Citizenship
June 5, 2024
Reading Time: 9 min

Malta citizenship for Americans: why get a passport with fewer visa‑free countries than your current one

Wealthy Americans have been applying for citizenship by investment more and more often, according to the statistics. They do this mainly to future-proof their lives in an era of high inflation and political unrest.

One of the countries of choice for US citizens is Malta, which offers an opportunity to acquire citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment. Explore how to get a Maltese passport as an American investor.

Julia Loko
Julia Loko

Told about benefits of getting the Malta passport for Americans

Malta citizenship for Americans: how to obtain in 2023

Malta citizenship for Americans: why get a passport with fewer visa‑free countries than your current one

All ways to obtain Malta citizenship

The Malta passport grants its holders wide opportunities: Maltese citizens can travel visa-free to 185 countries, seek medical treatment in the world’s best clinics, and live, work, and do business in EU countries.

Maltese citizenship can be acquired in four ways.

By naturalisation for exceptional services. The Maltese legislation does not allow foreigners to obtain citizenship by investment. However, US investors can apply for Maltese citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.

To qualify, an applicant must make an investment of at least €600,000, pass a strict Due Diligence check, and fulfil other investment conditions. Depending on the investment sum, citizenship can be obtained in 1 or 3 years.

Americans acquiring Malta citizenship can keep their current passport and thus enjoy the rights provided by both citizenships.

By birth or descent. Citizenship by birth or descent can be obtained when one of the following conditions is met:

  1. If born before September 21st, 1964, a person should be born in Malta to a Maltese citizen. If born abroad, they must have a Maltese father and a Maltese paternal grandparent born in Malta.

  2. If born after September 21st, 1964, and before August 1st, 1989, a person should be born in Malta to a mother with Maltese citizenship. If the person was born outside Malta, their father should be a citizen of Malta.

  3. If born on August 1st, 1989, or later, a person automatically becomes a citizen of Malta if they were born to a Maltese parent (either mother or father), no matter their place of birth.

By registration. This option is available to spouses or widows of Maltese citizens and to former citizens of Malta.

To apply for the Malta passport as a spouse or widow of a Maltese national, an applicant and their spouse should have been married for at least 5 years. If the marriage lasted less because of the death of a spouse, it should have been in effect at the time of the death. In this case, an application for a passport can be submitted no earlier than 5 years after the wedding.

Former citizens of Malta can obtain the Maltese passport by registration if they were citizens by registration or naturalisation before.

By naturalisation. This is available for foreigners who meet all the following criteria:

  • over 18 years old;

  • permanently lived in Malta for 12 months prior to the application;

  • resided in Malta for four cumulative years within six years before the application;

  • is of good character, which is attested by sponsors;

  • has sufficient knowledge of Maltese or English language.

6 benefits of having the Maltese passport for US citizens

As a US citizen, you enjoy many benefits, such as visa-free travel to most countries of the world, living in a country with a highly developed economy, and extensive civil rights. The Malta passport will give you additional rights and expand your opportunities.

  1. Moving to Malta or other EU countries. As a citizen of Malta, you can live and work in any country of the European Union without getting special permission.

  2. Studying and working in the EU. You and your children can study at European universities and enjoy lower tuition fees than non-EU citizens. Malta passport holders can work in EU countries without additional permits.

  3. Doing business in Malta and other EU countries. As a citizen of Malta, you will be able to expand your business and enter the highly developed European market.

  4. Access to high-quality medicine. The Maltese healthcare system is ranked 5th in the world by the World Health Organisation, while the US healthcare system is ranked 37th.

  5. No need to give up the US passport. As both Malta and the US allow dual citizenship, you do not need to renounce your American passport. If you choose to move to Malta for a permanent residence, you will still be able to enter the United States as a US citizen and enjoy your legal rights as an American.

  6. Friendly language environment. As English is one of the official languages in Malta along with Maltese, it will be easier for you and your family to adapt to a new country. You won’t need to learn a new language, and your children will be able to continue their education in English.

