Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta boasts of beautiful landscapes and pleasant weather all year round. Post its independence from the British rule, Malta has recorded steady economic growth and has consistently had stable governance, rated by the Economic Intelligence Unit as a “full democracy” in 2016. Accordingly, not only has Malta become a popular tourist destination but also an ideal choice for settling down for many. In recent years, Malta has maintained an open door policy for the prospective citizenship seekers through its citizenship by investment programs. This program filters out the genuine and deserving applicants from the rest and has substantially increased the high-income group population of Malta. There has been a 12% increase in the ultra-rich population of Malta by virtue of the citizenship by investment program. Such trends ensure wider dissemination of wealth across different topographies and have enabled a steady influx of business opportunities in Malta.
The resounding success of the citizenship by investment program in Malta relies significantly on the robust Maltese passport index and its central European location. Being a part of the European Union since 2004, the citizens of Malta also can travel or settle anywhere across the Schengen Area in Europe. This has enormously enhanced the Malta passport strength and made the Maltese passport extremely lucrative amongst the professionals as well as the students.
Why Global Mobility Is Important
In today’s fast transforming socio-political climate, global connectivity is one of the most relevant driving forces. The world has transcended geographical barriers and accessibility to almost every corner of the world has significantly improved. In that context, there is a high demand for international travel for business or recreational purposes. Almost everyone faces the need for cross-border travel since financial, diplomatic, academic and lifestyle opportunities have become largely cosmopolitan in nature. Despite the visible progress in this field, administrative regulations on transnational travel continue to limit the scope of global mobility. As a result, the prospect of visa-free travel is becoming extraordinarily appealing, and in that light, a passport with a robust global index has emerged as a highly coveted and valued possession.
With the advent of globalization, almost every market has attained an international character. International travel has become desirable for the process of creation and preservation of wealth. Moreover, given that certain countries offer better career and educational opportunities than the others, there has been an emerging trend of shifting bases across the borders. There are also instances of enforced migration due to political instability, ongoing conflicts or inclement weather. Further, often the affluent classes tend to retreat to quieter and more suitable destinations in pursuit of an upgraded and luxurious lifestyle. Whatever may be the reason behind the movement, countries foster different degrees of flexibility in terms of permitting entry within its territory. Passport index and global rankings play an essential role in facilitating global mobility. Visa waivers or favorable visa policies enhance access to different countries, and it has been observed passports with higher rankings have an advantage over lower-ranking passports based on the access allowed to different countries.
Yet another aspect of globalized economies is that often, the essential political stakeholders and high network individuals are required to maintain parallel bases in more than one country. This leads one to seek out secondary citizenships, and an influential passport goes a long way in addressing such requirements.
Malta Passport Index Ranking
The Malta Passport ranking features among the top ten in the world. Ranked 4th in the world according to the Passport Index 2019, Maltese passport holders get visa-free access to 124 countries and a further visa-on-arrival benefit in 41 countries around the globe. The Malta Passport strength relies majorly on the nation’s political stability, pleasant climatic conditions, a booming economy, strategic location, and amicable migration policies. Malta has also opened its doors to non-natives of the country utilizing different citizenship programs. Consequently, the Maltese Passport ranking has climbed up the global ranking index significantly.
The passport index is a widely sought after interactive tool which gives an insight into the rankings of different passports in terms of their recognition, travel and career opportunities, mobility and overall quality. The portals usually collect data from the available resources like IATA and government agencies about the passport acceptability with respect to the immigration policies of different countries and compare the passports of a particular nation with another. Further, following a set methodology, they rank the passports according to the number of countries which allow visa-free or visa on arrival travel to the holders of a particular passport. Often, the portals refer to the United Nations Human Development Index report to deduce the global perception of the countries. The Henley Passport Index, Arton Capital, and Ceoworld are some of the most popular passport indexes.
