States seek to reduce individual freedoms by inventing new taxes and regulations almost every day. Add to that the global recession that may come soon, and you’ll understand why having a second passport is practically a must for high-net-worth individuals.
Some CBIs are well-known, such as St. Kitts and Nevis, which was the first. However, some of the best citizenship by investment programs can be found in Europe. Malta and Cyprus, who are both EU members, have two of the most successful CBI and also the best residency by investment programs.
And here comes Montenegro. This open-to-business, breathtaking Balkan country started a CBI program in 2018 for a period of three years, seeking to give the Montenegrin passport to 2000 high-net-worth individuals willing to develop the touristic sector of the country.
The government tried to begin two failed CBI in 2010 and 2014 that were criticized around the world, as the due diligence was insufficient, leading many alleged criminals and corrupt politicians to try to acquire the passport. However, in 2018, the government successfully launched the program with better background checks. The firsts to receive their passports under the Montenegro CBI were an Egyptian family in February 2020. Now Montenegro is one of the best countries for citizenship by investment in the world.
Aside from that, what if we told you the Montenegrin program has the best tax optimization potential among the European CBIs and requires a way smaller investment among them?
You may say: well, but Montenegro isn’t an EU member. That’s true, but you’d only have to wait a few years (2025) for that to become a reality.
Now you understand why we say Montenegro is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets?
Let’s talk about the benefits you can obtain from your Montenegrin passport, especially if you’re a global investor seeking to protect your assets.
Montenegro has the 42nd best passport by investment on the planet. It gives you visa-free access to more than 120 countries. The Montenegrin passport is better than the Russian, Chinese, and many Latin American passports. Furthermore, it allows visa-free travel across the Schengen Zone and, possibly, from 2025, will let you move and invest freely all over the European Union.
Montenegro is recognized for its natural attractiveness and its calm atmosphere, perfect for relaxing. It has a rising foreign community full of investors and high-net-worth individuals and natural and architectonical wonders akin to those of Greece. However, you have to subtract the statism, looming socialism, poverty, and the refugee crisis of their southern neighbors. Montenegro has some of the most magnificent sights in the Mediterranean, a mild climate, and a low cost of living.
The country still has to take some steps to have an entirely free economy, but it has made some thoughtful reforms. The country is considered the 91st freest economy in the world, per the 2020 Index of Economic Freedom. That is a modest result but has improved noticeably in the last few years. Moreover, the country has a nonstop GDP growth, healthy trade, business, labor, and monetary freedom, and tax burden ratings in the index, and noteworthy advances in government integrity, property rights, and fiscal health.
Montenegro has seen a surge of FDI, which has been echoed in the real estate market. That means the property you invest in has a return potential of around 4 and 8 %, one of the uppermost around Europe. Even better: Real estate capital gains are taxed at a meager 9 %, which is way lower than most European countries.
The Montenegrin CBI is one of the few that lets you earn profits from your investment almost instantly. The acquired real estate can be rented out to tourists. Thus, you’ll get passive income and reduce the net cost of your application in the five years during which you must keep the property.
Compare that to, for example, the Cypriot CBI*, where you must invest in a €500k residential property of a total €2m investment that you’re forced to keep forever, and you’ll see the difference. The best passport by investment is the one that offers us citizenship, the possibility of merging into a new culture and that has flexible requirements regarding the investment terms.
The best citizenship by investment programs have few requirements, rapid process, and include the family. In Montenegro, both the spouse and financially dependent children can acquire the passport with the main applicant. Similarly, the program has only a handful of requirements: you don’t have to live in Montenegro before or after the process, and most of it can be done without you being physically present. You only must go to Montenegro for a biometric scan and get your passport. That means there are no language tests, and you don’t need to quit your primary citizenship.
Lastly, the process is quick. It can be conducted thoroughly in as little as three months.
The leading advantage of Malta’s citizenship by investment is its cost. It’s way less than the €2m of the Cyprus program. The main benefits of the Cyprus program are tax optimization and investment possibilities.
Montenegro has both.
It costs around €250k and €450k depending on the investment you choose with robust investment return and many other investment chances in tourism and infrastructure.
There are many different paths towards the Montenegrin residency, and the citizenship by investment program has gained plenty of attention from investors around the globe.