Citizenship
May 8, 2024
Reading Time: 10 min

Malta permanent residency by investment and citizenship by naturalisation: how to get it

In Malta, investors can apply for citizenship or a permanent residence permit. These are two different procedures with their own residency requirements. In both cases, the investor’s family members can participate and obtain the status.

If the investor and their family provide reliable background information and documents, they can get Maltese passports in one year and permanent residency in six months.

Learn how to apply for a Malta passport or permanent residency and what the expenses are.

Julia Loko
Julia Loko

Explained how to get Malta citizenship or permanent residence by investment

Malta permanent residency

Malta permanent residency by investment and citizenship by naturalisation: how to get it

Ways to obtain permanent residence in Malta

1. Living in Malta for 5 years. A foreigner can become a permanent resident of Malta after legally residing in the country for 5 years with a temporary residence permit.

There are several grounds for obtaining residence permits, including employment, education, and family reunification.

The application is submitted to the Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs of the Identity Malta Agency. The response can take between 6 and 8 months.

2. Malta Permanent Residence Programme, or MPRP, gives non-EU, non-EEA and non-Swiss citizens an opportunity to relocate to the country in the heart of the Mediterranean.

Investors buy or rent real estate, pay state fees, and make charitable donations to non-government organisations to obtain permanent residency.

Once granted, permanent residency allows individuals and their families to live, work, and study in Malta indefinitely, provided they comply with the terms of the program.

What is the Malta Permanent Residence Programme?

Eligibility. Wealthy individuals from non-EU countries can obtain a permanent residency permit within six months.

The Malta Permanent Residence Program is not subject to a quota, and there are no restrictions on obtaining a Malta Permanent Resident Card. There are also no requirements to know the language or history of the country.

Expenses. An investor buys or rents real estate, pays government fees and makes a charitable contribution. They must also confirm that they have a capital of €500,000.

Malta Permanent Residency Programme expenses

Expenses

Rent real estate for 5 years

Buy real estate

Real estate rent/purchase

€50,000 — in the south of Malta or on the island of Gozo

€60,000 — in the north or centre of Malta

€300,000 — in the south of Malta or on the island of Gozo

€350,000 — in the north or centre of Malta

Administrative fee

€40,000

€40,000

Contribution fee

€58,000

€28,000

Charitable donation

€2,000

€2,000

To apply for a Malta permanent residence, an applicant must bring:

  1. Passports of all family members.

  2. Proof of the necessary funds for the investment.

  3. Documents sustaining the funds have legal sources.

  4. Bank statements from the country of origin.

  5. Proof of family relationships, such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, divorce certificate or custody documents.

  6. Documents proving principal dependency on the main applicant for adult children, parents, or grandparents.

  7. Biometric data for the main applicant and others over 12.

  8. Police certificates proving zero criminal background.

  9. Medical insurance.

  10. Any other necessary documents, if required.

Permanent residence status is granted for life and is confirmed by a Certificate of Maltese Residence, issued by the country’s Government after approval and fulfilment of investment conditions.

When buying real estate, the property must remain in the ownership of the main investor for five years from the date they were granted permanent residence. After five years, it can be sold, and part of the investment returned.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese permanent residence

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese permanent residence

Who can apply for Malta permanent residency

Main applicant. Regardless of the grounds for obtaining permanent residency in Malta, the applicant must:

  • be over 18 years old;

  • have a stable job or income;

  • have a registered address for at least 5 years;

  • have paid taxes within the last 5 years;

  • have a clean criminal record;

  • have a medical insurance;

  • write a cover letter to include the purpose of stay.

Those who apply for the Malta permanent residency by investment must also own a capital of at least €500,000, of which at least €150,000 must be financial assets.

Family members. An investor can add relatives to the application:

  • a spouse or partner;

  • children under 18;

  • children over 18, unmarried, and principally dependent on the main applicant;

  • principally dependent parents or grandparents of either applicant or spouse.