Essentials on real estate in Malta

Complete guide

Essentials on real estate in Malta

Best places for Americans to live in Malta

Americans who obtain the Malta passport and are going to live in the country can choose from different locations. The northern part of Malta is more populated, urban, and busy, while the southern one is mainly rural and quiet.

Below are some of the best places for American expats to live in Malta.

Valletta. This is the capital of Malta, a city with a rich history and plenty of cultural venues. Valletta is a tiny and quiet city with a population of about 7,000 people. It is also the financial capital of Malta, with the headquarters of many banks and financial institutions and a home for big law companies.

The average rental price for a one-room apartment is €840, and the average purchase price is €4,066 per square metre.

St Julian’s. This is a popular resort city that offers beautiful coastal landscapes and various attractions and activities. It has a lot of luxurious hotels, restaurants, cafés, and nightclubs that attract plenty of tourists and expats. In this thriving city, there are a lot of job opportunities in such areas as luxury retail, digital design, and hospitality. Paceville, a small village near St Julian’s, is Malta’s bar centre with the best nightlife on the island.

Renting a one-room apartment in St Julian’s would cost around €980, and the average purchase price is €2,420.

Getting the Maltese passport as an American | St Julian’s

St Julian’s is one of the best locations for buying or renting property in Malta. It is Malta’s business centre, with many offices of international companies.

Sliema. Along with St Julian’s, Sliema is among the most modernised cities in Malta. There are a lot of shopping malls, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. For culture lovers, Sliema offers historical and artistic attractions. Those moving to Sliema will find wide job opportunities in banking, insurance, finance, tourism, telecommunications, and education.

The average property rental price in Sliema is €800 for a one-room apartment, and the average purchase price is €3,050 per square metre.

Gozo. This is a small island near Malta. It offers a very tranquil rural life, breathtaking scenery, and plenty of historical locations. On the island, you can enjoy an active outdoor life by exploring hidden valleys, old-town roads, traditional Maltese architecture, and local life.

Property rental in Gozo is €495 on average, and a real estate purchase will cost around €1,100.

Who can apply for Malta citizenship for exceptional services

American investors wishing to obtain Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment are allowed to add their family members to the application:

  1. A spouse or a partner in an official marriage or registered partnership, including one of the same sex if the marriage is registered officially.

  2. Children up to 18 years old, including children of previous marriages of both the investor and their spouse.

  3. Unmarried adult children up to 29 years old, principally dependent on the investor.

  4. Parents and grandparents over 55 years old, including those of the spouse, principally dependent on the investor.

To be able to apply for Malta citizenship for exceptional services, applicants from the US must meet the following conditions:

  • have no criminal record, including proceedings in the International Criminal Court, whatever the Court’s decision was;

  • have no visa rejections by countries with a visa-free regime with Malta;

  • not to be in international sanctions lists that Malta has to follow;

  • to be able to prove the legitimacy of the invested capital.

Discover your path to Maltese citizenship

Schedule your online meeting today.

Julia Loko
Julia Loko

Investment programs expert

Conditions for getting Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment for Americans

To qualify, US investors wishing to obtain Malta citizenship must fulfil certain conditions: they must rent or buy housing, contribute to the Malta National Development and Social Fund (NDSF), and make a charitable donation to a non-government organisation in Malta. The legislation does not provide investment options, and all the conditions should be met in full.

Having or renting property in Malta. If an applicant rents real estate, it should cost at least €16,000 annually and be rented for the entire 3-year period of residency. If an applicant chooses to buy property, it should cost at least €700,000.

To qualify, the investor is not allowed to buy two real estate objects: they should select one object with the corresponding price. The object should remain the investor’s property for at least 5 years.

Contribution to NDSF. If the investor wishes to apply for citizenship after one year of residency, they must make a contribution of €750,000. When applying after three years of residency, the contribution amount will be €600,000. An additional €50,000 is paid for each family member in both cases.

