How can you become a citizen of Montenegro in the Balkans? The easiest way to do it is to acquire citizenship of the country by investing in its economy. What benefits does citizenship of Montenegro bring? How can you acquire it by purchasing real estate in the country or by investing into business there? What is the procedure of applying for citizenship of Montenegro? What documents are required to apply? Please find the answers to these and other related questions in the text below.
Montenegro is a pearl of the Balkan Peninsula. The country has a fantastic geopolitical potential and it attracts thousands of tourists from all parts of the world. Since recently, Montenegro has also become attractive for investment immigrants who seek mobility, security, and a better quality of life. These people are the target group of the Montenegrin citizenship-by-investment program that allows acquiring a second passport for money.
The decree “On the criteria and the methods of selecting foreign nationals who can acquire Montenegrin citizenship within the frameworks of the investment program that shall serve the needs of the national economy and business development” was passed on November 22, 2018. This decree served as the foundation for the citizenship-by-investment program that was put into operation in October 2019 when the Montenegrin authorities started to accept applications for citizenship from foreign nationals.
What benefits does Montenegrin citizenship bring? A foreign national acquiring a second passport of Montenegro will find that the country offers quite a number of exciting possibilities.
The key advantages include the following ones:
Taxes If a new citizen of Montenegro spends the best part of the year in the country, he/ she becomes a tax resident of Montenegro. This status allows enjoying the beneficial tax regime that the country applies. The personal income tax in Montenegro is among the lowest in Europe. The tax rate starts at nine percent only. Fiscal residents of Montenegro are taxed on their global incomes while non-residents are taxed only on the income that they make within the geographical borders of Montenegro. In addition, the corporate tax rate in Montenegro is also nine percent, which provides for fantastic opportunities to freely do business in Europe. Visa-free travel The Montenegrin passport gives visa-free access to the Schengen zone countries, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania, Russia, Turley, Hong Kong, Singapore, and so on. Over 120 countries in total are accessible with the Montenegrin passport without the need to obtain visas. EU membership prospects Montenegro intends to become a member of the European Union soon (around 2025 as things stand for now). This will allow citizens of Montenegro to live and work in any of the EU member states for as long as they wish. Application processing speed According to the latest information, the process of acquiring Montenegrin citizenship is going to take less time than anywhere else in Europe – only three months. For the sake of comparison, acquiring citizenship of Cyprus takes six months, while becoming a citizen of Malta is possible only after twelve months since the date of filing the application. Diversity of investment options The candidates for citizenship of Montenegro can choose between investing into real estate in the country that can be resold later (a non-returnable donation is also due) and investing into business (in the agricultural sector or the processing industry). Dual citizenship opportunity Montenegrin legislation allows dual citizenship so you will not have to renounce your home country’s citizenship if its legislation allows the same. Some countries disallow dual citizenship but this problem can be overcome too. China, for instance, does not allow dual citizenship but the Chinese are the most active investors into foreign passports and residency permits. Why? Because their Government does not actually mind their moving to other parts of the planet. Confidentiality of citizenship acquisition In accordance with the law “On citizenship of Montenegro”, the local authorities do not disclose the names of the people who have acquired citizenship of the country by investment, by naturalization, or by the use of the honorable citizenship instrument. (Citizenship of Montenegro can be granted to a foreign national for outstanding services or achievements in science, economy, sports, cultural life, and so on). Article 37 of the abovementioned law says that the Ministry of the Interior can disclose the names of the new citizens only to the authorized bodies on their official request or on the request of the new citizens themselves. Passports for all members of the family In addition to an individual application for Montenegrin citizenship, a family application can also be filed. The investor’s spouse and his/her dependent children can also become citizens of Montenegro. Lifestyle in Montenegro The natural beauty of the country, its refined culture, independence, strategic geographical location, and direct access to the Adriatic Sea make Montenegro a perfect choice both for a single person and for a family. Ease of citizenship acquisition You do not have to physically reside in Montenegro in order to obtain the passport of the country. Neither do you have to speak the Montenegrin language nor pass any tests in the history of the country.
In accordance with the relevant legislation, the acceptance of the applications for Montenegrin citizenship by investment will stop when the limit of 2,000 approved applications is reached.
When applying for citizenship of Montenegro, the foreign candidate cannot contact the country’s immigration authorities directly. The services of an authorized immigration agent have to be used to submit the application for citizenship.
Each application is assessed by the Montenegrin authorities as well as international audit and detective agencies that hold the relevant licenses. Such agencies as well as the immigration agents are licensed by the state authorities of Montenegro.
A single person can apply for citizenship of Montenegro and a family can apply too. When the family application is filed, it can include the main applicant’s spouse and his/ her dependent children.
