Case Studies

How to fulfil the dream — to become a winemaker in France with Malta Citizenship

Would it be nice to live in the Mediterranean part of France, grow a vineyard there, and gather my friends from Armenia to try the cognac I've made. Live and retire there to host our family, nephews and, can't wait, my grandsons in the future! It is my dream life.

Malta citizenship
Tigran
56 years old,
the director of a major French retailer’s branch
The name and photo of the client have been changed
How to obtain Malta citizenship for living in France

Tigran is the director of a major French retailer's branch in his home country. He has a house in France where he and his wife live while on vacation. The couple love France, and they wanted to move there.

In this case, we will tell you how Immigrant Invest helped a family from Armenia move to France, become EU citizens and travel visa-free to 185 countries.

The investor’s goals

Tigran’s predominant ambition was to live in their house in France and plant a vineyard on the house plot to make cognac. Winegrowing is the investor’s hobby.

The second goal was to travel visa-free to the UK, the US and the Schengen Area. In the UK, Tigran and Yeva’s son Artur was studying at the university. He has made his plan to stay in the UK upon his graduation and find a job there. The parents wanted to move freely to the UK to visit their son.

In the US, Yeva’s sister and mother are living. Tigran and Yeva wanted to visit their nephews and nieces and be close at important family events. Also, Yeva wanted to travel around Europe and explore every corner of it while her husband was in winegrowing.

I only need visa-free access to the UK and the US to see my son and the family. I’m not into travelling. I just wanted to move to France, live in our big house, grow a large vineyard, and make cognac there. So, I’ll be poking around in the vineyard while Yeva travels. All are satisfied.

Tigran
56 years old, the director of a major French retailer’s branch

The third goal was to give his son more opportunities in the future — with an EU passport, Artur could find a job or settle in any EU country if he decides to leave the UK.

Meeting at the Immigrant Invest

Tigran was directed to Immigrant Invest by his friend who had previously contacted us on obtaining citizenship in the EU. On 17 December 2020, Tigran turned to Immigrant Invest for advice.

Before starting the cooperation with the investor and signing the contract, the Immigrant Invest lawyers conduct a check on the investor, called the preliminary Due Diligence.

The preliminary Due Diligence showed that Tigran and his family have no criminal record and have never been involved in criminal cases. Tigran has no tax debts or instances of his visa denials. Immigrant Invest lawyers were 99% confident that Tigran and his family could participate in any citizenship program for investors.

Citizenship that meets all the investor’s requirements

Malta was the only country in the EU that allowed investors to obtain its citizenship and met all Tigran’s needs:

  1. Move to France, as Maltese citizens can live in any EU country and have the same rights and freedoms as any other European citizen. 
  2. Travel visa-free to Britain, the US, the Schengen Area, and other 157 countries.

The alternatives were residence permit programs for investors, for example, in Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal. The investor can apply for citizenship after maintaining the residence permit status for at least five years. For comparison, the investor can obtain Malta citizenship in one year.

Tigran did not want to wait and live for five years in a European country to obtain their citizenship. He did not want to bind himself to a place. He wanted to go any time from France to Armenia, the UK and the US to see his family.

Moreover, the investor wanted his family to get EU citizenship. But in the case of residence permit programs, the family would have to live continuously in a country for five years, learn the language and integrate into the culture to get EU passports. This option did not work for the family.

Tigran chose Malta citizenship as it suited his needs the most: there was no need to live in Malta, learn the language, or integrate into the culture to obtain citizenship. Also, the investor and his family could obtain EU citizenship in one year.

Malta citizenship

The whole city of Valletta, Malta’s capital, is recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The city is famous for its fortifications, consisting of bastions, curtains and cavaliers, and the beauty of its Baroque palaces, gardens and churches. Valletta is also the sunniest city in Europe

Malta citizenship

11 beaches in Malta have the Blue Flag label, which means their water meets high-quality standards and is safe for swimming. Blue Lagoon, Golden Bay, Peter’s Pool Beach, Għar Lapsi and Selmun are popular beaches

Malta citizenship

Malta has ideal conditions for diving: clean and clear water, a rich underwater world, and many sunken objects. Diving is practised here all year round — even in January, the water temperature does not fall below +15˚С

Malta citizenship

Malta has all conditions for yachting: Malta’s harbours are recognized as one of the safest in the Mediterranean. Service centres and agencies carry out boat maintenance after the navigation season. The sailing season in Malta lasts from April to November

How to obtain Malta citizenship

The investor obtains a residence permit in Malta, passes Due Diligence, and fulfils investment conditions to get a passport. The minimal investment amount is €690,000.

The investor applies for Maltese citizenship one or three years after obtaining a residence permit. If the investor applies for citizenship after a year of residency, the sum investment will be higher than if he applies after three years of residency. After obtaining a residence permit, the investor undergoes Due Diligence, which lasts twelve months.

Victoria Atanasova
Head of the Maltese office, a lawyer in international and economic law

The investor fulfils three investment conditions: buy or rent real estate, make a contribution to the National Development and Social Fund (the NDSF), and donate money to a non-governmental organisation. All three conditions are mandatory.

