How can an investor acquire Malta citizenship?
Malta has no citizenship-by-investment program; the Individual Investor Programme was closed in 2020. Now the paths to the country’s citizenship for foreigners include only registration or naturalisation.
Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment is a possible option for wealthy non-EU nationals. Investors get a Malta residence permit. Then, after one to three years, they can submit a citizenship application. The Maltese Citizenship Act provides this path.
To obtain Malta citizenship for exceptional services, applicants fulfil several investment conditions, reside in Malta and pass a strict Eligibility Test.
Eligibility for Malta сitizenship for exceptional services by direct investment
Investors and their family members can become Malta’s citizens if they meet all the requirements and successfully pass the Eligibility Test, which is a complicated Due Diligence check.
Only official representatives, licensed by the Malta government, can submit applications on behalf of investors. The law does not allow investors to apply independently.
The main applicant must meet the following criteria:
- non-EU citizenship,
- legal income sources,
- no criminal convictions,
- no sanctions or visa denials in the countries with which Malta has visa-free agreements.
Investors fulfil several investment conditions and can decide whether to buy or rent a property and get a passport after one or three years of residency. Also, they can include spouses, children up to 29 years old and parents over 55 in the applications. The final investment amount depends on family composition.
Investment conditions for obtaining Malta citizenship
|Condition||Passport after one year||Passport after three years|
|Contribution to the National Development and Social Funf (NDSF) for the investor||€750,000||€600,000|
|Contribution to the NDSF for each family member||€50,000||€50,000|
|Real estate rental for 5 years||€16,000 per year||€16,000 per year|
|Purchase of real estate|
Alternative to rental
State fees for the main applicant include €15,000 for the Eligibility test, €5,000 for residence card issuance, and €3,000 for administrative fees. If family members are added to the applications, the fees are higher.
It is profitable to buy housing in Malta: real estate can be sold after five years with a return on investment. Rent brings in from 5 to 15% per annum, and the cost has grown by 4—6% per year since 2015.
How to get Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment
First, an applicant must choose a licensed agent and sign an Engagement Letter on Granting of citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations by Direct Investment. The agent assists the investor at every stage of the program. Lawyers prepare documents, help to buy insurance, find real estate for rent or purchase and fulfil the investment conditions.
Immigrant Invest has a compliance department. A certified specialist checks the investor’s data before lawyers start working on an application. Verification helps identify the risk of refusal by the program department and propose a solution to the problem.
The investor and their family members are subject to a background investigation by the Maltese police, who then issue a Police Clearance Certificate. Children under 12 are exempt from it.
An investor submits personal documents, medical insurance, an apartment rental agreement and a police clearance certificate. The residence permit is issued for 36 months.
The investor and their family must pass the Eligibility Test. It is a rigorous Due Diligence check carried out by the Community Malta Agency during the first 12 months of acquiring their Malta resident permit. It requires 4—5 months.
If the check is successful, you can apply for citizenship one or three years after receiving the residence permit cards. The Community Malta Agency must be notified of any significant changes in applicants’ circumstances.
To get citizenship, one needs to receive written approval from the Minister.
At this step, investors make a charitable donation of €10,000, contribute the required amount to the NDSF and buy or rent a property. They have four months to do it.
Applicants must visit Malta to submit the biometrics, take the Oath of Allegiance and get passports. Each family member over six years old visits the Malta Passport Department to borrow their passport in person.
Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment. With our help, cosmopolitans discover new opportunities like visa-free travelling around the world, the development of international business, and access to the best educational facilities for their children.
Tax consequences of сitizenship in Malta
Many businesspeople plan to move to Malta to transfer assets to the country and benefit from the country’s tax system. But please note that after obtaining a Malta passport, the investor doesn’t gain any tax incentives.
