Montenegrin citizenship for investment — how much time is left and how to choose a property? An expert answers the most popular questions
What are the chances of getting another country’s citizenship and at the same time extending your freedom under today’s circumstances? There are only a few countries that offer citizenship for investment with no additional restrictions, and Montenegro is one of them. Julia Gotska, an expert in the topic of emigration at , told Realting.com about all the nuances of participation in this programme, and pointed out that this programme will end in December 2022!
«The number of applications has multiplied in the past few months»
Traditionally, there are a lot of questions about acquiring for investment. They concern a lack of understanding what are the application deadlines, questions about the price of the property for sale and its payback period in case someone wants to rent it out, and questions about any restrictions as well. We picked out the 7 most popular questions about the programme and asked Apex Capital Partners Corporation’s expert Julia Gotska to answer them.
— What are the benefits of Montenegrin citizenship?
— With a Montenegrin passport it is possible to travel in the Schengen area ( for 90 days every 180 days) without a visa. In total, Montenegrin citizenship provides visa-free entry to 124 countries, including Europe and the Russian Federation. Also Montenegrin citizens may benefit from the simplified visa procedure for entry to the UK.
In addition, Montenegrin citizenship gives the opportunity to move to the US or start a business there, i. e. to obtain a non-immigrant visa (type E2) by starting a business. Another advantage is the absence of income tax for non-residents, as well as gifts and inheritance tax.
— Can you briefly enumerate the conditions of the Montenegrin Citizenship by Investment programme?
— The main condition is a sufficient amount of money that the investor is willing to invest in the Montenegrin economy. Now let’s elaborate. The first and the most important condition — investing €450,000 in hotel property (hotels must be authorized in the programme) in the south of the country and €250,000 in the north. Plus a €200,000 non-refundable investment in public funds.
There are also extra costs, that must be taken into consideration, like application fees (€15,000 for the main applicant, €10,000 for each family members (up to 4 members), €50,000 for each additional family member), security check (€7,000 for the main applicant, but €10,000 for a family of four including the main applicant, €1,500 for each additional family member), three escrow account maintenance fees (€3,500).
It should be noted that only a part of these costs can be refunded in case of refusal in obtaining citizenship. For example, the additional costs are considered non-refundable.
Today there are a range of restrictions concerning Russians and Belarusians. Due to the sanctions, they have no possibility to transfer money directly to Montenegro. The only way is only if the applicant already has residence in EU countries or a passport of any other country that is not under sanctions, or a Montenegrin residence permit. Only in this case, the applicant will be able to open an escrow account.
Of course, besides money, you need to prepare a complete package of documents — and here the company Apex Capital Partners Corporation is the best assistant. At the same time our company deals not only with citizenship, but also with residence permit, as well as opening bank accounts in Montenegro (and other countries) and other legal peculiarities. We provide a full range of services to ensure that the applicant obtains a foreign citizenship as soon as possible.
— Are the applications for this programme being accepted at the moment?
— Yes, the Montenegrin authorities are still accepting applications to become a citizen for investment. But the timeframe for processing these applications has expanded. The reason is the increase in the number of applications by several times. In addition, some important changes in the government of Montenegro occurred in May. For example, in the Immigration Department a new officer, responsible for candidates approval, was chosen. That’s why the procedure was temporarily suspended, and those, who had applied for the programme earlier, had to wait. The application consideration resumed only in May. It means that the decisions concerning previous applications will be made no sooner than in midsummer.
However, it is very important to note that the Montenegrin Citizenship for Investment programme lasts only until 31 December 2022. This means that on January 1, 2023 it will be impossible to apply for the participation. But, those who managed to apply before the end of the year can expect to have their case considered in 2023 as well. It is possible that the government will decide to extend the programme timeframe, but I haven’t seen the assumptions for this yet. There is a chance that, by closing the programme, the Montenegrin authorities want to launch some alternative version of it. For example, make the conditions stricter or increase the amount to be invested. But, of course, no one can give such guarantees.
— What check does the candidate have to pass?
— A candidate for citizenship will have to go through more than one check. Of course, at the very first stage, we conduct our own World Check Risk Intelligence check on the applicant. Those applicants who cannot pass it are very likely to be rejected by the Montenegrin government.
Banks are no less strict at the stage of opening an escrow account for a client. Here the applicant will have to confirm the legality of the money earned and the payment of all required taxes. The applicant will also be checked for terrorist financing or money laundering. And, if just six months ago banks were not so scrupulous, now literally everything is checked.
The next security check is from a British or a Canadian company — Due Diligence. Here, the number of questions to applicants recently has increased too. So that you understand how serious it is: these companies literally hire small detective firms, which study the whole history of the applicant. It is essential that the applicant should not be on any sanctions lists (and not in any way connected with the companies on those lists) and should not be considered a politically exposed person.
— Are there any requirements for residency in Montenegro or knowledge of the English language?
— There are no additional residency or language requirements.
— How long will the passport be valid for?
— An adult’s passport is valid for 10 years; a child’s passport is valid for 5 years. Renewing a passport is an absolutely simple process. You must come to Montenegro, take biometrics and get a new passport.
One of the best offers now is the purchase of a room at The Montis Mountain Resort 5*
— How do you know which Montenegro hotel to invest in? Even among authorized hotels there are quite a few options.
— Currently, there are 10 authorized hotel options (4 in the south and 6 in the north of the country) and they are affordable for different investment budgets. If you consider a minimum «entry threshold» of €250,000, I would recommend taking a closer look at The Montis Mountain Resort 5*, which is under construction in the north of the country.
The concept is a 5* condo-hotel with 238 rooms (suites), several restaurants, conference rooms, a cinema, a pub, a spa, outdoor and indoor pools, a children’s club, a ski room and a garage. In total there are 4 functional areas and a living area. All suites at Montis Mountain Resort will be furnished in accordance with five-star hotel standards.
The hotel is situated in the busiest town in the mountain region, Kolashin, very close to the ski slopes and the scenic Tara River. Here guests will enjoy the ultimate in eco-friendly luxury accommodation, surrounded by a picturesque pine forest close to the beautiful Tara River.
The most important advantage of this offer is that the investor will purchase a particular room in the hotel and the developer will subsequently pay them 40% of the net income from the room each year. The owner of the room doesn’t have to pay for the management or maintenance of the room, the hotel operator Splendid will take care of everything.
The only nuance is that the room must be rented out for 11 months of the year. The owner can only use it for their own holiday for one month.
There will be 3 room types in the 5-star hotel, The Montis Mountain Resort 5*:
- Junior suite with a total area of 35,17 sq. m. from €250,000;
- Splendid suite with a total area of 36,02 sq. m. from €250,000;
- Presidential suite with a total area of 71,9 sq. m. from €500,000.
— When will the hotel be fully completed?
— The hotel is planned to start operating in 2024. But apart from that, we would like to stress that investors are very active in buying the hotel rooms. Now it is possible to choose a particular room on the hotel plan from those that are still available, which is also a big advantage. However, it should be noted that the two of the four hotel blocks have already been fully booked. And only a half of the third block is still available for sale.
Do you want to buy a house or an apartment in Montenegro? Go to the «Montenegrin Real Estate» section and choose the one that suits you best from thousands of options.