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Malta permanent residence for investors: pros and cons of a "golden visa"

The government Malta Permanent Residence Program allows wealthy cosmopolitans to obtain a permanent residency permit within six months. It is a short period of time to acquire life-long status in an EU country. We list the positive and negative aspects of the program for investors.

A harbour with blue boats in Valletta, the Maltese capital

Permanent residence in an EU country is needed when an investor wants to visit the Schengen states without a visa. The status also allows you to open accounts with European banks and simplifies communication with foreign business partners.

Permanent residencу in Malta allows investors to live in the country for an unlimited time. Investors’ children can study in the best Maltese schools and universities without applying for a student residence permit. Holders of the status have access to Maltese medicine: in terms of the quality of healthcare, the country is among the top 20 countries in the world.

To obtain a golden visa in Malta, as it is otherwise called permanent residence for investors, you must fulfill all the prerequisites of the program. Otherwise, you can lose your status.

In many ways, Malta's program is more attractive than other similar EU programs. But there are also limitations. We suggest that you weigh all the pros and cons before opting for the Malta Permanent Residence Program.

Up to 83% of the investment can be returned. Under the terms of the program, the investor rents or buys a home in Malta. If the investor chooses to buy, then the value of the property must be at least €350,000 for the north of Malta and €300,000 for other regions of the country.

Investors buy housing in the north of the country for €350,000 — the region has a well-developed infrastructure, concentrated business centers, schools, medical facilities. Then the real estate costs will amount to 83% of the total costs of the program. After five years of maintaining the status, the property can be sold. Therefore, the investor will return 83% of the program costs.

By purchasing a property, it is possible to cover all the costs of the program. The cost of housing in Malta is growing at about 4% per year. If you buy new apartments in a modern business-class residential complex, then in five years their cost can grow by 20%. That is, the investor will return not only investments in real estate, but also cover the costs of obtaining the status.

An example of real estate that is suitable for permanent residence

The sitting room in an apartment has an open floor plan. There is a grey modular couch following by a counter space and the kitchen. The room ends with an entry way to the open terrace

An apartment in Marsascala. The total arearnis 122 m² and the price is €450,000

A bedroom has a double bed with a wooden frame and grey linen bedding. There are two pending lights and an arch way to a balcony

There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms in the apartment. It is possible to buy a garage

The veiw from above on a residential building. The top apartments have large rounded terraces with lounge chairs and pools

The apartment is on the fourth floor which is on the top of the residential complex building

Marsascala is a resort town with a population of up to 20 thousand people. Former Maltese president a George Abela, former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, several members of the country’s parliament live in Marsascala

You can rent real estate. The main advantage of renting over buying is speed. Registration of the sale and purchase lasts a couple of months. It is possible to find suitable accommodation and conclude a lease agreement in two weeks.

The rental cost requirement is €12,000 per annum for housing in the north of Malta and €10,000 per annum for the rest of the regions. That is, for five years of permanent residence, the non-refundable rental costs of housing will amount to €60,000.

Non-refundable payments. For any program of residence or citizenship there are non-refundable payments: these are duties and mandatory contributions to government funds.

Three non-refundable payments are made by the investor under the Maltese program:

  • administration fee — €40,000;
  • contribution to the government fund — €28,000 when buying a home or €58,000 when renting;
  • contribution to a non-governmental organization — €2,000.

The total non-refundable expenses for the purchase of real estate will amount to €70,000. When renting, non-refundable costs include the cost of the lease itself for five years — €150,000 or €160,000.

The investor receives permanent residence in a period of six to eight months. For the status that is given for life in an EU country, it's fast. For comparison: permanent residence by naturalization is expected for five to six years. Other government programs for investors in the European Union only offer temporary residence permits, which must be renewed every year or two.

There is no age limit for family members of the investor. The Malta Permanent Residence Program is the only program in the European Union that does not impose age restrictions on family members. For example, in the residence permit program in Portugal, parents who are at least 65 years old and children who are not older than 26 can participate.

The investor's spouse is eligible to participate in the Maltese program. Civil marriage is allowed.

Children, parents, grandparents must be financially dependent on the investor. That is, they do not have to work and receive any income other than monetary support from the main applicant. Financial dependence is documented

Payments under the program after Due Diligence. A key step in any government investor program is due diligence on the main applicant. Under the Maltese program, the investor is screened first and only then bears the costs of the program.

The situation when the investor incurred expenses, and the program department refused to issue permanent residence, is excluded.

Due Diligence is paid, all adult family members pass it. All program participants, whom the investor has included in the application, undergo a Due Diligence check.

When submitting an application, a Due Diligence fee of €10,000 is payable. If the application is approved, the fee is counted towards the amount of subsequent mandatory payments for the program.