If people who live together without being registered as civil marriage bring documents proving common-law marriage, they can participate in Malta permanent residence program. They can use a joint bank account statement, registration certificate, shared ownership, testimonies from relatives and friends, and photos and videos from vacations.

The Maltese permanent residence program is the only investment route with no age limits for relatives.

Malta passport — family members requirements

Malta is one of the European countries which offers citizenship or residency for the LGBT couples. They must be officially registered

7 benefits of Maltese PR

1. Increased travel freedom. Maltese permanent residents can visit Schengen Area countries for up to 90 days in six months without a visa.

2. Living and working in Malta. After obtaining permanent residency in Malta, an individual can move to the country and find a job or register a company there.

3. Permanent residence for 4 generations of a family. The investor’s spouse, children, parents, and grandparents can be included in the application.

4. Tax optimisation. An individual becomes a Malta tax resident after spending over 183 days a year in the country. Malta does not offer special benefits to investors. However, the tax system in Malta may be beneficial in comparison with other states. For example, there is a 0% tax rate on foreign income not transferred to Malta.

5. Access to healthcare and education. Maltese permanent residents don’t need visas for medical treatment in local clinics. They can also get an education in public universities for free. Alternatively, Malta hosts British and American schools and universities branches.

6. Stable environment. Malta boasts political stability, a robust economy, and a safe environment, providing residents with security and peace of mind.

7. Quality of life. With its Mediterranean climate, stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, Malta offers residents a high quality of life and a diverse range of recreational and leisure activities.

Step-by-step procedure for obtaining Malta permanent residency by investment

If you decide to acquire a Malta residence permit by investment, contact Immigrant Invest lawyers.

The experts will carefully study your circumstances, select the appropriate option, and accompany you throughout the process of obtaining a residence permit in 4—6 months.

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence Check

The investor undergoes an initial check against International legal and business information databases. They are also checked for harmful or compromising information materials on the Internet.

2

4—5 weeks

Collection of documents and application

Immigrant Invest’s lawyers make a list of needed documents for the application. The applicant provides originals. Lawyers submit documents for translation and certification, and they also fill out forms on behalf of the applicant. At this stage, the investor pays the administration fee.

3

4—6 months

Due Diligence

The Residency Malta Agency conducts the Due Diligence on the applicant, which takes about four months. If necessary, the investor provides additional information about the business and finances. Immigrant Invest’s lawyers prepare the documents, answer any questions and submit them to the agency.

4

Up to 8 months

Fulfilment of the investment conditions

After the Residency Malta Agency approves the application, the applicant must fulfil the investment conditions.

The remaining €30,000 of the administration fee is payable within two months from approval. Payments related to state contributions, charitable donations, and renting or purchasing property can take eight months.

At this stage, the applicants buy medical insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 per person.

5

1+ day

Applying for Malta residence permit cards and submitting biometrics

All applicants must come to Malta a second time to submit an application and biometrics for residence permit cards. Family members over 18 can go separately without the principal applicant to apply for a residence permit and submit biometrics no later than six months after beginning the insurance and rental agreement.

Immigrant Invest lawyer accompanies applicants. The application and the necessary documents are submitted to the Residency Malta Agency by appointment.

6

5—6 weeks

Obtaining a residence permit card

The Residency Malta Agency mails a letter notifying the applicant of the readiness of the residence permit cards. The letter is sent to the applicant’s Maltese residence address, confirmed by the previous lease or purchase agreement.

All applicants need to come to Malta for the third time to personally pick up residence permit cards from the Residency Malta Agency upon presentation of a letter.

7

Annually for the first 5 years

Review of compliance with the programme terms

The Residency Malta Agency checks whether the investor continues to meet the programme conditions: rents or owns a residential property in Malta and has assets of €500,000 in the disposal. The check is conducted annually for the first five years after obtaining permanent residence.

How to obtain citizenship in Malta after permanent residence?

Participating in the Malta Permanent Residence Programme does not automatically lead to obtaining a Maltese passport.

