In these times of globalization, the power of a high ranking passport can be manifold. Starting from easy access to different countries to opportunities to work, study, reside, or even holiday to a wider range of destinations; a passport with a reputable global index can infinitely transform an individual’s access to the globe at large. While some are born with the privilege of a powerful passport, many have to strive towards acquiring a passport that offers a greater number of advantages than that of their respective countries of origin. Fortunately, several countries facilitate the securing of citizenships on grounds other than that of birth or descendancy. Further, many other nations allow an individual to possess more than one citizenships, thus reaping benefits of both the passports.
With the expanse of information and communication technology, people’s needs are becoming increasingly international. From enhancing careers or educational pursuits or a lifestyle upgrade or even for leisure, people are no longer satisfied to be restricted by political boundaries. Hence, a passport that allows a person to venture far and wide, along with the convenience of visa-free or on arrival visa travel, is a highly treasured possession in today’s world.
One of the most popular and inclusive modes of acquiring citizenships of other countries is through citizenship by investment programs. An increasing number of countries are participating in this ingenious scheme through which individuals from different corners of the world can avail of the citizenship of a particular country in exchange for a certain amount of investment. Businessmen, students, travelers, diplomats, and even retired professionals are increasingly opting to pursue this enticing offer for a variety of reasons.
Among other nations, two countries whose citizenship by investment programs have had resounding success are Malta and Cyprus. Statistics state that various high net worth individuals are deciding on Malta vs Cyprus passports, apprising themselves of the huge gamut of benefits that each offer.
Located strategically in the Mediterranean Sea, both the nations enjoy proximity to three continents namely Europe, Africa, and Asia. Further, as members of the European Union, both Malta and Cyprus offer the lucrative scope of residing, working and traveling to all member nations including Germany, France, Italy, without the hassle of getting a visa or any other travel permit. While both countries offer citizenship through investment and residency programs, each has its own salient features.
The Malta citizenship by investment vs Cyprus citizenship by investment is a dilemma many grapple with. Given that each of the countries brings in a separate array of gains, it is wise to evaluate both to make an informed choice.
Comparing the benefits of Malta Citizenship Vs Cyprus Citizenship
Choosing between the Malta Citizenship vs Cyprus Citizenship is not an easy one. Both countries have the advantage of a strategic location, beautiful landscape, and comfortable climate. Further, both nations have a thriving economy with impressive trade ties with the European Union. The decision between Malta passport vs Cyprus passport is further complicated with their closely linked passport scores at 165 and 161 respectively.
Benefits of a Maltese Citizenship
There are numerous Malta citizenship benefits, making it one of the most sought after countries to seek citizenship from.
- Visa-free travel in 124 countries and access to visa on arrival in 41 countries, including the USA.
- Malta citizenship provides a lifelong and permanent EU citizenship, allowing the passport holders to set up an establishment or work in any of the 28 EU countries and Switzerland.
- The applicants are not required to reside permanently in Malta to avail of the citizenship
- No proficiency in any Maltese language tests or any other related citizenship tests are required to be eligible for this program
- No mandatory military service is required
- A prompt Malta citizenship application process with approval taking place within 3-4 months and the completion of the entire citizenship process within a year
- A single application includes the entire family vis-a-vis spouse, children and other dependents
- Maltese Citizenship can be passed on to the descendants of the principal applicant.
- Malta Citizenship programs do not require one to pay taxes before six months of residing in Malta. Taxes are levied on a remittance basis.
- Malta has a strategic location with excellent air and sea links and global connectivity
- A blissful lifestyle in a stable political climate and prosperous economy.
Benefits of a Cypriot Citizenship
- The Cyprus Citizenship application follows a fast-track procedure with the approval of citizenship application occurring within approximately six months;
- Visa-free travel to 122 countries and the provision of on arrival visa in 39 countries.
- Cyprus accords the candidates with a chance to simultaneously submit the residency and citizenship applications.
