31,223 (July 2021 est.)
note: immigrants make up almost 68% of the total population, according to UN data (2019)
Monaco is a small city-state located in Southwestern Europe on the northern central coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco is bordered by France. The government system is a constitutional monarchy; the chief of state is the prince, and the head of government is the minister of state. As one of the smallest independent states in the world, almost the entire country is urban. Monaco has a service-based market economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system.
The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign state recognized as independent in numerous international treaties. It is a constitutional monarchy: its ruling family (the Grimaldi family) have ruled since 1297 and are assisted by an appointed Government and an elected Parliament.
Monaco is a member of the UN and the Council of Europe and therefore applies the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Unless there are specific and rare circumstances (that is, due to the effects of a particular treaty, such as banking, where French law applies), Monaco legislates directly on all matters itself including on immigration.
Monaco is not a member of the EU. Therefore, the rights established by the EU treaties (including the Treaty establishing the European Community and other subsequent treaties) do not apply to Monaco. Monaco enacts its own legislation independently of EU member states.
Monaco enjoys a long-standing relationship with France. A variety of treaties dealing with customs, tax, banking, insurance, administrative and protective measures between Monaco and France reinforce that relationship.
There are no border controls between France and Monaco because there is a Customs Union in place between the two countries. However, there is a very well-defined difference in land ownership between the two countries. Entry in Monegasque territory is highly policed by both police officers and CCTV cameras. These measures exist for the security and protection of the people living in Monaco.
Broadband average connection speed (Mbit/s)- 220.35
Electricity in Monaco. In Monaco the power plugs and sockets are of type E and F. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
PER CAPITA GDP
$152,700 (2015 est.)
$109,200 (2014 est.)
$101,900 (2013 est.)
Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers
RESIDENCY- BY- INVESTMENT
RESIDENCY IN MONACO
The requirements to become resident in Monaco are not as strict as commonly thought, but it is nevertheless advisable to employ a consultant or lawyer to handle an application for residence on your behalf. To become resident, you must be able to show sufficient means to be able to afford the lifestyle, in particular, the rent and prices for real estate, which are comparable to big capital cities. HTJ believes that the most common route (at least for our clients) is that of being an entrepreneur.
To reside in Monaco, an individual must be able to prove the following to the Immigration Police:
- The existence of a property in which the applicant can reside in Monaco (whether they lodge in, rent or own such a property, the individual’s right to reside in the property must run for at least one year).
- That they have the financial means to support themselves in Monaco (whether from private means, or as a consequence of working in Monaco either as an employee or a self-employed person).
- That they have no criminal record.
Monaco makes no distinction between the process/procedures for those looking to settle in Monaco for purely personal reasons and those who settle for investment/business/work reasons (for example, setting up a business or joining an existing business in some capacity). To obtain a Residency Card, all applicants must:
- Satisfy the visa application requirements. However, an individual goes through a simplified application in certain circumstances.
- Attend the Immigration Police interview to apply for the Residency Card.
- An individual who moves to Monaco with no intention to set up a business or work as an employee is not obliged by the Immigration Police to take out private healthcare cover. However, this may be advisable because state healthcare is not available to individuals who only possess Monegasque residency.
If the applicant is looking to reside in Monaco solely on the basis of starting a business (whether in their own name or in some partnership, corporate or branch form), they must first obtain a valid business licence from the Monaco Government before being able to obtain a Residency Card. Business licences are granted based on both the:
- Applicant’s personal circumstances and skills.
- Nature and desirability of the business the individual is proposing to set up.
The grant of a business licence is discretionary. However, to obtain a business licence the applicant must prove (as a minimum) that:
- They possess the relevant qualification to properly operate the business.
- The business will conduct its affairs from physical premises situated in Monaco (if these premises have been approved by the authorities for the conduct of such business).
There is a need for the business in Monaco (this usually means that the business sector concerned is not already over-subscribed). Special rules exist for businesses which operate in regulated sectors such as the medical, legal and financial sectors. If the business already exists as an approved enterprise and the applicant is joining it as an employee, the criterion for immigration is not whether the business itself is going to be approved but whether the employee is fit to carry out the proposed job. Although easily obtained for certain businesses (such as Single Family Offices or luxury goods businesses), a business licence can be difficult to obtain for more specialised businesses (such as for real estate agents, accountants, doctors and lawyers).
