In today’s competitive world, striving for excellence at every walk of life is becoming increasingly important. With the advent of globalization, the yardstick for such excellence is no longer limited to one’s own country; the global perception of an individual or a firm is of paramount importance. In that context, one constantly attempts to transcend the political restrictions that come with a native citizenship for entrepreneurial or educational pursuits or even for a lifestyle upgrade. In order to fulfill such goals, the perception of a passport plays a pivotal role. With tools such as passport indexes at everyone’s disposal, it becomes fairly easy to assess the global ranking of a passport. The best way to enhance the scope for international travel for business or recreational purpose is by a citizenship by investment program. Through this program, it’s possible to procure passports of countries with impressive rankings and thereby travel visa-free or with visa on arrival to numerous nations.
Malta’s flagship individual investment program is one of the most successful citizenship programs available. Countless number of people have benefited by investing in the Malta Golden Passport. Ranked amongst the top ten in the global index, the Malta golden visa program is a unique citizenship program which allows access to 165 nations across the globe at a reasonable cost without visa restrictions. Although the program does not oblige one to permanently reside in Malta, life in Malta promises to be very alluring with its picturesque landscape, pleasant weather, thriving economy, and a stable political environment.
Why Apply For The Malta Golden Visa Citizenship
The power dynamics of the world, in contemporary times, relies greatly on perception. The influence an individual has on the society is measured largely upon how widely recognized a person is in different circles.
For anyone who wishes to seek out business, academic, professional or even recreational opportunities beyond the borders of one’s own country, the perception of a passport becomes the most crucial factor. Having more than one citizenship goes a long way in enabling access to a wide array of bonuses which would otherwise not be available. Just like an honorary degree or a designation, a person may acquire the citizenship of a select group of nations by making certain investments. The most tangible boon of acquiring citizenships of certain countries is having the luxury of visa-free travel to a larger number of countries. Besides, a powerful passport can positively impact the perception of an individual in matters related to business, education or even leisure travel.
Fortunately, acquiring citizenships no longer entails stressful paperwork or long periods of wait. With the emergence of citizenship by investment programs, a person can easily get an influential passport by simply making the required investments. According to recent trends, the Malta citizenship by investment program is one of the most globally successful programs of its kind. The beneficiaries of the Malta Individual Investor Program vouch for its numerous advantages and takers for the Malta golden visa citizenship is growing by the day.
Benefits of the Malta Golden Visa Citizenship
There are two very feasible routes to the Malta Golden passport program; citizenship by investment, also called the Malta Individual Investment Program, or the citizenship by residency which allows indefinite residency in Malta. While the former, aimed at high net worth individuals, entails a larger monetary contribution, the latter involves a relatively lower processing fee. The end result is highly worthwhile with the possession of the Malta golden passport and the Malta golden visa citizenship within a period of a year. Malta, being a member of important international organizations like the United Nations, European Union, Eurozone, The European Free Trade Association as well as the International Monetary Fund, provides its citizens the advantage of visa-free travel as well as the right to settle anywhere in the Schengen area.
Here is a list of the benefits of the Malta Golden Visa program:
- Visa-free or on-arrival visa travel to as many as 165 destinations
- The right to stay, earn, and pursue education in any of the 28 EU countries and Switzerland
- Malta follows a strict due diligence process to vet out applicants, thus ensuring only credible and genuine applicants get the citizenship
- Citizenship of an economically and politically influential EU country
- Reasonable contribution and fast-track application process
- A pleasant place to reside or own a second home in, a strategically located Central European country with excellent air and sea links
- Flexible taxation policies
- Malta allows dual citizenship – by acquiring the Maltese citizenship, applicants need not forgo their native citizenship or passport but rather enjoy the benefits of both citizenships, as long as the applicant’s home country allows dual citizenship as well.
