Monaco is a small country in the French Riviera with a considerable reputation. Its exquisite beaches, temperate climate, and infamous city of Monte Carlo have attracted wealthy investors, travellers, and celebrities. 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.
Monaco enjoys a uniquely multicultural and multilingual society with French as its official language and English and Italian widely spoken and taught in schools. 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 their money and family.
Before we begin, we would like to state Le Conseiller de Gouvernement Ministre des Finances et de L’Economie has requested us to clarify that Monaco Citizenship and residency cannot be bought, and strict rules apply. They are keen to emphasise Monaco does NOT Sell residence by investment or Citizenship by investment. As per their recent statement published on the OECD official website.
Monaco investor visas for non-EU nationals provide an opportunity to obtain Citizenship and ultimately the freedom to reside anywhere within the European Union.
At Sterling Migration, we are experts in the niche area of residency and Citizenship for investors. Our team strive to provide the most suitable investment opportunities to meet our client’s needs alongside Monaco we would also recommend looking at the Australian 188 visa programme for investors. It provides a radically different proposition to Monaco, possibly worth considering.
We facilitate all aspects of moving your residence to another country. We specialise in the world’s top locations for private residences because of personal taxation, the business environment, and the overall quality of life.
We will analyse your situation, inform you of the options open to you, develop a plan of action to help you achieve your goal and then make it happen. We deal with government procedures quickly and efficiently on your behalf, based on professional expertise and experience.
Establishing yourself or your business in a new country will require securing relationships with key partners such as government officials, bankers and corporate professionals. You need experienced consultants to build a network of contacts and help you become established in your new environment.
The specialised services of Sterling Migration are a resource and complement to major law and consulting firms. We can help other firms and their clients with the unique and specific details required by the immigration and business relocation process and related tax planning.
To become a Monaco permanent resident (and ultimately a citizen), you must meet multiple requirements. First, you must invest a minimum of 1,000,000 euros, of which 500,000 euros must be deposited and kept in a Monaco bank. The other 500,000 euros must be put towards purchasing a property in Monaco.
Additionally, you will need to evidence that you have sufficient funds (verified by references from your bank).
Finally, you must possess a clean criminal record as a prospective investor. After we provide this evidence to the Monaco government, an immigration official will conduct a personal interview with you to determine your eligibility to become a resident of Monaco.
Upon approval at the interview stage, you and your family will be granted permanent resident status. As permanent residents, you are eligible to live, work, and travel in Monaco. After ten years, you may apply for citizenship (through naturalisation) as long as you and your family spend at least six months of every year physically residing in Monaco. Additionally, as a resident, the investor may establish their commercial enterprise in any of Monaco’s economic sectors. The country’s most successful industries include ship management, private banking, financial services, and asset management.
To become a citizen of Monaco, you must meet the following requirements. First, you must have continuously resided in Monaco for ten years. Second, you must no longer be subject to conscription or military service in another country. Third, you must renounce any foreign nationality you currently possess. Monaco does not recognise 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 country’s security.
The Monaco government may deny a naturalisation application even if the investor meets all requirements. These denials may not be appealed, though the investor may reapply multiple times.
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 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 relocate 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 corporate income tax and inheritance tax which is very small compared to other countries. The government is a 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 to find the suitable investment scheme and location that works best for the foreign national.
The following briefly explains how Monaco Law 214 can be used. It is based on a presentation by James P. Duffy, III, to the Second International Economic Forum held in Monaco on March 28-30, 1996.
The concept of a Trust is generally not known in civil law, nor is it well understood in civil law countries such as France. However, the Trust is an essential vehicle in those parts of the world whose law depends on what is usually called common-law.
Trusts are formed by a grantor or settlor who transfers property to a trustee or trustees who agree to hold that property and invest it for the benefit of other persons, the beneficiaries. The trustee’s agreement is reflected in a trust agreement or deed document. The common law imposes stringent fiduciary duties on trustees. Normally, trusts must be of finite duration. In most United States jurisdictions, such as New York, for example, the duration of a trust may only be for the duration of the lives of those living at the creation of the trust plus twenty-one years.
