In accordance with the newest piece of Montenegrin legislation, any foreign person (hereinafter referred to as “Applicant”) that submits a request and pays the Donation Amount (as defined below) and the Investment Amount (as defined below) could become a citizen of Montenegro. Additionally, family members of such person could also have the right to acquire citizenship based on their relationship with the Applicant. However, in accordance with the Decision on the Criteria, Method and Procedure for the Selection of persons who may gain Montenegrin Citizenship by admission on the Basis of Special Program Realization which is of Significance for Montenegrin Trade and Economy Interests (hereinafter referred to as: “Decision”), the family members of the Applicant eligible in procedure are only the spouse and the children of the Applicant.
For the purpose of acquiring of the citizenship, the Applicant is obliged to:
- pay the following amounts as the expenses of the procedure to the bank account of the competent authority: (i) EUR 15,000 for the applicant; (ii) EUR 10,000 individually for every family member, for maximum of 4 (four) family members; (iii) EUR 50,000 individually for each following family member, if there are more than 4 (four) members, and
- deposit on the ESCROW bank account the amount of EUR 100,000 as a donation amount for the development of less developed local self-government units of Montenegro (the “Donation Amount”), and
- deposit on the ESCROW bank account the amount of (i) at least EUR 450,000 as the investment amount for one of the Development projects (as defined below) located within the Capital city of Podgorica or the coastal region of Montenegro; or (ii) at least EUR 250,000 as the investment in one of the Development projects located in the northern or middle regions of Montenegro, not including the Capital city Podgorica (point (i) and (ii) jointly referred to as the “Investment Amount”).
Additionally, the Applicant and its family members (if applicable):
- may not be convicted of unconditional prison sentence lasting longer then 1 (one) year for a felony prosecuted by virtue of official duty in Montenegro or other countries, even if the legal consequences of such conviction have ceased to take effect; and
- need to have been positively assessed in the opinion of the international suitability assessment agent (“Assessment Agent“) and the Assessment agent needs to have successfully acquired and delivered the evidence of the origin of the funds that are to be used within the procedure.
The Applicant needs to invest the Investment Amount into one of the development projects in Montenegro. A Development project is a project segmented within tourism, agricultural or processing industry which fulfills certain parameters defined by the Decision.
Besides the above mentioned, the Decision stipulates that the Investment amount may only be invested into the projects listed within the list of development projects which shall be adopted by the Government.
In accordance with the Decision, the procedure for the obtainment of the citizenship of Montenegro is initiated with the request for the realization of a specific program sent to the Secretariat for Development Projects (“Secretariat”) through the Assessment Agent. Besides the request, the following documents need to be surrendered: (i) certified copy of the passport and ID card of applicant and family members, (ii) birth certificates, (iii) marriage certificates, (iv) health insurance policies still valid in Montenegro (v) certificates on infectious diseases issued in accordance with the applicant’s country law.
After the submission, the request is forwarded to the Assessment Agent and the Secretariat. As stipulated above the Assessment Agent evaluates whether the request is internationally suitable, while the Secretariat evaluates the fulfillment of all conditions in accordance with the Decision. If both assessments are positive, the procedure carries on with Prime Minister who has the authority to propose that the citizenship is issued to the interested party (or adversely, that it is not). If the Prime Minister proposes that citizenship is issued to the interested party, the Ministry of Interior Affairs evaluates if all of the conditions for admission of the interested party are fulfilled. If the evaluation is positive, the Applicant is informed and instructed to transfer the Investment amount and the Donation amount from Escrow bank accounts to the instructed bank accounts depending on the investment program. The transaction is monitored by the an independent auditor, and if the transfer is confirmed as successful, the Secretariat informs the Ministry of Interior Affairs which should finally adopt the resolution on citizenship by the admission of the Applicant.
Although the Decision came into force on 15th December 2018 and is applicable from 1st January 2019, it seems that it still cannot be successfully applied in full having in mind that the Assessment Agent and Intermediary agent have not been elected and that List of development projects needs to be adopted. The Secretariat has published a public call for the mentioned positions and the opening of applications is scheduled for 11th and 12th of February 2019.