All applicants shall satisfy the following requirements:
Clean criminal records The applicants for Montenegrin citizenship have to submit clean criminal records. If a court of law in Montenegro or in any other national state has sentenced the applicant to more than one year in prison for a criminal offence, the application for Montenegrin citizenship will be rejected. Financial security International audit and detective agencies must confirm the legality of the candidate’s sources of income. The money that the foreign applicant plans to invest into acquiring citizenship of Montenegro shall have a perfectly transparent origin. Health certificates In accordance with the requirements put forward by the Montenegrin National Healthcare Institute (Institut za javno zdravlje Crne Gore), the applicants for citizenship of Montenegro have to submit health certificates confirming that they do not have any dangerous infectious diseases. The required tests can be made in authorized medical institutions located in the applicants’ home countries. Blood tests (SE, Le, KKS — DIES) are required as well as a TB test, typhoid, paratyphoid, salmonellosis of animal origin, dysentery, and protozoal infections tests. If a chronic infectious disease is detected in the applicant, it will not serve as a reason for rejecting the application for citizenship. However, the applicant will have to undergo treatment for the disease in accordance with the national law “On infectious diseases”.
The candidate for citizenship of Montenegro will also have to pay the state duties and legal fees. These will constitute 15,000 euros for a single applicant, 10,000 euros for each dependent applicant in a family of four people, and 50,000 euros for every extra family member.
In addition to that, Due Diligence fees have to be paid. These constitute 7,000 euros for a single applicant, 10,000 euros for a family of not more than four members, and 1,500 euros per each extra family member.
Besides, the foreign applicant has to choose one of the investment options and make the corresponding investment.
The available options are as follows:
Citizenship of Montenegro by investment into real estate + a non-returnable donation Citizenship of Montenegro by investment into agricultural production or processing industry You can purchase real property that is worth at least 250,000 euros if it is located in the northern part of Montenegro (but outside the capital city of Podgorica) or property that is worth at least 450,000 euros if it is located in Podgorica or on the seacoast. In addition to that, you have to make a non-returnable donation of 100,000 euros to the national development fund. You can invest 2 million euros into agricultural production in Montenegro while creating minimum ten new jobs in the country or invest 4 million into wood processing or 3.5 million euros into fishery (including fish processing). In the two latter cases, you have to create at least twenty new jobs for Montenegrins.
Please note: The opportunities to acquire citizenship of Montenegro by investing into agriculture or processing industries are currently provisional only. The investment projects have not been defined nor approved by the Montenegrin Government thus far. Therefore, our Montenegrin partner (a licensed immigration agent) will only accept applications for Montenegrin citizenship by investment into real estate.
The development projects approved by the Government
Montenegro has a high tourist potential and this fact makes investing into real property in this Balkan state especially attractive. The foreign investors have to choose from the government-approved development projects only. Such projects have to meet several requirements:
- These should be resort-type or hotel-type or a mixed-type buildings;
- The hotel has to have five stars if it is located on the coast or in Podgorica and it has to have four stars if it is located in the central or the northern part of the country with the exception of Podgorica;
- The total worth of the investment project has to be minimum 15,000,000 euros if it is located on the coast or in Podgorica and its total worth has to be minimum 5,000,000 if it is located in the central or the northern part of the country with the exception of Podgorica;
- At least 80 people have to be employed by the hotel if it is located on the coast or in Podgorica and at least 25 people have to be employed by the hotel if it is located in the central or the northern part of the country with the exception of Podgorica;
- The hotel has to have at least sixty accommodation units (such as rooms or apartments) if it is located on the coast or in Podgorica and it has to have at least thirty-five accommodation units if it is located in the central or the northern part of the country with the exception of Podgorica.
