Gaining a Citizenship by Investment is a method whereby a person makes a specific investment into a country in order to receive citizenship and the passport for that country. Across all the programmes of this kind that are currently available, the cost of this investment varies between around $100,000 all the way up to a total of $2.5 million. The types of investment required include the likes of cash donations which are non-refundable, to purchases in real estate, trade, or government securities.
Around 5,000 people successfully receive citizenship through making an investment each year after undergoing precise assessments of their finances, as well as criminal background investigations. The average processing period is six months, but some programmes can be completed in as few as two months, with others requiring over a 12 month period. Additionally, few of these Citizenship by Investment Programmes come with strict requirements for applicants to live within the country, further bolstering the freedom and benefits they offer.
In 1984, St. Kitts and Nevis introduced the first and longest-running Citizenship by Investment Programme, succeeded by Dominica in 1993. Other nations have offered similar schemes in recent times, while some programmes have dissolved out. Nations attempted to appeal to investors and increase their funding levels to those of the pre-recession after the 2017 recession season.
The majority of investors into financial citizenship programmes have backgrounds in countries with developing market economies, such as India, Turkey, China, Mexico, India, Vietnam, Russia, Brazil, and various nations with locations in the Gulf. The demand for economic citizenship in developed countries is also experiencing growth. Here is a guide on how to buy Malta citizenship.
Getting Maltese Citizenship
One country amongst those offering citizenship by investment is Malta, which took this wise move, and is attracting a wealth of talent towards its citizenship programme to drive the country’s economic progress. The creation of the MIIP, which stands for the Malta Individual Investor Programme was approved by the European Commission to support Maltese Citizenship by Investment of applicant’s from outside of the country, in addition to their dependents. The Individual Investor Program Rules (2014) and Maltese Citizenship Act governs this programme.
Candidates who are in accordance with all the necessary guidelines can successfully receive citizenship through the grant of a certification of naturalization, which also extends to their family members. In order to be awarded this though, they must make a financial donation towards the country’s economic development. Initially, objections were levied at the MIIP Malta despite the variety of benefits the country stands to receive in return. That said, this programme has managed to attract individuals to Malta who are willing to make a financial investment into its growth, as well as those who believed in Malta’s financial strength and business potential, despite being a relatively small country.
Despite its small size, Malta is a truly captivating nation. The stunning country in the Mediterranean is made up of three islands, including Malta, Gozo and Comino, with the capital of Valletta being conveniently located only 50km away from beautiful Sicily. Furthermore, it is just a 3-hour flight away from the UK and various other international airports situated in North Africa and Europe.
In addition to the opportunity of global travel, Malta also provides its residents with the benefit of fair financial laws.
Living In Malta
One may think living in Malta is only for the wealthy people. It is not true though. Malta is surely getting on top of everyone’s list because of the location, English-speaking crowd, Mediterranean lifestyle. Malta is also considered one of the best places to live due to the following reasons:
- It boasts one of the most well-built and reliable economies throughout the entire EU, with the European Commission expecting Malta to be among the fastest growing across the continent.
- That strong economy has led to around a 20% fall in debt to GDP ratio in a five year period, with a consistent financial surplus.
- It offers job security and has enjoyed record-breaking lows in lay-off levels throughout Europe for years.
- Nationals of Malta have benefited from tax cuts consistently for the last five years.
- These exceptional work, business and lifestyle prospects have made Malta one of the world’s top destinations for relocation.
- Public services are also of high standards, with Malta nationals benefiting from free unlimited healthcare, which the WHO recognises as amongst the world’s best. This is in addition to access to free universal education and free childcare for residents.
- Malta has a liberal society making records by proposing the Marriage Equality bill besides extending rights to LGBTQ couples. Such freedom has put Malta at the forefront of such causes.
- The Maltese economy has grown across multiple sectors and industries, including tourism, high-end services and manufacturing, as well as gaming, information and communications technologies.
How To Get A Malta Citizenship?
It would be incorrect to state that the Maltese Individual Investor Programme and a Malta passport for sale scheme are the same, simply due to the programme’s requirement of a financial investment from the applicant. Some media reports may refer to the nation’s citizenship programme as offering a “Maltese passport or sale” or “Malta passport buy”. However, wealthy applicants expecting immediate access to the island’s citizenship in return for funds will be left frustrated. This is because the Malta IIP does not provide a EU passport for sale. On the contrary, it is a legitimate, legal and European Commission recognized Citizenship by Investment Programme.
