Jan 21, 2020

Citizenship by investment in Montenegro – from 60,000 EUR

Residents of almost all countries of the world, excluding the sanctioned ones, can acquire citizenship of Montenegro on the Balkan Peninsula in exchange for investment. What benefits will this move bring? How can you technically acquire citizenship by investment into real estate or business in Montenegro? What documents are required and what procedures do you have to go through in order to become a Montenegrin citizen? We answers these and other related questions in the text below.  

Montenegro is a Balkan pearl indeed. This is a country of vast geopolitical potential and one of the fastest growing economies in the region. It attracts large numbers of tourists every year from all parts of the globe. Besides, it is becoming more and more popular with international investors who seek mobility, security, and a better quality of life. A special program has been designed for such investors by the Government of Montenegro that allows obtaining full citizenship of the country and a second passport in exchange for investment.

The program has been put into effect under the Government Decree “On criteria, methods, and the procedure of selecting foreign nationals who can be granted Montenegrin citizenship in the framework of the investment program aimed at promoting economic growth and development in the country”. The Decree was signed on November 22, 2018 while the actual start of the program occurred in October 2019 when the Government began to accept applications from potential new citizens of Montenegro.

Montenegro citizenship by investment: the benefits

What are the benefits of becoming a Montenegrin citizen? These are numerous indeed and the main benefits include the following ones:

Taxes Montenegrin citizens who spend more than six months each year in the country become fiscal residents of Montenegro and thus they can enjoy the beneficial taxation regime that is found there.

Personal income tax rate in Montenegro is one of the lowest in Europe: it starts at 9% only. Legal residents of the country pay the tax on all income wherever its sources are located while non-residents are taxed only on the income that they make within the geographical borders of Montenegro.

Besides, the corporate income tax is also 9%, which provides for favorable conditions for doing business in (or from) Montenegro.

Visa-free travel The Montenegrin passport allows travelling visa-free to Schengen zone countries, and also Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Hong Kong, and Singapore, among other countries whose total number exceeds 120.
EU membership perspectives Montenegro is expected to become a full member of the European Union around 2025. Thus, Montenegrin citizens will soon become EU citizens, which will allow them to live, work, rest, or study in any EU member country as long as they wish.  
Speed of citizenship acquisition As things stand for now, acquiring Montenegrin citizenship is faster than anywhere else in Europe. It should take not more than three months. For you information: application processing in Cyprus takes from six months and in Malta from twelve months.
Diversity of investment options  Candidates for Montenegrin citizenship can choose to invest into real estate objects that they can later resell or into business (agriculture and wood processing industry). When investing into real property, a non-refundable donation to the state fund is also due.
Dual citizenship The Montenegrin legislation permits dual citizenship. This means that you do not have to give up your present passport in case your home country laws allow dual citizenship as well. On the other hand, in case they do not, you will have to renounce your former citizenship when your home country authorities become aware of your new status.
Anonymity In accordance with the law “On citizenship of Montenegro”, local authorities will not disclose the names of the people who have acquired citizenship of the country in exchange for investment, via naturalization, or by becoming honorary citizens (this status is granted to foreigners for outstanding contributions to the Montenegrin national science, economy, culture, sports, and so on).

Article 37 of the abovementioned law states that the competent authorities (the Foreign Ministry) are to provide the passport data of Montenegrin citizens only if the party requesting this information is authorized to use it by law or on a personal request of the passport holder otherwise. No other reasons apply.

Passports for the whole family It is possible to file a personal application for citizenship by investment or a family application. The latter can include the main applicant’s spouse and dependent children.
Montenegro lifestyle The beauty of nature in Montenegro, the diversity of its culture, the strategic geographical position, and the direct access to the Adriatic Sea make the country an ideal choice for many expats, both single and married.
Simplicity of citizenship acquisition In order to acquire a second passport of Montenegro you do not have to permanently reside in the country. Neither do you have to prove the ability to read and speak the Montenegrin language, nor do you have to pass any Montenegrin history tests.

Montenegro citizenship by investment: the conditions

In accordance with the relevant legislation, the acceptance of applications for Montenegrin citizenship by investment will be terminated when the limit of 2,000 approved applications is reached.

The applicant cannot contact the country authorities directly in order to file an application for citizenship with them. The services of an authorized licensed immigration agent shall be used.

International audit companies and detective agencies will assess the candidate’s applicability to the immigration program. The immigration agents as well as the audit and detective companies shall acquire licenses from the Montenegrin Government before they can carry out the relevant activities.

