With an ideal location in the stunning Mediterranean Sea, the archipelago of Malta boasts expansive natural splendor and consistently pleasant weather throughout the year. Malta has many charms including an ideal climate, mesmerizing scenic beauty, proximity to Europe and North Africa, as well as a strong and stable economy and political atmosphere. The education and healthcare systems in Malta have been recognized globally, and the amenable tax policies and the low cost of living, compared to the rest of Europe, make life in Malta very comfortable. Ranked amongst the top 10 countries in the global passport index, the citizenship of Malta exposes an individual to a wide array of benefits. These benefits range from travel with no visa or a visa on arrival across as many as 165 destinations to a chance to stay, study or work anywhere in the Schengen Area of Europe. It is not surprising that the citizenship of Malta has emerged as one of the most well-reputed citizenship programs in the world.
Fortunately, Malta offers an opportunity to avail of all the perks of Maltese citizenship to non-natives. Typically, an individual’s citizenship is determined based on their descent, country of birth and naturalization, which refers to any adopted citizenship by virtue of a prolonged stay. However, a recent innovation makes it possible for anyone to acquire the citizenship of Malta even without satisfying any of the listed criteria. The unique Residence and Citizenship programs are targeted towards individuals with a high net worth who wish to explore different territories for business, academic or leisure pursuits. The warm and diverse culture of Malta, complemented by a high standard of living at low costs make Malta an ideal destination to spend a luxurious retirement. All these advantages may be claimed by the investment of a specific amount in the economy of Malta. The programs are even more attractive because the Malta citizenship requirements are very straightforward and easily attainable.
Benefits of Malta Citizenship
There are many benefits that an individual can reap by applying for Malta citizenship by investment, rendering amongst the most sought after citizenship programs. These benefits include;
- Access to 124 countries through visa-free travel and visa on arrival in 41 countries, including the U.S.
- A lifelong and permanent EU citizenship, allowing passport holders to work or set up an establishment in any of the 28 EU countries and Switzerland.
- Applicants are not required to reside permanently in Malta to be granted citizenship
- No Maltese language tests or any other related citizenship tests are essential to be eligible for this program
- No compulsory military service is imposed
- A fast-track Maltacitizenship application process with approval taking place within 3-4 months and the complete citizenship process completing within a year
- A single application includes the entire family vis-a-vis spouse, children and other dependents
- Citizenship can be passed on to the descendants who would automatically inherit the citizenship
- The applicant is not required to pay taxes unless they live in Malta for more than six months. After this time, tax is only due on remitted income.
- Malta has a strategic location with excellent links across the sea and air, delivering global connectivity
- There is no need for applicants or their dependents to give up their native citizenship to gain a Maltese citizenship. Provided the native country allows, successful candidates can enjoy the benefits of dual citizenship under these programs.
- Maltese citizenship offers a modern and high quality lifestyle in a financially thriving and naturally beautiful country.
Advantages Of Possessing A Maltese Passport
Offering visa-free travel and visa on arrival in 165 destinations, the Maltese passport is ranked amongst the top ten most powerful globally. It is rated as number one among all citizenship by investment programs.
With a Maltese passport, individuals can enjoy the advantage of hassle free travel, as well as the opportunity to establish a high quality and peaceful lifestyle in the country. While being relatively small in comparison to other countries, Malta offers sizeable benefits in the form of a stable government and strong infrastructure. Citizens can access high standards across the country’s public services, including hospitals, schools, transport, and telecommunications, in addition to consistent growth across industries.
Another advantage offered by Malta in comparison to other countries is lower taxes, with taxes only being levied for foreign nationals on a remittance basis. Business benefits also come from Malta’s positive international reputation and strategic membership of several international organizations like the United Nations, Eurozone, European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Free Trade Association.
Finally, Malta is well connected to the rest of the world via its convenient sea and air links. Unrestricted access to work and educational opportunities in the entire Schengen Area significantly boosts the influence of a Maltese Passport.
