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Montenegro citizenship for a real estate investor from Azerbaijan

Initially, I just wanted to buy a house in Montenegro. But my friends have told me that if I buy real estate under the Montenegrin citizenship by investment program, I can get more benefits. A European passport with visa-free Schengen is a valuable bonus for my family and me.


Elshan, 53 years old

A real estate investor

Clients’ names and photos have been changed

Montenegro citizenship by investment in real estate

This case was provided by our expert

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Head of the Maltese office, MBA

Montenegro citizenship for a real estate investor from Azerbaijan

Elshan and Milana live in Baku. Elshan is a real estate investor. He has several assets in Azerbaijan. In addition, the couple often travels to Europe. Usually, they spend their vacation in Montenegro with the whole family: Elshan and Milana’s son, Samir, his wife and two grandchildren.

The investor has started thinking about buying an apartment by the sea in Montenegro. An apartment where he and his family could live while on vacation and that he could rent out when being home in Azerbaijan.

Elshan has found out from his friends that he can buy real estate under the Montenegro Citizenship by Investment program and get a second passport. His friends became citizens of Montenegro with the help of Immigrant Invest in 2020.

A Montenegrin passport holder can travel visa-free to the Schengen area and stay there for up to 90 days in each half-year period. In addition, Montenegrin citizens can apply for the E‑2 US to live and work in the United States. A Montenegrin passport will enable one to visit Montenegro, even in periods when tourists are not allowed to enter, for example, due to a pandemic.

On September the 23d, 2021, Elshan turned to Immigrant Invest on friends’ recommendation.

Preliminary Due Diligence check

Before signing a contract with Elshan, Immigrant Invest’s lawyers assessed the risks of the investor’s application being rejected under the Citizenship by Investment Program.

Vladlena Baranova

Vladlena Baranova,

Lawyer, AML Compliance officer, certified CAMS specialist

Our certified Anti-Money Laundering Officer carries out the screening that allows us to identify any potential risks in advance and reduce the risk of our clients’ citizenship application rejection to 1%. The check is confidential. The investor only needs to present his passport.

The preliminary Due Diligence check showed that Elshan has no criminal record or instances of visa denials. In addition, he pays taxes on time, his source of income is legal and is based exclusively on his real estate investments and rental income. That means Elshan can participate in any government citizenship program for investors.

The Montenegro citizenship program terms

Applicants must pass a Due Diligence check, make a non-refundable contribution to a government fund, and acquire a share in a real estate project. Also, an investor pays the Due Diligence check, the application, notarial and bank fees.

In 2021 the minimal cost of participation in the program was €372,000: €100 000 of which went to the fund, €250,000 to a real estate project and €22,000 — to other fees.

In 2022 the minimum investment amount under the Montenegro citizenship program increased by €100,000. Now an investor makes contributions to two-state funds — €100,000 each. After meeting the terms, an investor and his family members are eligible to apply for Montenegrin passports. The amount of contribution is the same regardless of the number of family members.

After meeting the terms, an investor and his family members are eligible to apply for Montenegrin passports. The amount of contribution is the same regardless of the number of family members.

Who can apply for a Montenegrin passport:

  • an investor with a proven legal source of income;

  • an investor’s spouse;

  • children, financially dependent on the investor.

Elshan wanted his son’s family to participate in the program too. But they are not financially dependent on Elshan — Samir has his own business, and he is the head of the family.

Immigrant Invest’s lawyers informed Elshan that there was a solution. Participation in the Montenegro citizenship program is possible through sponsorship. That means Samir could apply for the program as an individual investor, and Elshan would pay for his participation as a sponsor. But in that case, Elshan will double his costs.

Elshan’s budget was up to €500,000. He couldn’t afford sponsorship of his son’s family participation.

Montenegro citizenship

Montenegro has 117 beaches along the 294 kilometres of the Adriatic coastline. The Velika Plaža in Ulcinj is the largest beach in this part of the Adriatic. With its clean water and fine sand, this beach is 13 km long and 60 metres wide

What real estate did Elshan choose

The Immigrant Invest’s lawyers showed Elshan objects he can choose to participate in the Montenegro citizenship program.

All objects are large resort complexes and hotels. An investor can buy an apartment or a share in a government-approved real estate project. Many hotels are in the final stages of construction or are in the process of commissioning.

The minimum cost of real estate an investor can choose to participate in the Montenegro citizenship program depends on the region. From €250,000 — if the object’s location is in the northern or central part of Montenegro, except for the capital Podgorica. From €450,000 — if the object’s location is Podgorica or the coastal zone of Montenegro.

The Montenegro citizenship program does not set the term of real estate ownership. However, some real estate developers require investors to own the object for five years.