The program participant is not required to live in Malta. If desired, the investor and his family members can live in Malta, but they are not required to. They may not visit the country at all.

Citizenship perspective. After five years of permanent residence, the investor and his family members can apply for citizenship by naturalization. To do this, they will have to live in Malta, that is, stay in the country for more than 183 days a year. You will need to pass exams in the knowledge of the language and culture of the country.

If the investor does not live in Malta, he will not be able to apply for citizenship in five years.

A registration address is needed at all times. To maintain a golden visa, you need a registration address. Housing can be owned or rented — it doesn't matter.

The investor can change the registration address. For example, an investor bought a property worth €350,000 and sold it five years later. Then he bought or rented other housing, but without regard to the financial conditions of the program. The investor submits a sale agreement, as well as a new purchase or lease agreement to the program department.

Proof of sufficient funds. The investor confirms the capital of €500,000, of which €150,000 are financial assets.

In terms of thoughtfulness and balance of conditions and opportunities in the European Union, there are no analogues to the Maltese program. 70% of the investors whom we helped to obtain a residence permit in the European Union chose permanent residence in Malta by investment.

Frequently Asked Question

What opportunities does a Malta golden visa give an investor?

The investor and his family will no longer have to worry about the validity of a Schengen visa. A permanent residence card in Malta gives the holder free movement around the Schengen area. He can stay in any country of the agreement for up to 90 days in six months. Permanent residence in one of the EU countries makes it easy to open an account with a European bank — for example, to keep savings in hard currency. The status allows you to live, study and work in Malta. The country has a developed economy, a comfortable business environment and a beneficial tax policy. Permanent residence owners can travel to Malta even in closed borders. Having the status of permanent residence in one EU country, it is not difficult to apply for a residence permit in another, e.g. to study. All the opportunities offered by permanent residence in Malta

What are the benefits of the Maltese permanent residency program for investors?

The Malta Permanent Residence Program is distinguished by the speed of obtaining status. All formalities require 6 to 8 months, and not 5 to 6 years, as when applying for permanent residence through naturalization. The peculiarity of the program is that the applicant does not need to live in the country. He may not be there at all after the card is issued. This is convenient for wealthy people who cannot spend a lot of time in one place.

How is the Maltese permanent residence program different from obtaining citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment?

Obtaining permanent residence and citizenship differ in terms of time, costs and procedures. Permanent residence is issued for six months and citizenship, at least 14 months. Costs for permanent residence starts from €150,000 and for citizenship, around €1,000,000. The statuses of permanent residence and citizenship also differ. Citizens of Malta can live, work, study in any country of the European Union. Permanent residence status allows you to live, work and study only in Malta. Citizens of Malta can travel to 186 countries without a visa; holders of permanent residence can only visit the Schengen states without a visa.

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

The cost of obtaining permanent residence in Malta consists of four expenses:

  1. Administration fee — €40,000.
  2. Buying or renting real estate — from €300,000 or from €10,000 per year, respectively.
  3. Contribution to the government fund — €28,000 when buying real estate and €58,000 when renting.
  4. Contribution to a non-governmental Maltese organization — €2,000.

In addition, the investor pays for health insurance. Its cost is approximately €1,500 for a family of three. The cost of a permanent residence program in Malta depends on the composition of the investor’s family. Immigrant Invest lawyers calculate the costs of the program for a specific case.

Is it possible to return the money invested under the Malta Permanent Residence Program?

The advantage of the Malta Permanent Residence Program is that the applicant can return almost all the funds invested. For this, the investor buys real estate worth €300,000. After five years of permanent residence, he can sell it.

If the property is liquid, the five-year increase in its value will offset some of the sunk costs of the program. On average, Maltese residential property is growing at 4% per year. Thus, the investor will return all the money spent.

To maintain the status of permanent residence, the investor will still need real estate in Malta. But after five years, he can buy or rent housing without taking into account the requirements of the program for the cost of real estate.

Who can get permanent residence in Malta by investment?

The status can be obtained not only by the investor, but also by his family members.

Requirements for an investor under the program of permanent residence in Malta:

  • age from 18 years;
  • lack of convictions and references in criminal cases;
  • no refusals to issue visas by states with which Malta has a visa-free regime;
  • capital of €500,000;
  • confirmation of the legality of the capital and funds that the investor invests in the program.

Together with the investor, a spouse, children, parents, and grandparents can apply for permanent residence. Relatives are accepted by both partners, including children from the first marriage. There are no age restrictions. Such requirements are rare, and they make the Malta residency program stand out from other citizenship and residency investment programs.

Malta permanent residence for investors: pros and cons of a "golden visa"

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