Montenegro Residency in 2023 - The Complete Guide

20 March 2023
Written By Jonathan Howe

Montenegro Residence and Citizenship Program 2023

A step-by-step guide to Montenegro Temporary Residence, Permanent Residence and Montenegro Citizenship in 2023

  • Montenegro, a picturesque country nestled in the heart of the Balkans, has become an increasingly popular destination for those seeking residency. The appeal of Montenegro residency lies in its stunning natural beauty, affordable living, and business-friendly environment. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the various types of residency, the real estate market, taxation and banking, and the Montenegrin lifestyle. We'll also go into detail on company registration in Montenegro and answer some frequently asked questions.
  • The sun, sea, healthy lifestyle, and Mediterranean culture make Montenegro the perfect place to live, to retire, to start a business or to work remotely as a “Digital Nomad.” However, if you don’t understand how the residency system in Montenegro works for foreigners, then you could make a mistake at the first hurdle. The important topics that this page covers, are the regulations around how long you can stay in Montenegro, how to obtain a Montenegro Residence Permit and how tax residency in Montenegro works for foreigners.
If you already know that you are interested in moving to Montenegro, but would like personalized advice on the process and how to get started, contact us to book a consultation call!
Are you looking for the best destinations for digital nomads in Montenegro? Then read this article - Discover the Best Places for Digital Nomads in Montenegro
Image if a man sitting on a cliff overlooking the sea in Montenegro
Residency in Montenegro in 2023 - The Complete Guide

Montenegro Residence Permits

If you want to stay in Montenegro for longer than the maximum stay your passport allows (usually 30 or 90 days), then you will need to apply for a Montenegro Residence Permit which will allow a stay of up to 12 months.
With Montenegro edging closer each year to EU membership, a central position close to major transport hub cities and a natural environment most people only dream about living in, it is no surprise that many people visit once and then decide they want to stay forever!
Montenegro is a very open country in its approach to inviting foreigners to visit for tourism and business. It is also very open to allowing foreigners to obtain residency in Montenegro, providing they meet some basic criteria and agree to follow some very simple rules.

What are the Types of Residence Permits in Montenegro?

1. Montenegro Temporary Residence Permit (Privremeni Boravak)

To stay in Montenegro longer than 90 days (or 30 days depending) you need a Temporary Residence Permit. This permit lasts for up to a year as long as the requirements are met (e.g., employment, studying, property ownership) They can be renewed each year which can lead to permanent residency after 5 years.

2. Montenegro Temporary Residence & Work Permit (Privremeni Boravak I Rad)

Montenegro Temporary Residency through company formation or through employment by another company will be granted as a Temporary Residence and Work Permit.
They can be renewed each year which can lead to permanent residency after 5 years.

3. Montenegro Permanent Residence Permit (Stalni Boravak)

These last for five years and can be renewed. This grants all the privileges of Montenegrin citizenship, except voting and carrying a Montenegrin passport.
A picture of a real Temporary Residence Permit in Montenegro
Temporary Residence Permit in Montenegro

How to Apply for Temporary Residency in Montenegro?

There are several acceptable reasons to apply for temporary residency in Montenegro, but the two most popular are:
  1. Temporary residency by property ownership.
  2. Temporary residency by Work Permit.

Temporary Residency in Montenegro by Property Ownership

  • If you are the owner of residential property in then you are eligible to apply for a Montenegro temporary residence permit. This is an annual residence permit and after 5 years of renewals the applicant is entitled to apply for Permanent Residence in Montenegro.
  • While there are some requirements to qualify, they are quite basic as long as the property is registered as a legal dwelling in the Katastar (national property register).
  • It is essential that applicants for temporary residence permits have no outstanding warrants or serious crimes on their record. This is proven via an original Criminal Record Background Check Certificate from the applicant’s home country.
  • It is important to remember that with temporary residence by property ownership, the permit ca be limited to spending no more than 90 days outside of Montenegro during the 12 month period their work permit. Spending longer outside the country could result in issues with renewing the permit.
  • This form of Montenegro temporary residence permit does not entitle the permit holder to work in Montenegro.
  • This form of Montenegro temporary residence permit does not entitle the permit holder to healthcare under the national healthcare system. Use of the healthcare system will be chargeable.