A Malta passport is not available to any for instant purchase. If you wish to apply through the Individual Investor Programme you will also need to secure a local residency and evidence that you have a true connection to the island nation.
Criteria for Eligibility for Getting Maltese Citizenship
Applicants on this programme are required to meet a number of Malta citizenship requirements. The requirements are divided into categories for better understanding.
- Applicants are required to be a minimum age of 18 years.
- A clean criminal record must be evidenced.
- Candidates must have never been denied a visa to any country that has a visa-free travel agreement with Malta.
- A comprehensive healthcare global plan must be held by the applicant, and they must not be suffering from any contagious disease which would cause undue strain on the country’s health services.
All candidates on the programme are required to meet three main financial requirements which are:
A €650,000 one-time donation must be made to the Maltese National Development Fund from the primary applicant.
Additionally, any children below the age of 18 years they wish to include on the application will incur a €25,000 cost per child. For children aged between 18-26 years who are married, the cost for the applicant increases to €50,000. For parents aged over 55 years, a cost of €50,000 applies to include them in the application.
These financial contributions go towards funding a number of good causes and projects in the country. These relate to areas of social development and improvement and public health, as well as those helping to drive innovation in Malta. Applicants must make full payment within a four month period of their Malta IIP Letter of Approval in Principle being issued.
A minimum financial investment of €150,000 in Malta should be made by the applicant in amongst other stocks, bonds, debentures or other government approved financial options, such as special purpose vehicles/entities. This investment amount must be retained for at least a five year period.
The main candidate is required to obtain local real estate with a minimum €350,000 value within the country. They may also rent a local property with a minimum €16,000 annual rent value as an alternative. Regardless of which option the applicant chooses, this property must be held for at least a period of 5 years.
Evidence is required from the primary candidate that they have resided in Malta for a year or more, following their naturalization certificate being issued.
The financial contributions are required to be made only the applicant has received their Letter of Approval in Principle. This means that the Malta MIIP comes with minimal financial risk and offers a straightforward and fair method of application.
All documentation under the Malta economic citizenship programme must either be in English or supplemented by a verified translation. Documents required by Identity Malta that are in languages such as Russian, Arabic, or Chinese must be submitted along with an accurate English interpretation and contain details about the licensed translator who was responsible for the language translation.
Application Through Approved Agent
Applicants need to take the help of Approved Agents who are appointed via the Maltese Government and are suited to offer expert guidance throughout the application. These are trained individuals who work for firms and hold the relevant certification and recognition. These individuals are delegated by the country’s MIIP Agency and will uphold their values, as well as ensuring smooth and open communication and taking responsibility for the applications they oversee. They’re also responsible for conducting the Know Your Client (KYC) check procedure to meet the country’s financial service industry’s norms.
Process To Buy Citizenship In Maltese
The process to buy Malta Citizenship should be complete in a period of approximately twelve months. The application process is a strict one, which is triggered by the applicant providing an e-Residence Application and concludes once their certificate of naturalization has been successfully issued.
Firstly, the agent conducts checks to determine eligibility for application via the Maltese citizenship programme. At this time, all the necessary documentation will also be prepared, including the likes of police clearance certification and a letter of engagement, amongst others. The regulator conducts initial checks for due diligence as well. Four different tiers make up the Malta IIP due diligence process, making this one of the migration programmes with the highest standard and most rigorous checks.
The initial checks are vital to ensure that only eligible and suitable candidates continue with the programme’s application process. It takes around four months to review the application.
Permit for Residency
At this stage, candidates should make an application for the residency permit. This will begin the year-long requirement of residency that must be met for citizenship. The candidate is also required to be present in the country so they can undergo biometric checks after which he/she will be granted their residence card and permit for Malta.
Submitting the Application
The applicant submits his/her application, along with the required fee, to the MIIPA (Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency). This step follows successful completion of background checks, police approval and clearing the due diligence process.
Once the investigation period is completed, which takes around four months, an endorsement letter is issued if everything is in place.
Contribution Of Fees
When all the above stages have been completed, the applicant will receive a formal request to make payment of the contribution fee within a period of 20 working days.
Requirements of Investment
Verification of the applicant’s qualifying investment in property is required at this point, as well as their property details and health insurance policy by presenting proper evidence.
Oath of Allegiance
The primary candidate along with their dependents will be summoned in order to make the Oath of Allegiance within the country following the fulfillment of all obligations outlined in the Individual Investor Programme.