Eligibility requirements to apply for the Malta golden visa
- The individual must be at least 18 years of age;
- The individual must meet the necessary application requirements;
- The individual must possess a primary citizenship, i.e. be a third-country national;
- The individual must possess a valid travel document;
- The individual must possess a relevant health insurance policy;
- The individual must have an annual income of at least €100,000 arising outside of Malta or owns capital of not less than €500,000; and
- The individual’s application is deemed to be based on legitimate means and is not against Malta’s public interest.
Over and above the aforementioned eligibility criteria, there are two further categories of requirements for applying to the Malta golden passport program, namely. financial and non-financial. Whereas the non-financial requirements seek a clean criminal record vouched for by credible sources, certificates endorsing good health and a minimum age requirement of 18 years, the financial requirements have to do with different stratifications of the necessary investments.
However, the overall application process requires the payments only upon receiving the precursory approval from the Malta government. The financial requirements for Malta Citizenship can further be divided into three categories:
- Contribution towards Malta’s National Development and Social Fund
- Investment of a minimum amount of €150,000 or $168,682, approximately, in any bonds, stocks, debentures or securities enlisted in the Malta Government stock exchange and approved by the Maltese government.
- Investment in the local Maltese real estate, with the commitment of retaining and maintaining an immovable property for a minimum of five years, without subletting or letting the property out by the candidate.
There are also certain other expenditures that are likely to incur. The applicants will need 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. Such investments are, however, customized to the specific needs of the applicants, depending on which route to citizenship one opts for.
Malta Golden Passport
The Malta Golden Passport program is generally classified under two heads: the Individual Investor Program (IIP) and the Indefinite Residency Visa Program(IRVP).
The Indefinite Residency Visa Program (IRVP) offers the successful candidates an indefinite leave to remain in Malta and by extension, all the benefits accruing to any citizen of an EU Schengen nation. To avail of the citizenship by residency in Malta, the applicants are required to contribute €250,000 in any government bonds or equities for a duration of 5 years. Additionally, an investment of €30,000 is sought towards the State Funds of Malta, and alongside that, purchase or rent of a property in Malta is necessary. One may incur a processing fee of €40,000 as well. This has emerged as a popular route to procure a secondary citizenship and more importantly a passport with impressive ranking at a reasonable cost and efficient processing time. The Malta Golden Visa provides one with lifelong permanent EU citizenship, allowing the beneficiaries to work, settle, travel to or even build an establishment in any of the 28 EU countries and Switzerland.
The Individual Investor Program involves investing €650,000 towards the Malta National Development Fund maintained by the government, a €150,000 contribution in government approved financial instruments, vis-a-vis bonds and stocks and a commitment to reside in Malta for a minimum of 5 years, albeit not permanently. Further, it is advisable to make an investment in a property in Malta of a minimum value of €350,000. The Citizenship by Investment may be passed onto the future descendants and immediate family members are also included within the scope of the main application. However, for every additional dependent, a contribution of €25,000 per family member has to be made towards the National Development Fund. This program translates into a Maltese citizenship and the access to the Malta golden visa within the span of a year.
On successful completion of either of the programs, the applicant is eligible for a tremendous range of bonuses. Applicants admitted through either of the programs will be furnished with a certificate, which will also serve as a residence permit. This certificate entitles the beneficiaries and their registered dependents to reside, settle and stay in Malta indefinitely after the citizenship by investment program, and for five years, renewable indefinitely in the case of citizenship by residency program. As Malta is a part of the Schengen Area Agreement, citizens from the program can travel through much of Schengen Europe without the need of a travel permit. This also makes it feasible for the beneficiaries to access educational or career benefits, exclusive to any EU citizens. This certificate of identity issued by the Malta Government shall be subject to an annual review for the first five years from its date of issue, and every five years thereon.
There are numerous advantages that come along with a Malta Golden Passport, making it one of the most highly ranked passports in the world, according to several global passport indexes.
- Visa-free travel in as many as 124 countries, and access to visa on arrival in an additional 41 countries, including the U.S. and Canada
- The Malta Golden Passport provides one with lifelong permanent EU citizenship, allowing the beneficiaries to work, settle, travel to or even build an establishment in any of the 28 EU countries and Switzerland.
