Why Montenegro is attracting South African investors

Montenegro, a tiny country situated on the Balkan coast, has become a popular tourism destination in recent years, and is fast being recognised as a place for foreigners to invest in property.

Now, South Africans looking for offshore investments linked to citizenship, visa-free travel and possible access to an EU passport, are focusing on Montenegro as an option, according to Andrew Rissik, director at Sable International, who said that the country has embarked on a number of programmes to attract foreign investment.

“Already classified by the World Bank as an upper middle-income country, Montenegro is in the process of joining the European Union. Montenegro is a future candidate for EU membership and will join the Schengen area by 2025,” said Rissik.

Having shaken off its Eastern Bloc legacy, Montenegro has embarked on a programme to attract wealth and investment to the country.

To attract investors, Montenegro has launched a Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBIP) with the aim of encouraging and facilitating foreign direct investment, offering a Montenegrin passport and associated citizenship to investors that make a defined economic contribution to the country.

“South Africans keen to establish a base in Europe, are opting for the Montenegro economic citizenship programme,which allows foreigners to be granted the citizenship of Montenegro through a designated investment. The programme enables instant Montenegro citizenship and passport within three months,” said Rissik.

The Montenegrin passport is ranked 42nd in the world with visa free access to 123 countries including EU Schengen states, Russia, Turkey, Singapore etc. A visa is needed to travel to United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and United States.It already allows free movement in EU countries and Schengen area.

“Montenegro offers low tax policy for established businesses and individuals, and property prices are still among the cheapest in Europe. This may change when they are included in the EU and we expect property values to rise,” said Rissik.

“Regardless, Montenegro is incredibly beautiful, with an amazing coastline and an interesting culture. It’s becoming the new playground of wealthy global citizens and adventure travellers. Who knows, it could become the next Monte Carlo.”

Investment criteria

For the Montenegro citizenship-by-investment programme,applicants are required to invest in approved real estate projects within the country.

“Depending on where the selected projects are, you have a choice of investment levels, whereby you can either invest a minimum of EUR 250,000 in government approved development projects inland, or invest EUR 450,000 into the more developed southern coastal region and Podgorica,” said Rissik.

“In addition to which ever option you choose, you must contribute EUR 100,000 in the form of a government fund donation. This is invested in a find for the less developed areas of Montenegro.”

A development in the UNESCO protected Bay of Kotor, is capturing SA investors’ attention, said Rissik.

Montenegro facts:

  • Area 13.812 km²
  • Population: 662 000
  • Over 280 sunny days per year
  • 295 km of coastline
  • 73 km of beaches
  • Currency: EURO

Read: Where in Europe wealthy South Africans are buying property

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Why Montenegro is attracting South African investors