In March this year, several reputable investment migration firms announced the opening of a EUR 200,000 donation-based citizenship by investment program in North Macedonia. While the private companies that headed the launch have repeatedly reassured market observers the program was legitimate and government-sanctioned, the absence of any official announcement directly from the government has made both practitioners and prospective investors apprehensive. A number of international RCBI firms with whom IMI has been in contact over the last several months have indicated that, while they were eager to offer the program to clients, they were holding off on promoting the program because they were not entirely convinced of its veracity.
Today, however, IMI has obtained what appears to be evidence that the program exists, is government-approved, and is already operational.
One program stakeholder, speaking on condition of anonymity, shared a redacted copy of a pre-approval letter for the North Macedonian Citizenship by Investment Program, issued by the country’s embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE, which reads:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
With reference to the security clearance application of Mr. [redacted], holder of [redacted] Passport Number: [redacted], the Embassy of the Republic of North Macedonia in Abu Dhabi – United Araba Emirates, according to the official confirmation received on date [redacted] and no. [redacted], has the honor to inform that the above stated application has been successfully processed and approved by the relevant authorities of North Macedonia based on up to date available official information.
The Embassy has further the honor to inform that this pre-approval is related to the Citizenship by Investment Program of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and is issued upon the request of the applicant without bearing any further responsibility by the Embassy.
Please note that this document is not an official citizenship approval and the applicant needs to further follow the procedure outlined by the law and the relevant authorities of the Republic of North Macedonia in order to apply for citizenship.
Embassy of North Macedonia
While no mention is made in the letter of the nature of the qualifying investment, our confidential source has indicated the pre-approval pertains to an individual applying under the EUR 200,000 fund-donation option. The same source also indicated at least 10 such pre-approval letters have already been issued.
The pre-approval is issued upon an applicant’s successfully passing due diligence and background checks, but prior to the transfer of the principal sum and the formal submission of the application. Nonetheless, barring any untoward information about the applicant surfacing in the interim between the issuance of the pre-approval and his/her completion of the final steps (submitting the application forms, providing biometric data, and transferring the EUR 200,000), the pre-approved applicant is essentially home free.
Presuming the document is genuine, it marks the first known instance of official government acknowledgment of the program. Nonetheless, a direct and explicit announcement or press conference from the government officially confirming the program’s bona fides would be the last piece of the puzzle to finally putting doubts to rest and opening the floodgates to higher application volumes.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.