In the fall of 2018, the government of Montenegro announced the introduction of the Citizenship by Investment program, which is quite widespread in Europe, which in particular operated in Cyprus, Malta and Turkey. The first applications for Montenegrin passports, which are increasingly valued every year, began to arrive in January 2019, and subsequently the number of applicants for them increased, since due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire procedure became available remotely.
However, those wishing to obtain Montenegrin citizenship should hurry up with the implementation of their plans, since this program is currently designed for three years, and the number of applications is limited to 2000. In addition, at the moment this Balkan country is one of the few in the world whose government neither a so-called “sanitary passport” with a Covid-19 vaccination stamp, nor even a PCR test for coronavirus require entry. However, it is far from certain that due to the further spread of this infection, the current rules will remain in place for a long period of time.
For now, everyone who wants to obtain Montenegrin citizenship on economic grounds – that is, purchasing residential real estate – is still required to fulfill the main financial condition. We are talking about a gratuitous donation to the state investment fund in the amount of 100 thousand euros and the purchase of housing in the amount of at least 250 thousand euros, although in this case the location of the property comes into force.
The fact is that housing located in the northern part of the country or on the border with Albania is much cheaper than in “promoted resorts” – such as Budva, Kotor, Bar, Herceg Novi and others. For such regions, the minimum level is set at 450 thousand euros, but in all other respects the conditions and preferences are completely identical. In particular, a foreign applicant for Montenegrin citizenship is not required to have any fixed period of residence in the country or to pass language and other exams, and the investor’s spouse and his minor children have the opportunity to obtain a Montenegrin passport.
However, construction and other projects (most often hotels, since tourism is a priority sector of the economy), in which a citizen of another state intends to invest, must be previously approved and approved by the Montenegrin government. It will also be necessary to pass a Due Diligence check for reliability (no criminal record) and financial solvency (availability of legal sources of income), which exists in a number of EU and Caribbean countries.
If this issue is successfully resolved, the investor and his family members will first receive the status of permanent resident – permanent residence (a standard residence permit in Montenegro is provided to everyone when purchasing any property), and after six months – citizenship. Local law does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship, but some countries (such as Ukraine) exclude having two passports.
The holder of a Montenegrin passport should also keep in mind that at the moment the main advantage of this document is the possibility of visa-free travel to 117 countries, including the Schengen countries. However, in the near future (experts estimate this period at five years), Montenegro, which is gradually complying with EU requirements, has every chance of becoming a full member of the European Union. Accordingly, Montenegrin citizens, regardless of their origin, will have the right to work or open their own business in the EU without unnecessary bureaucratic delays.