Jan 21, 2020

Purchase family property at Dukley Gardens resort and obtain citizenship of Montenegro

The Government of Montenegro ‘citizenship by investment’ program allows becoming a Montenegrin citizen in exchange for purchase of real property in the county. At the same time, you cannot buy any property you like thus obtaining citizenship. You have to invest into Government-approved development projects only in order to qualify for citizenship in Montenegro.

Currently, there are very few such projects in the country and Dukley Gardens (see the photo below) is not among them. However, the resort administration has found a way around this situation and you can acquire Montenegrin citizenship via purchasing an apartment at this luxurious place. Besides, there is good news about recent changes in the Montenegrin immigration legislation and now the country authorities make a special offer to family investors. Please read more about these exciting opportunities. 

The possibility to acquire Montenegrin citizenship and a second passport emerged last autumn when the country authorities started accepting applications for citizenship from foreign investors.   

In order to become a citizen of Montenegro a foreign national has to invest minimum 350,000 euros. At least 250,000 euros has to be invested into real estate in the country and 100,000 euros needs to be paid to the state fund as a non-returnable donation or immigration fee.

The problem is that at the moment there are only four development projects you can put money in to become eligible for Montenegrin citizenship. You can find out what projects are available by following this link.

This is one of the reasons why the number of applicants for Montenegrin citizenship is not impressive at all. The ‘citizenship by investment’ program was put into operation in October 2019 and by December that year only four applications had been filed. We obtained this information from the Development Project Secretariat (Sekretarijat za razvojne projekte or SRP), that considers the applications for citizenship of Montenegro in exchange for investment.

Some changes for the better are occurring, however. In particular, there is a hybrid offer that the administration of Dukley Gardens resort has to make. The resort has not been approved for the citizenship by investment program but its administration offers to purchase property at the government-approved Westin Ski Resort, Kolašin on the investor’s behalf if the investor buys accommodations at Dukley Gardens. The reason to use this roundabout way of acquiring Montenegrin citizenship is that Dukley Gardens is a fully functional seaside resort while The Westin Ski Resort in Kolašin is still under construction.

Apart from that, a serious obstacle to obtaining citizenship of Montenegro has been recently eliminated. Previously, the legislation made it impossible for minor children to become citizens of the country: only persons over 18 years of age were eligible to apply. This turned potential investors with dependent children away from the possibility to acquire Montenegrin citizenship.

The necessary amendments have been made, however, and now filing a family application for citizenship is perfectly fine.

Purchase of residential accommodations at Dukley Gardens as a legal foundation for acquiring citizenship of Montenegro

As we have noted above, only four government-approved construction projects in Montenegro currently qualify for the ‘citizenship by investment’ immigration program. The list of approved projects is expanding but it is happening rather slowly.

At the same time, it has to be admitted that the requirements to the developers who want their resorts to qualify for the ‘citizenship by investment’ program are quite tough. They have to meet a number of conditions and spend hundreds of thousands to conform to all the standards and follow all the required procedures.

The Government of Montenegro watches the approved development projects very closely. It has undertaken to inspect the construction sites every six months in order to ascertain that the construction is going on in accordance with the plans and the schedule is observed.

Nonetheless, potential investors in Montenegro have to realize that the Government of the country bears no commercial responsibility to them. The purchased accommodations can be rented out or resold after a fixed period but there is no Government guarantee that the investor will profit from the deal.

What the investor can do is choose one of the approved projects and transfer the required amount of money to the developer’s escrow account. The developer will have access to the money only if and when the investor’s application for citizenship is approved by the Montenegrin authorities and citizenship is granted.  

Recently, however, an interesting alternative has come into being. Now foreign investors do not have to choose from the approved development projects only. This is good news especially with the view of the fact that most of them are located in the northern part of Montenegro and their construction has not been completed yet.

There is a chance, though, to invest into a fully functional seaside resort in the south of the country in the city of Budva that is extremely popular with tourists coming to Montenegro. Dukley Gardens administration makes a “package offer”.

How does it work? You purchase an apartment at Dukley Gardens for 1,800,000 euros. Together with granting you access to the accommodations, the resort administration purchases property at the government-approved Westin Ski Resort in Kolašin in your name. The cost of the property shall be not less than 250,000 euros, in accordance with the Montenegrin legislation.