The following development projects are approved by the Government of Montenegro for the participation in the citizenship-by-investment program at the moment when this text is written (as new development projects are added to the list, we will update the information):
Name of development project Description of the development project Kolašin Westin Ski Resort, the city of Kolašin: required investment amount – from 250,000 euros Kolašin Westin Ski Resort is a four-star resort complex that has ninety-three suites with 380 beds and it is located in the city of Kolašin in the north of Montenegro. The resort is under construction. Ski lifts are found next to the resort complex. The total worth of the construction project exceeds 11,000,000 euros. The resort will create about seventy new jobs for Montenegrins. The resort guests and suite owners will be able to enjoy a business center, a fitness center, and a spa-salon. The resort will also have conference halls and swimming pools. Durmitor Hotel and Villas, the city of Zabljak: required investment amount – from 250,000 euros Durmitor Hotel and Villas complex is also under construction. It will have 70 rooms and 11 villas and it is located in Durmitor National Park at Zabljak. It will replace the old resort that had the same name. The construction team will preserve the original architectural style and the specifics of the old building design. However, state-of-the-art ecologically friendly construction materials are used and sewage water bio purification facilities as well as geothermal technologies are applied. The guests will be able to use a large conference hall, restaurants, two swimming pools (one sheltered and one outdoors), underground parking, and a spa-center. The estimated cost of the construction project is around 20,000,000 euros. It is expected that the complex will give permanent jobs to around 120 Montenegrins. Another 100 people are engaged in the resort complex construction work. The construction project is expected to be completed in May 2022. Condo Hotel Breza, Kolašin: required investment amount – from 250,000 euros This hotel is also under construction. It will be located in the city of Kolašin that is extremely popular with mountain skiers. Condo Hotel Breza will be located in the northern suburb of Kolašin that is called Breza (Birch Tree). The distance from the place to Podgorica international airport is around 80 kilometers (50 miles). Kraljičina Plaža Hotel, the city of Milocer: required investment amount – from 450,000 euros This five-star hotel will be built to replace an existing hotel in Milocer National Park. The Park is part of the popular Budva Riviera. The resort complex will consist of several one-story to four-story buildings. It will have 126 accommodation units with the total of 262 beds including 60 standard hotel rooms and 66 luxury suites. On the first floor, rooms for people with special needs can be found. There will be restaurants with international cuisine, a lobby bar, a-la-carte restaurants, a playground for children, a gym, a SPA-salon, and a covered swimming pool.
The required application documents
To start the process of acquiring Montenegrin citizenship by investment you have to fill out the application form that you can find at the official Government website.
A standard package of application documents required for the Due Diligence procedures contains the following ones:
- Legalized copies of all applicants’ passports or other valid ID’s;
- Copies of birth certificates (if children are included in the application for citizenship);
- A marriage certificate (if applicable);
- Medical insurance policies that are valid in Montenegro;
- Medical certificates for all applicants confirming that they do not have any infectious diseases. These certificates can be issued in accordance with the rules that are in effect in the applicants’ home country or country of residence.
- Documents certifying the legality of the source(s) of income;
- Police clearances from the home country police department.
If you are applying for Montenegrin citizenship in exchange for investment into real property, documents that confirm the transfer of 250,000 or 450,000 euros (depending on the property location) to an escrow account also need to be supplied.
If you would like to acquire Montenegrin citizenship via investment into business in the country, you have to supply the following additional documents:
- A business plan that specifies the investment scheme and the expected return;
- A document that confirms ownership of a piece of land or other real property in Montenegro or a ten-year (or a longer) land or property rent agreement. The agreement has to be notarized;
- An investment project approval from the relevant municipal agency if the project involves any kind of construction or reconstruction work.
Please keep in mind that if the Montenegrin authorities later find out that you supplied false information or did not disclose some facts or circumstances related to the citizenship acquisition when applying for it, your passport and your citizen’s status may be revoked. In this case, you are not going to be eligible for a refund of the state duties that you paid nor for any other expenditures that you incurred when applying for Montenegrin citizenship.
The acquisition process and the procedures involved
You will have to go through the following stages to ultimately obtain citizenship and a second passport of Montenegro:
- Stage 1. Choose the best licensed immigration agency in Montenegro (we can help). The agent will conduct preliminary negotiations with you and carry out preliminary due diligence procedures. You will have to sign a service agreement with the agent.
- Stage 2. Collect and complete all the required application documents with the help of the immigration agent.
- Stage 3. Pay the state duties and cover the cost of the due diligence check. The money has to be transferred to the immigration agency’s account and it will transfer it to the state development fund and the licensed audit and detective agencies who are going to perform the due diligence procedures.
- Stage 4. Fulfill your investment obligations, which means supplying the necessary amount of money conditioned by the investment option that you have chosen (citizenship by investment into real estate or into business). The money has to be transferred to an escrow account.
- Stage 5. File the application for citizenship by investment to the Montenegrin authorities via the immigration agent. The application processing is going to take between three and four months, and then the final decision on your case will be made.
- Stage 6. Acquire the Montenegrin passport(s). If your application for citizenship is approved, you as the main applicant and the members of your family will have to visit Montenegro to collect your passports and have your biometrics taken. Thus, a personal visit to Montenegro is obligatory when acquiring its citizenship.
Our partner in Montenegro, a licensed immigration agency, will gladly assist you in obtaining citizenship of the country by investment. They will make the process as effortless and as quick as it is only possible. Our partner company English-speaking experts will lead you through all the stages of the application process. They charge minimum 60,000 euros for their services.
If you have any questions related to acquiring citizenship of Montenegro and a second passport, please request a consultation from us without any hesitation. We will be glad to answer all your queries if you send them to our corporate email address email@example.com.
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