Nestled amongst the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is a beautiful archipelago famed for a fantastic climate and stunning surroundings, including breathtaking coves and cliffs. However, Malta is more than just a wonderful tourist destination, providing the ideal location to set up a quality contemporary lifestyle to live, thrive and grow old thanks to its flourishing economy and stable governance. A member of the European Union since 2004, the country’s citizenship is highly sought after, with the Maltese passport gaining a worldwide fourth place ranking in the Malta Passport Index 2019.
Holders of a Malteste passport can benefit from travel with no visa restrictions to around 124 countries, alongside the benefit of visa on arrival in a further 41 nations. The advantage of visa free travel throughout the Schengen Area is also facilitated by the EU residence card which is included in the Malta Residence and Visa Program. Offering a strategic location between North Africa and the European continent, Malta also boasts convenient travel links by air, further adding to the benefits of a Malta Citizenship by Residency. The process to gaining a Maltese passport is straightforward and requires applicants to make a government contribution, an investment in bonds and acquire local real estate.
The Advantages of Malta Citizenship
There’s numerous innumerable benefits that come with a Malta passport, making it amongst the most popular citizenship programs.
- Visa-free travel in 124 countries and visa on arrival access to 41 countries, including the USA.
- Applicants granted a Maltese citizenship enjoy permanent EU citizenship, allowing them to set up an establishment in any of the 28 EU countries and Switzerland.
- One is not required to reside permanently in Malta to successfully be granted citizenship
- No Maltese language tests or any other related citizenship tests are compulsory to be eligible
- Military service is not required
- A fast-track Malta citizenship application process is available, granting approval within 3-4 months and the complete citizenship process within a year
- A single application includes the entire family, including spouse, children and other dependents
- The Maltese citizenship can be passed on to the descendants who automatically inherit the citizenship
- Candidates granted a Malta Citizenship by Residency are not required to pay taxes unless they reside in the country for over six months.
- Malta benefits from a convenient location with excellent travel links and global connectivity
- A comfortable quality of life within a beautiful country, with a prosperous economy and stable politics
Maltese law does not necessitate the forgoing of one’s primary citizenship in order to hold a Maltese Citizenship by Residency. One may hold passports of both nations. However, while Malta permits dual citizenship, it is crucial to be sure whether the country of origin of the applicant allows one taking on a second citizenship or not.
Maltese Passport Requirements
Maltese Citizenship by Residence may be acquired through an application process with a specific set of guidelines. The aim of this is to ensure that citizenship is granted exclusively to credible candidates. Applicants are required to undertake a due diligence test across four tiers in order to qualify. Verification entails in-depth checks into the candidate’s background to ensure that all their funds have been obtained legitimately.
Requirement categories for the Malta Citizenship by Residency span both the financial and non-financial.
Maltese Citizenship Requirements: Non-financial
The applicant for Maltese Citizenship by Residency must be a minimum of 18 years of age. Candidates must also provide police certification as evidence of a clean criminal record. The Maltese government will verify this information by conducting checks with authorities such as INTERPOL and the International Criminal Court.
Further, the applicant must evidence that they are in good health, with no current contagious ailments or diseases of any kind that are likely to create a burden on the country’s health industry. Applicants are also required to have valid international policies for health insurance, covering both themselves and all of the dependents included on their application.
Maltese Citizenship by Residency Requirements: Financial
The application for the Maltese Citizenship by Residency entails significant investments. That said, the Malta Residence and Visa Program requires the applicant to make the payments only upon receiving the precursory approval from the country’s government. Those with the aim of getting Malta Citizenship by Residency have financial requirements, which can further be divided under three heads: government donations, an investment in local real estate, and contribution through bonds and stocks.
- Non-refundable donation to the National Development Fund (NDF)
Applicants of the Malta Citizenship by Residency program are required to pay a significant donation to Malta’s National Development and Social Fund, which is run by a board of trustees. This represents financial support for a good cause, with several projects across education, employment, social improvement and innovation, and public health benefiting. This payment is required within a period of four months following the issue of a “Malta IIP Letter of Approval in Principle.”
