessary paperwork is submitted, you will receive a confirmation that your process is under way. Their government has 40 days to issue the visa (id document).

Documents needed for the residency:

1. Proof of ownership of the property that is not older than 6 months

2. Proof of a 3,650 euro deposit into a bank in Montenegro

3. Valid medical insurance for a minimum of 30 days

4. Copies of each page of a valid passport

5. Certificate of no criminal record from the country of origin (not older than 6 months and officially translated).


First and foremost, the EU is reviewing Croatia’s application to join the Schengen zone to allow for visa-free travel between other member countries. Croatia is a destination for over 10 million Europeans annually, so opening up their country to visa-free travel only makes sense.

Croatia expects this to be finalized by the end of 2022:

After assessing Croatia’s readiness on criteria including defend its border and controlling immigration, a European Parliament committee is expected to deliver a positive opinion on Croatia’s entry in coming weeks, he said. The final decision rests with the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council.

Second, and in line with many other countries in Europe, they have a new digital nomad visa offering!

I​f you are an entrepreneur or a freelancer, this is perfect for you. Much like the Spanish digital nomad visa, you would not be eligible for this visa if you are seeking employment with a native company. That would require a separate employment visa.

I​t’s a year-long visa that can be renewed before expiration of your existing visa.

You must complete an application form. You can apply in person through a Croatian consulate office, or at a local police station if you are already in country. The whole thing costs under €200 whether you apply online, or at a consulate or police station.

Eligibility requires proof that you:

  • …are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country. You need a valid passport that must remain valid for at least three months after your digital nomad visa is due to expire.

  • …have a stable monthly income of around €2,300/month for an individual, €2,390 for a family.

  • …are either self-employed or a freelancer outside the Croatian workforce.

  • … have valid health insurance for your complete stay in Croatia.

  • …have a clean criminal record.

  • … have a temporary place of residence in Croatia. This could be a booking confirmation or a rental agreement with a Croatian landlord.

Be prepared to state the purpose of your planned visit to Croatia as well.

There are some benefits to getting this visa aside from simply being able to stay longer than the typical tourist visa allows:

  1. Exemption from double taxation. Croatia allows you to be exempted from double taxation, meaning that as a digital nomad, you will not be required to pay additional Croatian tax if you do not work for a Croatian employer.
  2. Road to Croatian citizenship. The digital nomad visa enables you to start the path to Croatian citizenship. If you reside in Croatian territory for at least five years, you become eligible for permanent residency which could lead Croatian citizenship eligibility, should you choose to pursue it.

Whatever your ambitions, the world is opening up. I love this part of the post pandemic world. It’s the roses from the thorn bushes finally in bloom.

Click here to get a copy of our Offshore Banking Report, or here to become a member of our Insider program where you are eligible for free consultations, deep discounts on corporate and trust services, plus a wealth of information on internationalizing your business, wealth and life.