Any individual who intends to stay and work in Montenegro for a period longer than three months has to obtain a residence permit. Investors who are looking to open a company in Montenegro also need a residence permit for lawfully doing business. There are two types of residence permits in Montenegro: temporary and permanent. The application for a temporary residence permit has to be submitted with the Montenegrin police, it has to be accompanied by specific documentation and is processed within 30 days from submission. After a 5 years stay in Montenegro, the temporary residence permit can be exchanged for a permanent one.
We also specialize in offering support to those who want to open a company in Montenegro.
Types of visas for Montenegro
Foreign citizens who want to move to Montenegro have several types of visas they can apply for and based on which they can obtain residency. These are:
- tourist visas under which foreigners can lay the grounds for moving to Montenegro,
- work visas which require employment contracts that come with residence permits,
- business visas which can be obtained by starting companies in Montenegro,
- citizenship by investment which implies making a significant contribution to the local economy.
Foreign citizens who want to obtain residence in Montenegro by starting a business can rely on our company formation advisors who can handle the procedure of incorporating the selected legal entity on their behalf. Also, they can use the StartUp program which is one of the newest immigration schemes available at European level.
Legislation on obtaining residency in Montenegro
The main law related to obtaining a Montenegro residence permit is the Act on Registers of Temporary and Permanent Residents which was amended in 2008. The law covers aspects such as the procedure for applying for the residence visa, the documents required when applying for the status of a Montenegro resident and the rights acquired through the permit.
The Law covers the following types of residence permits and the rights attached to them:
any foreign citizen, meaning the citizen of any other state than Montenegro, has the right to apply for residency;
a foreign citizen has the right of applying for a temporary or permanent residence visa in Montenegro;
the permit holder must have an established place of residence for the duration of the stay;
the address of the residence permit holder must be registered with the Permanent Residence Registry in Montenegro.
The Registry must keep the following information about the holders of Montenegro residence permits:
- the ID number obtained when entering the country;
- the name, the place of birth and the names of the parents of the permit holder;
- the occupation and the level of education of the permit holder;
- information about the other family members, if applicable.
Our company registration agents in Montenegro can offer more information about the legislation related to obtaining a residence permit as an investor.
- when the applicant has a temporary residence permit;
- if the applicant’s spouse has the permanent residence status, he or she can also apply for permanent residence;
- the permanent residence status can also be determined based on the place of birth of the applicant.
Our local agents can also help foreign investors who want to acquire residency by opening a company in Montenegro.
Application for a residence permit in Montenegro
Only foreign individuals who buy a property or register a company in Montenegro are able to obtain a one-year residence permit, regardless of the value of the property or business. This temporary residence permit can be extended annually and can be obtained only by the following categories of owners: of houses, apartments, Montenegrin companies, hotels, restaurants and holiday homes. The application for a residence permit in Montenegro has to contain the following documents:
• Proof of property ownership (buying/selling contract);
• A bank receipt attesting a bank deposit of 3,650 EUR into a Montenegrin bank – this amount is considered sufficient funds to remain in Montenegro;
• Valid medical insurance covering a 30 days period;
• Copies of each page of your passport;
• Certificate of no criminal record in your country of origin;
• Proof of registration with the local police in Montenegro – this is compulsory within the first 24 hours after your arrival in Montenegro;
• Proof of paying the residence permit fee of 25 EUR.
Please note that once you are granted a residence permit in Montenegro, you have to notify the local police any time you leave and return to the country. Our specialists in company registration in Montenegro can help you set up a company and apply for a residence permit.
Grounds for requiring a residence permit in Montenegro
According to the Montenegrin civil law, the residence permit can be issued for more than 90 days on the following grounds:
• Any other grounds stipulated by law or international agreements.
Obtaining a residence permit through company formation in Montenegro
One of the easiest ways of obtaining a Montenegro residence permit is by setting up a business in this country. Montenegro is not an EU country, therefore the procedures to be respected are more complex than in an EU state.
A foreigner interested in acquiring a temporary residence permit must first start the company incorporation procedure by preparing the documents needed to register the business. This implies having the business’ statutory documents drafted and notarized and opening the corporate bank account in order to deposit the share capital.
The minimum amount required to set up a company in Montenegro starts at 1 euro for limited liability companies, however, the amount of money will depend on the operations to be completed by the future company. Our Montenegro company formation consultants can offer legal assistance throughout the whole procedure related to the incorporation of the business with the Trade Register.
Opening a company in Montenegro allows a foreign entrepreneur to become an employee of the company, therefore, to work in this country, but also to bring other family members here and obtain temporary residence permits from themselves and their families. After 5 years of living in Montenegro based on a temporary residence permit, the foreign citizen can apply for a permanent residence permit. After 10 years, one can obtain a Montenegro passport.
Residency by investment in Montenegro
In 2015, the Montenegrin government decided to attract more foreign investors by following other European countries’ examples and created the residence by investment program. However, the program was only given the green light in 2018.