All individuals (regardless of nationality) can freely acquire or rent property in Monaco without obtaining permission. However, once the property is secured, the right to:
- Reside in it for more than three months over a period of 12 months will depend on the individual obtaining a Monaco Residency Card.
- Carry out a business activity requiring a licence will depend on the individual obtaining such a business licence.
However, the size of Monaco’s territory (only one square mile) puts pressure on an individual’s ability to afford to move to Monaco purely on economic grounds. Similar concerns apply to those who move to Monaco for business reasons because the costs of rent will be high in comparison to most other territories. The applicant must therefore strike the right balance between the cost of living and the advantages of doing business in Monaco.
- A minimum depositing of at least EUR 500,000
All applicants must demonstrate financial self-sufficiency to live in Monaco. Financial self-sufficiency may be demonstrated by depositing at least EUR 500,000 into a local bank account in the applicant’s name OR showing the applicant is employed by a Monaco company OR forming a new company in Monaco that creates at least ten new jobs OR providing a letter of support from a close relative with whom the applicant plans to live in Monaco.
Applicants must also demonstrate proof of accommodation. Proof of accommodation may entail acquiring local real estate OR renting an apartment for a minimum of one year OR being the director of a company that holds corporate real estate in Monaco OR providing a letter and proof of property ownership/rental from a close relative with whom the applicant plans to live in Monaco.
Unless an individual is exempt from the general application process, they must obtain an establishment visa (visa de long séjour) at the French Consulate of their country of residence if they wish to spend more than three months in Monaco in any 12-month period, (whether settling for personal or business purposes). If an individual has been living in France for more than one year, the visa request must be made at the French Embassy in Monaco. Once they obtain the establishment visa, the applicant must present it to the Monaco Immigration Police (Sûreté Publique) (that is, a state body that forms a part of the Monaco Government through Monaco’s Interior Ministry). Based on the establishment visa and other relevant documents, Monaco’s Immigration Police can issue the applicant with a Monaco Residency Card (carte de séjour), which will entitle that individual to spend more than three months in any 12-month period in Monaco.
- Visa free travel to over 160 countries, including the USA, Canada, and Europe
Generally, residency application processing takes two to five months to complete. Citizenship may be applied for after 10 years of residency (in rare circumstances).
Obtaining residency is a two-stage process which consists of:
- Applying for an establishment visa at the relevant French Consulate. Some individuals do not require an establishment visa (see below).
- Making a Monaco residency request with the Monaco Immigration Police.
- Regardless of whether the applicant is applying to settle in Monaco for personal or business/employment/investment reasons, they must file an application for a French establishment visa/long stay visa to reside in Monaco. The application must be filed at the French Consulate of the country in which they are currently residing. This does not apply to exempt individuals (see below).
It generally takes three months to obtain the establishment visa. Once the applicant obtains the establishment/long stay visa, they must travel to Monaco to carry out the second stage of the application process, to obtain the Residency Card. To do so, the applicant must make an appointment for an interview with the Monaco Immigration Police. At the interview, the applicant must:
- Present their passport along with the establishment/long stay visa stamped in it (unless they are exempt from having to do so).
- Provide recent proof that they have not been convicted of criminal offences in the country (or countries) in which they have previously resided for the last five years.
- Prove that they have secured a place to live in Monaco (whether purchased or rented) in which they are actually residing.
The Director of the Immigration Police issues the Residency Card once the Immigration Police have interviewed the applicant in person. The interview must take place in Monaco at the police premises. During the interview, the police will:
- Take a photograph of the applicant for the purposes of the Residency Card.
- Look at the applicant’s passport and establishment/long-stay visa and enquire about the applicant’s:
- family and business history;
- ability to sustain themselves;
- reasons expressed to move to Monaco;
- other family members/dependants moving with them;
- absence of criminal record; and
- access to available accommodation in Monaco.
If the individual is looking to move to Monaco for personal reasons (such as retiring), the Immigration Police will require proof of means in the form of a Monaco Bank Attestation (see Question 4, Investors) confirming the individual is sufficiently wealthy to live in Monaco without needing to work. Monaco banks, which provide the Bank Attestation, will not generally do so unless the applicant has at least EUR500,000 lodged with them (and in many cases substantially more). If the individual is looking to move to Monaco for business/work reasons (that is, to set up a business or become an employee of an existing business), the Immigration Police will require proof that the business is being set up or a copy of an employment contract with the existing business.
