Filipinos can soon reside in and travel across EU countries with ease through Montenegro’s Citizenship-by-Investment Program.
Some of the most powerful passports in the world are from Europe, particularly those from the European Union (EU). Obtaining a visa or any sort of residency status among these countries is almost always a complicated, long-drawn-out affair. But a program from Montenegro might make a Filipino’s euro dreams be in shorter reach.
Called Citizenship-by-Investment Program, it allows applicants to be citizens by investing in a government-approved project and a capital fund contribution in the Balkan country. Fortunately, there is no need to reside in Montenegro for any specific timeframe before applying. One only has to be a passport holder by going through a short due diligence process.
Investing to move
The Honorary Consul to Montenegro Vanessa Ledesma shared in an interview how Filipinos can easily apply for a Montenegrin visa. The process involves visiting the Montenegro consulate office in Makati City. A more promising option, as Ledesma explains, is obtaining Montenegro citizenship.
What makes this significant is in 2025, the Balkan country is set to be part of the European Union (EU). When one has their visa, it automatically means carrying the Schengen visa as well. The latter is what gives access to the Schengen Area or the 26 European countries which have already abolished passports in their internal borders.
The primary benefit of citizenship is access to 124 destinations including Russia, Turkey, and the Schengen Area. Either you won’t be needing a visa anymore or your visa will be handed to you upon arrival at your destination.
Another major advantage is citizenship to a future EU country which provides settlement rights. This means any citizen of the EU country can live, study, and work within any EU country, providing ease of residency especially for those with families.
Vetting and qualifications
The Citizenship-by-Investment Program launched in 2019, an effort to increase the economic activity within their country. While it may be an exciting prospect, it entails a stringent process.
Thorough background checks and rigorous vetting of the investments are required. And, while there is no need to reside in Montenegro, the applicant must travel at least once for the biometric scanning at the latter part of the process. The applicant must be over 18 years of age and can include spouse and dependent children not over 18 years old. They must hold a valid passport, proof of source of income or funds, and no criminal record.
The main route to qualifying for the program is an investment in government-approved real estate projects. The first one totals EUR 450,000-worth of properties in Podgorica which is the capital of Montenegro, or in coastal regions. The second option totals EUR 250,000-worth of properties in central or northern Montenegro, excluding Podgorica. After five years, successful applicants have the option to liquidate these investments.
Apart from these requirements, there is a government fee of EUR 100,000 for every application. This will go straight to the funding of improving the country’s under-developed areas.
A short process
The applications will then go through the three government-sanctioned agents Henley & Partners, Arton Group GmbH, and Apex Capital Partners via Discus Holdings. It takes a total of three months to process and the procedure is as follows:
- Signing the agreement and preliminary check of the agent
- Investment project selection and signing investment documentation
- Full payment of investment, government fees, and donation
- Submission of the necessary documents and application for citizenship
- Obtaining a positive decision and a certificate of naturalization
- Taking of biometric data in Montenegro
- Citizenship oath
- Receiving the passport
Once approved, the applicant is exempt from having dual citizenship (Montenegrin and the country of origin). It is also good to note that Montenegro citizenship is valid for a lifetime and can also be passed down to succeeding generations. Families can have new beginnings in this wonderful Balkan country.
Photos from Golden Visas and Porto Montenegro.