- No language requirements
- The main applicant can include the parents, provided they qualify on the grounds of owning a house valued at €500,000 + VAT or a share of €500,000 in a residential property of the main applicant.
- Cyprus offers low tax rates and free trade opportunities within the EU.
- Cypriot citizens have an unrestricted right to live, work and study anywhere in Europe.
- Cypriot citizens may rightfully own a property or an establishment in any of the member nations of the EU.
- Strategically located at the intersection of the EU, the Middle East and North Africa with direct access to the Mediterranean Sea.
- Among the safest countries in the world with a population below five million.
- Superior education system and health care facilities
- A delightful country, blessed with natural splendors and an agreeable climate all around the year.
Located a few miles off the coast of Sicily, Malta is a beautiful archipelago known for its pleasant weather and mesmerizing landscapes. Malta is dotted with picturesque cliffs and coves and surrounded by tranquil waters, Malta is not only a highly sought after tourist destination but also an ideal place to stay, flourish and retire because of its booming economy and efficient governance. As a member of the European Union since 2004, Malta has emerged as a prominent location for investing in citizenship.
The Maltese Citizenship is one of the most beneficial citizenships to possess due to several perks including a passport ranked fourth worldwide according to the Passport Index 2019. With an advanced infrastructural framework and a stable political climate, Malta enjoys cordial relations with nations in the world and accordingly has enormous global connectivity, through air and sea links. By virtue of its association with numerous important international organizations like the United Nations, European Union, etc., the perception of Malta worldwide has improved significantly, which in turn has boosted its global ranking. Further, the Maltese citizenship requirements are fairly straightforward and the processing time is not more than 3-4 months. However, strict due diligence is conducted to ensure only deserving candidates are granted citizenship.
The Malta Individual Investor Program (MIIP) requires an investment of €650,000 towards the Malta National Development Fund maintained by the government, a €150,000 contribution in government approved financial instruments like bonds and stocks and investment in a property in Malta for 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 access to Maltese passport within the span of a year.
An idyllic Mediterranean island, situated at the intersection of Europe, North Africa, and West Asia, Cyprus offers a chance to indulge in a rich sense of history alongside overwhelming scenic beauty. Cyprus abounds in sunbathed white sands and sublime waters, making it perfect for outdoor adventures. The island is also home to sprawling meadows filled with wildflowers, lush vineyards, and pine clad mountains. Cyprus boasts of a dynamic culture and a thriving economy. By virtue of its location and a balanced political climate, Cyprus has emerged as a compelling location for entrepreneurs and investors. The shipping and tourism industries in Cyprus are highly profitable sectors. Due to the ease of doing business, relaxed taxation and immigration policies, an increasing number of businessmen and high net worth individuals are turning to Cyprus to seek out a second home. Cyprus has also been declared the fifth safest place in the world and the education, health care and law and order facilities of Cyprus are considered to be among the best in the world. With the convenience of the citizenship programs, it is not surprising that the Frank Knight Global Lifestyle Review has ranked Cyprus as 5th in the world’s best countries for relocation.
The possession of a Cypriot citizenship provides numerous gains. To begin with, it has a free-market economy with a transparent legal framework which facilitates increased foreign investment and overseas business engagements. The Cypriot passport holds a global ranking of number 9 in terms of passport power, offering visa-free travel to 122 countries and visa on arrival to 39 countries. Being a member of the European Union, Cyprus enables its citizens to stay, study or travel without the hassle of a visa or relevant permits in any of the member states of the EU. This has phenomenal advantages for those prospective students and professionals who can then have unrestrained access to a wider range of opportunities. The Cyprus citizenship program is one of the fastest and expedient gateways to acquiring an EU citizenship with relatively simple eligibility requirements.
