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Purchase real estate or form a company in Montenegro to acquire legal residence there

How can you acquire legal residence of Montenegro, a beautiful Balkan country in a fast and economical way? You can buy a piece of real estate there or otherwise register a business company in your name in Montenegro thus acquiring a legal right to live in the country. In this way, you can obtain a source of additional income and a chance to become a citizen of a European state by naturalization. The text below discusses the financial requirements that a foreign investor has to meet in Montenegro as well as the procedural moments related to acquiring the status of a legal resident in the country by investing into real property or forming a company there.

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The official requirements to foreigners seeking to obtain Montenegrin residence by investment into real estate or business

Even if you come from a country that has made a visa-free travel agreement with Montenegro, you can only stay in the country for 90 days over a half-year period with your home passport. If you have to acquire a visa to visit Montenegro, the timeframe is the same.  

If you would like to spend more time in the country, you have to apply for a residence permit that is called a Privremeni Boravak in the local language. A temporary residence permit will entitle you to stay in Montenegro for 12 month. When this period expires, the permit can be prolonged. The prolongation is regulated by the Immigration Law (Zakon o Strancima) that was passed in 2018 and amended in 2019.  

The law specifies over a dozen legal reasons that can be used for obtaining the Montenegrin residence card. The following reasons are among the most popular ones: 

  • Family reunification;
  • Study;
  • Ownership of a yacht or crew membership;
  • Ownership of real estate in Montenegro;
  • Business (business ownership and employment).

Below we discuss the latter two options in detail.

How you can acquire legal residence of Montenegro by purchasing real estate in the country

It is important to note that the Montenegrin legislation that regulates the acquisition or residence permits by foreigners investing into real estate in the country differs from similar legislations in other European states. The local laws do not specify the amount of investment required to qualify for Montenegrin residence.

In other words, de jure, purchase of any piece of real property will serve as legal grounds for applying for a legal residence permit in Montenegro.

Of course, there are certain restrictions that you have to be aware about. For example, you will qualify for Montenegrin residence only if your ownership share of a piece of property exceeds 50% (article 56 of the Zakon o Strancima).

Can you buy a land lot to qualify for Montenegrin residence? The answer is ‘yes, you can’ but not without a ‘but’. To acquire a Privremeni Boravak you have to erect a building on the land lot and then register it with the local authorities.

How you can acquire legal residence of Montenegro by forming a company in the country

We have to stress that registering a company in your name in Montenegro is not enough to qualify for legal residence in the country.

The local legislation allows applying for a residence permit only if you are employed by a Montenegrin-based company. Thus, many foreign investors who choose this path to the Montenegrin residence do the following: they hire themselves as the company executive directors, which makes them qualified for a residence permit as they now have a job in a Montenegrin-based company.

You have to bear in mind though that forming a company in Montenegro and hiring yourself as the company director is only the first step towards acquiring a residence permit. The second thing that you have to do is show to the local immigration authorities that you have residential accommodations in Montenegro.

If you buy a house or an apartment in the country, you will have to bring the ownership certificate (List Nepokretnosti, in Montenegrin) to the immigration department. If you rent residential accommodations, you have to bring the rent agreement. That is to say, you do not have to own your residential accommodations but you have to have a place to stay in Montenegro.   

In addition to that, you will have to show that you have money to live on by bringing a bank statement that confirms your solvency. You have to put at least 3,650 euros in a Montenegrin bank. Family applications for legal residence in the country are accepted but if you are moving to Montenegro with your family, you have to put 3,650 euros in the bank per each (adult) family member. Besides, 25 euros is due as a state duty for application processing.

When you are finished with that, you can visit the Labor Board and request a job permit from them.

You have to realize that forming a company in Montenegro with the sole purpose of acquiring a residence permit (and not with the purpose of making money through the use of the company) will entail some costs and some hassle. Even if yours is not an active company, you have to hire an accountant anyway and make obligatory contributions to the local social security fund and cover the employees’ medical insurance.

A rough estimation of the company maintenance costs in Montenegro will quote the figure of about 2,000 euros per year. Registering a limited liability company in the country costs 550 euros including the costs of the legal advisor and notary’s services.

We have to mention one important amendment to the Immigration Law that was made in 2019. According to the new regulations, foreign nationals above 67 years of age can be employed by a Montenegrin-based company. Previously, this opportunity was ruled out in accordance with the Montenegrin Labor Law. As the Immigration Law specifies no opportunities for pensioners to acquire legal residence in Montenegro, this amendment can be thought of as a compromise.

