Situated in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta has countless charms. Idyllic weather, mesmerizing scenic beauty, proximity to Europe and North Africa, alongside a thriving economy and a stable political atmosphere. The education and healthcare systems in Malta have been recognised globally and the amennable tax policies and comparatively low cost of living make life in Malta very comfortable. Further, surrounded by beautiful holiday destinations, such as Sicily which is merely 50 miles away from Malta and the advantage of visa free travel to 124 countries in the world, residents of Malta have plenty of choices when it comes to planning a vacation.
The whole bounty of benefits can make anybody envious of the residents of Malta. The good news is since 2014, the government of Malta has opened its doors to nationals of other countries to become residents of Malta, without giving up on their native citizenships. Astutely designed to attract citizens of other countries who long for a peaceful second home in a beautiful country with year long pleasant weather as well as the prospect of visa-free travel to Europe’s Schengen Area, the Malta Global Residence Programme is indeed a blessing.
Global Residence Programme Malta
In the recent times, Malta has emerged as one of the most sought after locations for offshore citizenships and residencies. There are not only gains from the scenic locale but also the ingenious taxation scheme and impressive international stakes, including the scope of visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to an enormous number of countries. While the citizenship programmes offered by Malta have several advantages, it may not be tailored to the needs of many, who might not be keen on acquiring another passport but rather are looking for establishing a secondary overseas base without having to be permanent residents. This option is automatically available to nationals of EU or EEA countries. The Malta Global Residence Programme Citizenship would be the best route for such individuals to get another home in the heart of Mediterranean, which is surrounded by blue waters, has a rich heritage and every aspect of a modern, internationalised lifestyle.
Aware of its popularity as a retirement destination or as an ancillary property base, Malta offers several acquired citizenship opportunities for high net worth individuals and retired professionals through the Citizenship by Investment Programmes and Malta Retirement Programmes respectively. However, Malta has a lot more to offer. The landscapes of Malta may be peaceful, but it houses a vivacious and enterprising community which has spearheaded Malta’s economic boom. During the Recession, Malta’s economy continued recording progress. To become a part of the mainstream of the Maltese life without affecting the life in the country of origin, the Global Residence Programme Malta is the optimum solution.
The Global Residence Programme Citizenship is different from other citizenship programmes in that the end result does not necessarily mean getting another citizenship or passport but essentially it provides a residence permit with the chance to own property, work and earn in Malta, subject to a few conditions. The requirements are fairly straightforward and the requisite investment is comparatively reasonable. Further, the processing time is a lot faster than the citizenship schemes and an applicant can ordinarily get a residence permit within three to four months of applying. The most prominent boon of the Malta Global Residence Programme for those looking to make sustainable international investments is its expedient taxation rules. For the beneficiaries of this programme, there is a flat 15 percent tax on remittance and no tax levied on any foreign funds. In light of such a wide range of benefits, the Malta Global Residence Programme Citizenship is garnering a lot of attention from far and wide.
Benefits of the Malta Global Residence Programme
The comprehensive design and the distinctive benefits promised to the applicants make this a highly coveted programme. This is the gateway to not only a superior quality of life in Malta but also a highly profitable taxation system, ascertaining steady returns on investments made. The additional bonus it ushers in is that of the visa free travel to 124 countries and visa on arrival to 41 countries, including the U.S. The processing time and application process is highly efficient and fast, with the whole process being completed within a span of three to four months. Accordingly, the Global Residence Programme, Malta has been ranked 6th in the world and earned a high reputation even among nationals of Asian and American countries.
The residence permit under this programme also extends to the dependants of the main applicant including a spouse, adult children under the age of 25 years and dependant parents above the age of 55 years. While the Global Residence Programme rules enable applicants to obtain a residence permit through the due application process, it doesn’t obligate the holders to reside permanently in Malta. The investment amount for this programme is much lesser than the other schemes whereas the corresponding advantages seem to be at par.