Passport index portals become an extremely helpful tool which evaluating the possibility of applying for secondary citizenship for either business, career or recreational purposes. They provide an opportunity to compare the regional trends alongside the progress reports of particular countries. Historically, Malta’s passport has recorded a steady rise in the ranking with its membership to the European Union in 2004. Further, with the development of Malta’s citizenship by investment program, various high network individuals from different corners of the world have grown attracted to Malta. This has enhanced its visibility on the global map and boosted its rankings on the Passport Index.
Passport indexes also enable applicants to assess which passports have more influence regionally. To continue with Malta’s example, with a visa-free score of 165, which is the same as that of the United States of America, the Maltese passport gives one access to most of Europe and North America. However, it leaves out major parts of Asia. Passport indexes empower applicants to make an informed choice while applying for the passport of a particular country. It also provides information about further strengthening one’s passport power by recommending secondary citizenships of countries that suit the goals as well as match with the profile of the candidate best. With the help of the passport indexes, applicants may greatly enhance their global mobility without the hassle of immigration formalities or additional expenditures towards visas and other related travel permits.
Henley Passport Index
Among the other portals, the Henley Passport Index Report 2019 highlights the global trends in terms of passport strengths and follows a specific methodology to derive the rankings. This comprehensive report not only provides an insight into the relative position of one nation versus the other but also highlights regional trends and the factors that trigger such patterns. The index is made in accordance with the data supplied by the International Air Transport Authority or IATA and engages in rigorous research and monitoring in order to maintain the accuracy of the information. The Henley Passport Index has been a one-of-a-kind publication and has time and again been used by international organizations and governments across the world for their respective reference.
The Henley Passport Index establishes the Malta passport strength as one of the highest in the world with visa-free access to the entirety of North America, South America, Europe, Australia and large chunks of Africa and Asia. The openness of the different countries to the Maltese passport holders, a favorable perception of Malta for economic partnerships, its myriad tourist attractions and strategic political standing in the contemporary times has resulted in an impressive Maltese passport ranking.
Why Apply For A Maltese Citizenship?
The possession of a Maltese passport does not merely avail one of the ease of travel; it also brings with a chance at a comfortable and peaceful way of life. In spite of being a relatively small country with a little over 4,00,000 population, Malta has been able to place itself in the top ten of the global passport indexes. Malta has a secure infrastructural framework and effective governance in place. The country has high standard public services such as schools, hospitals, transport, telecommunications, etc. which ensures that its citizens enjoy a high quality of life. It has also recorded persistent industrial growth over recent decades. Malta’s proximity to Europe imparts it with a modern outlook and high standard of living, but the costs of living are not as much as the other European countries. The taxes are much lesser in Malta compared to other nations. The warm and favorable weather of Malta offers a welcome relief from the cold terrains of Europe.
Malta also has a reputed international perception and is a member of renowned international organizations like the United Nations, European Union, International Monetary Fund and the Eurozone. Concomitantly, Malta enjoys excellent air and sea links to almost every part of the globe. Malta is also a member of the European Free Trade Association making trade and business prospects mostly profitable.
The wide array of benefits which Maltese citizenship brings has enhanced the Maltese Passport ranking. To make things easier, acquiring Maltese citizenship is no longer constrained by descendants or birth but in fact, can be procured employing a popular program called Citizenship by Investment. The requirements are relatively simple, and the procedures are hassle-free and prompt. Moreover, the acquired citizenship does not make it mandatory to live in Malta unless desired.
Benefits of the Maltese Passport
There are numerable advantages that come along with a Malta passport, making the Malta passport index as one of the most highly ranked in the world.
- Visa-free travel in 124 countries, and access to visa on arrival in an additional 41 countries, including the US.
- The Malta citizenship provides a lifetime permanent EU citizenship, allowing the passport holders to settle down, travel to or even build an establishment in any of the 28 EU countries and Switzerland.