In addition to that, Dukley Gardens resort pays the immigration fee of 100,000 euros for you, covers the costs of legal services that come up to quite a few thousand euros, and also pays the necessary state duties.

So, what do you obtain for the price quoted above? First, a spacious apartment with stylish interiors and luxury furniture at the Adriatic coast. Second, accommodations at a ski resort in Kolašin that qualify for the Montenegrin ‘citizenship by investment’ program. Third, you and your family become citizens of Montenegro.

This is a limited offer. Only six apartments at Dukley Gardens are available for purchase under these conditions. Thus, you probably do not have very much time for considering this bargain.

Citizenship of Montenegro for spouses and minor children

It has become possible to acquire citizenship of Montenegro not only for yourself but also for your family including minor children. The required investment amount remains the same regardless of whether you are applying for citizenship alone or with your family. The same goes for the immigration fee.

The application fee for a family of two, three or four is only 25% higher than that for a sole applicant. Including more family members in the family application will cost you a considerable sum of money though (50,000 euros per each additional member).

The good thing about the Montenegrin ‘citizenship by investment’ program is that the new citizens of Montenegro are not required to permanently reside in the country. You can actually keep living in our home country and come to Montenegro for vacations, for example, while travelling visa-free with a Montenegrin passport to over 120 countries of the world.

At the same time, children born to citizens of Montenegro automatically acquire citizenship of the country regardless of their place of birth. If you hold a Montenegrin passport and your child is born in Shanghai, Istanbul or New York, he or she is born a Montenegrin citizen already. All you have to do is notify the country authorities about the birth of a new citizen.

The advantages of acquiring citizenship of Montenegro

First of all, Montenegro is an amazingly beautiful country. Moreover, the terrain at the coast in the cities such as Budva, Kotor, and Sveti-Stefan is very much different from that found in the mountain areas of the country. Summer vacations at the Adriatic coast will let you relax at the beaches while winter holidays at the ski resorts will be very refreshing. You are going to love the scenery wherever you go in Montenegro.

Montenegro declared independence on July 3, 2006 after the referendum of May 21 of the same year. The people of Serbia and Montenegro decided to dissolve the union of their countries each of them becoming a separate state. What makes citizenship by investment in Montenegro so attractive? How is the local immigration program different from other suchlike programs? Please find the answers below.

Advantages of citizenship by investment in Montenegro: the extradition treaties

Montenegro is one of few countries that abstain from signing too many extradition treaties with other states. Theoretically, it gives additional protection to the new citizens of Montenegro who might be unlawfully prosecuted in their home countries for political or economic reasons.

Montenegro has made extradition treaties with Serbia, Italy, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia, Great Britain, the USA, and some other countries. It has not made such agreements with China, Russia, India, Canada, and several other countries.

Advantages of citizenship by investment in Montenegro: automatic exchange of information

Montenegro has not signed the OECD agreement on automatic exchange of fiscal information and thus it does not have to conform to the Common Reporting Standards (CRS). This means that Montenegrin banks do not automatically submit the foreign account holders’ information to the fiscal authorities of their home countries.

The state of things can change in the future. As it stands for now, though, over 150 countries in the world do practice automatic exchange of financial information and Montenegro is currently not among those. This can make relocation to Montenegro beneficial for fiscal reasons.

Advantages of citizenship by investment in Montenegro: the EU candidate status

It is expected that Montenegro should join the European Union and the Schengen zone around 2025. The country applied for membership in 2008 and since 2012, it has officially been an EU candidate state. Montenegro adopted the euro even before it disintegrated with Serbia while Serbia still kept the national currency.  

However, before Montenegro can join the EU, it has to adapt some of its policies including the fiscal ones. Experts expect that Brussels will apply more pressure to this Balkan country and make it forsake the practice of granting its citizenship to foreigners in exchange for investments. This may well be one of the conditions for Montenegro’s Euro-integration.

This is the reason why you should not postpone the decision to acquire Montenegrin citizenship too much. This possibility currently does exist and moreover, the country EU candidate status promises obtaining EU citizenship in the near future. But such opportunities are unlikely to remain forever.

