In 2018, the Montenegrin government announced the launch of a new program for obtaining citizenship of the country through investment. The program started in November 2019 and will end on December 31st, 2021. At the same time, the authorities are ready to accept only 2,000 applicants.
To obtain a Montenegrin passport, it is necessary to invest in real estate in the country and make a contribution to the state Development Fund.
On 26th July 2010 Montenegro gained independence. In 2010, the country became an official candidate for membership in the European Union (EU), however the country is not part of the eurozone, and the country’s currency is not the euro. Since 2017 Montenegro has also been a NATO member country.
Montenegro’s passport ensures visa-free entry to more than 120 countries of the world, including all countries of the Schengen zone, Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Turkey, the UAE and other key areas for business and tourism.
One of the main advantages of the program is Montenegro being a candidate for joining the EU in 2025. This is especially important for investors who have been thinking about EU citizenship. For the recipients of a Montenegrin passport, there is no requirement to renounce their first citizenship, as no obligation to know the national language.
How to get Montenegrin citizenship
The program offers foreign investors several options for investments:
● Invest in real estate projects worth 450,000 euros in developed areas of the country (the south and coastal regions).
● Invest in real estate projects worth 250,000 euros in less developed regions in the north of the country.
Under the Citizenship in Exchange for Investment program, in all cases of investment, projects must be approved by the government and allowed to participate in the program. It is also necessary to make a payment in the amount of 100,000 euros to a specially created state fund.
Who can get a citizenship
The requirements for applicants are as follows:
● No sanctions, restrictions or prohibitions on entry into the EU, US, UK and Canada.
● No criminal record
● Good credit history.
● Legality of the origin of investment funds.
● Good health.
● Lack of EU citizenship.
Applicants must be prepared to undergo due diligence both of themselves and the legality of the origin of the funds that will be invested. Everything must be as transparent and documented as possible. The companies in which the client was a member/director, etc. for more than ten previous years are checked. Without putting things in order and starting to collect documents, it makes no sense to start this process.
For an additional fee, you can pre-order due diligence if you are not sure about the purity of the criminal story or the evidence of the legality of the funds invested.
The cost of participating in the program for the main applicant is 15,000 euros. 10,000 euros for his family members (maximum four persons) and 50,000 euros for other family members, including grandparents.
Investment funds are deposited in pre-opened accounts in the Montenegrin escrow bank. One account is required for investing in the project, the other for payment to the state fund. The transfer of funds from the escrow accounts to the accounts of the project manager of the company and the government is automatic, but only after the government decides that the candidate meets the parameters of the program. In fact, such a decision meant that the applicant would acquire citizenship. In case of refusal, the funds will be returned to the account from which they came.
The best course of action is to be honest with yourself and get rid of illusions. It makes no sense to carefully evaluate the proposed objects by attractiveness, profitability, etc. Consider your investment as a fee for a passport and EU citizenship in the future. The price per square meter of the investment project will fluctuate about 7000-8000 euros per square meter, while the average price per square meter of real estate in Montenegro is 1200-1700 euros.
In addition to the sale contract, the investor signs an agreement on full management, that is, the complete transfer of real estate to management. An investor can sell his/her “real estate” after obtaining citizenship, but already at a market price or use for recreation.
The collection of documents takes a significant period. Therefore, we recommend drawing up a plan for the period of preparation and validity of documents in order to avoid making unnecessary movements or incurring additional costs for the reproduction of documents. The list of documents, the terms of processing are very individual and depend on citizenship, residence, the nature of the business and the origin of the funds.
For example, required documents could be:
● Power of attorney to the agent
● Request for citizenship
● Sales contract
● Valid passports
● Birth/marriage certificate
● Certificate of incapacity for ten years
● Driving licence
● Medical certificate
● Bank statement
To summarize, the plan for obtaining citizenship of Montenegro is as follows.
1. Preparation and collection of documents.
2. Visit to Montenegro. You can make a study trip to see the project, and we can sign a contract of purchase and sale of real estate with a notary. You can open two bank escrow accounts in a bank in Podgorica, with still time for dinner at one of the capital’s restaurants.
3. We transfer funds to escrow accounts.
4. We submit documents, including confirmation of payment. The fees are approximately 86,300 euros for a family of three.
It will take approximately three months from the date of your visit to Montenegro to receive a decision. There will be another 2-3 months left before receiving a passport.