- It is not compulsory to reside permanently in Malta to avail of the passport
- No Maltese language tests or any other related citizenship tests are mandated to be eligible for the passport. English is commonly spoken across the length and breadth of the country.
- No mandatory military service is required.
- The application entails a fast-track citizenship application with approval usually taking place within 3-4 months and the complete citizenship process finishing within a year.
- A single application incorporates the application for the entire family including the spouse, children and other dependents
- Malta Citizenship may be passed on to the descendants who automatically inherit the citizenship
- Malta Citizenship does not make it necessary for one to pay taxes unless one resides in Malta for over six months.
- Malta has an ideal location with excellent air and sea links and extensive global connectivity
- A blissful lifestyle in a stable and prosperous political climate with a moderate cost of living
- Malta citizenship facilitates the option of dual citizenship (as long as your country of origin allows it)
Maltese Passport Requirements
The Malta Passport ranking has seen a steady rise by virtue of the unique citizenship by investment program. It follows a smooth and convenient procedure and involves a fairly reasonable investment when pitted against all the benefits that it brings. The program primarily calls for a contribution towards the development of Malta, an investment in government stocks and a purchase of property in Malta.
Maltese citizenship may be procured through a particular procedure with stringent guidelines. This is to ensure that the credibility of the candidates who ultimately receive citizenship. All applying candidates undergo a four-tier due diligence test in order to qualify for citizenship. The verification process involves a detailed background check to make sure that all the funds that the candidate possess have been earned through legitimate means.
There are two categories of requirements for applying for a Maltese passport, i.e. financial and non-financial. Whereas the non-financial requirements pertain to an immaculate criminal record verified by credible sources, testimony to good health and a minimum age of 18 years, the financial requirements are slightly more elaborate.
However, the overall application process requires one to make 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:
- Donations towards Malta’s National Development and Social Fund
- Making an investment of at least €150,000 or $168,682 in any bonds, stocks, debentures or securities listed in the Malta stock exchange and approved by the government of Malta and maintaining the investment for at least 5 years
- Investing in the local real estate, with the commitment that the candidate will retain and maintain an immovable property in Malta for at least five years, without subletting or letting the property out
Besides the financial investment requirements, 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.
Documents Required for applying for Maltese citizenship
The following documents, duly notarized for use in Malta, need to be compulsorily submitted alongside the application for a Maltese passport:
- Birth certificate
- Health certificate from a registered medical practitioner
- Global health insurance with a coverage of at least €50,000
- Marriage certificate in English
- Personal details including family information, education, and employment
- Utility bills and proof of current residence
- Bank statements showing evidence of source of income
- Tax statements from the country of origin
- References from lawyers and bankers
- Police clearance certificate from all the countries lived in over the past ten years, including FBI clearance for residence in the US
Currently, the Malta Passport ranking stands at fourth worldwide. Blessed with a politically advantageous location, breathtaking scenic beauty, and an agreeable climate, Malta offers a taste of the Mediterranean paradise. It is home to cosmopolitan culture and a highly receptive social structure. Moreover, Malta has a broad scope of visa-free travel available to its citizens along with profitable business opportunities with global partners. It is not surprising that the Maltese passport ranking is soaring high. Citizenship by investment programs provides a chance to acquire the citizenship of Malta. The investment required is well balanced out by the benefits earned endorsed by the impressive statistics of the Maltese passport index. Its international fame as a valued member of major international organizations, a thriving economy, and competent governance makes it an attractive destination to establish a second home. Whereas, for businesspeople and diplomats, the Malta passport index becomes a vantage point to strengthen their reputations and prospects on the professional front.
Finally, at a time when countries are tightening their borders, affecting professional and educational pursuits, Malta offers hope to the younger generations. Malta passport ranking reflects a host of benefits that Maltese citizenship espouses and at the same time, does not compel one to give up one’s native citizenship or abandon one’s country of origin. Going by the trends portrayed by the Maltese passport index, availing of a Malta citizenship is a wise investment for securing the future.