Second citizenship

Malta permanent residence: possible ways to get it

Malta permanent residence can be obtained by investment or after several years of permanent residence in the country. Getting Malta permanent residence by investment is faster: it takes just 6-8 months and applicants are not required to live in the country. An investment of €160,000 is required in the Maltese economy.

How to get Maltese permanent residence

Permanent residence in Malta allows you to visit the Schengen countries without a visa. Furthermore, it offers you a place of refuge in case of unforeseen political or economic problems in your country of origin. It also gives you the opportunity to educate your children in Europe. 

How many residence by investment programs are there in Malta?  

Since 2013, Malta has been competing with the UK, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, and Greece in trying to attract wealthy foreigners by issuing residence permits or citizenship by investment in their economy. 

Malta is the only country in the European Union where foreigners can obtain a residence permit, permanent residence and citizenship by investment.

A residence permit and permanent residence in Malta are obtained under different programs. The former is called the Malta Global Residence Program and the latter is called the Malta Residence and Visa Program. Citizenship is obtained for exceptional services through direct investment. The investor first receives a residence permit card, and after 1 or 3 years they can apply for citizenship.

Each of these three programs helps attain specific goals. For example, with a residence permit, you can travel to the Schengen countries without a visa and can take advantage of a special tax regime. With Maltese citizenship, you can choose to live in any country in the EU. Maltese permanent residence helps investors create a refuge in case of unforeseen problems in their home country, give their children access to education in Europe, legally reduce their tax obligation, and/or settle in Malta. 

Method 1

Malta permanent residence by investment

Suitable for those who, without necessarily moving to Malta, want to legally reduce their tax obligation, have a refuge in the event of unforeseen difficulties in their home country, and travel around the Schengen countries without a visa. 

To obtain Maltese permanent residence in Malta, you need to fulfill the following investment conditions.

  • €300,000 - €350,000: purchase residential property in Malta. The amount depends on the location of the property: in the north it is more expensive, while in the south and on the island of Gozo it is cheaper. After 5 years, the property can be sold and the initial investment returned. 
  • €10,000 - €12,000: rent housing for 5 years, cost per annum. This is an alternative to buying real estate. However, the rent paid over the five years is not returned.
  • €58,000 or €28,000: non-refundable contribution to the state fund. If an investor buys a property, they pay €28,000; if they rent, they  pay €58,000.
  • €2,000 non-refundable contribution to a Maltese NGO
  • €500,000: minimum capital requirement for the investor, including €150,000 in financial assets. This amount does not need to be invested, but investors need to show that they have this amount available.
  • €40,000: a one-time non-refundable administrative fee. This includes the cost of obtaining permanent residence, including the Due Diligence check. For their spouse, parents and grandparents, an investor needs to pay an additional €7,500 per person, and €5,000 for each child and minor grandchild included in the application.

These terms of the program came into force on March 29, 2021, and reduced the investor's costs. Previously, in order to get Maltese permanent residence by investment, applicants needed to invest at least €330,000, whereas the new rules have halved the minimum cost to €160,000 per applicant, subject to them renting real estate for 5 years rather than buying it.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese permanent residence

4 benefits of Malta permanent residence by investment 

Quick application processing time. An application for Maltese permanent residence by investment can be processed in just 6-8 months. For comparison, it takes 5-6 years to obtain permanent residence without investing in the economy; moreover, applicants need to live in Malta as residents for this period in order to become permanent residents. In contrast, applicants for the Maltese permanent residence by investment program are not required to obtain a (temporary) residence permit.

Not required to live in Malta. In contrast to Malta, almost all the other European countries require applicants for permanent residence to live in the country for at least 6 months a year for 5-6 years. 

Having to spend 183 days a year in the country is not always convenient for those applying for permanent residence, especially as many wealthy people consider permanent residence as a place of refuge only in the event of turmoil in their home country. In this respect, Maltese permanent residence by investment in the Maltese economy has the additional benefit of not requiring applicants to live there.

Minimum cost and most of the initial investment is returned. After 5 years, the investor can recover a large part of the initial investment by selling the real estate and government bonds.

Furthermore, the value of Maltese government bonds in which those participating in the Maltese permanent residence program can invest offer an average annual return of up to 3%. 

Rights practically identical to those of Maltese citizens. There is hardly any difference in the rights of a Maltese permanent residence holder and a citizen. You can become a tax resident, get a job in the country, take a managerial position, and start and run a business. Also, the permanent residence card replaces the Schengen visa.

However, a Maltese permanent resident cannot work in the government and does not have the right to live in other EU countries indefinitely. For this, they need to obtain a Maltese passport. 

Method 2

Obtaining Malta permanent residence after 5 years

Suitable for those who already live in Malta and are not planning to change their place of residence.