The total estimated cost for an applicant on this program is €650,000, with investment costs depending on the number of included family members in the application. For example, the inclusion of a spouse will require an additional €25,000 donation, while dependent parents/grandparents incur an additional €50,000 cost. For children, the requisite amount is €25,000 for minors, or €50,000 for unmarried children between the ages of 18-26 or any mentally or physically challenged children or adults.
- Bonds Investment
Over and above the aforementioned donation, Maltese Citizenship by Residency also includes at least a €150,000 or $168,682 investment in any bonds, stocks, debentures or securities listed in the Malta stock exchange and approved by the government of Malta. This investment must be maintained for a minimum period of 5 years, with bond investments made in government sanctioned stocks which are beneficial to the country’s development.
- The Purchase or Rental of Local Real Estate
A further requirement for Malta Residency and Visa Program is that the candidates are expected to invest in the local real estate, and commit to retain and maintain an immovable residence in Malta for at least five years, without subletting or letting out the property during that period.
As per the regulations, applicants can choose to purchase or rent Maltese property. Real estate purchases must be a minimum value of €350,000, and are subject to around 9-12 percent in applicable processing and government fees. Meanwhile, rental investments are required to be maintained for at least five years with an annual minimum rental value of €16,000, and are subject to 12-15 percent processing and government fees. As such, while they represent a higher initial investment, property purchases can offer a number of long term benefits over rental properties.
One has to provide evidence of ownership or a lease agreement for local real estate within a period of four months from receiving the Malta Letter of Approval in Principle. Once the relevant investments have been made, candidates will receive an e-Residence Malta identity card. Bear in mind that while real estate investment is necessary, candidates are not required to reside all year long in Malta and instead only need to visit the country.
In addition to requirements to make investments in the Maltese government and real estate, the applicants are required to submit a due diligence fee of €7,500 ($8,434) for the principal applicant, €5,000 ($5,622) for spouses, adult children and parents, and €3,000 ($3,373) for children between the ages of 13 and 17 years.
Required Application Documents for Maltese Citizenship by Residency
In addition to a Maltese passport application, candidates must submit the following documentation, to be notarized for use within the country of Malta:
- The candidate’s birth certificate
- Certification of health provided from a registered practitioner of medicine
- An international health insurance policy with a minimum of €50,000 in coverage
- Any relevant marriage certificate in the English language
- All necessary personal information, including that which relates to their employment, education and family
- Evidence of their current residence and utility bills
- Evidence of the candidate’s income source through bank statements
- Statements of tax from the candidate’s country of origin
- Lawyer and banker references
- Certification of police clearance from all countries that the applicant has resided in the past ten years, inclusive of relevant FBI clearance for those residing in the USA
Malta Citizenship By Residency Residency Requirements
A 12-month residency is necessary for the process of acquiring Malta Citizenship by Residency. The entire process can be completed in a year, provided the candidate has satisfied all the Malta passport requirements. For the residency process, a €5,000 deposit for the main candidate and a further €1,000 for each family member has to be made to Malta’s National Development and Social Fund.
The process for Maltese Citizenship by Residency formally begins after the submission of an application for the Malta Residence and Visa Program, along with the submission of supporting documents and evidence testifying the legal source for the funds to be used. The citizenship process ends with a personal visit to Malta, where all successful candidates are required to take an Oath of Allegiance.
Benefits of the Malta Residence and Visa Program
- This program grants one an EU residence card with visa-free travel all across Schengen Area
- One gets the right to reside indefinitely in Malta
- Through this program, one gets five years’ permanent residence, which may be renewed indefinitely
- The investment necessary for citizenship is required only for the first five years
- There is no compulsory residence requirement under this program
- The program includes family members within its ambit
Process For Application And Overall Timeline
The Malta Residence and Visa Program application requirements and procedures are relatively straightforward and reasonably timed. The application, along with a non-refundable deposit of EUR 5,500 needs to be submitted to the IIP Agency. After a thorough due diligence check, successful applicants will be requested to complete the qualifying investments and are then issued a residence permit. The IIP Agency will issue successful applicants with a Maltese Citizenship by Residency certificate, which acts as a permit. The certificate is usually monitored annually for the first five years of its issue and every five years thereafter.