Malta citizenship can be granted by naturalisation. Officially, it is possible to obtain citizenship after 5 years of living in the country. In practice, however, the process can take up to 10 years.

Besides the residency requirement, Malta citizenship applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • have sufficient income;

  • have a Maltese health insurance;

  • pass language proficiency, law, and history exams;

  • have at least two Maltese nationals vouch for them in writing.

Applicants must have at least two guarantors who are not their family members. The first guarantor must be a lawyer, a doctor, a civil servant, a judge, a priest, a police officer not lower than an inspector, a prosecutor, a captain or above, a magistrate, or a notary. The second guarantor must be a Maltese citizen 18 years old or older who has not obtained citizenship by naturalisation.

Vladlena Baranova

Vladlena Baranova,

Lawyer, AML Compliance officer, certified CAMS specialist

It is not possible to convert Malta permanent residency by investment into citizenship by investment. At the same time, investors with permanent residency can apply for Malta citizenship by naturalisation on a general basis.

Malta citizenship by naturalisation requirements

The Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment is a speeded path for wealthy foreigners.

An applicant meets three mandatory investment conditions:

  • contribute to the National Development and Social Fund (the NDSF);

  • donate money to a non-governmental organisation;

  • buy or rent real estate.

A sum of the contribution defines when the investor can apply for citizenship. If the contribution amounts to €600,000, the residence permit must be kept for three years. If an investor contributes €750,000, the residence period cuts to one year.

Additional investment for each family member is €50,000.

Malta citizenship by naturalisation expenses

Expenses

Malta citizenship in 1 year

Malta citizenship in 3 years

Buying or renting real estate

€80,000 — rent for 5 years

€700,000 — purchase

€80,000 — rent for 5 years

€700,000 — purchase

Contribution to the NDSF

€750,000

€600,000

Donation

€10,000

€10,000

In the case of renting real estate, an investor first applies for a residence permit. To get it, the investor rents housing for €12,000. The rent should last for a year or three years, depending on the option.

The investor applies for a Malta passport in a year or three years. The investor concludes a new leasing agreement for €16,000 per year. It is obligatory to rent housing for at least five years.

In the case of buying real estate, the property must remain in the investor’s ownership for five years from the date they were granted permanent residence. After five years, it can be sold, and part of the investment returned.

Igor Buglo

Igor Buglo,

Head of the Maltese office, MBA

There is no difference between Malta citizenship by naturalisation and Malta passport receiving by origin. Investors and their family members get the same rights and privileges as native inhabitants.

Step-by-step procedure of obtaining Malta citizenship by naturalisation

If you decide to acquire a Maltese passport, contact Immigrant Invest lawyers. The experts will help you to pass all steps and get citizenship in one or three years, depending on investment options.

1. Preliminary Due Diligence check. It’s a key step in determining whether the Maltese state authorities will approve the investor’s application for a Malta passport. Immigrant Invest’s certified Anti Money Laundering Officer examines the investor’s documents and identifies possible risks that could result in their citizenship being rejected.

2. Police check. The Maltese police discuss the candidacy of the investor and their family members older than 12 years in the databases held by Interpol and Europol.

3. Obtaining a Malta residence permit. A Malta residence permit is issued to the investor and all family members over 18. Immigrant Invest lawyers prepare a Due Diligence report and apostille the relevant application documents. Also, the lawyers draw up a Maltese real estate rental contract and prepare the forms required for the medical insurance policy.

4. Eligibility Test. This procedure remains a Due Diligence check. Immigrant Invest lawyers apply for the Eligibility Test on behalf of the investor and applicants over 12 years old. This must be done within 12 months from the date of receipt of the residence permit card.

5. Check and approve. The Minister approves or rejects applications. After passing the test, applicants can apply for citizenship one to three years after obtaining a Maltese residence permit.

6. Applying for Malta citizenship. The procedure depends on term options:

  • in one year — the applicant has to confirm whether there have been any significant changes in their circumstances.

