Reasons to get Malta residence permit
Many wealthy non-Europeans want to become a resident in Malta for various reasons:
- opening an international business;
- freely travelling to Schengen countries;
- moving the whole family to a developed European country;
- having the option of leaving their original country quickly in the event of political or economic turmoil.
Getting a residence permit in Europe helps to achieve these goals. However, only a few European countries grant a residence permit quickly: Malta is amongst the few that do.
Malta residence permit’s benefits:
- Visa-free travel to Schengen states. A Maltese residence permit allows the holder to visit other countries of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in six months.
- Tax optimisation for investors — 0% tax rate on foreign income not transferred to Malta. There is no inheritance tax or surcharge for the main applicant's spouse, children or other relatives included in the application.
- Use of offices of international banks in Malta with a high level of financial security.
- Tourism and real estate in Malta attract entrepreneurs from all over the world. Investors receive a stable income. For example, renting out real estate earns a return of at least 5% per annum.
- High quality of life, health care and education for entrepreneurs and their families.
- Many British and American schools and universities' branches are situated in Malta. In addition, residents of Malta can get an education in public universities for free.
- Opportunity to live in a warm climate. The average annual temperature is about 23 °C during the day. The coldest month is January: the temperature ranges from 12 to 20 °C during the day.
Malta residency for investors and entrepreneurs
Malta residence permit. The fastest way to apply for a residence permit in Malta for the whole family is to participate in the state program for wealthy foreign persons, the Malta Global Residence Program.
It works only for third country's citizens. Individuals who are nationals of the EU, EEA or Switzerland and not permanent residents of Malta can participate in "The Residence Programme (TRP)".
The principal applicant's spouse, children under 25 years old, siblings, parents, and grandparents can also participate in the Malta Global residence program. The main requirement is that all the family members in the application, apart from the spouse, are financially dependent on the principal applicant.
An investor must fulfil the following conditions to participate in the program:
- Rent a home in Malta for €8,750–9,600 per annum. The amount depends on the region selected: the rent is lower on the island of Gozo and in the south of Malta. Alternatively, the investor can buy property in Malta costing at least €220,000–275,000.
- Pay an administration fee of €5,500–6,000, depending on the property's region.
- Obtain health insurance for all family members participating in the program.
- Pay the minimum income tax of €15,000 a year.
Under the Global Residence Program, obtaining a Malta residence permit involves a particular taxation system. It includes paying an annual income tax of 15% on income earned outside Malta and transferred to Malta or a minimum tax of €15,000. The tax rate of income earned in Malta is 35%.
Participants have to file an annual tax return. Also, the residence permit holder cannot spend more than 183 days per year in any other country except Malta. But there is no requirement to live in Malta.
Malta permanent residency. Malta is the only European country where an investor can immediately obtain a permanent residence permit.
Maltese Permanent Residence Program allows wealthy cosmopolitans from non-EU countries to obtain a permanent residency permit within six months. It is a short period to acquire life-long status in an EU country.
Permanent residencу in Malta allows investors to live in the country for an unlimited time. Investors’ children can study in the best Maltese colleges without applying for a student residence permit. Holders of the status have access to Maltese medicine: in terms of healthcare quality, the country is among the top 20 countries in the world.
Malta golden visa, or 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.
The applicant must have a registered address in Malta even after five years of obtaining permanent residence. An investor can buy or rent any real estate object without cost requirements.
Residence permit in Malta for employment
Generally, highly qualified specialists in IT, pharmaceuticals and financial services are in demand. It's easier for them to find an employer in Malta who can offer a long-term contract.
Many leading international companies are based in Malta, for example, HSBC Bank, Medavia, Vodafone and others. A residence permit for employment is issued jointly with a work permit, then it must be renewed annually, and its validity ends after the employment contract does.
There are two types of visas for those who come to work in Malta: the regular work visa and the EU Blue Card. The latter is issued to highly qualified specialists with a salary of 50% higher than the industry average.
The EU Blue Card requirements for the applicant:
- a valid employment contract for no less than one year;
- gets the minimum wage in Malta;
- for regulated professions: submit documents confirming compliance with the requirements of national law;
- for unregulated jobs: present documents confirming relevant higher professional skills;
- national or Schengen visa, residence permit;
- a certificate of medical insurance.
The EU Malta Blue Card is issued for at least one year. When extending the Blue Card, if the remaining term of the employment contract is less than one year, the EU Blue Card is given for the contract period plus three months.
Residence permit in Malta for education and training
Students at schools and universities in Malta are issued a residence permit for one year with the right to prolong it according to the duration of their studies.