At first, Elshan looked at the program as an opportunity for a good investment — to get an asset and citizenship. Then he thought more carefully.



A real estate investor

I want my grandchildren to travel to Europe, spend their holidays on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea with me and get the best education in the future. So I decided to sell the apartment and use the money to pay for Montenegrin passports for my son’s family. Anyway, I have plenty of time to buy an apartment in Montenegro.

Elshan chose an apartment in the project, allowing him to sell the object immediately after its commissioning. The investor decided that he would get his investments back and gives them to his son to let him participate in the program and get Montenegrin passports for his family.

How Elshan obtained citizenship of Montenegro: stages of the program

1. Collecting documents and opening escrow accounts. Immigrant Invest’s lawyers prepared and submitted a package of all the necessary documents and started opening escrow accounts.

An investor needs to open two escrow accounts for one application. One account pays a non-refundable contribution, and the other is for buying real estate. An escrow account can be opened in person or remotely by power of attorney.

Elshan chose a remote way to open escrow accounts. One of the Immigrant Invest’s lawyers signed contracts to open escrow accounts with the bank and the developer in Montenegro. The lawyer preliminarily checked the terms of the agreements and their compliance with the program’s requirements.

Vladlena Baranova

Vladlena Baranova,

Lawyer, AML Compliance officer, certified CAMS specialist

The agreement with the bank on opening escrow accounts specifies the amounts that the investor transfers to the fund and the developer, as well as the recipients’ details. When the bank learns about the approval from the citizenship program department, it immediately transfers the money.

It takes two weeks to open an escrow account from the date of signing the agreement with the bank. During this time, the bank conducts due diligence on the investor.

The process of the opening escrow accounts in Montenegro


+ 1 week

The notary of the region of Montenegro, where the investor buys the object, adjusts the contract of sale.


+ 1 day

The investor or his authorized representative and the developer sign an agreement at a notary in Montenegro.


+ 1 day

The investor or his authorized representative signs an agreement on opening escrow accounts in a bank.


+ 2 weeks

Banking due diligence of the investor lasts. If the investor passes the verification, the bank opens two escrow accounts.

2. Fulfilment of investment conditions. When the Montenegro bank opened escrow accounts, Elshan transferred money to them: €100,000 — to the fund account and €250,000 — to pay for a share in a real estate project. Elshan also paid €10,000 for Due Diligence and 25,000 € for administrative fees.

€390 000 — Elshan’s expenses under the Montenegrin citizenship program

  • €100 000 — non-refundable contribution

  • €250 000 — real estate investment

  • €25 000 — administrative fee

  • €10,000 — Due Diligence

  • €5000 — bank and notary fees

3. Submission of documents. Immigrant Invests’ lawyers transferred a package of documents, including confirmation of payments, to the Department of the Montenegro Citizenship by Investment Program.

The department has been considering Elshan’s application for three months.

4. Approval of the application. The program department has notified Immigrant Invest of the preliminary approval of the application. The lawyers notified the Bank of Montenegro, and the bank immediately transferred the money from escrow accounts to the accounts of the developer and the fund.

When the department received notice from the bank of the transfer of the investment, Elshan’s application was finally approved. The final step was to get passports.

5. Getting Montenegrin passports. To obtain passports, an investor and his family must pass biometric data in Montenegro. Elshan and Milana chose a convenient day, and Immigrant Invest lawyers signed them up for the procedure.

The Migration Department of Montenegro printed the passports within 24 hours after submitting biometrics. The next day Elshan and Milana received their passports from the department.

6 months to obtain a Montenegrin passport


September 23d, 2021

Applying to Immigrant Invest


+ 1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence


+ 2 weeks

Real estate finding


+ 4 weeks

Document preparation


+ 3 weeks

Opening escrow-accounts


+ 1 day

Fulfilment of investment conditions


+ 4 months

Final approval from the Department of the Montenegro Citizenship by Investment Program


+ 1 day

Submission of biometrics in Montenegro


March 28th, 2022

Obtaining Montenegro passports

Visa-free travel to Europe with a Montenegrin passport

Immigrant Invest’s lawyers continued assisting Elshan: they advised him on the steps that he needs to take when he sells the apartment, and his son’s family could apply for Montenegrin citizenship.



53 years old, a real estate investor

I’m thinking about buying an apartment in other European countries with a visa-free passport, not only in Montenegro. I cannot wait for my grandchildren to get passports too. So many things to show them the world!

The family made plans to go on vacation to Italy and Spain. The children are happy to splash about in the warm sea.

Elshan and Samir want the children to get an education in Europe. With Montenegrin passports it will be easy for them to apply to European universities.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.

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