In its simplest terms, a trust is the legal ownership of property by one person for the benefit of another. However, in practice, the mmodern trustis a very carefully conceived and executed plan of asset management and asset deposition developed by our team of advisors, who typically include lawyers, investment advisors, and professional trustees. For example, a trust could provide that income is accumulated until the settlor reaches a certain age. The income could then be paid to the settlor and his wife for their lives. Following that, the income could be paid to their children for their lives, and, on the children’s’ death to grandchildren, and, on the grandchildren’s’ death, the principal then distributed to great-grandchildren.
It is also possible to provide for discretionary income and principal payments to specific individuals, such as a spouse or to classes of individuals, such as descendants. The discretionary standards can be carefully spelt out in the trust agreement, such as for “education”, “medical emergencies”, or the like. The criteria can be comprehensive, such as “to start a business”, or “to buy a home”.
Where a trust is expected to exist for several generations, a corporate trustee is usually essential to ensure continuity, particularly in asset management. To ensure trust administration reflects the needs and interests of the family in so far as distributions are concerned, one or more co-trustees who are familiar with the family can be added.
(1) the prudent investment of trust funds according to fiduciary standards, and
(2) the paying of trust funds and the income thereon — that is, the results of investment — to the beneficiaries of the Trust as specified in the trust agreement, again according to fiduciary standards.
Monaco is particularly suited to both of these tasks. Monaco has well-developed financial centre resources that make it easy to manage funds and invest them virtually anywhere in the world. Sterling Migration can efficiently perform the required fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries of the trusts they manage, usually at costs that compare very favourably with those of other jurisdictions.
As noted, trusts are not generally recognised in civil law countries. Thus, many of the trusts administered in Monaco are created under the laws of other countries and have no direct contact with Monaco, except that the Trust and its funds may be administered here. However, there is the possibility of creating a trust in Monaco that, in addition to being administered there, will also be recognised in most countries.
Monaco enacted a special trust law, Law 214 of 1936. This law enables anyone to establish a trust in Monaco if they may create trusts under their national law. A Law 214 trust avoids the provisions of Monégasque Estate Law and the payment of estate duties. At least one of the trustees must be chosen from a list established by the President of the Monégasque Cour d’Appel. However, one or more co-trustees can be freely chosen provided that the appointment is in conformity with law governing the Trust. TheTrustt may be created either inter-vivos, by agreement, or by will.
By the terms of Law 214, the trust purposes and the Trust’s governing law override any contrary provisions of Monégasque law or public policy, such as forced heir-ship. Thus, the Law 214 trust can be a helpful instrument for overcoming restrictions on freedom of testamentary disposition in local succession law. This is particularly important for people who are domiciled in a forced heir-ship jurisdiction if their national law has a conflict of law provision that refers to the law of domicile. This would be the case in most of the United States and, I believe, in England. For example, Monaco law looks to nationality law regarding the distribution of non-real property assets at death. Thus, according to Monaco law, a person from New York who is domiciled in Monaco would have the disposition of his non-real property assets governed by New York law. However, New York law says the law of the domicile governs the disposition of these assets. Thus, New York would refer back to Monaco law with its forced heir-ship provisions. The Law 214 trust avoids this result for the assets in the Trust.
As a practical matter, under Law 214, almost anyone of a common-law nationality — for example, the English, Americans, Australians, and Canadians — can establish a trust in Monaco. It does not necessarily follow that that grantor’s particular national law need be the governing law of the Trust so long the national law permits some other trust law to be adopted. Thus, an American from New York might select Massachusetts law rather than New York law as the Trust’s governing law. However, it is generally wise for a good relationship between the law adopted and the grantor or the trustee or trustees.
Theoretically, under Law 214, only the person who creates the Trust needs to be a national of a common-law country. The trust instrument can provide that, once the Trust is in existence, any other person, such as the grantor’s wife of a different nationality, can add assets to it, provided those assets are acceptable to the trustee. The trust agreement could even require the trustee to accept assets from the grantor’s wife, a parent, a parent’s estate, and so on. Thus, subsequent grantors to the Trust might well include someone whose national law would not have permitted them to create a trust in Monaco. Thus, theoretically, for example, a trust can be established by a Canadian for the intended beneficiaries of his German spouse and thereafter, substantial transfers can be made to that Trust by the spouse and the spouse’s family.