To get residency, a student shall provide a letter of admission from the higher education institution. It must include:
- the institution's details;
- course details;
- settlement regarding the course-related fees;
- accommodation provided by the institution;
- confirmation that the applicant has sufficient knowledge of the tuition language.
After graduation, these students have to look for a job in Malta to renew their residence permits. A new one will then be linked to their employment contract.
In December 2020, Amir, his wife Amina and their son Nursultan were granted a Maltese residence permit. The family moved to Malta. At the end of 2021, Immigrant Invest lawyers helped them extend their residency.
In the first year, Amina was retrained in her speciality, and now she will lecture at the University of Malta. Nursultan will start studying at a school which is a part of a British college.
Residence permit in Malta for family reunification
Foreigners living in Malta can apply for a residence permit for their close family members. If the family members get a Maltese residence permit, they can apply for Maltese citizenship five years later.
Foreign spouses of Maltese citizens can get a residence permit. In this case, citizenship can be obtained even quicker, just two years after they get a residence permit.
Residence permit to run business in Malta
There are support programs available for entrepreneurs in Malta. Malta has a stable economic climate and an attractive tax system with lower taxes than many other European countries.
The applicable corporate tax rate is 35%. Companies' shareholders can get a refund of the corporate tax. VAT in Malta is 18%. It's one of the lowest VAT rates in Europe. The Maltese tax system attracts business people worldwide to register their companies and get a residence permit.
However, businesses registered in Malta must meet reasonably high requirements for capital:
- The minimum share capital of a Malta Public Limited Company is €46,588. Individuals must pay at least 25% of that capital when they form the company.
- The minimum share capital of a Malta Private Limited Company is €1,165. Individuals must pay at least 25% of that capital when they form the company.
Other types of residence permits in Malta
A residence permit can also be issued under particular circumstances.
Suppose a person has lived with a Maltese residence permit holder, permanent residence or citizenship for two or more years without registering their relationship. In that case, they can also obtain a residence permit in Malta. Proof of cohabitation and your or your partner's ability to cover your living costs will be required.
Residence permits are also issued for religious, medical and humanitarian purposes.
Which residence permit is easier to obtain
The fastest and easiest path to getting a residence permit in Malta is participating in a program for wealthy foreigners — the Global Residence Program.
|Terms||Malta Global Residence Program||Other paths to residency|
|Who can get it||The whole family:||Only the applicant|
|Obtaining period||2–3 months||Depends on the quota availability|
|Working in Malta||Allowed with a special permit||Allowed only for a residence permit for employment|
|Study at universities||Allowed||Allowed only for a residence permit for studying|
|Housing rent or purchase||Mandatory||Mandatory|
|Length of stay||Unlimited||183 days a year or more|
|Possibility of residence permit renewing||Unlimited number of times||- For the duration of the work or study contract|
- For the period of company registration
- Unlimited for family reunification
How to get Malta residence permit by investment
1. Preliminary Due Diligence Check. The investor undergoes an initial check against international legal and business information databases. They are also checked for the presence of harmful or compromising information materials on the Internet.
2. Conclusion of an agreement with Immigrant Invest. The data on the composition of the family is specified. After the prepayment is credited, the Immigrant Invest lawyers start working with the investor to prepare the application for submission.
3. Collection and execution of documents for applying for a special tax status. Immigrant Invest's lawyers make a list of needed documents for the application. The applicant provides us with the 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.
4. Compliance with the terms of the Malta Global Residence Program. Immigrant Invest's lawyers prepare a property rental or purchase declaration, the letter from the tax service and state forms that need to be filled out. The investor provides a statement from their bank account showing a balance of at least €30,000.
The investor and their relatives included in the application travel to Malta to submit their residence permits and biometric data. A lawyer from Immigrant Invest accompanies them.
5. Applying for Due Diligence. Immigrant Invest submits the application to the Inland Revenue Department of Malta (IRD). When applying, the investor and his family members do not need to be in Malta.
6. Approval of the application. Receive a letter from the IRD confirming the special tax status and the individual tax number of Malta. Once approved, the main applicant must travel to Malta for an interview.
7. Interview at IRD. The discussion takes place in an informal setting. It is necessary for the Director of the Malta Revenue Department to present the terms of the program personally to the applicant. The main applicant must be able to explain in English why he chose Malta and what attracts him to this country. The applicant's licensed agent may be present at the interview.
8. Applying for Malta residence permit cards and submitting biometrics. All applicants need to come to Malta a second time to submit an application and submit biometrics for residence permit cards. Family members over the age of 18 can go separately without the main applicant to apply for a residence permit and submit biometrics no later than six months after starting the insurance and rental agreement.
Immigrant Invest lawyer accompanies applicants. The application and the necessary documents are submitted to the Identity Malta Agency by appointment.
