Oleg Mayurchenko was a front-end developer in the Belarusian office of Object Style. In August, in Minsk, according to him, “a complete madhouse began,” and he decided to leave somewhere. Moscow was not considered, he lived there for 16 years, he did not want to go back. We decided to go and see Montenegro. And it was very, very easy to get a residence permit! The prices were absolutely not draconian, and the climate was perfect.
Oleg left and continued to work remotely for the same company. I liked it so much that now he often helps others, answers questions on Facebook. We talked with him about his life in Budva, the pros and cons of Montenegro, local cuisine, taxes and life according to the principles of “polako”.
- Low prices. In Budva, for € 400-500, you can rent a good two-bedroom apartment in a new building. It will be two rooms + a hallway combined with a kitchen.
- The language is Serbian, very close to Russian. With a little tenseness, you can understand it. Ordering coffee in a restaurant is not a problem. Many people also speak Russian. English and Italian are taught in schools, but people are mainly engaged in tourism. And in view of the fact that there are many tourists from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, as a result, people understand Russian well.
- Simple receipt of permanent residence. Residence permit (“boar”) you get quickly, within a month. A set of documents for a family of three costs 730 euros. It is given for a year, then every year you need to renew it (this is about 300 euros). For permanent residence, you need to live in the country without interruption for 5 years. You get the same rights as a citizen, only without voting. Moreover, the country goes to the European Union, and permanent residence in the European Union will be very cool.
- Beautiful streets, medieval Europe. Montenegro was under Austria, Turkey, even Venice. Here is a mix of all these cultures. Ancient fortresses, castles. Very harmonious and colorful. Arches, courtyards, small houses. Even the ancient palaces of kings are small. It’s very nice to watch this.
- Climate. Mediterranean, but not as hot as in Italy. Near Budva there is a warm sea, and in the north, 100 km away, there are ski resorts. For me, the indicator is that our child has not been sick since the move, neither autumn nor winter, there was not even snot. We spent almost half a year in Minsk with sores. Well, it makes you think that men live here on average 77 years. In Russia – 65.
And his daughter
Why NOT Montenegro: what you need to know before moving?
- Overpriced property to buy. Normal housing – from 2 thousand euros per square meter. But the locals give it in installments, up to three years.
- People are very relaxed. Montenegrins say “polako” – that is, “take your time.” Everything here moves calmly, slowly. As in all other Mediterranean countries, of course. But after Minsk and Moscow, you cannot immediately enter such a rhythm.
- Look carefully at the property. Sometimes they rent out houses on the mountain – cold ones. It happens that there is mold in the house or there are no basic amenities. When contacting Russian realtors, you should be doubly careful. They always call prices 50-100 euros higher than those of the locals. You need to be ready to shoot them down right away, or stay away.
- No dual citizenship. They say the issue will be resolved within the next couple of years.
- It’s bad with technology. You cannot buy specialized, professional things. You can’t find a powerful computer, a good camera, the demand for that is too small here. Or go with your own, or order from somewhere. At the same time, customs clearance and delivery are very expensive. It takes 2,000 rubles to deliver a small parcel from Belarus. There are a little more different vehicles in Podgorica (because the capital) or in Bar (because next to Italy). But even there the choice is several times less than in Moscow or Minsk.
- There is no job for IT specialists in Montenegro. Generally. And it won’t. This option is only suitable for remote workers. IT companies are in no hurry to open here for one simple reason: there are no specialists. For some reason, IT specialists traditionally choose Thailand and other countries.
About preparing for the move
Our preparation lasted only a week. I took a certificate of no criminal record, bought myself, my wife and daughter travel tickets from Minsk to Budva, packed my things, everything. By the way, I highly recommend tour tickets. The cost of a charter flight is equal to the cost of the tour. But on the tour you are also given a hotel for 7 days, a transfer to the hotel and honey. insurance for these 7 days.
To move, you only need money to rent an apartment and open a company. A couple of thousand euros is enough. It is better to register the company for yourself – this immediately gives you the right to obtain a residence permit. And it gives you free medical care for the whole family, and the child will go to school for free too. The company is opened for you, it is put on stream here.
