With the obvious benefits of living in Monaco, like a great climate, virtually no taxes and a very accessible location, it’s no surprise that lots of people want to come and live in the principality. You can stay for three months as a tourist, but any longer than that and you will need to apply for residency.
So how can you make the Monaco lifestyle a reality in your own life? The answer is, provided you have the financial means, it’s not an overly complex process. Let me walk you through the main steps:
1. You need a Monaco bank account
It all starts with choosing from the wide range of banks who have representation in Monaco and completing an application. If your goal in opening the account is to achieve residency status, then you’re going to need at least a €500,000 deposit. I emphasise the words ‘at least’ because some private banks in Monaco will ask for €1 million or more from new account holders. If this level of funding requirement comes as a shock to you, you’re probably not ready for Monaco residency.
After completing the paperwork and transferring the funds, it will take two or three weeks for the bank to set up the account for you. At this point they will issue the all important attestation bancaire, a letter they send to the Surete Publique (the immigration department) confirming that you have sufficient financial means to support yourself as a resident of Monaco.
2. You need a property in Monaco
Clearly you won’t want to stay in a hotel on a permanent basis, so you need to find a place to call home. This is where we come in. We have access through our carefully curated partner network to every home that is for sale or to rent in Monaco. In some cases even to private sales that never appear on a Monaco real estate agent’s website.
This could be your second shock – Monaco really does have the highest property prices on planet earth and they are not for the faint-hearted! From a residency perspective there are two key facts to be aware of:
- The property must be an appropriate size for the number of people that will live there. A family of four proposing to hang out in a one room studio will be interdit
- If you are proposing to rent a property you must have a lease for at least 12 months and you will need to pay 3 months rent up front plus another 3 months rent as a security deposit
Please see my separate articles on buying or renting Monaco real estate, but let me make one thing clear. With more millionaires per head of population than any other country, these people are not stupid. The reason they pay such high prices for apartments in a 2 square kilometre territory on the southern tip of France is decades of proof that these properties make great investments. The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 barely caused a blip in the annual increase in Monaco property prices. The global pandemic of 2020 looks like being the same.
If you invest €5 million in a Monaco apartment and experience the same 10% per annum capital growth as we’ve seen since 2010 you would double your money by the end of this decade. With no capital gains tax in the Principality that would mean a tax free gain of €5 million. What other investments in your portfolio are likely to offer that kind of return?
3. You submit your Residency Application
With your bank account and your home sorted out, it’s time to submit your residency application and make your appointment for your residency interview. There’s a few things you’ll need to bring along to the meeting:
- A fully completed official set of residency application forms which are provided by the immigration department (Surete Publique).
- Proof of purchase of your Monaco home or the lease on your rental property which must be for a minimum of 12 months.
- The electricity contract for your Monaco home (the estate agent can help with details like electricity supply and Wifi).
- The letter from your bank (attestation bancaire) mentioned in section 2 above.
- A valid passport for each applicant
- Each applicant’s birth certificate
- Certificates of marriage or divorce if relevant
- A criminal record check from the police in your country of origin showing that you have been a good boy or girl for at least the last five years. Please don’t leave this until the last minute as many police forces need several weeks to provide these certificates.
- A mini CV showing your educational and business or professional experience as well as how your wealth has been acquired, for example from the sale of a business. This will need to be in French.
- If you are over 70 years of age you will need to provide evidence of having private health insurance that is valid for residence in Monaco
Phew! Now that you’re laden down with all that paperwork you can turn up for a fairly short meeting with an Immigration Officer at the Surete Publique. Needless to say, the more complete your documentation and the more confident you are at speaking French the easier this interview will be. If you’re starting to feel ever so slightly daunted by all this, you might want us to introduce you to one of our partners who can hand hold you through each step of the journey.
Assuming all goes well at the interview, the residency permit should be available around eight weeks later. This is valid for 12 months and needs to be renewed each year for the first three years. At that stage you will be issued with a Monaco residency permit valid for three years so you can relax for another 36 months before your next renewal. Each renewal will need you to complete another set of residency forms, bring your latest electricity bills and a fresh letter from your bank confirming that you continue to be financially self-sufficient.
If you’re an EU passport holder, the whole process should take around three months end to end. If you’re a non-EU passport holder, Brexiting Brits beware, it’s more likely to take between five and seven months a year.
Two final points about living in Monaco. Unlike some residency programmes, there is a minimum requirement that you spend at least three months of each year actually living in Monaco. It doesn’t have to be all in one go, but having gone to all this trouble to achieve Monaco residency it’s surely not too challenging to make sure you spend at least 90 days in your new home?
And finally, no matter how long you might live in Monaco don’t get any ideas about becoming a citizen with a shiny new Monegasque passport. You either have to be born in the Principality or be very well connected with the Royal family such that they might bestow citizenship upon you.
The good news is you can enjoy all the benefits of Monaco living without needing to become a citizen.
Ready to start the process? Click here and let’s talk.