Acquiring citizenship doesn’t always lead to paying taxes in Malta. Persons who hold a Maltese passport but reside and get income from sources in other countries are not regarded as tax residents. They usually do not have to pay Maltese taxes on their income unless they earn money in Malta — for example, by renting a property out.
To become a Malta tax resident, an investor must live there for at least 183 days a year.
Benefits of the Malta citizenship
Visa-free travelling. Malta’s citizens can travel to more than 180 countries worldwide without getting visas in advance. All Schengen states, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia are visa-free for Maltese nationals.
Residing in Malta and other EU countries. The right to enter and stay in Malta is guaranteed to all of its citizens. In addition, they are free to live and work in any other EU or Schengen country.
After several months of living in another EU state, Malta citizens must report their presence to the relevant authorities. The rules depend on the country; one can usually spend up to three months in an EU country without getting additional documents.
Access to top-grade medical care. Maltese citizens with health insurance covered by the national health insurance system can receive free care in public clinics and hospitals. Also, there are some high-quality private clinics.
Malta spends about 10% of its GDP on healthcare, which is quite a lot. Also, the country ranks 11th in the world by the health index score, according to Statista. The health index evaluates a population’s health level, access to healthcare, health outcomes, risk factors for disease, and mortality rates.
Opportunities for international business. investors with Malta passports can launch businesses in Malta or other EU countries. It is possible to grow a company internationally and run it more successfully.
Education for the youngest. Maltese nationals’ children can attend schools and universities in Malta and within the EU. Additionally, in some countries, their tuition costs will be considerably lower than those of non-EU citizens.
A married couple, Artur and Anna, live in Armenia. They have three kids. The youngest is enrolled in an Armenian school and intends to attend a UK university, and the two seniors study at American universities.
The couple’s most significant goal was to increase their mobility. They had to wait a long time for their US visas to visit their children. In addition, there would also be an issue with travelling to the UK.
Immigrant Invest helped Artur solve the problem with visas for the whole family: they got Malta citizenship.
Malta dual citizenship
Malta citizens are permitted to have dual citizenship. A person does not have to give up their original passport to get a Maltese one.
One will only be allowed to retain the citizenship of both countries if the state of origin allows dual citizenship. Some countries such as China, Japan, India and Thailand prevent their citizens from getting multiple citizenship. If their nationals acquire Malta passports, they will need to renounce their previous citizenship.
Final notes on getting Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment
- Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment is suitable for investors from non-EU countries. They get a residence permit and apply for citizenship after one or three years. The minimum investment amount is €690,000.
- Close family members can join the main applicant and get Malta citizenship.
- An investor with a Malta passport has the same freedom and rights as any other Malta citizen. They are free to travel to 180+ countries, have simple access to high-quality healthcare and education, and may reside in a country with a high-level standard of living.
Frequently Asked Questions
Foreigners can get Malta citizenship by registration or naturalisation.
One can apply for Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services in 1 or 3 years after obtaining a residence permit. Investors are only eligible if they have legal income and no criminal records, sanctions or visa denials in countries that agreed on a visa-free regime with Malta.
Investors fulfil several investment conditions and can decide whether to buy or rent a property or get a passport after one or three years.
Investment conditions that the applicant must meet:
- Real estate investment. In the case of rent, the minimum cost of the property should be at least €16,000 annually. If the investor decides to purchase their residential real estate, it will cost €700,000 or more. Applicants must rent or own their property for at least five years.
- Contribution to the NDSF is €600,000+ if the investor wants to apply for citizenship after three years of residency and €750,000+ if they apply after one year.
- Charitable donation. The investor chooses a non-government Maltese organisation to donate €10,000+.
No, you can’t. It’s possible to get Malta citizenship by naturalisation.
To become a Malta citizen, you must pass strict Due Diligence and meet all Community Malta Agency criteria.
Malta citizenship has many advantages. Passport holders can travel to 180+ countries without visas, have simple access to high-quality healthcare and education, and may reside in a country with a high-level standard of living.