A Residency Card is initially granted for one year (Temporary Card). The Temporary Card can be extended by a year during the first two years. After three years, the cardholder can apply for a three-year card (Ordinary Card). The cardholder can renew the three-year Ordinary Card twice. At the end of the 12-year period, the cardholder can be granted a ten-year card (Privileged Card).
A simplified application process allows an individual to apply for a Monaco Residency Card directly through the Immigration Police without having to obtain an establishment/visa. Whether an individual is eligible to do so depends entirely on their nationality. However, they must still attend the police interview and present the required documentation (save for the establishment/long stay visa). Nationals of the following countries are eligible for the simplified process:
- All EU member states.
The time frame depends on the type of process the applicant is subject to:
The normal process takes about three months to obtain the establishment/long stay visa via the French Consulate and two to four weeks to obtain the Residency Card from the Monaco Immigration Police, pursuant to the interview with the Immigration Police.
The simplified process takes six to eight weeks to obtain the Residency Card from the date of the Immigration Police interview in Monaco.
The applicant can live in Monaco as a tourist until the process is completed. This allows the applicant to reside in Monaco until they discover the outcome of their application.
The Immigration Police can withdraw a Monaco Residency Card or choose not to renew it if there is a sufficient reason. The primary reason for the Immigration Police not to renew an existing Residency Card is because the holder has not fulfilled the residence criteria for the year before (that is to say they have not spent at least three months in Monaco over that period). If a cardholder qualifies for renewal, and wishes to renew their Residency Card, they must present it to the Immigration Police in the month before its expiry date together with the required renewal papers. The current Residency Card will indicate the expiry date.
General Process and Time Frame for Obtaining Citizenship
The opportunity to obtain Monegasque citizenship is rare. Citizenship rights can arise through marriage to a Monegasque citizen after a certain amount of years, or because a person is born to a Monegasque citizen parent, but being born in the Principality to foreign parents, or living and/or working in the Principality for any period of time do not carry or grant any entitlements to citizenship.
There are some 9,000 Monaco citizens. While naturalisation as a Monaco citizen is possible (the law refers to a minimum period of residency of at least ten years before this can be contemplated), it is rarely granted and is essentially the prerogative of the Sovereign Prince. Therefore, the grant of citizenship does not flow automatically because the applicant has spent a number of years in the Principality and/or made any investment in Monaco.
For example, in 2010 only six naturalisations occurred. Most of these were for individuals who either:
- Were born in and had lived their entire lives in Monaco.
- Had rendered some special services to the Principality for the ruling family.
- It is not possible to buy citizenship or invest in a programme to expect it. Individuals should not move to the Principality with the expectation of qualifying for Monegasque citizenship after a period of years.
- There is no anticipated legislation in respect of changes to the immigration laws in Monaco.
- International Issues
So far as Schengen countries are concerned (that is, a number of European countries drawn from the EU and the EEA, and Switzerland, but which do not include the UK and Ireland), an individual who possesses a Monaco Residency Card can travel in Schengen countries without having to obtain a separate visa for each country.
The establishment/long stay visa secured from France at the outset of the relationship with Monaco means that individuals who possess a Monaco Residency Card can use it as a travel document together with their passport. This is less relevant to EU citizens, who can travel freely within Schengen states anyway. For certain other citizens, holding a Monaco Residency Card is valuable because it gives them free access to travel to other European states within the Schengen area.
If changes arise, they are likely to be as a result of changes to Schengen rules, as opposed to changes in domestic legislation.
Monegasque 32.1%, French 19.9%, Italian 15.3%, British 5%, Belgian 2.3%, Swiss 2%, German 1.9%, Russian 1.8%, American 1.1%, Dutch 1.1%, Moroccan 1%, other 16.6% (2016 est.)
note: data represent population by country of birth
French (official), English, Italian, Monegasque
Roman Catholic 90% (official), other 10%
total: 55.4 years
male: 53.7 years
female: 57 years (2020 est.)
urban population: 100% of total population (2021)
rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030
7.51 physicians/1,000 population (2015)
Personal Income Tax Rate (highest marginal tax rate) – Monaco levies no income tax on individuals.
Corporate Income Tax Rate (excluding dividend taxes) – Companies earning over 75% of their revenue within the Principality of Monaco are thus not liable for business profits tax. The tax rate is 33.33% and applies to all corporate profits net of expenses.
Monaco has deposited its instrument of ratification with the OECD, the convention came into effect on 1 May 2019.