NORTH MACEDONIA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
Overview Located in southeast Europe, this small Balkan country occupying two-fifths of the region of Macedonia is landlocked by Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania and as such boasts a strategic position as a major transportation route across Europe. With a growing European economy, flexible taxation system, reliable banking and infrastructure, North Macedonia was not only ranked 17th on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index in 2020 but was recognised by The Economist as one of the five countries which improved the most in 2019. And with its culturally diverse population, stunning natural landscape, and welcoming hospitality, North Macedonia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for investors to move to.
Health and education The country has a state-funded healthcare system with employees and employers paying contributions into a health insurance fund though private healthcare and health insurance is also available. Primary education is universal and compulsory for eight years from age 7 with a further 4 years of secondary education available in specialised schools and both are free for citizens. Higher education includes two-year courses in colleges and academies and 2-6-year courses in universities with key institutions including the University for Information Science and Technology in Ohrid and the South East European University in Tetovo.
Transport Boasting reasonably modern road and rail links, the country has an historic rail link with Greece. Airports at Skopje and Ohrid serve international destinations.
Lifestyle Due to its vast diversity, a mix of Albanians, Serbs, Bosniaks and Turks, North Macedonia is a fascinating blend of rich cultures and local traditions with folk music and folk dancing still popular along with traditions such as wood carving. Annual festivals are held from the Balkan Festival of Folk songs and Dances to the Skopje Jazz Festival and an international poetry festival. The country offers an incredible landscape of lush mountainous areas with more mountains than any other country in the world, an abundance of forest areas and of lakes and rivers (including the oldest in Europe – Ohrid Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site) leading to a lifestyle rich in outdoor activity in both summer and winter including hiking, mountaineering, skiing, mountain biking and hunting. Crime rates are low, it’s easy to move around freely and safely, and are people very friendly and welcoming though it remains a conservative country.
Climate A moderate continental climate with temperatures averaging from 0C in winter to 25C in summer with the western, mountainous regions having more severe winters and the eastern areas with milder winters and hotter, drier summers. Generally, summer lasts around six months.
Population 100.4 million
Languages The official language is Macedonian
Religion It’s a real mix due to the diversity of cultures with the majority following a variety of Orthodox religion (Greeks practicing Orthodox, Slavic speakers practicing Orthodox Christian) and one-third (Turks, Albanians and Roma) following the Islamic faith.
Capital City Skopje, in the north of the country and halfway between the European cities of Belgrade and Athens
Currency The national currency is the Denar
GDP per capita $3,586,97 (2020)
Economy The country has a dynamic and growing economic climate including a booming agriculture and manufacturing industry and with a highly qualified workforce. It’s also one of the easiest countries to do business in worldwide. The country weathered the worldwide economic downturn that began in 2008 better than many other countries and was recognised by The Economist as one of the five countries most improved in 2019. Tax, both corporate and personal income, is also a lot lower here than many European countries and local legislation allows foreign ownership of property or corporates, creating an open environment for business and investment. In particular, the capital city of Skopje has achieved a positive financial development rate of 2-4% in the last few years.
Did you know…? Mother Teresa was Macedonia and there is a museum house dedicated to her in the centre of the capital city Skopje.
NORTH MACEDONIA CBI PROGRAMME
- Established 2021
- Minimum outlay €200,000
- Processing time 2-5 months
- Residency or travel requirements One pre-visit
- Freedom of movement 125 countries
- Investment Options 2
Overview One of the latest programmes on the CBI block, launching the business investment option in 2018 and the more affordable personal donation investment option this year, North Macedonia’s CBI programme offers citizenship of a European upper-middle income country with a favourable tax environment and a pretty powerful passport via 2 investment options with an affordable minimum outlay of €200,000. The country has recently acquired NATO membership and more importantly is currently undergoing negotiations with the European Union to become a member of the EU, with expectations of joining between 2023-2024.
Best for… Gaining affordable citizenship of a European country, with North Macedonia likely to join the EU in the next few years.
Pros You could argue that in light of becoming a future EU country that this is certainly an affordable CBI programme, but there are no guarantees. Applications allow dependents up to the age of 18 of both the main applicant and spouse. Processing times are just 2-5 months. Citizenship here has many benefits including visa-free access to 125 countries, the chance to apply for the E-2 investor visa in the US, free primary and secondary education and low corporate and personal income tax.
Cons While seemingly affordable int he CBI landscape with a minimum outlay of €200,000, this is just for a single applicant and without fees so for a family of four, the real cost for citizenship and without an investment in property (just a donation) is actually €400,000. The programme has an annual application quota, allowing just 1000 applicants to be approved each year. While North Macedonia could become an EU country, it has been negotiating this since 2005 and there are no guarantees. There is no real estate option under this programme so applicants can’t invest in property and the business investment option available is restricted and cannot be invested in hotels and trade sectors.
Ease of processing Takes between 2-5 months to gain citizenship, and there are no minimum residence period requirements or language requirements, although a personal trip to the country is required before granting of citizenship. Processing fees add up with a family of four costing €90,000. Foreigners must prove financial standing and police certificates of clearance with due diligence checks undertaken.
Freedom of movement Visa-free travel to 125 destinations, marking North Macedonia’s passport 47th (out of 116) most powerful in the world according to Henley’s Passport Index Q3 2021, with right of free movement to Hong Kong, Russia, Japan, Singapore, Turkey and Europe’s Schengen Area as well as giving you eligibility to apply for the E-2 investor visa in the US by obtaining five years renewable residency visa.
Investment options 2
NORTH MACEDONIA CBI INVESTMENTS
On top the option investments, applicants must pay processing fees (€50,000 for main applicant, €20,000 for spouse and €10,000 per child), inclusive of due diligence and other costs.
Option 1: Personal investment Make a minimum investment of €200,000 per person (€280,000 for a couple, €300,000 for a family of three and €310,000 for a family of four) in a private investment fund for a period of at least two years. There are further processing fees involved, however (see above), so the real cost of citizenship for a family of four would be €400,000.
Option 2 Business investment Make a direct investment of €400,000 per person in new facilities (except hospitality or retail) creating at least seven new jobs or in securities.
NORTH MACEDONIA RANKINGS
Passport Ranking (Henley Passport Index 2021) 47 / 116
Ease of doing business Ranking (Doing Business 2020, The World Bank) 17 / 190
Economic Freedom (2020 Index of Economic Freedom) 46 / 178