9. Obtaining a residence permit card
Identity Malta Agency reviews the application for a residence permit within 5-6 weeks. After consideration, the agency sends a letter with notification of readiness of the residence permit cards by mail. 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 Identity Malta upon presentation of a letter.
If you decide to obtain a Malta residence permit by investment, contact Immigrant Invest lawyers.
Immigrant Invest experts will carefully study your circumstances and aims, select the appropriate option and accompany you throughout obtaining a residence permit.
Frequently Asked Questions
It depends on the type of residence permit. One for an investor is valid for a year, and the holder can renew the residence permit card unlimited times. The validity of the residence permit for work will end with the employment contract term. Students hold residence permit cards for the duration of their studies.
Upon family reunification, a person extends a residence permit unlimited times and has the right to apply for Malta citizenship after five years.
There are several paths to receiving a residence permit in Malta.
- The Malta Global Residence Program is the safest and fastest one. Residency by investment means that the applicant does not need to live in Malta; however, at the same time, they cannot spend more than 183 days a year in any other country.
- Employment. An annually renewable residence permit card is issued based on the applicant’s labour contract.
- Education at a Maltese university. The residence permit is valid only for the period of study. If the geopolitical situation becomes complicated, it may be challenging to prolong a student visa.
- Family reunification. Maltese citizens can apply for a residence permit card for their close foreign relatives. After five years of residence in Malta, the relative will be able to apply for citizenship. An alien spouse can apply for citizenship just two years after moving to Malta and getting a residence permit.
- Business registration. The applicant registers a company in Malta and receives a residence permit as a business owner. Their company becomes tax resident in Malta and benefits from Malta’s tax system and state support for entrepreneurship.
These are the standard options for obtaining a residence permit in Malta. Residence permits for civil partners and religious, medical, and humanitarian purposes are less common.
Obtaining a residence permit for an investor under the Malta Global Residence Program takes two-three months. The terms are longer and depend on each specific case in other cases. For example, how quickly you can find an employer and conclude an employment contract with him.
Among all the paths to obtaining a residence permit in Malta, the program for wealthy foreigners stands out.
The main costs of the program are:
- Rent or purchase real estate:
The rental price is at least €9,600 per year in the Central and Northern parts of Malta or €8,750 per year in Gozo and the South of Malta.
Applicants interested in buying real estate need to pay at least €275,000 for their property in the Central and Northern parts of Malta or €220,000 on the island of Gozo or in the South of Malta.
- A non-refundable one-time administrative fee of €6,000 for a property rented or bought in Central or Northern Malta or €5,500 for a property on the island of Gozo or in the South of Malta.
- The annual tax payment is 15% of any income sourced outside Malta but transferred to Malta. The minimum tax charge is €15,000 per year.
- The health insurance policy covers all EU countries for at least €500 per applicant for one-year costs. The price depends on the age and the applicant’s health.
The total cost of the residence permit card depends on the number of participating family members of the principal applicant and is calculated individually.
No. Only a third country citizen can participate in the Malta Global Residence Program. There is a similar residence program for citizens of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
The Malta Global Residence Program offers members several benefits related to business activities, residence and travel.
The program provides for a particular tax regime:
- 15% tax rate is due to income originating outside Malta but was transferred to Malta. The minimum tax payable per annum is €15,000.
- 35% tax rate is charged on income sourced in Malta.
- 0% tax rate on foreign income not transferred to Malta.
- There is no inheritance tax or surcharge for the main applicant’s spouse, children or other relatives included in the application.
A residence permit issued by Malta, an EU country, allows the holder to move to a country with a high quality of life, medical facilities and educational institutions. It gives the holder the right to conduct business or work in Malta after obtaining a work permit. It allows visiting other Schengen states without a visa for up to 90 days in any half-year period.
Violation of the conditions on which the residence permit was granted is the primary reason a Maltese residence permit can be withdrawn or invalid. If the residence permit holder discovers that they violate any tax obligation, they must report it to the Maltese tax authorities within four weeks. Otherwise, a fine of €5,000 may be charged.
The Maltese tax department may decide not to cancel the residence permit by investment under the following circumstances:
- If the requirements of the residence permit were not met due to circumstances beyond the holder’s control;
- If the holder has made every possible effort to correct the violation and fulfil their obligations under the program.
In addition, there are several general grounds, including the provision of false information, violation of the law, and posing a threat to the country’s national security for revoking citizenship or a residence permit.
Each method of obtaining a residence permit in Malta has precise documentary requirements. The main task of the applicant is to comply with the conditions necessary for obtaining a residence permit card.
The most reliable way is a residence permit for an investor under the Malta Global Residence Program.