Documents Required for Temporary Residence by Property Ownership

  • Title document of the real estate - Original stamped copy, less than 7 days old.
  • Certificate of No Criminal Record from the same country as the passport, less than 6 months old (apostilled depending on country).
  • Proof of financial ability - minimum 3650 Euros held in a Montenegrin bank account (Bank Certificate)
  • Proof of local health insurance.
  • Birth Certificate for children under 18 (apostilled depending on country).
  • Marriage Certificate for married spouses (apostilled depending on country).
  • Passport valid for at least 3 months after expiry of the permit (At least 15 months for a 12 month permit).
Note - Any documents that are not in Montenegrin or Serbian language must be translated by a court certified translator.

Temporary Residency by Company Formation

  • Foreign citizens can register a company (LLC) in Montenegro in order to operate their own business and employ themselves as the executive director. This offer of employment forms the basis of the eligibility to apply for a Montenegro Temporary Residence and Work Permit.
  • As the executive director or a regular employee of a company in Montenegro, a foreigner must be a full time employee of that company.
  • Any company employee must be paid at least the national minimum salary of 450 Euros per month, with a further 120 Euros (approx) paid in employment taxes and social contributions.
  • This a more expensive option as not only will you need to operate a business, but you are required to pay yourself the minimum salary as well as taxes and social contributions, plus paying for local accounting.
  • This form of Montenegro temporary residence permit does entitle the permit holder to work in Montenegro, including outside of the company of employment.
  • This form of Montenegro temporary residence permit does entitle the permit holder to healthcare under the national healthcare system. Use of the healthcare system will not be chargeable, although some medicine prescriptions and treatments may be charged for.
The main advantage of this form of Montenegro Temporary Residence is that the executive director (and min 51% owner) is not limited to a maximum time spent outside of the country. Neither are their married spouse or dependent children.
(In this situation, the married spouse of the director and any children of dependent age can also be issued a residence permit as dependents of the executive director.)

Documents Required for Temporary Residence by Company Formation

For the company incorporation:
  • Signed and notarized special power of attorney (SPA)
  • Valid passport
  • Company name
  • Company activities (we can advise)
The special power of attorney needs to be signed and notarized with a Notary Official if made in person in Montenegro.
If the special power of attorney is sent from outside of Montenegro then it needs to be signed and notarized with a Notary Official in the source country (and apostilled depending on the country).
(The special power of attorney does not need to be made in the applicant's home country.)

For the work/residence permit applications
Founder/Exec director:
  • Valid passport with at least 18 months remaining
  • Certificate of no criminal record (with apostille) - Less than 6 months old.
  • Education diploma and transcript of grades (minimum high school level)
  • Proof of accommodation in Montenegro - 12-month accommodation rental contract.

For married spouse:
  • Valid passport with at least 18 months remaining
  • Certificate of no criminal record (with apostille) - Less than 6 months old.
  • Marriage certificate (original with Apostille)
  • Proof of accommodation in Montenegro - 12-month accommodation rental contract.

For children under 18:
  • Valid passport with at least 18 months remaining
  • Birth certificate (original with Apostille)
  • Proof of accommodation in Montenegro - 12-month accommodation rental contract.

Step-by-step process for Temporary Residence by Company Formation

Here is a breakdown of the process, in order of events:
(It has been noted where personal attendance is required)

  • Client arrives in MNE as a tourist, with a 90 days stay.
  • Sign a Power of Attorney with a notary for us to establish the company and file the required paperwork. (Personal attendance - Executive director)
(SPA can be completed and sent from outside Montenegro as described above)
  • Company Incorporation - 7 to 15 days
  • During this time the client can find an apartment to rent and sign a 12-month lease, also notarised. This lease must include the names and details of all applicants.
  • The client takes at least 2 official copies from the notary - 1 for the main applicant, and 1 for family members.
  • Executive Director Work Permit Application - 1 Day (Personal attendance - Executive director)
  • Executive Director Work Permit Collection - 15 Days later (sometimes longer)
Approximate total time for the Company Incorporation and Executive Director's permit - 4 weeks (Up to 6 weeks)

When we have collected the Executive Director's permit we can complete the following:

  • Submit family permit applications. (Personal attendance - All family applicants)
  • Open company and personal bank account. 1 to 2 days (Personal attendance - Executive director)
  • Have all accounting set up.
  • When family permits are ready, the spouse will also be able to open a personal bank account by showing their permit in the branch. (Personal attendance - Any bank account applicants)

Approximate total time for all residence permits to be issued - 6 to 8 weeks
It is possible in theory for a whole family to have their residence permits in 6 weeks if everything is perfect in terms of client schedules and there are no delays in the permit processing centers. However, in our experience, a more realistic expectation is between 6 and 8 weeks for a family.