Charitable donation. The €10,000 donation should be made to a Maltese registered philanthropic, cultural, sporting, scientific, animal welfare, or artistic non-governmental organisation.

In addition to the contributions listed above, American investors should also pay state fees, buy health insurance, pay taxes if buying real estate, and pay for legal services.

Expenses for obtaining Malta citizenship for Americans

US investors should fulfil all three investment conditions listed above and pay state fees. The amount of expenses largely depends on whether you rent or buy real estate, and whether you want to apply for citizenship in three years or in just one year of residency.

Option #1

Renting real estate

Type of expense

For a single investor

For a family of four

Renting real estate for 5 years

€80,000+

€80,000+

Contribution to the NDSF

€600,000 — if applying for citizenship after three years


€750,000 — if applying for citizenship after one year

€750,000 — if applying for citizenship after three years


€900,000 — if applying for citizenship after one year

Charitable donation

€10,000

€10,000

Eligibility test

€15,000

€15,000
+ €10,000 for each family member over 12

A fee for residence cards

€5,000

€8,000

Administrative fees

€3,000

€12,000

Health insurance

€500+

€2,000+

Total amount

€713,500+ (3 years)
or
€863,500+ (1 year)

€887,000+ (3 years)
or
€1,037,000+ (1 year)

Option #2

Purchasing real estate

Type of expense

For a single investor

For a family of four

Purchasing real estate

€700,000+

€700,000+

Contribution to the NDSF

€600,000 — if applying for citizenship after three years


€750,000 — if applying for citizenship after one year

€750,000 — if applying for citizenship after three years


€900,000 — if applying for citizenship after one year

Charitable donation

€10,000

€10,000

Eligibility test

€15,000

€15,000
+ €10,000 for each family member over 12

A fee for residence cards

€5,000

€8,000

Administrative fees

€3,000

€12,000

Fees, taxes, and services when buying real estate

8—15% of the property price

8—15% of the property price

Health insurance

€500+

€2,000+

Total amount

€1,333,500 + taxes (3 years)
or
€1,483,500 + taxes (1 year)

€1,507,000 + taxes (3 years)
or
€1,657,000 + taxes (1 year)

If the investor chooses the property rental option, they need to conclude a rental agreement for a minimum of 3 years. The investor can select the frequency of rental payments: per month, per quarter, per six months, or annually.

If the option of real estate purchase is chosen, the investor must own the property for at least five years. Afterwards, the property can be sold.

The Community Malta Agency conducts continuous monitoring for five years after passport issuance to make sure that the applicants continue to satisfy the eligibility criteria.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

9 steps for getting Malta citizenship for exceptional services by investment for US citizens

To acquire Malta citizenship, American investors and their family members must first obtain a Malta residence permit. One or three years after that, depending on the investment amount, they can apply for citizenship. The whole process of obtaining a passport takes about two or four years, depending on the chosen option.

Immigrant Invest has a licence from the Maltese Government, enabling the company’s lawyers to act on the investor’s behalf when applying for citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence

The Eligibility test is the most important step in the Malta citizenship application process. It determines whether an investor’s application will be approved or not.

Certified Anti Money Laundering Officers at Immigrant Invest conduct preliminary Due Diligence and thoroughly check the applicants’ documents to identify any potential issues. They also search for information about applicants in international databases.

If there are any circumstances that may cause the rejection, Immigrant Invest will offer possible solutions.

2

Up to 2 weeks

Getting a Police Clearance Certificate

If no obstacles were found during the Preliminary Due Diligence check, the agent submits scans of the international passports of all applicants over the age of 12 to the Community Malta Agency.

Maltese police check the data about all applicants in Europol and Interpol databases. When the check is completed, we can continue preparing the residency application documents.

3

About 3 weeks

Obtaining a Malta residence permit

According to the legislation, a Malta residence permit should be obtained by each applicant over the age of 18. Children from 12 to 17 years old may also be included in the application if they so wish.

