Montenegro: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Why Montenegro currently boasts the best new citizenship by investment program on the market

I first wrote to the Government of Montenegro about eight years ago – a copy of the letter is still in my archives – suggesting that a citizenship-by-investment program would be a favourable way to bring foreign direct investments into the country. It is to the government’s credit that they did not leap at the suggestion, but instead took their time to assess the best available options.

While they pondered, much changed in the citizenship world. Then, there were just two European countries offering a residency/citizenship route; now there are eight. Cyprus and Malta offer the clearest and swiftest path to immediate European citizenship, but Malta’s program has been imbued by controversy, leaving Cyprus as the clear favourite. But, at a starting price of €2 million, it is not for the faint-hearted.

Montenegro’s decision to delay proved to be a favourable one, and in doing so, avoided various traps that can await a government. Deciding against offering a company with a monopoly to help market and process the program, for instance, was a well-executed choice. Arton Capital has consistently opposed monopolies, as it can easily be subjected to accusations of dishonesty and chicanery. A monopoly only helps one person: the one holding it. Instead, Montenegro decided to hire external partners that play a significant role for the program’s success, but must still work for their reward. I am happy to say that Arton Capital is among their number.

For those who see the big picture, Montenegro’s positioning is spot on and highly competitive. With a starting investment of €250,000 in property and €100,000 in government donation/fees, it is comparable to the Caribbean’s real estate offerings, but with one aggressive advantage: it is payable in euros. The euro is relatively low against the dollar at the moment, and payment in this currency avoids many difficulties that investors face when required to transfer in dollars. In this industry, offering a peace of mind and ultimate convenience, takes the winning bid; something currently valued at €2 million in Cyprus. If you foresee the long-term benefits, investing in Montenegro will prove that good things come to those who wait.

Meanwhile, the country has increased in stability. It is now a member of NATO, and on track to join the European Union within about five years. Investment has already flocked to the country, from the UAE, Russia, and other European nations. Additionally, there is already a high-end property market to invest in, and it has become quite the popular destination for tourists and travellers. American magazine Architectural Digest has just dubbed the country ‘the next French Riviera’, saying that it is a ‘must-visit destination for deep-pocketed travellers looking for an untapped getaway’.

If you compared the former with Moldova- the fellow program which came on stream at about the same time- Montenegro is undeniably the better option. Moldova is not even a NATO member, and although eligibility into the European Union is not impossible, it is very unlikely that it would even be considered for another 15 years. Additionally, it has given its citizenship program monopoly to one company. If they manage the program as they have managed Malta’s, the country may never join the EU.

Where else compares to Montenegro in Europe?

Portugal and Greece are both attractive, though they only offer residency which potentially turns into citizenship in five years. By then however, the rules could change, and residency does not give you the same level of mobility, nor a new passport and nationality as Montenegro’s fast track to citizenship does. Montenegro’s offering is a much better choice than both Portugal and Greece, and while it is more comparable to Malta and Cyprus, the Montenegro CIP is available at a fraction of the cost.

The program, which is restricted to 2,000 applicants over the next three years, truly adds up to a unique opportunity for investors looking for the ideal long-term investment that should not be missed!