4 ways to obtain Malta citizenship
Malta nationality can be acquired by birth, registration or naturalisation. There is also a possibility to become a Maltese citizen by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.
By birth. If a person was born before September 21st, 1964, they should be born in Malta to get Malta citizenship. One of their parents should be of Maltese nationality.
If a person was born abroad, they must have a Maltese father and a Maltese paternal grandparent born in Malta to get Malta nationality.
If a person was born after September 21st, 1964 and before August 1st, 1989, they need to have a Maltese father or be born in Malta to get Malta citizenship.
Starting August 1st, 1989, every person born in Malta or from a Maltese parent automatically becomes a citizen of Malta.
The list of necessary documents for each of the cases above includes:
- a birth certificate;
- a father’s birth certificate;
- a parents’ marriage certificate;
- an ID;
- an international passport;
- a marriage certificate if a spouse or a widower of a Maltese citizen applies.
By registration. This way to obtain Malta citizenship refers to marriage, widowhood, children of Maltese females, and former citizens.
If a person is married to a Maltese citizen for at least 5 years, they can apply for Malta nationality.
A widow or a widower can apply for Malta citizenship if a marriage has lasted for at least 5 years.
If a marriage lasted less because of the death of a spouse, it should be 5 years between the wedding and the application date.
If a child was born before September 21st, 1964 to a mother also born in Malta, then a child can get Maltese nationality by registration.
If a child was born between September 21st, 1964 and August 1st, 1989 to a Maltese mother who was born outside of Malta, they are also eligible for Malta nationality.
A former citizen of Malta can also become a Maltese citizen if they were a citizen of Malta by registration or naturalisation before. Direct descendants, second or subsequent generations born abroad to parents born in Malta can obtain Malta’s nationality as well.
The list of documents required for Malta nationality application depends on the case. Typically, an applicant should provide the following:
- a birth certificate with parents’ names;
- a recent passport-sized photo of the applicant;
- an ID, passport, or residence card of the applicant;
- a marriage certificate registered in Malta.
The country can request additional documents depending on the case. An applicant should submit all the necessary documents and a form. The form depends on the applicant’s needs. An investor submits documents to the Community Malta Agency.
The application fee is €150, and an extra of €50 is paid if the application is approved.
By naturalisation. A person can obtain Malta citizenship if they meet these criteria:
- over 18 years old — a parent can apply on behalf of a minor;
- foreigner or a person without citizenship;
- has lived in Malta — permanently for at least 1 year and for 4 years — during the last 6 years prior to the application;
- to be of good character, which is proved by sponsors;
- has knowledge of Maltese or English good enough for communicating with the locals and the authorities.
Before applying, one needs to get a residence certificate from the Community Malta Agency. They also need to have 2 sponsors vouching for them who are not related, who are Malta citizens not by naturalisation and over 18 years old.
The first sponsor should be of a certain profession:
- a member of the Maltese Parliament;
- a judge;
- a magistrate;
- an advocate;
- a notary public;
- a legal procurator;
- a medical practitioner;
- a public officer not below the rank of principal;
- a police officer not below the rank of the inspector;
- an officer of the Armed Forces of Malta not below the rank of captain;
- a parish priest.
The application fee is €450 and an extra €50 if it was approved.
By investment. An opportunity to get Malta nationality by investment is officially called Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.
Applicant’s investment goes to the National Development and Social Fund. €600,000 is the sum required if an investor has resided in Malta for 3 years prior to the application, and €750,000 — if they have lived in Malta for 1 year prior to the application.
The additional sum of €10,000 goes to a non-government organisation in Malta.
5 benefits of the Malta passport
1. Visa-free entry to over 180 countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the UK. Malta passport allows travel for both business and leisure purposes. It also allows individuals to explore new opportunities and broaden their horizons without visa applications or tourist visa restrictions.
2. Ability to permanently reside, study, work, and conduct business within the EU. Holders of Malta citizenship can reside in Malta or any EU member state, pursue higher education in renowned European institutions, seek employment, or start a business anywhere within the EU's market.
3. Malta is comfortable to live in. The country enjoys a Mediterranean climate. English is the second official language. Malta has high-quality healthcare: the country has become the 9th in the ranking of countries with the best medical system, according to the medical journal Lancet.
