Back in 2018, the Government of Montenegro adopted the Decision on the criteria, method and procedure for selection of persons that may acquire Montenegrin citizenship through admission for the purpose of implementation of special investment program of particular commercial and economic interests for Montenegro (“Odluka o kriterijumima, načinu i postupku izbora lica koje može steći crnogorsko državljanstvo prijemom radi realizacije posebnog programa ulaganja od posebnog značaja za privredni i ekonomski interes Crne Gore”) (the “Decision”).
Respective citizenship program allows foreigners to be admitted into citizenship of Montenegro, at the discretion of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Public Administration, through investment of particular value and chosen location for project development.
Benefits of Montenegrin citizenship
Montenegro is an official EU candidate country with the Visa free or visa on arrival access to 124 destinations including Europe’s Schengen Area, Russia, and Turkey (free movement in EU countries and Schengen area). In addition to this, Montenegro is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious community that enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate and fantastic scenery.
Politically, Montenegro is a member state of the European Monetary Union, NATO Alliance, OSCE, and the WTO and with all these advantages represents the “place to be” for many businessmen and investors outside the Europe.
During previous two decades, many investors (dominantly from Russia and Middle East) decided to invest in Montenegro, mostly in individual (residential) properties and touristic capacities in coastal region. Still, during the last couple of years these investments seemed to be in descending phase. Moreover, rural parts of the country remains underdeveloped and the gap between them and coastal area permanently increasing. These seems to be dominant reasons for the adoption of the Decree and facilitation of process for obtaining the Montenegrin citizenship.
About the Program
The implementation of the program started from 1 January 2019 and lasts until 31 December 2021 and is limited to up to 2.000 applicants.
This particular program is intended to contribute to the economic and business development of Montenegro; therefore, investments collected this way are compounded into particular fund designated for the development of under-developed municipalities mostly located in Northern parts of the country.
Value of Investment and Additional Fees
The investment model for this program includes three types of fees: i) application fee, ii) donation fee and iii) investment deposit.
Application for acquisition of Montenegrin citizenship should be submitted by the applicants (and members of their families) to the Secretariat for the Development Projects (“Competent Body through an intermediary agent. Family members that are allowed apply with the main applicant are: i) married spouse, ii) applicant’s children under 18 and iii) children over 18, if dependent by the applicant.
For this purpose, applicants are requested to pay to the Competent Body following amounts:
- EUR 15.000,00 for each qualified application;
- EUR 10.000,00 for each family member (up to 4 members) and
- EUR 50.000,00 for each following family member.
Additional fee imposed to all of the applicants is the governmental (donation) fee in amount of EUR 100.000,00 that will be deposited into a special account intended for the development of underdeveloped areas and local self-governments in Montenegro.
Investment conditions and the deposit
The threshold amount of the investment depends on the type of particular project (described within the existing List of Development Projects) and the area of Montenegro in which the development is intended. In addition, the Government of Montenegro announced type of projects which are considered as those of particular importance.
For example, development projects within the meaning of this Decision implies to construction of the hotel/mixed-type complex:
- For coastal region and the city of Podgorica: at least 5-star facilities, with at least 60 accommodation units, with the minimum investment of EUR 15.000.000,00 and at least 80 new employees;
- For northern and central regions (except Podgorica): at least a 4-star hotel or mixed tourist, with at least 35 accommodation unites, with minimum investment of EUR 5.000.000.00 and at least 25 new employees.
Applicants are also obliged to deposit proper amount into the ESCROW account; for investments of type i) above at least EUR 450.000,00 and for projects described under ii) at least EUR 250.000,00.
The applicant should fill the application for the implementation of a special program through an intermediary agent and the reviewing process shall be carried by the international due diligence agent, whereas both domestic and foreign experts are obliged to poses proper licenses. The intermediary agent and the international due diligence agents were selected by the Competent Body.
The applicant may acquire Montenegrin citizenship by admission on the basis of a special program if he/she:
- paid the application fee for the purpose of the costs of procedure;
- deposited donation fee on the ESCROW account;
- deposited investment deposit on the ESCROW account;
- has not been sentenced in Montenegro or another state to unconditional prison sentence of more than 1 (one) year;
- obtained approval of the international due diligence agent under conditions stipulated within the positive regulations.
Once the Competent Body established that the applicant fulfills relevant conditions and criteria, it will submit the report to the office of the Prime Minister of Montenegro.
If the positive decision is rendered, Competent Body will inform the applicant about the obligation to permanently withdraw sources from the ESCROW account (donation fee and investment deposit), into the account intended for the development projects of this particular kind.
author: Nikola Gagic