To avail of the Citizenship by investment program in Cyprus, an investment of €2 million in real estate is sought. The program’s uniqueness lies in the rapid processing system with the citizenship being granted within six months of such investment. Instead of investing in real estate, the applicants also have an option to invest €2 million in any government-sanctioned bonds or equities or in any alternative investment funds, licensed by the government. Many a time, applicants opt for contributing towards a combination of both property and government funds. This confers on a candidate a Cypriot passport and along with it, citizenship of an EU country providing the passport holder with the freedom to work, travel, study and live anywhere within the EU and Switzerland. Citizenships acquired through investment in Cyprus are applicable to the dependant family members of the main applicant. At no point, will a Cypriot citizenship entail the loss of the native nationality for the applicant or the family members. An additional benefit can be reaped in the form of returned investment under the provisions of this program. The investment can be reduced to just €500,000 after three years.
Cyprus also allows applicants to secure permanent residency in Cyprus by investing in real estate. The permanent residency programs is one of the quickest and simplest investor residency programs in Europe. It requires an investment of €300,000 towards a property in order to be granted the Cyprus residency permit. The residency visa is processed within two months of the application and extends to the whole family. A unique feature of the Cyprus Residency program is that it includes parents of both the main applicant as well as the spouse and dependent children up to the age of 25. It is valid for a lifetime and can be passed down to dependents and their spouses.
The permanent residency program facilitates hassle-free travel through the European Union and only mandates a single visit in every two years to Cyprus, unlike other residency programs which necessitate residency commitments. The investment need not be individually made but can be made by a company of which the main applicant and spouse are benefactors. A maximum of two properties, reaching €300,000 permanent residency limit, are allowed. The properties purchased must be brand new and the option of renting is not available.
Power of Malta Passport Vs Cyprus Passport
The citizenship programs of both countries are highly appealing in their own respects and one might cater to the specific needs of the applicants better than the other. However, to conclusively decide between the Malta Citizenship Vs Cyprus Citizenship, we need to take into account a few important factors namely the global passport index, the quantum of investment, the eligibility criteria and the processing time of the entire application process.
- Passport Index:In terms of the passport rank index, according to the Henley Passport Index, Malta holds a rank of 8 globally, with visa-free and on arrival visa access to 182 destinations whereas, Cyprus is at the 16th position worldwide, providing visa-free and on arrival visa travel to 173 destinations. Further, according to the figures provided by the Arton Capital, Malta has a passport score of 165 and Cyprus has a score of 161 and the passport power rank of Malta is 4th and Cyprus’ is 8th in the world. In the Malta passport vs Cyprus passport comparison, Malta seems to have a slight edge over Cyprus.
- Investment Requirement:Malta’s citizenship by residence and citizenship by investment programs entail an overall investment which may be estimated at €1.2 million for the main applicant and a contribution of €25,000 for each applying family member. The investment also needs to include a real estate asset, government bonds as well as a donation to the National Development Fund of Malta. In comparison to that, Cyprus’ investment schemes for both the citizenship by residence and investment programs are straight-forward. An overall investment of €2.0 million is sought either in a property or a government licensed alternative fund or any state bond or equity. No residency requirement is appended in the case of the citizenship application. Moreover, the investment in Cypriot citizenship is partially returnable after three years.
- Eligibility Criteria:While the eligibility criterion put forth by Malta and Cyprus are both simple and non-fussy, revolving mainly around the requisite funds and a bona fide background and relevant sickness insurances, Malta uses the term “fit and proper person”, to ascertain the credibility of the applicants. This often prolongs the application period.
- Processing Time:Malta has a longer timescale in terms of the processing, with the residence permit and passport being granted only after a year of application and acquiring of the property. Contrarily, Cyprus has a fast-track processing system with the residence permit being granted within two months of the acquisition of a property and the citizenship approved within six months of the submission of the application.
Malta and Cyprus both have many similarities, boasting of scenic views, excellent connectivity and a luxurious lifestyle, and both offer citizenship on the basis of investment. Gaining an additional passport is of great use, whether the applicant is a youth, of middle age or retiring age. The benefits of a Maltese or Cypriot passport are applicable for the entire family, providing access to nations of the European Union, premium education opportunities and a relaxing environment.