At this step, the agent does the following:

  • prepares a Level 1 Due Diligence report;

  • helps investors find real estate to rent or buy;

  • fills out the forms required for getting health insurance;

  • prepares all necessary documents and forms, translates and apostilles them.

When all the documents are prepared, applicants must visit Malta for fingerprinting and to apply for residency. Applications are reviewed within two weeks. Immigrant Invest lawyers get residency cards and send them to the investor’s address.

4

Up to 12 months since getting residency

Applying for the Eligibility test

After receiving residency cards, all applicants over the age of 12 need to pass the Eligibility test. The agent applies for the Eligibility test on the applicants’ behalf. This must be done within 12 months of obtaining residency; otherwise, residency will be revoked.

5

4+ months

Application processing and approval

The Eligibility test takes 4—5 months. Then, the Minister responsible for matters related to Malta citizenship approves or rejects applications.

6

Applying for citizenship

1 or 3 years after getting residency

Investors can apply for citizenship when the chosen period of 1 or 3 years has expired.

If applying after one year, applicants have to submit an affidavit confirming that their circumstances have not changed. Otherwise, an affidavit and specific forms are required.

When applying after three years of residence in Malta, applicants have to submit some additional forms, an updated police clearance certificate, any documents that have been updated, and confirm a registration address.

7

2—4 weeks

Final approval by the Minister

The Minister approves the applications. With the letter of approval obtained, the investor gets the right to acquire Maltese citizenship.

8

Up to 4 months

Fulfilment of the investment conditions

Within 4 months of getting the letter of approval, the applicant has to fulfil all investment conditions. Additionally, they need to prove their residence in Malta.

9

Up to 2 months

Getting a Malta passport

All applicants over six years old should undergo fingerprinting in Malta, and those over 18 must take the oath of allegiance.

After that, passports are issued within four days and can be received at the Malta Passport Office.

Documents US citizens need to provide to get the Malta passport

American investors intending to get the Malta passport for exceptional services will have to prepare four packs of documents: a residency application pack, an eligibility application pack, a citizenship application pack, and a pack of documents confirming fulfilment of the investment conditions.

The residency application pack is prepared after getting a Police Clearance Certificate and should include the following:

  • introduction letter highlighting the applicant’s main reasons for applying for residency;

  • power of attorney;

  • all the required forms duly filled out;

  • international passports and foreign residency cards;

  • evidence of dependency, including acts of marriage/civil union/cohabitation and/or birth;

  • property rental or purchase agreement; in case of a rental, the agreement must cover the entire 36-month period;

  • comprehensive Tier 1 Due Diligence checks carried out by the applicant’s approved agent;

  • the main applicant’s CV;

  • medical insurance for all applicants;

  • 6-month bank statements.

To apply for the Eligibility Test, US applicants should provide a pack of documents as listed below:

  • agent’s covering letter;

  • power of attorney;

  • residency proposal letter;

  • all the required forms;

  • bank statements;

  • international passports;

  • government-issued photographic identification documents;

  • residence permits, including Maltese e-residency cards;

  • birth certificates;

  • military records, if applicable;

  • evidence of employment, source of funds and source of wealth;

  • marriage or divorce certificates, as applicable;

  • evidence of residential address;

  • police conduct certificates;

  • applicable affidavits;

  • tax residency declarations.

American investors who have been confirmed as eligible to apply for naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment may apply for citizenship after one or three years of residency.

The citizenship application pack for the one-year option should include:

  • agent’s covering letter;

  • all the required forms duly filled out;

  • affidavit that confirms no changes in the applicants’ state of affairs;

  • any updated documents and forms if the applicants’ state of affairs has changed.

When applying for citizenship three years after getting residency, American investors should provide the following documents:

  • agent’s covering letter;

  • all the required forms duly filled out and updated;

  • recent bank statement;

  • evidence of residential address;

  • recent police conduct certificates for all applicants over 16 years old;

  • any other documents that were updated or renewed during the 3-year residency period.