- It is not mandatory for one to reside permanently in Malta to avail of the passport
- One need not pass any Maltese language tests or any other related citizenship tests to be eligible for the Malta Golden Passport program. English is commonly spoken all across the country.
- No compulsory military service is required.
- The application process entails a prompt citizenship application with approval usually taking place within 3-4 months and the complete citizenship process finalizing within a year.
- The entire family including the spouse, children and other dependents can be incorporated within a single citizenship application.
- Malta Citizenship may be inherited by immediate descendants who in turn can pass them onto their descendants.
- Malta Citizenship does not make it obligatory for one to pay taxes unless one resides in Malta for over six months. Moreover, taxes are based on domicile and remittance
- Malta has a beautiful location with advantageous air and sea links and widespread global connectivity
- A blissful lifestyle in a booming economy with a steady political climate with a moderate cost of living
- Malta citizenship facilitates the option of holding dual citizenship (as long as the country of origin allows it)
Life in Malta
Located in the Mediterranean Sea, with close proximity to Europe and North Africa, Malta is blessed with luxuriant landscapes and pleasant weather throughout the year. Since its independence from the British rule in 1964, Malta has maintained a steady and prosperous economy and has consistently had efficient governance, rated by the Economic Intelligence Unit as a “full democracy” in 2016. During the recent global economic meltdown, Malta and Germany were the only two countries to have recorded growth. Therefore, not only does Malta enjoy enormous popularity as a tourist destination but also is increasingly becoming an ideal choice for settling down for many.
In recent years, Malta has maintained an open door policy for prospective citizens through its citizenship by investment and citizenship by residency programs. These programs filter in only the highly respectful and deserving applicants from the rest and have significantly increased the high-income group population of Malta. There has been a 12 percent rise in the ultra-rich population of Malta due to the individual investment and the indefinite residency programs. With the rise in the stakes of various high-net-worth individuals in a comparatively smaller country like Malta, the global wealth has now been disseminated across different topographies and it has enabled a steady influx of business and career opportunities in Malta.
For all the above reasons and more, the power of the Malta golden passport has heightened in the recent past. With most passport indexes ranking Malta among the top ten countries, Malta’s stable political climate and deeply-linked international associations make it a lucrative destination for politically influential individuals as well. Moreover, the citizenship process conducts a rigorous background check on the individuals to ensure that only an exclusive group of people gain access to the benefits of the program. Having said that, the Malta golden visa citizenship does not discriminate on the basis of race, class or gender. The eligibility criterion are fairly straightforward and hassle-free.
Besides the apparent travel perks that the Malta golden visa ushers, the investment towards citizenship can lead to profitable gains for any beneficiary in the foreseeable future. This can be demonstrated on the basis of two categories. Firstly, the taxation laws in Malta depend on the pro-rata domicile and residence. For citizens residing outside Malta, the tax will only be levied on the basis of remittance. This means any capital gain made outside the country will not be taxed by the Maltese government, in spite of the citizenship. On the other hand, the purview of regular taxation will be applicable if there has been a physical presence of 183 days in the country.
The second factor that makes the Malta citizenship appealing to investors is the significant return on investment within a short period of time. Since 2009, the real estate market in Malta has shrunk in terms of value addition. While this has reduced the cost of the current properties, current economic trends predict a reasonable surge in the price of the country’s real estate assets in the upcoming years. This means, the candidates who invest in property in Malta are likely to reap profits on the current investment in the next few years. This further makes the investment in the Maltese citizenship a judicious one.
With a wide array of benefits and a reasonable cost, which in turn has its own foreseeable returns, acquired citizenships in Malta have become largely sought after. Further, the completion of the Malta Golden Passport / Visa program directly renders the applicant a de facto citizen of the European Union, making prospects of travel for work, education, diplomatic or even recreational pursuits infinitely more convenient. All of this without having to revoke one’s original citizenship! Appreciated and recognized globally, the program brings in immense gains for the beneficiaries and the time is rife to gain an empowered passport by making an informed investment in one of the top ranking citizenships in the world.