4. Dual citizenship. Individuals can obtain Malta citizenship without giving up their first passport.
5. Passports for all family members, including parents, grandparents, and children under 29 years old. This benefit is of interest for families who wish to secure the advantages of living in a safe and prosperous country for themselves and future generations.
Disadvantages of Malta’s passport. You will have to wait — depending on the investment amount, it takes 1 to 3 years to get a Maltese passport.
Expenses can be high: a family of 4 will have to spend around €1,000,000, which does not include the property's value.
Moreover, the investor does not get interest or a refund of the investment. You can return investments in real estate — property purchased can be sold after 5 years.
Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment
Malta citizenship is obtained by naturalisation. Firstly, an investor receives a residence permit and maintains the status for one year or three years. Then, they pass a thorough Due Diligence and a police clearance check. After that, it is allowed to invest and apply for citizenship.
The investment goes to the National Development and Social Fund of Malta:
- €600,000 if you have resided in Malta 3 years prior to the application;
- €750,000 if you have resided in Malta 1 year prior to the application.
Additionally, an investor should donate €10,000 to a non-government organisation in the field of philanthropy, culture, sport, science, animal welfare, or artistry.
An investor should buy or rent a residential property in Malta to get a passport. The minimum value for purchasing property is €700,000. The minimum annual sum for rent is €16,000 — it should be maintained for at least 5 years from obtaining citizenship.
The investor does not get interest or a refund of the investment. Only investment in property can be returned after 5 years.
Examples of residential property in Malta for purchase
Malta nationality by investment requirements for applicants
Dependent family members and the main applicant qualify for a Malta passport by investment.
Spouse. A spouse in an official marriage can participate in the program. Same-sex marriage is no exception. A partner with a similar or the same status such as civil union, domestic partnership, and common law marriage can also apply as long as the status can be proved.
Children. Children under 18 years old, unmarried children under 29 years old who are financially dependent on the main applicant, and children of any age with a disability can apply for citizenship together with the main applicant. Children from previous marriages and adopted children also qualify.
Parents. Parents, grandparents, and in-laws can participate if they are 55 or older and financially dependent on the main applicant.
An investor should add up to €50,000 of investment to The National Development and Social Fund per family member.
For example, if the investor wants citizenship for themselves, their spouse, and two children in 3 years, the total amount of investments is €750,000.
All applicants should meet these requirements:
- they should have no criminal records that have led to imprisonment for more than 1 year, excluding crimes of negligence;
- they cannot be under any international sanctions;
- they cannot be prosecuted before the International Criminal Court regardless of the verdict;
- they cannot have visa denials for countries that have a visa waiver regime with Malta.
The main applicant should confirm that the money for the investment was sourced legally.
The exclusion for participation is citizens, residents, or people having close connections with several countries. These countries are Afghanistan, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
Citizens from countries under a US travel ban also cannot apply.
It is allowed to have dual citizenship in Malta.
Essential documents and process of obtaining a Malta passport by investment
Malta nationality can be obtained 1 or 3 years after a Maltese residence permit. The procedure is almost the same for both cases. When applying for Malta nationality after 3 years, an investor confirms their home address in Malta and provides newer evidence of no criminal record.
An applicant provides copies of international passports for applicants over 12 years old and Form K.
Police clearance procedure is free. The Maltese police perform it, and they check every applicant over 18.
Documents needed are:
- international passports and residence permits of all applicants;
- a submission letter;
- a power of attorney;
- an application form, depending on the country of origin;
- a rental declaration form;
- a marriage certificate or other proof of status and children’s birth certificates, if applicable;
- a Level 1 Due Diligence from a licensed agent;
- consent form of parents if they are not in the application;
- a CV of the main applicant;
- bank statements for the last 6 months.
Translation of documents for a family of 4 will cost around €200.
To confirm an address in Malta, an investor provides a real estate lease or a purchase agreement; it can be a temporary lease to confirm an address in Malta or a permanent option. Besides, an applicant needs a landlord’s declaration.
€48,000 is for 3 years of rent and a deposit worth 1 month of rent. If you buy property, it should cost at least €700,000.
The applicant might need to fill in a questionnaire from an insurance company. Medical insurance should be global and with a minimum cover of €50,000 per applicant.