Online Banking
Clients will have access to online banking for their company and personal bank accounts for the purpose of making salary and tax payments, with instructions from the accountant.

How can I apply for a Permanent Residence Permit in Montenegro?

Currently, to be eligible for permanent residency in Montenegro you must have:
  • 5 years of uninterrupted Temporary Residence
  • Pass a Montenegrin language test.
  • A criminal record background check with no serious criminal history, no unspent convictions or outstanding warrants.

How Can I obtain Citizenship in Montenegro?

There are officially two options for obtaining Montenegrin citizenship:

  1. The Montenegro Citizenship by Investment program was valid until the end of 2022. It has not yet been confirmed if it will be renewed or not.
  2. The most accessible method for most people to obtain Montenegrin citizenship is to hold Temporary Residence for 5 years, followed by 5 years of Permanent Residence, after which you may be eligible for Montenegrin citizenship.

What are the Tax Residency Rules in Montenegro?

While not tax-free the tax system in Montenegro is one of the most attractive in the world, especially when combined with the lifestyle that can be achieved here.
Depending on whether or not your home country has a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Montenegro, you may be able to relocate your own tax residency to Montenegro, whilst achieving non-resident status for tax purposes in your own country.
Chart showing income tax rates in Montenegro compared with other countries
Montenegro Income Tax Rates Comparison Chart

How Much are Income Taxes in Montenegro?

Personal Income Taxes in Montenegro

Income taxes in Montenegro are significantly lower than many other countries, with the base income tax rate being 9% for both corporate and personal income tax and 15% for higher rates of domestic and worldwide income.
According to PWC - Worldwide Tax Summaries, personal income for foreigners is taxed in the following manner:
“From January 1st 2022, Montenegro introduced a progressive taxation of salary:
  • Salaries up to EUR 700 (gross) are exempt from tax;
  • Salaries ranging from EUR 701 up to EUR 1,000 (gross) are subject to 9% tax;
  • Salaries from EUR 1001 (gross) are subject to 15% tax.”

"One of the biggest changes in 2022 is the introduction of a new rate of income tax for entrepreneurs:
  • From EUR 8,400.01 to EUR 12,000 is subject to 9% tax;
  • From EUR 12,000.01 is subject to 15% tax.”

Corporate Income Taxes in Montenegro

“Entities operating in Montenegro are subject to progressive corporate profit tax (CPT). Applicable tax rate depends on the realized profit of taxpayers and tax rate varies from 9% -15%. Progressive tax rate are as follows:
  • On the profit up to EUR 100,000, the tax rate shall be 9% fixed;
  • On the profit from EUR 100,000.01 to EUR 1,500,000, the tax shall be paid in the amount of EUR 9,000 fixed + 12% on the profit above EUR 100,000.01;
  • On the profit above EUR 1,500,000, the tax shall be paid in the amount of EUR 177,000 fixed + 15% on the profit above EUR 1,500,000.01.
Resident taxpayers are taxed on their worldwide profit. Non-resident taxpayers are taxed on their Montenegrin-sourced income or income attributed to their Montenegrin permanent establishment (PE). Non-residents are also subject to withholding tax (WHT) on income sourced in Montenegro.
(There are more details to the regulation of income taxes in Montenegro for both domestic and foreign income, which are broader than the scope of this article).

Which Countries have Double Taxation Treaties with Montenegro?

The following list of countries have double taxation treaties with Montenegro at the time of writing this article:
Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, India, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Malta, Holland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. Income tax treaties with Spain and Qatar are pending.

A Brief Summary of the Residence system for foreigners in Montenegro

  • As you can see, Montenegro offers an attractive opportunity for a second residence for foreigners. For retirement and property ownership, it offers the ability to live on the beautiful Adriatic coast at fraction of the cost in neighbouring European or EU countries. Check out our article about the Cost of Living in Montenegro.
  • By setting up a company in Montenegro foreigners can take advantage of the low rates of taxation while living here full time with an annual work permit and permits for their family.
  • Montenegro residency offers numerous benefits, including a comfortable lifestyle, stunning landscapes, and attractive investment opportunities. With a range of residency options, such as temporary and permanent residency, and the Citizenship by Investment Program, Montenegro is an appealing destination for those seeking a new home or business venture. By understanding the various residency paths, real estate market, taxation, and banking systems, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision about your Montenegrin journey.
If you would like to learn more about the process of moving to Montenegro and gaining temporary residence through any of these methods, then please get in contact to arrange a consultation call.
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