Grounds for obtaining Montenegro citizenship
Montenegrin law distinguishes four grounds for obtaining citizenship of the country.
1. Origin. Citizenship by origin is granted to persons with at least one parent who is a citizen of Montenegro. If the child was born abroad, they could apply for citizenship of Montenegro before they turn 23 years old. Adopted children can also apply for Montenegro citizenship if at least one of the adoptive parents is a Montenegrin national.
2. Place of birth. Children born on the territory of Montenegro acquire citizenship of the country if their parents are unknown or are of unknown citizenship. This also applies to the cases when the child will remain without nationality if they don’t get Montenegro citizenship.
3. Admittance, aka naturalisation. Citizenship can be granted to people with a solid reason to stay in Montenegro. Such reasons are being a permanent resident of the country, being married to a citizen of Montenegro or being a special interest for the state, like investing in the country’s economy.
Children get citizenship by admittance if both of their parents have obtained Montenegrin passports by admittance. If only one parent has been granted citizenship by admittance, the child will acquire it if they legally reside in Montenegro.
In case of incomplete adoption, adopted children can also obtain a Montenegro passport by naturalisation if they legally and continuously reside in the country.
4. International treaties and agreements. Citizenship of Montenegro can be granted based on international agreements. This applies, for example, to former Yugoslavia citizens.
For those who do not have direct relations with Montenegro, historical or akin, there are three real ways to obtain a passport of the state: become a permanent resident of the country, get married to a Montenegrin citizen or make an investment.
Montenegro citizenship for permanent residents
People who have been lawfully residing in Montenegro for at least ten years and have not violated the state’s laws during that time can get a passport of Montenegro. Though, they will have to give up their other passports.
So, before applying for citizenship, you must first get a permanent or temporary residence permit. Temporary residence can be issued for those who moved to Montenegro for the following reasons:
- family reunification;
- humanitarian reasons.
For permanent residency, you become eligible after living in Montenegro on the grounds of a temporary residence permit for at least five years.
Candidates for Montenegro permanent residency or citizenship by admittance are required to prove their knowledge of Montenegrin at an elementary level. To do so, they need to pass a test carried out in accordance with a special curriculum adopted by the National Education Council. For instance, it can be done in the Ispitni Centar educational centre.
Montenegrin citizenship by marriage
Marrying a citizen of Montenegro shortens the period of naturalisation. A person married to a citizen of Montenegro can be granted citizenship if they have been in a marriage for at least three years and have been lawfully residing in Montenegro for at least five years.
If a spouse of a citizen of Montenegro has not yet moved to the country for another reason, they can apply for a temporary residence permit for family reunification. It is granted to spouses of Montenegrin nationals if the family proves that their marriage is not of convenience.
Those who obtain Montenegro citizenship by marriage will have to renounce their other citizenships.
Montenegro citizenship by investment
Montenegro’s citizenship by investment program allows obtaining a passport of the country within half a year by investing at least €472,000 into its economy.
Investors don’t have to take any language proficiency or history tests. Besides, they are not obliged to reside in the country physically. However, they will be required to pass a thorough Due Diligence to prove they are eligible for the program.
There are two investment options under the Montenegro CBI program. Both require purchasing real estate, and the property’s price is the only thing that differentiates them. In the central or northern region, you can buy real estate for €250,000. For properties in the coastal area or capital city, you must pay €200,000 more.
Montenegro is a mountainous country, and properties qualifying for the first investment option are often located next to popular ski resorts, like Kolasin or Zabljak. Autumn and winter here are the high seasons.
Southern destinations of Montenegro, like Budva and Sveti Stefan, naturally, are more prevalent in summer when the sea is warm enough to swim. This means that properties in this area will be most profitable from May to October.
Properties qualifying for the CBI Program of Montenegro
Who is eligible for the Montenegro CBI Program
Investors who are looking to join the program and become citizens of Montenegro have to meet the following requirements:
- be over 18 years old;
- have no criminal record or prosecution;
- pass Due Diligence;
- confirm the legality of the income.
Aside from the investor, their close family members can join the program under the same contribution. Here’s who can get a passport of Montenegro along with the investor:
- their spouse, including those in same-sex couples;
- children under 18 years old;
- children over 18 years old, if they are financially dependent on the investor.
Aram was looking for an investment program to allow him, his wife and their children to obtain citizenship in a European country and travel visa-free across the Schengen Area.
The Montenegro citizenship by investment program turned out to be the most suitable option in Aram’s case. It allowed him and his family to obtain their second passports in 10 months.
Montenegro citizenship costs
The total amount of investment needed to participate in the program consists of four parts: a non-refundable contribution to the government fund, a purchase of a real estate project, a Due Diligence fee and an administrative fee.