Advantages of citizenship by investment in Montenegro: American E-1 and E-2 visas

Montenegrin citizens are entitled to obtain US E-1 and E-2 visas for trading with the USA and doing business there. These are non-immigration visas and they do not require large investments. Besides, the application processing is rather fast. If you would like to obtain easy access to the United States, becoming a citizen of Montenegro may prove one of the simplest ways of achieving this goal.

Advantages of citizenship by investment in Montenegro: NATO membership

Montenegro is a NATO member state together with twenty-nine other countries. The alliance serves to protect all and every individual member from any military aggression from outside. NATO annual expenditures amount to 70% of total military expenditures in the world. Even though it is a military organization, the main purpose of NATO is to preserve peace everywhere in the world and in Europe in particular.

Advantages of citizenship by investment in Montenegro: dual citizenship

The Montenegrin legislation permits dual citizenship without any limitations. This opportunity is available to all immigrants including those who acquire citizenship of Montenegro through investing into real estate in the country. In case your home country also allows dual citizenship, you can start collecting passports with obtaining a Montenegrin one first.

Citizenship by investment in Montenegro: the geography of the demand

The ‘citizenship by investment’ program has been in place for a very short time when this text is written. Thus, there is not enough statistics to rely on yet. However, it can be expected that this program will arouse interest with the residents of the Russian Federation and other former Soviet republics, first of all.

Wealthier Russians should be drawn by the property located on the seashores rather than that in the mountains. An investment of minimum 450,000 euros (plus the immigration fee) is required to become a citizen of Montenegro if you want to live at the seaside while 250,000 will suffice if you are happy with a residential accommodation at a ski resort in the north. However, experts suggest that the higher price of obtaining accommodations on the coast will not scare Russians away.

Things are expected to be a bit different with the potential investors from China though. The Chinese should be more interested in obtaining less expensive property located in the mountains. At the same time, the rumor has it that they are prepared to file applications for Montenegrin citizenship by the hundred. It is more likely than not that soon we will see a great number of Chinese people queueing for citizenship of Montenegro.

If these predictions are correct, there is very little time to waste before you apply for Montenegrin citizenship yourself. Currently, the limit of the approved applications for citizenship is set at 2,000 only. Chances are that the bar can be raised… or it can be lowered. No-one can say for sure at the present moment but one thing is quite clear: the opportunity should be grabbed while it is still here. Montenegrin citizenship will definitely open new perspectives to you whatever part of the world you come from.

Citizenship by investment in Montenegro: some concluding remarks

We would like to make a few notes to conclude this article. First, things change very quickly in the globalized world. The information that you find above is only of general character. What holds today may well go out of date tomorrow.

However, please rest assured that we will keep you updated on the most recent changes in the Montenegrin legislation related to the Government ‘citizenship by investment’ initiative. Please visit the relevant section of our website often and follow the latest news. 

Second, we did not mean to encourage criminals to immigrate to Montenegro when we referred to the country’s extradition treaties. People convicted of crimes in their home countries or anywhere else in the world cannot obtain Montenegrin citizenship. One of the immigration requirements is having a clean criminal record and thus this door will be closed to law-breakers.

Besides, your passport will be taken away if it comes out that you have obtained it by some illegal means such as providing false information to the Montenegrin immigration authorities, for example. In general, Offshore-Pro Group does not cater to criminals nor tax evaders.  

Third, we would like to recommend that you use the services of our partner company that is a licensed Montenegrin immigration agency. They will not only help you acquire citizenship of Montenegro but will also assist you in opening a business company in the country, finding an office there, planning your taxes, hiring an accountant or a lawyer, buying commercial property, obtaining a temporary legal residence permit, and so on and so forth.

Have we set you thinking about relocating to the Balkans and purchasing a piece of resort property at the seashore? Please write to us to info@offshore-pro.info if you have any questions pertaining to acquiring citizenship of Montenegro and a second passport.

If Montenegro does not look like the best option to you, we have other suggestions to make. For instance, buying a Caribbean passport is going to work out less expensive than a Montenegrin one. In any case, please contact us at the address specified above and we will certainly find an option that you will find hundred percent satisfactory.