Citizenship by Investment

Over the past decade, Montenegro has been on radar of many international travelers, as well as investors and second-home buyers. And there are several reasons behind that.

Business-friendly climate

Montenegro has been working hard on improving its quality of life, business climate, stability, and safety. It became a member of NATO in 2017 and is on its way to joining the European Union. Many procedures related to doing business have been simplified, with international investors enjoying the same rights as the domestic ones. Actually, in the new World Bank report ‘Doing Business 2020’, Montenegro was ranked 50th among 190 countries, based on ‘ease of doing business’ criteria. Apart from that, Montenegro was Best ranked in region on Global Index of Economic Openness list, an annual report published by the UK-based Legatum institute. And to prove all of this, Montenegro is home to some of the largest investment projects in Europe right now, numerous world-known hotel brands (such as Hilton, Aman, Regent, Sheraton, Chedi, Melia, Falkensteiner, Iberostar) while many others are starting or finishing their projects, such as Ritz Carlton and One&Only. Large international corporations, such as Deloitte, Microsoft, Coca Cola, KPMG, Ernst&Young, together with well known international banks such as OTP, ERSTE, NLB, etc, are already operating in the country. Apart from the business side, Montenegro boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage, beautiful nature, mild climate and 280 sunny days per year, which makes it very attractive as holiday and second-home destination.

Podgorica (photo by Drone Studio Tivat)

Citizenship by investment

The Montenegrin economy was noted to be one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, with economic growth rates in 2017 and 2018 being 4.7% and 4.9% respectively. Thanks to an open approach to economy within a business-friendly environment, Montenegro has attracted a lot of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) over the years. The tTotal net inflow of FDIs in the first nine months of 2019 was €227.3 million, which is 48% more than during the same period last year. With the launch of the new Citizenship by Investment program earlier this year, interest in the country is expected to increase even more. In 2019, Montenegro was listed among best 6 markets for overseas property investment.

The Citizenship by Investment program will accept up to 2.000 applicants and will close on December 31st, 2021. Program requirements are as follows: €100.000 application fee which will be used for development of under-developed areas + a minimum of €450.000 investment into development projects in Podgorica or coastal area or a minimum of €200.000 investment into development projects in the northern or central zone of the country. By becoming a Montenegrin citizen, one has gained a visa-free entry to 122 countries, including Europe’s Schengen Area, Russia, and Turkey. In order to apply for the CIP program, the applicant has to submit the application to one of the three licensed agencies specialized in CIP and previously selected by the Government of Montenegro (RE/MAX Montenegro can help you choose the right agent for you, based on your interests and investment needs). In order to be eligible for the program, the applicant must provide a proof of payment (having money on escrow account) for the amounts required by the program; must not be sentenced in Montenegro or any other state; The international due diligence agent has given a positive opinion, including proof of the origin of the money intended for payment and investment in accordance with the program requirement.

The list of the tourism projects that are included in the Citizenship by Investment program includes projects in the South and in the Central and Northern regions. Some of them are planned as a time sharing investment, while others offer a simple purchase of the unit within a four or five star hotel resort. It is advised to consult a real estate agent who can provide you with guidance and advisory based on your interests, and help you choose the best investment. Apart from tourism projects, applicants can obtain Citizenship by investing in agriculture or wood processing sectors. RE/MAX can help you by guiding you through the process and helping find appropriate land.

Doing business in Montenegro

Opening a company in Montenegro is simple and fast. With the introduction of a one-stop system, when registering in the Central Register of economic entities, the new companies are automatically registered in the registers of Statistical Office, Taxpayers, Customs payers and, optionally, VAT and excise taxpayers and the entire process of establishing a company is completed within 5 to 10 days. The investor may establish a company on his own, but it is recommended due to time frames and administration that this step is performed by either a law firm or bookkeeping agency. This service (establishing a company) ranges between €700 and €1,500 (stamp design, accounts opening etc).

Having a good accounting company is very important for the development of business in terms of VAT calculation, invoices and, of course, compliance with laws and legal provisions. This service costs between €150 and €500 per month, depending on the size of the company, number of employees, investment and the flow.