Contribution to the fund is always the same. Property price depends on location, while administrative and Due Diligence fees depend on family composition.
For example, a married couple without children will have to pay a €10,000 Due Diligence fee and a €25,000 administrative fee instead of €7,000 and €10,000, respectively. A family with two children will pay the same €10,000 Due Diligence fee but a €45,000 administrative fee.
All expenses under the Montenegro CBI program
|Cost item||Real estate in northern and central parts of the country, but for Podgorica||Real estate in Podgorica or by the seaside|
|Real estate minimal price||€250,000||€450,000|
|Due Diligence fee||€7,000 for a single investor|
€10,000 for a family of up to four people
+ €1,500 for each additional family member starting from the fifth
|Administrative fee||€15,000 for a single investor|
€25,000 for a married couple
+ €10,000 each for the third and fourth family members
+€50,000 for each additional family member starting from the fifth
|Minimal final cost||€472,000||€672,000|
Step-by-step procedure for obtaining Montenegro citizenship by investment
Generally, obtaining citizenship with the Montenegro program takes around six months. Here’s how the process goes with the help of Immigrant Invest’s specialists.
Preliminary Due Diligence. Immigrant Invest lawyers will conduct a preliminary check on the candidate to minimise the risk of rejection. Without that, we don’t sign a contract with an investor. Preliminary Due Diligence is entirely confidential and requires only the applicant’s passport.
Remote selection of a real estate project. With the help of Immigrant Invest real estate specialists, the investor chooses a property. After the project is selected, our lawyers start the preparations for the purchase agreement with the owner.
Collection of documents and opening of a bank account. The investor provides a list of personal documents that are required for application. Our lawyers help translate and notarise the papers and fill out the government forms. Immigrant Invest specialists also open two escrow accounts in Montenegro for the investor – one for the non-refundable contribution and the second for real estate purchase.
Fulfilling the investment. The investor pays the fees and transfers the necessary amount of money to the bank accounts. The payment for the real estate and the contribution to the fund will be processed only after the candidate’s application is approved. If it’s rejected, the investor gets their money back.
Application submission and approval. After the lawyers submit the investor’s application and the necessary papers, the CBI unit processes them within three months.
The CBI unit notifies the lawyers that the application has been pre-approved. After that, the bank processes the payment to the fund and purchase of the real estate. When the transactions are complete, the CBI unit gives its final approval and invites the investor for fingerprinting.
Obtaining passports. The investor and their family included in the application are asked to travel to Montenegro to submit their fingerprints. The appointment for that is booked in advance by our lawyers.
Passports are issued 24 hours after the fingerprinting. They must be collected in person by their owners.
Benefits of Montenegro citizenship
Visa-free travels. Citizens of Montenegro can travel visa-free to 124 countries, including all the Schengen states, as well as Singapore, Chile and the UAE. Aside from that, they can obtain an E-2 visa to live and work in the USA.
A great place to live. Montenegro is one of the most underestimated places in Europe to travel to and live in. It boasts picturesque mountains, beautiful beaches on the Adriatic sea and gushing rivers. It’s a great place to visit any time of the year or permanently live here.
Aside from that, Montenegro will most likely become a member of the European Union. If this happens, the country’s citizens will be able to work freely and reside in any other EU state.
The citizenship by investment program provides its participants with some additional benefits.
Fast obtainment. Montenegrin citizenship is very fast to obtain via investment. The whole process takes around six months, after which the investor is able to take advantage of all the benefits of the new passport.
Time needed to obtain Montenegro citizenship
No requirements to learn the language. Investors don’t have to take any language or history tests to become citizens. In many other European countries, obtaining citizenship is possible only through naturalisation on general terms and implies learning the local language.
Close family members are also eligible for citizenship. Along with the investor, their spouse and children can get Montenegrin passports under the same contribution.
No need to give up other passports. People who got a Montenegro passport by investment are exempt from the rule forbidding citizens of the state from having passports of other countries.
Frequently asked questions
Foreign nationals can become citizens of Montenegro by marriage, after residing in the country for 10 years or by investment.The latter option is the fastest – it takes only around six months.
As for now, Montenegro does not allow its citizens to own passports of other countries. Only those who obtain citizenship via the investment program are exempt from this rule – they can keep the passports of their country of origin.
Montenegro citizenship by investment program allows obtaining a passport of the country within 6 months.
For those who want to obtain citizenship by marriage or after holding permanent residency, it will take from five to ten years.
The Montenegro citizenship by investment program offers candidates two options to invest: €472,000+ or €672,000+. Both options include a €200,000 non-refundable contribution to the government fund and a real estate purchase.
Montenegrin passports are valid for ten years. After that, they are to be renewed in person in Montenegro. The renewal fee is €35. Applications are processed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.