A basic insurance policy costs around €2,000 for a family of 4.
Application should be submitted within 6 months since the Police Clearance.
The applicant provides the original documents collected for the residence permit. In addition, they submit biometrics from each applicant, including children over 6.
Expenses include the ones for a trip to Malta and the following fees:
- €5,000 for the main applicant’s permit;
- €1,000 per dependent’s permit;
- €1,500 of an administrative fee, per applicant;
- €27.50 per permit printing;
- €10,000 to the National Development and Social Fund as a part of the investment.
To pass the Eligibility Test, the applicant provides the following documents:
- the agent’s cover letter;
- power of attorney;
- a motivational letter with a decision to pick either 1 year or 3 years of residing in Malta;
- international passports and foreign residency permits;
- bank statements for 6 months;
- application forms;
- birth certificates;
- proof of sources of income;
- marriage and divorce certificates;
- confirmation of address in Malta;
- a certificate of good conduct;
- confirmation of providing for each dependant;
- tax residency declarations;
- a military ID if applicable.
Expenses include around €200 for notarised copies per family. In addition, around €8,000 will go for documents translation per family of 4. The Due Diligence fee is €15,000 for the main applicant and €10,000 for each dependant. An administrative fee of €1,000 per person applies, too.
To apply for citizenship, a residence permit holder provides the following documents:
- the agent’s cover letter;
- an affidavit about changes in the status of applicants or no changes;
- application forms;
- documents confirming that the applicant has met the investment requirements.
For applications after 3 years of residing, extra documents are needed. For example, recent bank statements, confirmation of the address in Malta, new certificates of good conduct, new medical formular, and any other documents that were renewed in the last 3 years.
Expenses for meeting requirements: the rest of investment, donation, and purchasing or leasing residential property.
There is an administrative fee of €500 per applicant. It is only needed if the application is approved.
Key takeaways about Maltese nationality
- One can become a Maltese citizen by birth, registration, or naturalisation. Investors can apply for Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment — the minimum investment is €690,000.
- An investor gets a residence permit and maintains the status for 1 or 3 years. After passing a thorough Due Diligence and police clearance check, they are allowed to apply for citizenship.
- The investment goes to the National Development and Social Fund of Malta: €600,000 if the investor has resided in Malta 3 years and €750,000 if 1 year. An investor should also buy or rent a residential property in Malta. Additionally, an investor donates €10,000 to a Maltese non-government organisation.
- Dependent family members such as a spouse, children under 29, and parents of 55 or older qualify for Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment. An investor should add up to €50,000 per family member.
- Malta’s passport provides multiple benefits. Maltese citizens can reside in any EU member state and travel visa-free to over 180 countries without giving up their first passport.
Frequently Asked Questions
Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment offers such benefits as travelling to 187 countries visa-free, access to high-quality education and medicine, the European business market, and living in the Mediterranean region.
The country is generally considered a favourable destination for immigrants due to its welcoming attitude towards foreigners and high quality of life. Malta offers safety and security, a high level of healthcare, a warm climate, and attractive views — the English language as an official one, alongside Maltese.
You cannot buy citizenship in Malta. However, there is an option to get a Malta passport for exceptional services by direct investment.
To do that, you should reside in Malta for 3 years and invest €600,000 in the country’s economy, or reside for 1 year and invest €750,000. Also, you need to own or rent a residential property in Malta.
A foreigner can get Malta nationality either by naturalisation or by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment. The former option requires a potential citizen to live in the country for at least 5 years.
The latter is possible in the case of investing €600,000 in the country’s economy and residing in the country for 3 years — or investing €750,000 and residing for one year. Either way, an investor also needs to purchase residential property worth €700,000 or lease with rent for at least €16,000 per year.
Malta is one of many countries that allow dual citizenship.
An investor can keep their first passport if they plan to apply for Malta nationality.
Investors can apply for Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment.
There are other possibilities to obtain European citizenship. For example, Cyprus has a permanent residence by investment program with the prospect of getting citizenship after 5 years.
Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain have Golden Visa programs with the possibility to obtain citizenship after 5—10 years. Austria and Switzerland offer residence permits by investment with potential citizenship. The amount of investment needed starts at €100,000.