If you have lived in Malta for more than 5 years as a resident, you can apply for permanent residence. The permanent residence card is renewable every 5 years when the holder’s biometric data is updated.

To get Maltese permanent residence after 5 years of living there as a resident, you need to do the following:

  • provide evidence of permanent residence in the country for the previous 5 years. Moreover, in  this 5-year period, you cannot be absent from the country for more than 6 months in any single year or more than 10 months altogether;
  • show a stable income, sufficient to support yourself and dependent family members. The minimum amount is €20,000 per annum and another 20% for each family member;
  • indicate and confirm your place of residence for the 5 years leading up to the application for permanent residence;
  • get health insurance;
  • complete Employment and Training Corporation (ETC) courses on social, economic and cultural information, as well as the history of Malta, and pass the relevant exams;
  • pass the Maltese language proficiency test;
  • provide a cover letter describing in detail the history of your stay in Malta and the reason for your initial visit.

Conclusion

There are two ways to get Maltese permanent residence: by investment and after at least 5 years of residence in the country

Malta permanent residence by investment is suitable for those who do not plan to immediately move there permanently. It helps create a refuge in case of turmoil in your country of origin, allows you to legally reduce your tax liabilities, and allows you to travel around the Schengen Area without a visa. It is faster and easier than getting permanent residence without investment.

Malta permanent residence by living there for 5 years. This option is suitable for those who have made the commitment to live in Malta for the next 5 years.

Immigrant Invest helps its clients get Maltese residence permits, permanent residence and citizenship. Contact us and we will analyze your situation and offer the option that suits you best.

Frequently asked questions

Why apply for Maltese permanent residence?

Maltese permanent residence allows you to permanently reside in the country. It is issued to foreigners when they move to Malta or investors who want to be able to leave for a country with a high standard of living at any time they wish without applying for a visa. The Malta permanent residence card allows you to visit EU countries visa-free. A Maltese permanent residence card replaces the Schengen visa.

How to apply for Maltese permanent residence?

Maltese permanent residence is obtained in two ways: by investment and naturalization. Maltese permanent residence by investment can be obtained in just 68 months. Furthermore, applicants for permanent residence by investment are not required to live in the country. This option is suitable for wealthy people who want to acquire a refuge in Europe in the event of unexpected difficulties in their country of origin and cannot live in one country for a long time. Obtaining permanent residence in Malta through naturalization is more difficult. You need to live in the country for 5 years without going abroad for more than six months in any single year or for more than 10 months during this entire 5-year period. Applicants have to take a course on the culture and history of Malta and pass an exam, as well as the Maltese language proficiency test. They also have to write a cover letter explaining their reason for moving to Malta. This option is suitable for those who are prepared to live in Malta permanently and are not in a hurry to apply for permanent residence.

Who can participate in the Maltese permanent residence by investment program?

The investor and their close family members can participate in the Maltese permanent residence program by investment. The requirements for the main applicant are similar to those of the Malta citizenship by investment program. They must be over the age of 18, with no criminal record. Any rejected visa application in countries with which Malta has a visa-free regime can also result in a Maltese permanent residence application being rejected. The investor must also prove that the funds used for participation in the program are from legal sources. The investor must show that they own capital of €500,000, including financial assets worth €150,000. During the first five years after receiving a permanent residence card, you need to confirm that you meet the minimum income level  annually, and then every five years when extending the permanent residence card. The investor’s spouse, children, parents and grandparents can also take part in the program. There are no age restrictions. However, the adult children, parents and grandparents must be financially dependent on the main applicant. This is another advantage of the Maltese permanent residence program compared to other investment programs where there are age restrictions on the relatives that can be included in the application.

How much does it cost to apply for Maltese permanent residence by investment?

The costs of the Malta permanent residence by investment program vary depending on the specific circumstances of the applicant. Immigrant Invest’s lawyers individually calculate the cost of the program. In order to get Maltese permanent residence by investment, the investor has to purchase property for €300,000 or rent real estate for at least €10,000 per annum for five years. The investment in property can be recovered: the property purchased can be sold five years after receiving a permanent residence card. However, in order to maintain a permanent residence card, you must have a registered address in Malta.  The investor also pays a non-refundable administrative fee of €40,000. The amount may vary depending on the family members included in the application. You must also show proof of owning capital of at least €500,000. This amount does not need to be used in the program.

Is it possible to apply for Maltese citizenship if I received permanent residence by investment?

There is another path for getting Maltese citizenship. It is issued immediately, skipping the stage permanent residence. The process takes 12—36 months: first, the investor is issued a residence permit, and after a year or three years they can apply for a passport as long as they meet the citizenship by investment program’s requirements.

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Malta permanent residence: possible ways to get it