It is better to look for accommodation after arrival, being on the spot, at the hotel. Before renting our apartment, we reviewed 9 others in 2 days. Of these, 6-7 were absolute slag. Now I would first choose a realtor, talk to two or three, choose the appropriate option. In this case, IMMEDIATELY it is worth starting to bargain. To say that the price should be lowered by at least 50 euros. They are already laying this margin there.
You can chat on Facebook, in a group local freelancers… The questions will be answered, the details will be explained so as not to make mistakes.
What’s in Montenegro
The wife quickly found a job. She was a remote web designer, here she is makes fashion photo shoots for European and American magazines. In Montenegro, cool photos are easy to come out, there is amazing architecture, a lot of sun and sea.
What turned out to be not very good is medicine. They won’t be allowed to die, but they are unlikely to be put on their feet either. Usually they go to Belgrade (Serbia) with something serious. If you don’t have a residence permit or paid insurance, you can “fly in” a thousand euros even for the simplest case.
In terms of the quality of life for me, there was already an abyss between Moscow and Minsk. That’s why I moved to Belarus. In Minsk, salaries for IT are higher, and the environment is better. Well, Budva and Minsk turned out to be about the same abyss. A completely different level in terms of ecology and recreation. With a family, with children – two cities cannot even be compared.
The prices in Budva are about the same as in Moscow. A family of three can live in a good apartment without denying themselves anything for € 1300. In Minsk we spent 10-15% less.
I have an individual entrepreneur in the Russian Federation, I also pay taxes there. If you pay here, then it’s 10% per annum. But if you open a company to get a residence permit, you pay 80 euros per month (30 – taxes, 50 – returned to the card, this is like my salary). And an accountant costs 50 euros a month. The company shows a zero balance, so you don’t pay anything extra.
When we arrived in August, the food seemed expensive. At prices as in Moscow, slightly more expensive than in Minsk. But it turned out that it was the tourist season. Since the end of October, prices for both housing and food have plummeted. In addition, a lot of product positions have been added, which they cleverly remove for the summer.
In Montenegro, there are big sweet tooths, and after the season, all of a sudden, many new sweets appeared on the shelves – for example, jams. If you were a tourist here, you may not even know about such a variety.
By the way, there are many products from Italy, very high quality and tasty. Pasta, cheese, fruits, vegetables. Prices are not higher than in Moscow. You cook the usual dishes, but for some reason they taste much better.
As for the local cuisine, it is simple, but also delicious. They love meat, seafood and (especially!) Pastries. In all cities there are a lot of “bakers” – small private bakeries that cook buns with local nutella, croissants (be sure to try chocolate!), Buns with herbs, cheese and meat.
It makes little sense to go around the markets, they weigh on, and the variety is so-so. But in chain stores there is a lot of meat and very tasty dishes. Our child has never eaten beef or cutlets before. And then they bought “pleskavitsa” – a huge cutlet for a whole plate. And this was the first cutlet that our daughter ate with pleasure.
Montenegro is a convenient place to see many other countries. We take the car and drive. About 200 km one way – Serbia, 200 km the other – Croatia. Ferry overnight (€ 55) – Italy. Near Albania, Macedonia. There is the city of Kotor – it is all included in the UNESCO cultural heritage list. They call it little Venice. It was built when Montenegro belonged to the Venetian Republic. It looks very colorful.
City of Kotor
There is, of course, not as much active life here as in Moscow or Minsk. The parties are much less. If I opened a list of events in Moscow – and there are forty premieres, twenty exhibitions, a hundred concerts. Then you will watch one exhibition or a master class for a week. Montenegro is more for calm, contemplative pleasure.
There is no crime in the country, unlike the same Italy or Spain. Nobody even closes cars at night. The lockers with things in supermarkets are also not closed. It’s even boring somehow.
Montenegrins are avid dog lovers, it seems that almost everyone has a doggie. They also love to sit in restaurants. We took a cup of coffee, and the whole day they sit with the whole family. If you meet a friend, they will definitely ask how you are, they will invite you to their place. They will sit and talk. Very warm and sociable people.
This has both pros and cons. It’s nice to watch, but when you apply for documents or stand in line, there is also such a story. Everything is slow, gradually. Here no one ever freaks out, no one fusses. The whole country lives like this. Before moving, you need to understand whether you want such a “polak” for yourself.