Residence requirements that have to be met when acquiring a legal residence permit in Montenegro

Please bear in mind that municipal authorities in Montenegro may have their own requirements to foreign nationals who buy real property or register companies on the territories under their administration. These requirements are nothing special but you have to be prepared to hear them.

Please note that when you hold a temporary residence permit in Montenegro, you can be absent from the country for not more than one month during every 12-month period without notifying the local authorities about your absence.

You can leave Montenegro for a longer period, of course, but you have to inform the immigration authorities about that in advance.

It is also pleasant to know that the application processing timeframes have been shortened in Montenegro. From January 2019, the applications for Montenegrin residence from foreigners buying real property or establishing business companies in the country are processed within 15 days. (They used to be processed within 20 days before.)

The procedure of acquiring legal residence in Montenegro by purchasing real estate or forming a company in the country

The process of acquiring a legal residence permit in Montenegro by purchasing real property or forming a company in the country can normally be divided into the following four stages:

  • Purchase of real estate/ company formation (you can do it yourself or hire an agent to do it for you);
  • Preparation of the application documents and consultations with the immigration agent;
  • Submission of the application for a temporary residence permit to a police station and acquisition of a Privremeni Boravak;
  • Finalization of the employment procedures, registration for tax and social security purposes (applicable to those foreign nationals who choose to form a company in Montenegro rather than purchase property there).

As we have noted above, the application processing is completed within two weeks. The whole process of acquiring Montenegrin residence will span over approximately six to seven weeks. As a rule, becoming a legal resident of Montenegro is not difficult at all on the condition that all the requirements are met and all the allocation documents are in good order.

Please mind that an experienced immigration agent will be of great assistance in the process of applying for Montenegrin residence. Offshore Pro Group cooperates with the most efficient immigration agents in the country and we will gladly help you obtain the best services from an agent that we work with.

Documents required when applying for legal residence in Montenegro by purchasing real estate or forming a company in the country

Below please find a list of documents that are required when applying for legal residence in Montenegro by purchasing real property or forming a company in the country:

  1. A valid passport or a similar ID (in case a family application is filed, IDs for all family members are required including children);
  2. University diplomas/ graduation certificates for all applicants who have them;
  3. Police clearances from the applicants’ home country/ country of residence not more than six months old (applies to all applicants above 16 years of age);
  4. Marriage certificate (if a married couple is applying);
  5. Birth certificates if a family with children below the age of 18 are applying.
  6. Property ownership certificate (the List Nepokretnosti) or rent agreement.
  7. A bank statement certifying the deposit in the required amount.
  8. In case the foreign investor is forming a business company in Montenegro, he or she will have to finalize the document collection (medical insurance, tax number, corporate documents, etc.) when already in Montenegro.

All the application documents need to be translated into the Montenegrin language (if necessary) by a sworn translator.

Please find out about the need to have the documents apostilled. If your home country is a member of the Hague Apostille Convention but it has not made any additional agreements with the Montenegrin authorities, an apostille on the documents is required.

From residence card to passport: how to become a full citizen on Montenegro by purchasing real property or forming a company in the country

After holding the Montenegrin temporary residence card that has been acquired through purchasing real estate or forming a company in the country, the foreign national is entitled to file an application for permanent residence in Montenegro (called Stalni Boravak). Several conditions need to be satisfied, however.  

One of these conditions is the confirmation of the mastery of the local language. It is important to bear in mind that children below 14 years of age and adults above 65 do not have the pass the language test when applying for permanent residence in Montenegro.

The permanent residence card remains valid for five years and it can be extended every five years. Holders of this sort of document enjoy the same rights and privileges as native-born Montenegrins do with the exception of the right to elect and be elected.

When you live in Montenegro for ten years, you are entitled to apply for full citizenship of the country (Državljanstvo) by naturalization. It is worth knowing that dual citizenship is allowed in the country. That is to say, you will not have to renounce your home country citizenship if its legislation also allows dual citizenship.