  • in three years — the applicant’s permanent residence address must be confirmed, and no criminal record certificate must be updated. If any other documents have been updated, they must also be resubmitted.

7. Final approval by the Minister. The decision is made in writing and provides the applicant with the possibility of obtaining Malta citizenship.

8. Investing. Within four months of the Minister’s written approval. In addition, the principal applicant needs to prove their residence in Malta. The residency requirement is stipulated in the new law.

  • After 12 months of receipt of residence permit: investment of €750,000.

  • After 36 months of receipt of residence permit: investment of €600,000.

9. Receiving the Malta passport. Applicants aged 6 or older collect their passports in person at the Malta Passport Department.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

6 benefits of obtaining Maltese passport

1. Visa-free travel. The Maltese passport is one of the strongest in the world in terms of travel freedom. Its holders don’t need to apply for a visa before travelling to the United States, the United Kingdom, and over 160 other countries.

2. Right to live, work, and study in other countries. Maltese citizens can relocate to any other EU country without additional permits.

3. International business opportunities. Maltese citizens can open a company in any EU country. This opportunity helps to expand a business to the international market.

4. Social benefits. Citizens are entitled to welfare services provided by the Government of Malta, including healthcare, education, housing, and social assistance programs.

5. Retaining your first citizenship. Malta allows dual citizenship, meaning investors don’t have to give up their first passport to become a Maltese citizen, unless the country of their origin prohibits that.

6. Citizenship for future generations. A child will get a Malta passport even if born outside of Malta.

Malta citizenship and permanent residency comparison

Opportunities

Permanent residency

Citizenship

Visa-free travelling

For the European Union countries and the Schengen Area

For all countries with which there is a visa-free agreement

Where you can live, work and study without time limits, enter and leave at any time

In the country of permanent residence

In any European Union country

Status expiration date

For life

For life

Opportunity to come to the country of permanent residence or citizenship during closed borders

Yes

Yes

Buy real estate, securities and other assets in the country of permanent residence or citizenship

Yes

Yes

Business conditions, rates, and tax benefits

Yes

Yes

Open an account in an international bank, keep savings, take a loan

Yes

Yes

Access to medical services

Yes

Yes

Work in government departments and participation in elections

No

Yes

Other European countries with residence permit programs by investment

Greece, Portugal, Сyprus, and Spain also offer paths leading to residency by investment. However, only Cyprus issues permanent residency for life, while other countries mandate investors to renew the status after several years of residency.

A residence permit in a European country provides freedom of travel within the Schengen Area and the prospect of citizenship in an EU country.

Residence permit programs in Europe

Сountry

Expenses

€250,000+

Term of obtaining

8+ months

Investment options

  • Units of investment funds

  • Support for culture and art

  • Scientific projects

  • Business investments

  • Opening a company

RP validity

2 years, renewable every 2 years

Сountry

Expenses

€500,000+

Term of obtaining

5+ months

Investment options

  • Real estate

  • Bank deposit

  • Government bonds

  • Shares of Spanish companies

  • Units of investment funds

  • Business investments

RP validity

3 years, renewable for 5 years

Сountry

Expenses

€250,000+

Term of obtaining

6+ months

Investment options

  • Real estate

  • Hotel rental

  • Securities

  • Bank deposit

RP validity

5 years, renewable every 5 years

Сountry

Expenses

€300,000+

Term of obtaining

3+ months

Investment options

  • Real estate

  • Shares of Cypriot companies

  • Securities

RP validity

For life, a resident card is renewable every 10 years

Key things to know about Malta permanent residency and citizenship

  1. Permanent residency in Malta can be obtained either after living in the country for 5 years with a temporary residence permit or through the Malta Permanent Residence Programme.

  2. Investors can apply for permanent residency after purchasing or renting real estate, making a government contribution and a charitable donation.

  3. Permanent residency of Malta allows foreigners to live, work and study in the country, as well as spend 90 out of 180 days in the Schengen Area states without a visa.

