A recent Decision that clearly prescribes the criteria, method and procedure for selecting the person submitting the application – an Applicant – has been adopted in line with The Montenegrin Citizenship Act. The Act was recently amended and brought positive regulations to the attractive citizenship program. Until now, the Act did not formally allow anyone under the age of 18 to obtain citizenship by investment. According to global industry leaders, this was a very sensible question which might have impacted the success of the entire program. But, the Government has timely recognized the issue and undertaken initiative. Another improvement has been introduced concerning the property holding period.
Dependents under 18 eligible for CIP
Article 12 of The Montenegro Citizenship Act precisely stated that a person over 18 years of age may obtain Citizenship in exceptional situations (under which this Program falls), which are described in this Article. Why could this have been an obstacle for the success of the Program? The answer is very simple. Most of the Applicants are counting on including their families in the Application process. And given the diverse structures of the families, in many of the cases there are family dependents under the age of 18. This would definitely be a disadvantage of the program, as none of the investors would consider waiting until the children turn 18 in order to secure the citizenship.
Considering the above, an initiative has been taken and the potential change negotiated. This resulted in positive changes of the Act – stated in the New Draft of the Montenegrin Citizenship Act. The Draft includes a clarification of Article 12 and states: “…it is evident that a minor cannot acquire Montenegrin citizenship by admission under Article 12 of the law, which can have a negative effect on credible and serious investors and that can ultimately slow down the economic and regional development of Montenegro in attracting new foreign investment, especially considering all other countries operating economic citizenship programs do allow for minor dependents to acquire citizenship as well.” The Government confirmed that this amendment to the Law will eliminate the potential negative impacts on the foreign direct investment and will support the ‘’unification of the family’’ under this Program.
Update on investment criteria and procedures
Another great amendment is concerning real estate. In many countries that implement Citizenship by Investment Program, there is strictly prescribed ownership period for the property. But, for the Montenegro Citizenship Program, this is not the case. The Government of Montenegro decided not to restrict investors and defined that there is no property holding period. This is one of the most attractive and positive facts regarding this program.
Activities and initiatives like the ones above continue proving the commitment of the Montenegrin Government to implement this Program in accordance with best practices and standards and to ensure its success.
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