Montenegrin citizenship for investment: pro & contra
The whole past year, news came from Montenegro that a new program was planned to be launched in the country to grant citizenship to foreigners in exchange for investment – finally, an official presentation was recently held in several European countries, including in Russia.
According to the requirements of the new program, to obtain a Montenegrin passport, a foreigner needs to invest 250,000 euros in real estate under construction in the northern part of the country, where mountains and nature reserves predominate. If you want to invest your money in the coastal southern region traditionally attractive from the point of view of tourism, then in this case the lower bar of investments rises to 450,000 euros. In addition to a number of bureaucratic issues, for foreigners to participate in the program, it will be necessary to provide in the first stage a written statement about through which licensed agent of the Montenegro program it became possible for a particular investor to participate.
It is important to understand that to either of these two options it will be necessary to add a charitable contribution of 100,000 euros to the state fund, which is involved in the development of the regional regions of Montenegro, including agricultural and industrial projects. For a mandatory non-repayable contribution to the state fund, the authorities will open a special ex-account, and developers will open individual ex-accounts for each investor, who will subsequently redeem a share in the project included in the state program. – The term of ownership of shares in the projects approved by the state for the program has not yet been determined, but it is expected that this will be a fixed-time obligation.
The new program has caused mixed opinions among a number of experts in the local real estate market. Many believe that the point of view of tourism and real estate purchase, this country practically did not need additional advertising in the form of a passport program – it was already in demand. On the other hand, Montenegro is not only not a member of the EU; therefore, it does not yet affect the fate of the EU member states, which the European Commission may exert pressure on. Based on this, Montenegro can make independent decisions about what kind of program this should be, who should grant citizenship, etc. Therefore, it is possible that in this country they will be more lenient about the issue of the origin of funds of foreign investors. Not all potential investors who are interested in the Montenegro program for granting citizenship in exchange for investments are satisfied with the fact that investor children who are under 18 years of age will not be able to obtain local citizenship. According to the rules of the program, minors can immediately include children in the application, but they will become citizens of Montenegro only when they reach the age of 18.
True, there is an option when minor children are included in the program through the naturalization process with the help of specialists from accredited companies and only after the investor and his wife receive Montenegrin citizenship. But in the case of naturalization, the child will need to abandon any existing citizenship, since dual citizenship is not recognized in Montenegro. An exception is made only for citizens who have received their status through investment. Perhaps this issue will be revised later, but at the moment, the Montenegrin Citizenship for Investment program is functioning on the stated conditions.
An obvious plus of the new Montenegro program is accessibility, since these figures are comparable to the popular gold visas in Greece and Spain, where a residence permit is issued, and here we are talking about citizenship. Also, the Montenegrin innovation may be of interest to those who cannot, for financial reasons, qualify for Cypriot or Maltese citizenship, and who are not attracted to a Caribbean passport. Moreover, the number of countries available for the movement of citizens of Montenegro is quite comparable with the Caribbean. Moreover, this state is part of Europe, and if the vast majority of the passport buyers are not going to live in the Caribbean, then you can move to Montenegro for permanent residence – many of our compatriots have done this and have done it over the past two decades.
At the presentation of the program in Moscow, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Montenegro to Russia, Ramiz Bashich, noted the lack of political motive in its basis and reminded the audience that the country has not only the beautiful popular southern part of the sea, but also the picturesque mountain north, where there are two national park, two ski resorts, the Tara River with its huge canyon. But for the development of this part of Montenegro, which the country’s leadership is incredibly interested in now), it is necessary to attract foreign investment, so a lower entrance ticket for investors was made here. True, Mr. Ambassador noted that the Chinese are now particularly interested in the new program – but so far everything is going on at the level of negotiations.