Once the Law 214 trust has been established in Monaco, the trust funds can be invested as appropriate with no tax liability in Monaco. TheTrustt can also, if appropriate, establish a holding company in almost any jurisdiction. In other words, the trust fund can be managed substantially the same way as a trust is operated in jurisdictions like the Bahamas, Bermuda, Jersey, or other popular trust administration jurisdictions. The nature of the trust investments may give rise to withholding taxes at the source, but investments that pay dividends or are interest-free of withholding tax would accrue to the Trust utterly free of tax anywhere.
Creating a Law 214 trust is subject to registration tax in Monaco. The rate varies according to the number of beneficiaries. Currently, the rate is 1.3% for one beneficiary, 1.5% for two, and 1.7% for more than two (with lower rates applicable to specific Monégasque securities). For Inter-Vivos trusts, the tax is due when the trust instrument is registered. For trusts created in wills, the tax is payable on completion of the administration of the estate. It is calculated on the net assets paid into the Trust. However, if the trust instrument so states, instead of a single payment at the above rates, the tax can be yearly payments equal to 0.2% of the current value of the Trust. The single tax payment or the smaller indefinite annual payments are in the place of all death and/or gift taxes on the trust assets.
1. The trust agreement or Will shall be executed in Monégasque notarial form.
2. At least one of the trustees must be selected from a list of corporations with trust powers approved and maintained by the Court in Monaco. This list includes many major banks and trust companies in Monaco, many of which, as already noted, are represented here today. There may be one or more individual co-trustees. No government approval is required if an individual serves as a trustee of only one Law 214 trust.
3. There must be annexed to the trust agreement or will an opinion from an approved lawyer of the settlor’s country certifying that the Trust is valid under that country’s law.
This is, of course, a very brief overview of the picture. It is clear, however, that anyone seriously considering setting up a trust should also carefully consider Monaco as a jurisdiction for administering a trust.
Monaco is a European state located in southern France. Based on services, tourism and real estate, the Principality has a thriving economy, making Monaco one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Monaco is an attractive State for incorporation, offering several different legal structures which make it possible to conduct an extensive range of activities, as well as wealth management, thanks to the use of fiduciary or commercial companies.
Monaco is a desirable jurisdiction for high-income individuals or companies planning to conduct business locally.
Companies registered in Monaco that derive more than 25% of their income from outside the country are subject to a 33% tax.
Companies registered in Monaco that conduct 100% of their business activities in Monaco are not subject to any tax on profits.
Therefore, opening a company in Monaco is only attractive tax-wise if the shareholders are not French citizens and if their business is conducted within Monaco, in which case they are exempt from taxes.
Monaco tax regulations are highly favourable to individuals. Except for French citizens, who must pay income tax on income from France, individuals are not subject to any income tax. Monaco also has very favourable succession laws.
Corporate tax regulations are also advantageous, particularly for businesses conducted locally. In the latter case, companies are not subject to any tax on profits. Additionally, they can engage in international activities and remain exempt from taxes if these activities generate less than 25% of the company’s total revenue.
Accounts must be kept. Specifically, a balance sheet and profit & loss statement must be issued yearly.
The accounting rules are strict and required whether the company is taxed or not.
There are no special requirements for creating a company in Monaco. Nevertheless, in some cases, local authorities may require authorisation to form a company depending on its purported activities and corporate structure.
Monaco’s most common types of companies are SA (a company limited by shares) and SARL (limited liability company). It is also possible to set up an SCS (limited partnership), SCA (partnership limited by shares), SNC (general partnership), or non-trading company. Holding companies, fiduciary entities, commercial agents and administrative offices may also be opened.
Share capital is generally required to open a company in Monaco. Opening an SA requires €150,000. To open a SARL, only €15,000 is required.
A multi-currency corporate bank account will be opened, with online web access, a Visa or MasterCard debit card, and all other standard payment methods.
Directors may be of any nationality.
The company’s shareholders may be of any nationality. A holding company may also hold the company.
It takes two weeks to open a company in Monaco. This time period may be extended in the event of a prior request for approval to conduct certain financial or banking activities. Using a ready-made company will shorten this period.
A holding company may be opened in Monaco, which can, in turn, own, directly or indirectly, company or membership shares of other trading or non-trading companies.
Each year the company must submit a statement of accounts and declare its revenues, as well as have a local commercial domicile or premises.
Complete our online enquiry form, and one of our senior managers will arrange a confidential consultation to discuss your requirements and potential options.
If you are not entirely set on Monaco, we urge you to investigate the Australian investor visas available. We have found them to be extremely popular with our clients.