It is true that citizenship of Montenegro by investment can be acquired almost instantly while you have to live in the country for ten years before you can become a naturalized Montenegrin. However, acquiring citizenship by naturalization costs less. No matter what your home country is, you can become a naturalized Montenegrin if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are at least 18 years of age.
  • You have legally resided in Montenegro for ten years spending the best part of each year in the country before filing an application for citizenship.
  • You have a secure abode in Montenegro (an own place or rented accommodations) and a secure source of income in the amount sufficient for survival.
  • You have never been sentenced to prison for 12 months or more as a consequence of a crime that you committed.
  • You speak the Montenegrin language well enough to communicate on daily topics.
  • You pose no threat to the Montenegrin national security.
  • You can confirm the payment of all due taxes.

It is possible to reduce the qualifying period of residence. If a foreign national marries a citizen of Montenegro, the required period of residence will be three years. That is, after holding the permanent residence card for three years only, this person can apply for full citizenship of the country (this is the so-called ‘accelerated naturalization process’).

Advantages of acquiring legal residence in Montenegro by purchasing real estate or forming a company in the country

  • Business expansion: Montenegro has a strategic geographic location: it borders on Croatia that is an EU member state and it sits almost in the center of the Balkan Peninsula. This fact opens wide business perspectives for a company based in Montenegro.
  • Relocation: Montenegro is a beautiful country indeed with a seacoast and ski resorts in the mountains. Besides, the cost of living there is lower than that in most other European countries and the same is true for the tax rates. At the same time, the social security system is highly functional in the country.
  • Affordable resort accommodations: The price of residential accommodations in Montenegro is also lower than the prices found in the EU countries. When you obtain legal residence in the country by purchasing real estate or starting a company there, you are entitled to buy a motor vehicle and freely move around the area. You children are welcome to attend state schools in kindergartens in Montenegro.
  • Acquiring foreign visas on the Montenegrin residence card: When you hold the Montenegrin residence card, you can use it to apply for visas to foreign states at their embassies and consulates in Montenegro. It is important to bear in mind, however, that many countries issue visas to Privremeni Boravak holders only after they have held the permit for six months or more.
  • Second citizenship opportunity: As we have noted above, your Montenegrin residence permit can make you eligible for full citizenship of the country with time. Montenegro is planning to join the European Union in a few years, which will make citizenship of the country especially valuable. Citizens of Montenegro already enjoy visa-free travel opportunities as far as the EU and Schengen zone countries are concerned. Currently, the EU authorities are considering the possibility of granting visa free access to Montenegrin residence card holders as well. Thus, acquiring a Privremeni Boravak can be an inexpensive way of becoming a full citizen of an EU member state in the near future. Isn’t it a wonderful opportunity indeed?

Professional assistance in acquiring legal residence in Montenegro by purchasing real estate or forming a company in the country

Are you interested in obtaining a Montenegrin residence permit in exchange for a modest investment into real property there or by registering a company in the country? If you are, you had better apply for our professional assistance in the matter. Our expertise will save you from wasting time and let you avoid various pitfalls on the way to Montenegrin legal residence.

You will not have to wait in lines nor try to find your way around in a country that speaks a foreign language. Our experts will be happy to assist you in acquiring the residence card, choosing the location, finding the piece of property to buy or rent, registering a company in Montenegro, getting a work permit, and all other issues related to relocating to the Balkan country. Please find our pricelist below:

Service typePrice
Legal residence in Montenegro by purchasing real estate there4,900 €
Legal residence in Montenegro by forming a company there9,800 €

Please contact us to learn more about this inexpensive opportunity to acquire legal residence in Montenegro. You are welcome to send us an email message or write to us in the live chat. Popular messengers are added to our telephone numbers. We are always quick to reply! 

Can I acquire Montenegrin residence if I register a company in the country?

Registering a company in Montenegro is not enough to qualify for a legal residence permit: the business owner is not entitled to apply for one. However, you can hire yourself to work for the company as its executive director. Now, employees of Montenegrin-based companies do qualify for residence permits in the country. Many foreign investors follow exactly this route to Montenegrin residence. Please mind, however, that this option is available to you only if you live in a country whose citizens do not need a visa to enter Montenegro. If it is not the case with you, you will have to apply for a work permit to the embassy of Montenegro in your home country.

How long does it take to acquire a legal residence permit in Montenegro?

The application processing takes only fifteen days. However, if you take all the preparatory activities that are required into account, the waiting time will constitute around six weeks.

Can I register a company in Montenegro without visiting the country?

Yes, you can issue a Power of Attorney and a local agent will register a company for you. However, if you want to use the company ownership as a route to Montenegrin residence, you will have to visit the country anyway as you will have to apply for a work permit in person. When you do so, the police authorities of the country will take your photograph and fingerprints.

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