In recent years, Montenegro has emerged as an attractive destination for investors seeking a pathway to European citizenship by investment through its Golden Visa Program. This program, initiated by the Montenegrin government in 2019, offered foreign investors and their families the opportunity to obtain citizenship in this picturesque Balkan nation in exchange for qualifying investments. Many international investors are still keen to know about the Montenegro Golden Visa Program and if it will continue. So, let’s explore the details of the Montenegro Golden Visa Program, its benefits, eligibility criteria, and the future prospects of the Golden Visa.
Overview of the Montenegro Golden Visa Program
The Montenegro Golden Visa Program was launched in 2019 as part of the country’s efforts to attract foreign direct investment and stimulate economic growth. The program provided a streamlined and efficient way for non-EU citizens to gain residency in Montenegro, aiming to foster economic development and create new opportunities for investors and the local population.
How much is a golden visa in Montenegro?
Fees for Montenegro Citizenship by Investment included a €100,000 contribution to the government and a €250,000 investment in pre-approved real estate projects in the northern region or €450,000 in the more established southern region.
Benefits of the Montenegro Golden Visa
Participating in the Montenegro Golden Visa Program gave benefits to investors and their families. Successful applicants and their families were granted citizenship rights with a Montenegro Golden passport, allowing them to live, work, and study there. It also provided a gateway to Europe, as the country is a candidate for European Union (EU) accession.
Montenegro Golden Visa Investment Options
The Montenegro Golden Visa Program offered the following Montenegro investment options, allowing investors to choose the most suitable route for their preferences and business goals:
- Real Estate Investment: One of the primary paths to obtaining the Golden Visa was investing in real estate. Investors can purchase residential or commercial properties in approved development areas.
- Tourism Sector Investments: Investors were also allowed to contribute to developing the country’s tourism sector, such as through investments in hotels, resorts, or other tourism-related projects.
Is Montenegro Citizenship by Investment Closed?
The Montenegro Golden Visa Program was due to end on the 21st of December 2022; however, the program was set to be extended against cries of opposition from the EU for the scheme to be phased out. Early in 2023, the Montenegrin administration intended to present Brussels with a new model for expanding the economic citizenship program, under which the funds from the project would be used solely to repay the Chinese loan for the Belgrade-Bar highway. According to the new model, the sale of so-called golden passports would change in terms of investing their money into a single giro account, with the collected funds being directed to the Chinese Exim Bank.
The new model would be similar to that of Malta, where one passport costs 650 thousand euros, as opposed to the Montenegrin approach, which requires an expenditure of 250 to 450 thousand euros. Despite the program ending on December 31, 2022, there are plans to give hundreds more honorary citizenships in the coming months as the project was not canceled but instead completed. There are still 240 applications in process and 547 family members who submitted their applications by December 31 last year. While the jury is still out for the still-in-progress applications, the program is now closed to new applications.
Alternative Routes to Montenegrin Citizenship
Even though the Montenegro Golden Visa program has ceased, several other legal avenues exist to obtain Montenegrin Citizenship, including naturalization, descent, and marriage.
Naturalization is a standard route for individuals who have lived in Montenegro for an extended period and wish to become permanent community members. The key requirements for naturalization include:
- Residency: Applicants typically must have resided in Montenegro for a specified number of years, usually five years, with a valid residence permit.
- Financial Stability: Applicants are obligated to show sufficient income and self-sufficiency.
- Language Proficiency: Basic knowledge of the Montenegrin language is required, as it fosters integration into the local community.
- No Criminal Record: Applicants should have a clean criminal record, and any potential threat to national security may lead to the rejection of the application.
Montenegro allows individuals to obtain citizenship through descent if they have Montenegrin ancestors. The eligibility criteria for citizenship through descent include:
- Parental Connection: One or both parents must be Montenegrin citizens at the time of the applicant’s birth.
- Documentation: Proper documentation, such as birth certificates and proof of ancestry, is essential to support the descent claim.
- Registration: Applicants should register their citizenship claim with the Montenegrin authorities and fulfill any additional requirements specified by the government.
Marriage to a Montenegrin citizen provides another pathway to citizenship. The process involves:
- Duration of Marriage: The applicant must typically be married to a Montenegrin citizen for a certain period, often three years.
- Residency: Similar to naturalization, the applicant must have a valid residence permit and reside in Montenegro for a specified period.
- Contribution to Society: Some countries may require evidence of the applicant’s contribution to society, such as employment or community involvement.
Regardless of the chosen pathway, the application process generally involves submitting the required documents to the Ministry of Internal Affairs or another designated authority. The documentation may include proof of identity, residency, financial stability, language proficiency, and any requirements specific to the citizenship route.
Is it still possible to get a Montenegro Residence Permit?
The Montenegrin government recognizes that immigration will drive future economic development so foreign nationals with interests in the Balkan nation can get a Montenegro residence permit even after the Montenegro Golden Visa program has ceased. Obtaining residency in Montenegro is extremely simple; you automatically qualify when you buy property in Montenegro. To learn more, read our detailed blog about Montenegro residency through investing.
Take Advantage of A Golden Opportunity with Royal Town Kotor
The Montenegro Golden Visa Program may have ended, but investing in real estate in Montenegro still presents a compelling opportunity for foreign investors seeking European residency. Buying one of our Kotor apartments for sale may be the key to unlocking a world of possibilities for those looking to explore new Montenegrin horizons.
Our elegant serviced accommodation at Royal Town Kotor offers you and your guests a luxurious residence in a sought-after destination primed for growth. Additionally, with the tourism surge in Montenegro, buying strategically located property is a fantastic financial opportunity. At Royal Town Kotor, we developed a unique investing strategy that generates more than 50% higher profits than purchasing traditional real estate, and we will market your property on your behalf. To receive comprehensive professional advice, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.
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