  4. The Malta Permanent Residence Programme does not result in the receipt of a passport. A foreigner can obtain Malta citizenship after residence in the country for at least five years.

  5. Those who are interested in receiving a Maltese passport can instead apply for Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain a permanent residence in Malta?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a permanent residence in Malta?

Frequently asked questions

  • What benefits give Malta passport and permanent residency?

    Malta permanent residence program is a path to Maltese permanent residency by investment.

    Maltese citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services through direct investment leads to obtaining citizenship.

    Both routes are suitable for high-income non-European residents interested in working and studying abroad or planning Malta immigration.

  • Who can apply for Malta citizenship and permanent residency?

    Malta citizenship requirements for an investor:

    • age over 18 years old;

    • no criminal record or criminal prosecution;

    • not under sanctions;

    • no visa denials to countries with a visa waiver regime with Malta;

    • ability to confirm the legality of the origin of the invested funds.

    The relatives are also eligible to apply for Malta citizenship. Among them: spouse or partner, children under 18; children over 29, unmarried, and principally dependent on principal investor; principally dependent parents or grandparents over 55 of either investor or spouse.

    Malta permanent residency requirements for an investor:

    • age over 18 years old;

    • no criminal record or criminal prosecution;

    • no visa denials to countries that have a visa waiver regime with Malta;

    • ability to confirm the legality of the origin of the invested funds;

    • owning a capital of at least €500,000, of which at least €150,000 thousand must be financial assets.

    An investor can bring the family members: spouse or partner, children under 18; children over 18, unmarried, and principally dependent on the principal investor; principally dependent parents or grandparents of either investor or spouse.

  • How can I get Malta permanent residency?

    Participate in the Malta Permanent Residency Programme and meet all the requirements.

    An applicant fulfils mandatory investment conditions:

    • make a charitable donation:

    • pay administrative and state fees;

    • buy or rent real estate;

    • capital of at least €500,000, including liquid financial assets of €150,000.

  • How can I get Malta passport?

    Apply for Malta citizenship by naturalisation path and meet all the requirements.

    An applicant fulfils three mandatory investment conditions:

    • contribute to the National Development and Social Fund (the NDSF);

    • donate money to a non-governmental organisation;

    • buy or rent real estate.

    Additional investment for each family member is €50,000.

  • What are the expenses when applying for a Malta passport by naturalisation?

    The minimal investment amount to get a Malta passport for one person is about €690,000. It involves renting property for three years to get Malta’s residence permit. Also, investors must pay contributions, make a donation and pass the eligibility test and other fees.

    Another opportunity is to purchase real estate. The minimum investment required is about €1,310,000 for one applicant, including contribution, donation, medical insurance, administrative fee and other expenses.

  • Does Malta allow dual citizenship?

    Yes, it does. But it’s also necessary to find out whether the country of origin will enable you to have a second passport or refuse it.

  • Which investment programs are best in Europe?

    It depends on the investor’s key points and goals. The best investment programs are operated in Malta, Greece, Portugal, and Spain.

    Malta residence program offers permanent residency within 6—8 months. You don’t need to apply for temporary residence at first.

  • Which EU country has the lowest investment expenses?

    Greece residence permit program offers to purchase real estate for €250,000. Also, you can buy land for construction or rent a hotel for the same price.

    Portugal’s residence permit program has seven investment options: purchasing real estate, purchasing units in investment funds, opening a company in Portugal, etc.

    The most affordable Portugal option is investing in supporting culture and art. The minimal amount is €250,000.

  • How to get Maltese citizenship after permanent residence?

    The Malta Permanent Residence Programme does not lead to obtaining Malta citizenship. It can be granted by naturalisation. Officially, it is possible to obtain citizenship after 5 years of living in the country. In practice, however, the process can take up to 10 years.

    Citizenship applicants must also prove they have sufficient income, pass an English or Maltese language test, and have two Maltese citizens vouch for them in writing.

    Foreigners interested in receiving a Maltese passport can instead apply for Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment.