Monaco’s Citizenship by Investment Program
Monaco is a small country located in the French Riviera that has a large reputation. Its exquisite beaches, temperate climate, and infamous city of Monte Carlo have attracted wealthy investors, travelers, and celebrities alike. The nation has a population of about 33,000 residents, composed of Monaco nationals and expatriates from Franc, Italy, Great Britain, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa, making Monaco truly a home away from home for many foreign nationals.
With French as its official language and English and Italian widely spoken and taught in schools, Monaco enjoys a uniquely multicultural and multilingual society. The nation boasts excellent school systems, well-established transportation avenues, and a thriving economy. Due to these benefits, foreign investors are turning to Monaco as their preferred destination to move both their money and their family.
How to Become a Monaco Citizen through Investment
To become a Monaco permanent resident (and ultimately a citizen), the foreign national must meet multiple requirements. First, the foreign national must invest a minimum of 1,000,000 euros – 500,000 euros of which must be deposited and kept in a Monaco bank. The other 500,000 euros must be put towards the purchase of a deed of property worth that amount. Additionally, the foreign national must also prove to the Monaco government that the national has sufficient bank funds to provide for the national’s residence in the country (verified by references from the national’s bank) and that the national has the means to procure adequate accommodations in the country.
Finally, the prospective investor must possess a clean criminal record. After the investor provides this evidence to the Monaco government, an immigration official will conduct a personal interview with the investor.
Upon approval at the interview, the investor and family are given permanent resident status. As permanent residents, they are eligible to live, work, and travel in Monaco and in ten years they may apply for citizenship (through a process called naturalization) as long as the family spent at least 6 months of every year physically residing in Monaco. Additionally, as a resident the investor may establish his/her own commercial enterprise in any of Monaco’s economic sectors. Some of the country’s most successful industries include ship management, private banking, financial services, and asset management.
The Naturalization Process
Foreign nationals seeking to become Monaco citizens must meet the following requirements. First, they must have continuously resided in the country for ten years. Second, they must no longer be subject to conscription or military service in another country. Third, they must renounce any foreign nationality they currently possess. Monaco does not recognize any dual nationality.
Importantly, because Monaco strictly forbids any holding of dual nationality, there are multiple ways that individuals may lose their Monaco citizenship. Citizenship may be forfeited if the individual acquires a separate foreign nationality, performs military service for a foreign nation without the permission of the Monaco government, or is otherwise deemed to have compromised or harmed the security of the country.
The Monaco government may deny a naturalization application even if the investor meets all of the requirements. These denials may not be appealed though the investor may reapply multiple times.
Benefits of Monaco Citizenship
While Monaco is a member of the United Nations, it is currently not a member of the European Union so the country is empowered to make its own laws, regulations, and directives concerning taxes and other banking and financial matters. Monaco citizenship offers many financial and economic benefits that entice foreign investors to relocating to this nation. For example, Monaco does not impose any income tax, wealth tax, local tax, or capital gains tax on its citizens. Additionally, the country collects a corporate income tax and inheritance tax that is very small in comparison to other countries. The country is party to only one tax treaty and that treaty is with France.
Because Monaco strictly forbids dual nationality, investors must consider how renunciation of their previous nationality (which may affect their ability to return to their home country) and a host of other factors when deciding where to commit their funds and where to relocate their families. It is advisable to work with a knowledgeable immigration attorney on these matters in order to find the right investment scheme and location that works best for the foreign national.