To confirm the fulfilment of the investment conditions, the US applicants must provide the following pack of documents:

  • copy of the receipt for the investment issued by the Community Malta Agency;

  • copy of the contract for the lease or purchase of the property;

  • valuation report declaring the current market rental value of the property, with photographic evidence of the interior and exterior;

  • copy of the boarding passes or manifest of incoming and outgoing travel from Malta;

  • receipt of the donation to a local voluntary organisation;

  • proof that any commitments stated in the proposal letter have been honoured.

Malta and the US dual citizenship

In 2000, Malta allowed its citizens to have dual citizenship. US citizens can also have several passports, according to the legislation. This means that an American obtaining a Maltese passport will not have to renounce their US passport.

As Malta and the US do not have a dual citizenship agreement, Americans who acquire Malta citizenship will have a second citizenship. This means that both countries consider a person to be only their own citizen, and both may require the person to fulfil their legal obligations, such as military service, in full.

On the other hand, an American who obtained Malta citizenship can enjoy the rights provided by both passports: they can still freely enter the US and live and work there, but they can also enter the EU for life and work without additional permissions.

Obtaining Malta citizenship for US citizens summary

  1. US citizens can obtain the Malta passport in four ways: by descent, by naturalisation, by registration, and by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.

  2. To qualify for citizenship for exceptional services, American investors must fulfil three conditions: rent or buy property in Malta, make a €600,000+ contribution to NDSF, and make a €10,000 charitable donation to a Maltese non-government organisation. All three conditions are obligatory and should be met in full.

  3. US investors must first obtain Malta residence card for three years. Then, after one or three years, depending on the chosen option, they can apply for naturalisation for exceptional services.

  4. Investors cannot submit applications directly: they must seek assistance of an official agent. Immigrant Invest is a licenced agent of Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment approved by the Malta Government.

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 Maltese citizenship?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain Maltese citizenship?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can a US citizen move to Malta?

    To move to Malta, an American has to obtain a residence permit and a work permit, if applicable.

    Acquiring Malta citizenship for exceptional services allows US citizens to move to Malta and live there without restrictions on the duration of their stay.

  • Is Malta worth moving for a US citizen?

    US citizens can gain a number of benefits when moving to Malta. Some of them include expanding opportunities for working and doing business and access to the 5th best healthcare system in the world.

    If obtaining Malta citizenship, an American does not need to give up their existing passport, so they can enjoy the opportunities provided by both citizenships.

  • How can a US citizen obtain Maltese citizenship?

    One of the ways to obtain the Maltese passport for a US citizen is by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.

    The eligibility conditions are passing a Due Diligence check, renting or buying real estate, making a €600,000+ contribution to NDSF, and making a €10,000 charitable donation to a non-government organisation.

    The investor’s spouse, children under 29, parents, and grandparents over 55 can apply for Malta passports together with the investor.

  • Can an American get Malta citizenship by investment?

    Maltese legislation does not allow obtaining citizenship by investment. However, American investors wishing to have the Maltese passport can acquire citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.

    To qualify, an applicant must fulfil certain investment conditions: make a contribution of at least €600,000 and a charitable €10,000 donation, pass a strict Due Diligence check, and prove having or renting real estate in Malta. Depending on the investment sum, citizenship can be obtained in 1 or 3 years.

  • Does Malta allow dual citizenship with US?

    Malta and the US do not have a dual citizenship agreement. However, both countries allow their citizens to have two passports. This means that you can obtain a second citizenship and will not have to give up your current passport.

    Other benefits of obtaining Malta citizenship for an American include a friendly language environment, access to the best clinics in the world, and the opportunity to work, study, and do business in Malta and other European countries.

  • How long can an American stay in Malta?

    As a US citizen, you can stay in Malta for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. To stay for longer, you must obtain a residence permit.

    If you want to eliminate all restrictions and enter and leave Malta at any time you wish, you can obtain the Malta passport.