Simplified procedure for obtaining passports for refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Montenegro and the UNCHR Montenegro signed a Memorandum of Understanding, aimed to enable “displaced persons” from Bosnia and Herzegovina residing in Montenegro to apply for issuing of passports in the Embassy. On that occasion, two officials launched use of the equipment for processing of applications for issuing of passport, which is joint donation of UNHCR Bosnia and Herzegovina and UNHCR Montenegro.

“Besides the equipment donated by the UNCHR in Sarajevo, I would also emphasize donation from the UNHCR office in Montenegro which provided a security system for the facilities where the passport processing will take place. We all have the same goal – to help displaced persons from Bosnia and Herzegovina get the documents”, said Bosnian Ambassador Izmir Talić and expressed his gratitude to UNHCR.

By signing the Memorandum of Understanding the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Montenegro and the UNHCR Representation in Montenegro are continuing support to “displaced persons” from BH residing in Montenegro to submit applications for the status of foreigner within set deadline i.e. 31 December 2012. Moreover, it is continuation of assistance to the Government of Montenegro in the field of displacement and thus facilitation of Montenegro’s further integration into European Union.

The UNCHR Representative Brita Helelland reminded that Montenegrin Government offers refugees from the neighbouring countries to apply for the status of foreigner in order to help them get a legal status in the country. In this regard, she underlined the importance of the simplifying procedures for providing documents.

“According to statistics that we have received from the Government, there are 4,190 refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and there are only 1, 642 who have received the new status. We do not know whether these people who still have not applied have passports or not, but we know that for many it is difficult to go back to their country of origin and this is why we think that this arrangement between the Embassy and UNHCR is a way of helping these people”, said Helelland and thanked Ambassador Talić for great cooperation.

When they acquire status of foreigner with permanent residence “displaced persons” will have access to the full spectrum of rights as Montenegrin citizens, with the exception to the right to vote. As per the amended Law on Foreigners the deadline for application is 31 December 2012 and those who do not apply by that date will be considered as illegally residing in Montenegro.

Until the end of April 2012 some 7, 537 DPs and IDPs applied for the status of foreigner as per the Law on Amendments to the Law on Foreigners, which is some 46% of the overall population. Out of this number 4,544 DPs and IDPs acquired foreigner’s status.