The expected costs for applicants under the Malta Residency and Visa Program to bear are as follows:
- A €30,000 contribution to the Maltese government, which is non-refundable and inclusive of €5,500 in an advance administrative fee
- €250,000 in investment to government bonds, which must be retained for at least a 5 year period
- The purchase of local real estate with a minimum value of €320,000 (or €270,000 for properties in Gozo or South Malta), or a tenancy lease worth a minimum annual value of €12,000 (or €10,000 for properties located in Gozo or South Malta)
The candidate is required to maintain their investment only for the initial five year period of their Maltese citizenship.
Maltese Citizenship by Residency for Descendants
Maltese Citizenship by Residency is transferable to one’s descendants. Once a candidate is granted citizenship, any child born to the applicant will also be a Maltese citizen, even if the citizenship was initially acquired via investment. The candidate can pass this legacy down to all future generations. The descendants of the applicant will have access to Maltese citizenship and EU passports.
The Maltese passport is highly beneficial for the future generations, since, apart from the ease of international travel, Maltese Citizenship by Residency will qualify them as EU applicants instead of international students when applying to universities in Europe. As a result, the entrance requirements will also be considerably more flexible, less stringent, and the tuition rates would also often be lower for them.
Risks for Revoking of Malta Citizenship by Residency
In spite of the fact that the process of applying for a Malta Citizenship by Residency is reasonably hassle-free and straightforward, there are certain factors that one needs to be mindful of in order to avoid the risk of the citizenship planning being revoked.
- The Maltese citizenship may be revoked if the candidate is found to have provided any misleading information, false documents or have concealed any vital information in the course of the application process
- The Maltese citizenship will be revoked should the candidate be imprisoned for over 12 months in any other country
- If the candidate is accused of any criminal charges involving paedophilia, defilement of minors, abduction, kidnapping, rape, prostitution, assault or similar criminal activity, their citizenship could be revoked
- The citizenship may be revoked if the applicant is found to pose a severe threat to the national security of not just Malta but also of any other EU nation
- The citizenship could also be revoked if the applicant is found to be a party to any activity which is likely to cause Malta disrepute
- In the event that the candidate is found to be involved in any business that would willingly benefit any of Malta’s enemies at war, the citizenship might be revoked.
Why one should apply for Malta Citizenship by Residency
Malta is a blissful island with a very politically relevant location. With extremely efficient global connectivity and a significant place in the European Union, Malta has been able to establish itself as an ideal business destination. Citizens of Malta can avail of all malta citizenship benefits that are bestowed upon the citizens of Europe. The broad scope of visa-free travel to so many countries enables one to opt for profitable business enterprises all across Europe. Further, the thriving economy and stable governance will attract investors and potential business partners for projects in Malta. Moreover, for students, access to the benefits exclusive to EU citizens can make a huge difference and add to making Maltese Citizenship by Residency a very lucrative opportunity.
Malta offers a generally pleasant and peaceful lifestyle to its residents. This attraction is in no small part thanks to its pleasant year-round climate and beautiful scenery, making it ideal for those who want to live in close proximity to nature. The country’s secure economy, relatively lower taxes than other European countries, and membership in the European Free Trade Association also offers benefits to those seeking professional prospects, opportunities and progression. While it is so much more than just a holiday destination, tourism remains a vital industry for Malta, making up around 15 percent of its GDP, with other robust sectors in the country including banking.
In the contemporary context, borders are becoming increasingly tighter and selective, thus often being detrimental to those pursuing educational and professional pursuits. In that regard investing in a powerful passport can go a long way in opening up a wide range of opportunities not just for oneself but also for the future generations. Malta has a welcoming social structure with great emphasis on a multicultural social set up. A Maltese citizenship is highly sought after since it provides a host of benefits and at the same time, does not mandate the dissolution of one’s original passport. This is truly a win-win situation for any applicant.