The investments mainly revolve around purchasing or renting an immovable asset in the real estate of Malta and a minimum processing fee of €6,000. Overall an investment of approximately €33000 is required for applying for the global residence permit in Malta. After obtaining a residence permit, the applicant and his/her dependents are conferred with the status of a tax resident of Malta. The rate of taxation however, would vary. The due diligence process conducted by the Maltese authorities to grant the residence permit and further for clearance for work permit is highly rigorous so as to ensure that only credible candidates are given access to this prestigious programme. So, while the requirements and the application process are quite relaxed, the background checks and verification are conducted with uncompromised strictness in order to prevent any misuse of the provisions.
The beneficiaries of the Malta Global Residence Citizenship have access to:
- A special tax status which primarily includes:
- No tax on unremitted foreign sourced income
- Flat rate of 15 percent on remitted income
- A 35 percent tax on local income
- No inheritance tax
- It is a fast-track process, completing typically within 3-4 months.
- A single application also includes the family members, such as a spouse, dependant children and dependant parents.
- There is provision for the applicants to include domestic staff within the purview of the application, on payment of the applicable fees.
- A work permit in Malta
- Visa-free access to countries in the Schengen area in Europe and several other countries.
Eligibility Requirements under the Global Residence Programme Rules
For an applicant to be granted the global residence permit in Malta, she or he must qualify on the following grounds:
- Must be at least 18 years old;
- Must be a third country national and not a Maltese, EEA or Swiss national;
- Must not be an existing beneficiary under the Residents Scheme Regulations, the High Net Worth Individuals – EU / EEA / Swiss Nationals Rules, the High Net Worth Individuals – Non-EU / EEA / Swiss Nationals Rules, the Malta Retirement Programme Rules, the Qualifying Employment in Innovation and Creativity (Personal Tax) Rules or the Highly Qualified Persons Rules;
- Must hold a qualifying property holding in Malta;
- Applicant must have stable and regular resources at his/her disposal which are sufficient to maintain themselves and dependants without recourse to the social assistance system in Malta;
- Possesses a valid travel document vis-a-vis a passport or a relevant permit;
- Possesses valid health insurance coverage in respect of all risks across the entire European Union normally covered for Maltese nationals for self and dependents;
- Must be fluent in at least one of the official languages of Malta, for example English which is one of the official languages of Malta
- Must spend at least 183 days in a year in Malta;
While the eligibility criteria is fairly explanatory, there are certain corollaries to the conditions mentioned above. Applicants holding dual citizenships, i.e. who might have a EU, EEA or Swiss nationality alongside the nationality of any other country, are also eligible to apply under the Global Residence Programme rules. However, they shall be precluded from the special tax status.
While beneficiaries to any of the existing citizenship schemes of Malta are not eligible to apply for the Malta Global Residence Programme Citizenship, an applicant may revoke prior membership to the existing schemes and thereby apply for the global residence permit. The forgoing of the schemes however needs to be in the form of a written declaration, approved by a registered authority.
To be in possession of a valid health insurance is mandatory for all applicants. However, there are certain specifications to the acceptable insurance. The health insurance cover must be acquired from a company licensed in Malta or by an internationally recognised health insurance company. A certified copy of the insurance cover must be submitted along with the application.
For the proof of the language requirements, there needs to be a certification of language proficiency submitted along with the application. However, in certain situations, the commissioner may call for an informal meeting with the applicant to be satisfied of this provision.
Requirement To Be ‘Fit And Proper’
As per the Global Residence Programme Rules, there is a specific verification process that is pursued to endorse that the applicant is a “fit and proper” person. The applicant needs to submit a relevant police conduct certificate (accompanied with the Apostille Certificate as per the Hague Convention of 1951), issued not earlier than six months prior to the date of submission of the application, along with a sworn declaration taken before a Commissioner for Oaths in Malta vouching for not being subject to any ongoing civil or criminal proceedings.
If the applicant happens to be subject to such ongoing proceedings at the time of the application, details must be provided in a separate declaration signed in original by the applicant. The Commissioner reserves the right to make further enquiries for the purposes of duly satisfying this requirement.