Under this program, a foreigner interested in obtaining a Montenegro residence permit is required to comply with the following conditions:
- to donate at least 100,000 euros to the government’s donations fund;
- to invest at least 250,000 euros in real estate in the northern part of the country which is considered underdeveloped;
- to invest at least 450,000 euros in real estate in the southern part of the country which is considered a developed region.
While the first condition is mandatory, at least one of the second conditions must be fulfilled. Through this program, Montenegro has become one of the most appealing countries for investors seeking to obtain residency by investment.
It is important to know that for the moment, only 2,000 applicants will be admitted to the program. Also, the residence permit by investment can be obtained in a very short period of time which can take up to 3 weeks. Based on this program, the applicant can receive a Montenegro citizenship within 6 months.
Our company registration specialists in Montenegro can offer full details on the residence by investment program and can help with the procedure of incorporating a business in this country.
How to obtain Montenegrin residence through the StartUp program
The StartUp Visa scheme is one of the most successful programs launched by many European countries which is also available in Montenegro for some time now. Often compared to residency by investment, this scheme has one important advantage over it and that is the lower investment requirement.
Foreign applicants seeking to obtain residence permits in Montenegro under this program need to invest a minimum amount of 100,000 euros in projects like real estate, research and development and new companies operating in various fields.
Our Montenegro company formation officers can offer more information on this program and can assist with the incorporation of a business that meets the program’s requirements.
Obtaining a Montenegro citizenship
One of the natural steps after obtaining a permanent residence permit in Montenegro is to become a citizen of this country. Under the regular conditions, the Montenegro citizenship can be obtained after living here for 10 consecutive years here based on the renewal of the residence permit.
In order to be allowed to apply for a Montenegro passport, a foreign citizen must prove he or she has sufficient funds for living here. Having a business or a job can help those who apply for citizenship.
Obtaining citizenship by investment is also possible in Montenegro, based on the above-mentioned program, under which the Montenegro passport can be obtained in 6 months.
Residency rules and benefits in Montenegro
There are several aspects to consider before moving to Montenegro and some of them are related to the type of residence permit obtained. Frist of all, when immigrating to Montenegro, a person must register with various authorities here. Among these, the tax authorities, followed by enrollment for healthcare and education, if the case requires.
This way, the residence permit holder will obtain benefits similar to those of Montenegro citizens.
We remind foreign citizens that they need to live in Montenegro for 183 days in a calendar year in order to be considered ta residents here. Under this rule, they will also be eligible for tax deductions and other benefits if their home of origin has a double tax treaty with Montenegro.
Furthermore, when immigrating to Montenegro and becoming residents here, after specific periods of time, applicants are allowed to apply for citizenship. The minimum waiting period to obtain a citizenship in this country is 10 years, however, some exception can apply if Montenegro has specific understandings with other countries. This will extend their rights and grant them Montenegrin passports.
With the rights also come the obligations of foreign citizens who obtain residence permits in Montenegro and these can be explained by our local consultants.
Why relocate to Montenegro
Many foreign citizens in search for an European country to relocate take a few moments before deciding for Montenegro as their next destination, as it is not a member of the EU. However, Montenegro is currently under the process of becoming an EU country. Furthermore, most of its national laws, including those related to taxation, have adhered to more EU directives so that once the country is part of the Union, the transition to be easier. Also, Montenegro has already adopted euro as an official currency.
Apart from this, there are many other reasons why foreign citizens should choose Montenegro as their country of residence in the near future. For example, Montenegro has a permissive visa regime which enables the travel of foreign citizens without too many formalities to complete.
The foreign investment legislation favors overseas entrepreneurs through the citizenship by investment program, but also on the fact that when a businessperson decides to open a company in Montenegro outside this program, he or she will benefit from the same treatment as local ones.
Thanks to the fact that Montenegro uses euro as official currency, has helped it maintain a steady economy which translates into stability for both employees and company owners.
When speaking about companies in Montenegro, these benefit from one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe, of only 9%. Moreover, all those who start companies in here are eligible for residence permits.
The favorable geographical location that places Montenegro just an hour and a half away from Central Europe and Asia is another reason to decide to move here. We also invite you to watch a video:
FAQ on residence permits in Montenegro
1. Is it hard to obtain a residence permit for Montenegro given it is not an EU country?
No, obtaining a Montenegro residence permit is not difficult, as the government respects EU regulations which allow foreign citizens to apply for temporary or permanent residence visas under very advantageous conditions.
2. How long does it take to obtain a residence permit in Montenegro?
The procedure of obtaining a Montenegro residence permit can be completed in a matter of weeks, depending on the way you decided to apply for it.
3. Is it hard to open a company in Montenegro if I want to apply for residency this way?
Call us now at +382 20 620 312to set up an appointment with our company formation agents in Podgorica, Montenegro. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to Montenegro.
As our client, you will benefit from the joint expertize of local lawyers and international consultants. Together we will be able to offer you the specialized help you require for your business start-up in Montenegro.