Receiving the Certificate of Naturalization and making the Maltese Passport Application
Finally, the Maltese Government will issue the primary candidates and their dependents with their certificate of naturalization. The application to receive a passport for Malta will take approximately fifty-five weeks
The Process of Due Diligence Checks
Four different tiers comprise the due diligence process of the MIIP. It is considered among the best and most well-detailed programmes of its kind in the world.
This tier includes a general Know Your Client (KNYC) due diligence check. This is conducted by both the IIP Unit and the assigned agent using access to databases, including World-Check for example.
Following the performance of careful checks through various different databases, including Europol and Interpol, police authorities will then provide the second level of approval. Notification is sent to the IIP Unit if any issues arise during this stage. Applicants from Third Country Nationals will be subject to the Schengen standard screening procedures as well.
The IIP team is responsible for conducting the third due diligence tier and this has two further stages.
Firstly, the application is checked to ensure it has been correctly completed. If anything is missing or incorrect, this will highlight potential peculiarities or threats.
All supporting documentation presented from the candidate to the IIP Unit is required to be filled out in full, to the proper format and accurately, as well as being translated correctly, and if required being notarized as well. If any of documentation is not present or is in the wrong order, or has errors in it, the applicant’s representative agent must resubmit them, causing the whole application process to be put on pause.
The next stage involves detailed checks for due diligence, which are conducted online, as well as the full review of all submitted documents. External databases are used to verify those authorized organizations and individuals, with similar checks being conducted on the applicant’s family members. These searches also extend to reviewal of relevant associates and business partners, corporate affiliations and certain finances, such as one-time donations, transactions and inheritance of significant value.
Once the above checks have been completed, another due diligence team member will conduct an internal and external reviewal of the gathered information and begin preparing an in-house memo. Bear in mind that due diligence companies share information to check consistency in some instances and that of the required level of precision is not met, the IIP Unit can conduct additional checks. The IIP Unit will also question the applicant further to confirm that they have the required understanding into the application of their family.
Following this, each and every application undergoes internal reviewal by the team at IIP Due Diligence. This is made up of eight individuals who have a background in investment or auditing and who are fully trained to understand regulations in anti-money laundering. The IIP Unit’s senior management team will also review the information and the team can request the applicant does the same if further clarifications are needed before the Minister receives the citizenship recommendation.
The IIP senior management will eventually pass a mutual judgment and present the relevant Minister with a proposal. The portfolio containing the documents supporting the due diligence finding and reports is also submitted. From here, the Minister will work alongside the team to study and verify the application again prior to a final decision on citizenship being granted.
The candidate can hold dual citizenship on getting Maltese Citizenship by Investment. According to the Maltese law, dual citizenship planning is allowed. Nevertheless, the applicant needs to check the rules of the origin country. Few nations follow different regulations or restrictions on multiple nationalities.
Tax After Getting Maltese Citizenship
The candidate does not become a taxable resident after earning the citizenship. Only after living for six months in Malta is the applicant required to pay tax in Malta. Meanwhile, tax payments are not liable to be made by the applicant on foreign capital profits or any of their worldwide income.
On being a tax resident in Malta, these fees only apply to any income or capital profits that the candidate has earned within the country, as well as any foreign revenue, not including their accumulated capital, which has been received within the nation.
Investing In Malta
Malta is well known for playing a key role in the commerce and business industries. Despite being the smallest EU Member State, Malta has proved to be amongst the fastest-growing marketplaces on the continent. The country has earned an impressive reputation as one of the best destinations to pursue business opportunities and prospects, with the help of competitive tax management and a stable and reliable legal system, as well as having a highly-skilled workforce that speaks fluent English.
The impressive economic performance from the island nation of Malta is also connected to the pro-business attitude and approach of its government, which is always striving to further positively foster market conditions that attract investment from foreign sources.
A major benefit of applying for citizenship through the MIIP is that it is one of the only programmes of its kind in Europe to offer citizenship straightaway. Many other European programmes only provide citizenship via residency. This allows Malta to continuously attract a varied talent pool alongside investors from across the EU and the world which boosts its economy. As a result, the nation is a global hub of development, growth and exciting business prospects.
Through this programme, eligible candidates, alongside their family members, can take advantage of the opportunity to live and prosper in Malta, as well as across the 28 EU member nations and Switzerland. It is truly worth all the effort and financial investment required.