Both individual and collective applications for Montenegrin citizenship can be filed. A collective application can include the main applicant’s spouse, his or her dependent children below eighteen years of age, and dependent children above eighteen in case they are fill-time students. The main applicant as well as his or her dependents shall meet the following criteria:

Clean criminal record All applicants for Montenegrin citizenship shall have clean criminal records. The application will be rejected in case any of the applicants have been found guilty of a crime by Montenegrin judicial authorities or those of any other country, and the applicant has been sentenced to one year in prison or more for the crime he or she has been found guilty of.
Applicant’s solvency The international audit and detective agencies shall approve the candidate(s) for Montenegrin citizenship for participation in the citizenship by investment immigration program. Among other things, the agencies shall be satisfied with the legality of origin of the funds that are going to be used for the payment of state duties and making the investments.  
Medical examinations In accordance with the requirements of the Montenegrin National Healthcare Institute (Institut za javno zdravlje Crne Gore), the applicants for Montenegrin citizenship and their dependents shall obtain medical certificates. These certificates can be obtained from authorized medical institutions in the applicants’ home country.

The following blood test are required: SE, Le, and KKS — DIES. In addition, the following tests shall yield negative results: active TB, typhus, paratyphoid, zoogenic salmonellosis, dysentery, and protozoan infections. The presence of chronic infectious diseases in the applicant will not serve as the basis for application rejection. However, such diseases shall be cured, in accordance with the Law “On Infectious Diseases”.

The candidate for Montenegrin citizenship will also have to cover the state duties and notarization expenditures. A sole applicant shall pay 15,000 euros towards these purposes. Additional 10,000 euros shall be paid for each dependent family member if the total number of family members does not exceed four people. 50,000 are due for every excessive family member.  

The cost of the Due Diligence procedures shall also be covered by the applicant. A sole applicant shall pay 7,000 euros towards this purpose; a family of four people or less shall pay 10,000 euros; 1,500 euros are due for every excessive family member.

Apart from that, you have to choose from the available financial options and meet the corresponding investment requirements:

Citizenship of Montenegro for investment into real estate plus a non-refundable donation Citizenship of Montenegro for investment into agriculture or processing industry
An investment of 250,000 euros into real property located in the northern part of the country (excluding Podgorica) OR investment of 450,000 euros into real property located in Podgorica or at the seacoast is required. In addition, a 100,000-euro non-refundable contribution to the state development fund has to be made. It is also possible to acquire Montenegrin citizenship via investing minimum 2,000,000 euros in agricultural production and creating minimum ten jobs for Montenegrins; OR via investing minimum 4,000,000 euros into wood processing or 3,500,000 euros into fishery including fish processing and creating minimum twenty jobs for Montenegrins.

Please note that acquiring Montenegrin citizenship via investing into the agricultural sector, wood processing, or fishery is a part of the immigration program that has not received a final approval so far. For this reason, our Montenegrin partner (a licensed immigration agent) will accept only the applications for citizenship in exchange for investment into real estate in Montenegro.

Montenegro citizenship by investment: approved development projects

The high tourist potential of Montenegro makes it especially lucrative to invest into real property in this Balkan country. The investors have to choose only from the government-approved development projects. Such projects have to satisfy a series of requirements:

  • These should be resort/ hotel/ residential buildings;
  • The building has to be a five-star hotel if it is located in the coastal area or in the capital city of Podgorica and it has to be a four-star hotel if it is located in the northern or the central part of the country excluding Podgorica;
  • The investment project has to be worth minimum 15,000,000 euros if it is located in the coastal area or in the capital city of Podgorica and it has to be worth minimum 5,000,000 if it is located in the northern or the central part of the country excluding Podgorica;
  • The building complex has to give employment to at least 80 people if it is located in the coastal area or in the capital city of Podgorica and it has to give employment to at least 25 people if it is located in the northern or the central part of the country excluding Podgorica;
  • The building complex has to have minimum 60 accommodation units/ rooms/ apartments if it is located in the coastal area or in the capital city of Podgorica and it has to have minimum 35 accommodation units/ rooms/ apartments if it is located in the northern or the central part of the country excluding Podgorica.

The current list of approved development projects is as follows (the information will be updated as new such projects are added to the list):

