Playing big: how to become a citizen of Monaco

Playing big: how to become a citizen of Monaco

Multimillionaires are very selective in their choice of residence, and Monaco is one of the few countries that meets their needs

Financially independent (in other words, wealthy) citizens, on the one hand, fully value their sovereignty, but on the other hand, are prone to mobility (change of principal residence), as a family, at any time, and sometimes without any good reason. There are many opportunities: Australia, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Cyprus, Italy… The number of countries and programs ready to satisfy even the most demanding migrant is astonishingly diverse.

Another thing is when we are talking about ultra-wealthy individuals who do not want to leave Europe. Then, according to most immigration experts, the choice is narrowed to just three destinations: Monaco, Switzerland and the UK.

And the advantages of Monaco, with its compactness and excellent Mediterranean climate, seem very convincing. It is claimed, for example, that Monaco is the safest place in the world. It has a population of almost 40,000 and a police force of just under 600. That is, there are 80 citizens for every police officer. In addition, more than 500 surveillance cameras are strategically placed along the borders. This allows the police to monitor almost every corner of the principality.

And what about military power? Monaco’s army consists of 82 soldiers, which is less than the Principality’s military orchestra with 85 musicians.

Monaco is a celebrity club. On the streets it is easy to bump into the royalty of the House of Grimaldi, a Formula One driver or Ringo Starr himself. Russian speech is not uncommon. So there’s a chance to feel almost at home.

But don’t get carried away. To become a participant in the Festival of Life in Monaco is not for everyone, for this at least requires significant financial resources and an impeccable reputation. And the reputation is important not only in order to get an “admission ticket” – the resident’s card. It is simply necessary for those who hope to benefit from contacts and surroundings after the move. To understand who could be among the potential neighbors: in the tiny Monaco is currently home to more than 2500 millionaires, each of whom has assets estimated at more than € 10 million. Monaco – the leader in the world ranking of countries by the size of the state per capita – about € 2 million. For the next princedom Liechtenstein and Luxembourg are typical values of the order of € 700 000 and € 350 000.

The authorities are convinced that if they do accept new “members of the club”, then at least equal in material well-being.

That is why, to begin the process of obtaining residency, you must open an account in one of the banks in Monaco and “present” their financial assets, placing, for example, some money on deposit, which will remain inviolable for the duration of residence in the Principality. The amount of the deposit will advise the bank, but be guided by the amount of €500,000. Of course, you will have questions about the source of funds. In exceptional cases, the bank may request a tax return of the client, as well as corporate tax returns, if the client owns a business.

The next step – renting or purchasing a home. In Monaco, there are no problems with proposals, nor with agencies that will help to find a suitable property. The only obstacle is the cost. To clarify: a posh mansion in the suburbs can be exchanged (due to equality of market prices) for a studio apartment in Monaco. If there is no desire to part with a few million euros at once, it is advisable to rent an apartment. According to Knight Frank (The Wealth Report 2018), the cost per square meter of housing in Monaco is higher than in Hong Kong, New York, London or Singapore. A respectable first place with a decent margin over the competition.

Formally, the question of reliability is solved by providing criminal records (certificate of no criminal record) of all countries where the future resident lived for the last five years. In fact, the case may not be limited to these certificates: the authorities have the right to require any documents relating to the identity of the applicant and his family members.

However, there is no point in describing the contents of the package of documents for obtaining residency, especially when we are talking about financially independent applicants. Let us pay attention to something else. If the applicant is a citizen of a country in the European Economic Area, this fact gives him the right to apply for residency in Monaco. Third country nationals must first apply to the French Consulate in their country of residence to obtain a D visa, then enter the country and make the final arrangements. The only exception is for owners of immovable property in Monaco, provided that they apply to the Minister of the Interior and obtain authorisation to apply at the French Consulate in the Principality.

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