Malta Passport Requirements
Essentially, an individual may apply for Maltese citizenship by investment through either of the two programs namely the Malta Individual Investor Program (IIP) and the Malta Indefinite Residency Visa Program (IRVP). On the successful completion of the conditions enlisted in either of the programs, subject to the satisfactory fulfillment of the Malta passport requirements, an individual gets access to Maltese citizenship, and by extension citizenship of the EU.
The IRVP route offers indefinite leave for successful candidates to be able to remain in Malta, alongside the various benefits afforded to EU Schengen nation citizens. To apply for the Malta citizenship by residency, the applicants are required to contribute €250,000 in any government approved bonds or equities and maintain the investment for five years. Additionally, a donation of €30,000 has to be made to the government, and it is necessary to purchase or rent of a property in Malta. A processing fee of €40,000 would also be applicable.
The Individual Investor Program involves donating €650,000 to 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 property investment of 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, one has to bear in mind that 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 Maltese citizenship and access to the Malta golden visa within a year.
Malta Citizenship Requirements
Apart from the investments involved there are further specifications involved in the Maltese citizenship requirements.
- The individual must be of minimum 18 years of age
- The individual must meet the necessary application requirements
- The individual must possess 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 which has global coverage
- The individual’s application should be deemed to be based on legitimate means and not against the public interest.
An essential aspect of the Malta citizenship requirements involves the funds that need to be invested. Accordingly, the cost of the Malta citizenship by investment may be divided under two heads; notably those relating to finances and non-financial requirements.
Non-Financial Malta Passport Requirements
The non-financial aspect of the Maltese Citizenship requirements is relatively clear and simple. All applicants must be a minimum of 18 years of age and will need to provide evidence of a clean criminal record. The Maltese government works with the International Criminal Court, INTERPOL, and a number of other authorities to rigorously check and validate all criminal information provided as part of the application process.
Other requirements relate to health, as applicants must provide certification that they are in good health and do not suffer from any contagious ailments or diseases that may potentially result in a burden on Malta’s health services. Relevant international policies for health insurance which cover both the applicant and their dependents are also necessary.
Financial Malta Passport Requirements
Targeted at the high-income groups, the for Malta citizenship programs via investment involves significant financial contributions. Applicants must make the payments only upon receiving the precursory approval from the Maltese government, which guarantees a successful outcome against any incurred costs. The Malta citizenship requirements in terms of the financial costs can further be divided into three different categories, including government donations, contributions via stocks and bonds, and an investment in local property.
1. Contribution to the Malta National Development Fund (NDF)
All Malta Citizenship by Investment candidates are required to make a large, non-refundable payment to the Government of Malta’s National Development and Social Fund, which is run by a board comprised of trustees. These financial contributions go towards supporting a number of Malta’s developmental projects, benefiting various fields such as education, employment, health services, innovation and social advancements. The payment will need to be made within a four month period after precursory approval has been issued, i.e. the “Malta IIP Letter of Approval in Principle.”
The approximate total cost of an individual application is €650,000 ($730,957). The investment amount may be larger and is directly related to the number of family members and dependents included in the application.
The inclusion of a spouse in the application will result in an additional donation amount of €25,000 (around $28,113). Requisite costs for children vary from €25,000 for minors to €50,000 for children between 18-26 years of age who are unmarried, and €50,000 for dependent children or adults with a form of disability. Dependent parents or grandparents will require a €50,000 donation.
2. Bonds Investment
In addition to the donation to the NDF, Malta Passport requirements also call for at least a €150,000 or $168,682 contribution in any bonds, stocks, debentures or securities listed in the Malta stock exchange and approved by the government of Malta, deemed profitable to Malta’s overall development. The investment must be maintained for at least a 5 year period.
3. Real Estate – Purchase or Rental
Applicants are required to invest in a local property in Malta. According to the regulations, candidates must commit to retain and maintain an immovable residence of real estate in Malta for at least five years, without subletting or letting the property out.