Development project name Development project description
Kolašin Westin Ski Resort (city of Kolašin) – from 250,000-euro investment Kolašin Westin Ski Resort is a four-star resort complex containing ninety-three rooms with 380 beds and located in the city of Kolašin in the northern part of Montenegro. The resort is currently under construction. It will sit next to the ski lifts. The total worth of the construction project exceeds 11,000,000 euros. It is going to create about seventy new jobs. The resort guests and room owners will be able to use a fitness center, a business center, and a spa-salon. There will also be conference halls and swimming pools at the resort.  
Kraljičina Plaža Hotel (Milocer) – from 450,000-euro investment This five-star hotel will be constructed to replace an existing hotel in Milocer National Park that is part of the popular Budva Riviera. The complex will consist of several one- to four-story buildings. There will be 126 accommodation units there with the total of 262 beds including 60 standard hotel rooms and 66 apartments. The first floor will have rooms for people with special needs. There will be international cuisine restaurants, a-la-carte restaurants, a lobby bar, a playroom for children, a gymnasium, a spa-salon, and a covered swimming pool.
Durmitor Hotel and Villas (Zabljak) – from 250,000-euro investment Durmitor Hotel and Villas complex will consist of 70 rooms and 11 villas and it will be located in Durmitor National Park in Montenegro at Zabljak. It will replace the old resort with the same name. The project will preserve the previous architectural style and old building design peculiarities. However, most state-of-the-art ecologically friendly construction materials will be used together with geothermal technologies and sewage water bio purification facilities.

A conference hall, restaurants, two swimming pools (a covered one and an outdoor one), underground parking, and a spa-center will be available to the resort guests. The estimated cost of the construction project is 20,000,000 euros. It is expected that the complex will give permanent employment to around 120 people. Another 100 people will be engaged in the complex construction. The completion of the construction work is expected to occur in May 2022.  

Condo Hotel Breza (Kolašin) – from 250,000-euro investment This hotel will also be located in the city of Kolašin that is highly popular with mountain skiers. Condo Hotel Breza will be placed in the northern suburb of Kolašin called Breza (Birch Tree). The distance from there to Podgorica international airport is about 80 kilometers (50 miles).

Montenegro citizenship by investment: the required documents

The first step on the way to acquiring Montenegrin citizenship by investment is completing the application form that can be found at the competent government agency website.

A standard set of documents required for the Due Diligence procedures includes the following ones:  

  • Legalized copies of all applicants’ passports or similar ID’s;
  • Copies of birth certificates (if children are included in the application);
  • Marriage license (if applicable);
  • Medical insurance policies that are effective in Montenegro;
  • Medical certificates confirming that the applicants do not have any infectious diseases. These certificates shall be issued in accordance with the rules effective in the applicants’ country of citizenship or residence.
  • Documents certifying the legality of income;
  • Clean criminal records from the home country police department.

If the applicant is making use of the Government program that allows obtaining Montenegrin citizenship in exchange for investment into real estate in the country, documents confirming the transfer of 250,000 or 450,000 euros (depending on the property location) to an escrow account are also required.

If the applicant wants to acquire Montenegrin citizenship via investment into business in the country, he or she has to supply the following additional documents:

  • A business plan that specifies the investments and their prospected return;
  • A document that certifies ownership of land or other real property in Montenegro or a ten-year (minimum) rent agreement for land or property. The agreement has to be notarized;  
  • A project approval from the authorized municipal agency in case the investment project involves some construction or reconstruction work.

If it is later found out that the applicant for Montenegrin citizenship by investment has supplied false information or deliberately suppressed some facts or circumstances related to the citizenship acquisition, the country authorities are entitled to revoke the applicant’s status and invalidate his or her passport. In such case, the investor is not eligible for a refund of the state duties that he or she has paid nor other expenditures related to acquiring Montenegrin citizenship.

Montenegro citizenship by investment: the process and procedures

The road that will ultimately lead you to obtaining a second passport and citizenship of Montenegro has the following milestones:

  • Milestone 1. The choice of the best Montenegrin licensed immigration agency; preliminary negotiations with its experts; preliminary check of the applicant(s) on their part; signing of an agreement with the agent.
  • Milestone 2. Collection and completion of the required application documents with the support of the immigration agency.
  • Milestone 3. Payment of state duties and coverage of the due diligence check costs. The money shall be transferred to the account of the immigration agency that, in turn, will transfer it to the state fund and the authorized audit and detective agencies who will perform the due diligence checks.
  • Milestone 4. Fulfillment of the investment obligations in the amount determined by the chosen investment option (citizenship for investment in real estate or in business). The money shall be transferred to an escrow account.
  • Milestone 5. Filing of application for citizenship by investment with the Montenegrin authorities. The application processing will take between three and four months, after which the final decision will be made.
  • Milestone 6. Acquisition of the Montenegrin passport. If the application for citizenship is approved, the main applicant and the members of his or her family have to visit Montenegro in order to collect their passports and have their biometry taken.

Our Montenegrin partner, a licensed immigration agent, will help you acquire citizenship of the country in exchange for investment as effortlessly and as quickly as it is only possible. English-speaking experts of our partner company will take you through all the stages of the application process. The cost of their services starts at 60,000 euros.

If you have any questions pertaining to the acquisition of Montenegrin citizenship and a second passport, please apply for our consultations without any hesitation. We will gladly answer all your queries sent to our e-mail address [email protected].

In order to facilitate the consultation process we invite you to fill out the questionnaire below.