Montenegro’s citizenship-by-investment program is due to close at the end of this year. The Balkan country’s passport ranks 45th on the Henley Passport Index, providing its holders with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 124 destinations worldwide, including Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, Turkey, the UAE, and the countries in Europe’s Schengen Area.
Applicants to the Montenegro Citizenship-by-Investment Program are required to make a defined economic contribution to the country. In exchange, and subject to a stringent vetting and due diligence process including thorough background checks by specialized firms, applicants and their families are granted Montenegrin citizenship.
The main applicant must be over 18 years of age, meet the application requirements, and contribute EUR 100,000 to the Government of Montenegro, designated for the advancement of local under-developed, self-government units.
In addition, applicants can invest at least EUR 450,000 in an approved development project in the capital Podgorica or in the popular coastal region of Montenegro.
Alternatively, they can invest a minimum of EUR 250,000 in an approved development project in the northern or central regions of Montenegro (excluding Podgorica). Additional government processing fees and other application fees apply.
“Investment migration enables sovereign states such as Montenegro to tap into a new source of sustainable revenue without becoming overleveraged. In the current pandemic environment, as in the wake of previous disruptions such as the 2008 financial crisis, residence and citizenship programs create significant value both for investors and for sovereign states in need of alternative revenue streams” CEO of Henley & Partners, Dr. Juerg Steffen said.
The Montenegro citizenship by investment programme was launched in 2019 to help stimulate the economy through direct foreign investment.
The Montenegrin government announced their decision to close the programme based on two main factors. Firstly lower-than-expected applications submitted and secondly, Montenegro
is trying to meet the EU requirements for accession which is not expected until at least 2025.
It is worth noting that the European Commission has repeatedly said that it dislikes such citizenship-by-investment schemes and has applied downward pressure on several other countries to close or amend their programmes in recent years.
The economy of Montenegro shrunk by 6.40% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021, following a 7.50% contraction in the last quarter of 2020. Households consumption expenditure retreated 7.28%, gross fixed capital formation decreased by 20.04%, and net exports plunged 30.17%, according to the country’s statistical office.