This property investment can come in the form of the purchase of real estate with a minimum value of €350,000 ($393,592) or by renting a property with a minimum annual rental value of €16,000 ($17,992) for five years or more. If candidates are purchasing property in Malta, they will be subject to around 9-12 percent processing and government fees or around 12-15 percent in fees for those taking out a rental tenancy.
While purchasing property initially appears to be a larger investment, buyers can enjoy a number of benefits in the long run. With a shrinking real estate industry, properties are available at lower prices, but their value will likely witness considerable growth in the market in the next few years. Rental property may require initial lower investments but do not have much in the way of a return.
Evidence is required that the candidate owns or rents a property in Malta within four months of the Malta Letter of Approval in Principle for citizenship being received. Once the property investments are complete, an e-Residence Malta identity card will be issued as evidence. Applicants do not need to reside in their property in Malta for the entire year and are only required to visit the country.
Additional Expenses Relating To The Malta Citizenship By Investment Program
In addition to the above investments, the applicants are required to submit a due diligence fee of €7,500 ($8,434) for the principal applicant, €5,000 ($5,622) for their spouse, adult children and parents, and €3,000 ($3,373) for children between the ages of 13 and 17 years.
Malta Residency and Visa Programs
As an alternative to application for citizenship via the country’s investment program, candidates may avail of one of the residency programs available in Malta to come into possession of the Maltese passport.
Applicants who wish to have a second property within the beautiful country of Malta should consider opting for the Malta Indefinite Residency Program. Meanwhile, those seeking the advantage of visa free travel and visa on arrival to 165 different countries are best suited to the Residency and Visa program. If property investment is a priority, the best option is likely to be the Malta Global Residency program. The benefits of each of these Malta citizenships programs are well balanced with the requirements for successful application.
Malta Residency and Visa Program
The below investments are required from applicants completing the Residency and Visa Program:
- A non-refundable government contribution worth €30,000 ($33,736) out of which €5,500 ($6,185) represents an advance government administrative fee
- Investment in government bonds worth €250,000 ($281,137), is required for at least 5 years
- The purchase of real estate worth a minimum value of €320,000 ($359,856) or €270,000 ($303,628) located in Gozo or South Malta, or a property tenancy of a minimum value of €12,000 ($13,494) per annum or €10,000 ($11,245), which is also situated in Gozo or South Malta.
Candidates must maintain their property investment for at least a five year period from being granted citizenship.
Malta Global Residency Program
Individuals making an application via the Global Residency program are required to make an investment in real estate in Malta. The property must have a minimum value of €275,000 if located in Malta, €220,000 if situated in the country’s Southern Region or €250,000 for real estate in Gozo.
Alternatively, candidates can choose to rent Maltese property instead. This must have a minimum value of €9,600 per annum or a cost of €8,750 per year for properties situated in Malta’s Southern Region or Gozo. It is not permitted to let or sublet this property. Candidates also need to demonstrate that they intend to reside in Malta for a minimum of 183 days per year once they are granted their residence permit. The qualifying property should serve as the principal residence of both the candidate and any dependants they include in their application.
To be granted Maltese citizenship by residency, the applicants are required to contribute €250,000 in any government bonds or equities for a period of five years. Additionally, an investment of €30,000 is required to be made to the Maltese government. Alongside that, purchase or rent of a property in Malta is necessary as well as payment of €40,000 in processing fees.
Maltese Citizenship Requirements Vs Benefits
During a time when multiple countries are imposing tightening restrictions on their borders, leading to limitations in access to professional and educational prospects, Malta is welcoming individuals from across the globe. A vast variety of benefits are reflected in the Malta passport ranking and at the same time, does not require candidates to compromise their citizenship from their native or origin country. As such, Maltese citizenship represents a worthy investment for an individual to settle in, prosper and retire.
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