All individuals that are dependants over the age of 18 as well as household staffs included in the main application must necessarily clear this condition and may be subjected to background checks. Further, where the authorised registered official is aware of any circumstances that is likely to affect this condition, the authorised registered official must identify and enlist such circumstances in the application form. This obligation stays with the authorised registered official for the entire duration the applicant remains a beneficiary of the Malta Global Residence Programme.
For the purpose of determining whether the applicant is a “fit and proper person”, a number of factors would be taken into consideration, including matters enlisted below:
- Whether the individual is of good conduct and good morals;
- The individual’s reputation and character, whether the individual has a criminal record, convictions for fraud or other dishonesty;
- Disqualification or censorship by professional or regulatory bodies, such as being barred from entry to any profession or occupation;
- Being adjudged bankrupt by a competent court or authority;
- Offences connected to terrorism, money laundering, crimes against humanity and child abuse;
- Whether in the past, the individual has been candid and truthful in all his dealings with the Maltese public administration.
A very crucial aspect about the application to the Global Residence Programme Malta is the investment in immovable property. Within a year of gaining the residence permit under the Malta Global Residence Programme, the beneficiary needs to comply with the requirement of acquiring or renting a property in Malta. Residence permit holders are required to demonstrate that an address belongs to them in Malta by buying or renting property in Malta.
Candidates for the residence programme need to invest in a minimum property value equivalent to €275,000 for property in Malta, or €220,000 for property in the Southern Region of Malta or €250,000 for property in Gozo. The residence permit holders may even opt to rent a property in Malta at €9,600 or property in Gozo and the Southern Region of Malta at €8,750 in terms of the annual rent. However, the qualifying property thus acquired should not be let or sublet. Upon being granted a residence permit, the candidates are also under obligation to demonstrate that they shall reside in Malta for at least 183 days in a year. Consequently, the qualifying property needs to be established as the principal place of residence for the applicant and the bona fide dependants.
The property holding in Malta attracts subsequent checks and verifications from the state authority. The Commissioner may choose to authorise an officer, architect or surveyor to have full and free access to the immovable property in order to have the declared value of the property ascertained. In case of a rented property, the lease agreement must necessarily correspond to a period of 12 months and must be substantiated with relevant documents.
Tax Benefits under the Global Residence Programme Rules
The lucrative taxation policies under the Global Residence Programme Citizenship have contributed significantly to its popularity. This programme enables a candidate to be rendered as a tax resident within a short span of time and enjoy tax benefits under the special tax status. While the foreign unremitted funds are exempted from any Maltese taxes, the beneficiaries of this programme are levied a flat rate of 15 percent income tax on the remitted income hailing from foreign sources. This scheme will be applicable from the year on commencement of the residence permit until the cessation of the permit. The minimum tax payable under this programme may be calculated as €15,000. Further the dependants of the main applicant are also eligible to benefits under the special tax status.
The ‘dependents’ would include:
- The beneficiary’s spouse.
- Minor children including children who are in the care and custody of the beneficiary or the beneficiary’s spouse.
- Adult children including adopted children and children who are in the care and custody of the beneficiary or the beneficiary’s spouse, who are not minors but who because of circumstances of illness or disability of a serious gravity, are unable to maintain themselves.
While the benefits pertain to the dependants, there aren’t any inheritance taxes under the Global Residence Programme rules. The tax incurred upon the income generated within the Maltese territory is however, not included under this scheme and is chargeable through a different procedure.
Why apply for the Malta Global Residence Programme?
The perks of living in Malta are numerous and holistic, ranging from a tranquil way of life to the affordable living costs, in comparison to most European countries. Be it the warm and bright weather to the gorgeous architecture, Malta is a treat to reside, prosper, and grow old in. This programme ushers in all these benefits to all those who otherwise would not have a chance to live in Malta, without having them to sacrifice their original place of residence or citizenship. Further, beneficiaries of this programme may avail of the highly sought after visa-free travel in the Schengen Area of Europe.
The application process, usually managed by an authorised and registered mandatary, is very prompt and is completed within 3-4 months. Most the mandataries are available overseas to answer any queries in the particular region. The processing fees are much lower than the other citizenship schemes. A chance to have a second home in a foreign location of strategic importance without any immigration hassle or strain on the purse-string is an offer too good to let go off.