Investment conditions for obtaining Malta citizenship

ConditionsInvestment amount
Renting or buying housing for the residence permitFrom €12,000 is the recommended rental price per year. The lease term is one or three years. The cost of real estate buying does not matter.
Renting or buying housing for citizenshipFrom €16,000 is the rental price per year. The lease term is five years.

From €700,000 is the cost of buying a home. The ownership period is from five years.
Contribution to the state fund From €600,000 — when applying for citizenship three years after the residence permit.

From €750,000 — when applying for citizenship a year after the residence permit.
Donation€10,000

First step:
obtaining a residence permit in Malta

1. Police Clearance Certificate is a certificate of no criminal record issued by the Maltese police. The certificate is one of the mandatory documents for obtaining a residence permit in Malta.

To obtain a Police Clearance Certificate, Tigran provided certified copies of his and his wife’s passports to the Maltese police. The law enforcement agencies of Malta verified the information about Tigran and Yeva in the databases of Europol and Interpol.

2 weeks
to get Police Clearance Certificate

The check took two weeks: Tigran successfully passed the police check. That means that the investor could apply for a residence permit.

2. Buying or renting real estate to obtain a residence permit. To get a residence permit in Malta, the investor needs to have a registration address in the country. Housing can be bought or rented.

When obtaining a residence permit in Malta, the investor can buy or rent real estate within the required amount for citizenship. Then the purchased or rented real estate at the residence permit stage will be taken into account as compliance with the investment conditions for obtaining citizenship.

Victoria Atanasova
Head of the Maltese office, a lawyer in international and economic law

Tigran decided to rent a house within the required amount for obtaining Malta citizenship so as not to choose a property a second time. The investor did not plan to live permanently in Malta. He wanted to spend time in France.

Immigrant Invest real estate experts have selected several suitable options for the spouses.

We recommend that the investor sets aside three days to choose an apartment in Malta. The investor is looking at options with a realtor and Immigrant Invest lawyers. When the investor has made a choice, the realtor provides a lease agreement and the investor signs it. Our lawyers check the legal purity of the object and the terms of the contract before viewing the objects.

Natalia Oganesyan
Real Estate Chief Operations Officer, RICS certified professional

Tigran chose to view the property remotely, using online video broadcasting. The investor and his wife liked the two-bedroom apartments within walking distance from the sea.

The apartment complex that Tigran chose includes swimming pools with a relaxation area, a spa, a shopping centre with many retail and catering outlets, and underground parking.

Real Estate in Malta
Apartments in a large-scale residential project on the first coastline from €350,000. The apartment rental price is 20,000 € per year. Tigran chose a similar object

3. Collection of documents for a residence permit in Malta. Immigrant Invest lawyers have collected all the necessary documents for applying for a residence permit in Malta for Tigran and Yeva:

  • copies of passports of the spouses;
  • marriage certificate;
  • bank statement for the last six months;
  • medical insurance;
  • Police Clearance Certificate;
  • copy of the real estate lease agreement.

Immigrant Invest lawyers filled out government forms, translated documents into English and apostilled them. Documents were ready in a week.

4. Applying for a residence permit and submitting biometrics. All applicants should submit fingerprints for obtaining residence permit cards in Malta within six months from receipt of Police Clearance. Immigrant Invest lawyers made an appointment for Tigran and Yeva to submit biometrics to Identity Malta Agency for 10 January 2021.

Tigran and Yeva had valid Schengen visas. They flew to Malta and passed biometrics on the day of arrival. On the same day, the lawyers submitted an application and the documents of the spouses for a residence permit to the Identity Malta Agency.

5. Issuance of residence permit cards in Malta. Tigran paid 15,000 € for the production of residence permit cards — 10,000 € for himself and 5,000 € for his wife.

The residence permit cards were ready a week after the couple submitted the biometrics. The lawyer from the Maltese office of Immigrant Invest took the cards and handed them over to the investor by a delivery service.

Tigran and Yeva received Malta residence permit cards valid for 36 months.

Second step: Due Diligence
at the Malta Migration Agency

After obtaining a residence permit, Tigran passed Due Diligence at the Identity Malta Agency. Malta's investor screening is one of the most stringent globally, with the program department rejecting a quarter of applications every year.

First of all, the program department checks the legality of the investor's income: all places of work, sources of income throughout life, and assets owned by the investor and his family members.

Collection of documents. Immigrant Invest lawyers have collected all the necessary documents:

  • Tigran’s tax reporting;
  • copies of passports of the spouses;
  • marriage certificate;
  • birth certificates of children;
  • police clearance certificates from Armenia.

The lawyers additionally drew up an affidavit in which they confirmed Yeva's financial dependence on Tigran. As confirmation, the lawyers attached extracts from the bank accounts of the spouses.

It took four weeks to prepare the documents. Immigrant Invest lawyers submitted them to the Identity Malta Agency. Along with the submission, Tigran paid a verification fee of €15,000 for himself and €10,000 for his wife.

€25,000
Due Diligence fee

Third step: fulfilment of investment conditions

In addition to renting real estate in the amount of 16,000 €, Tigran has fulfilled two more investment conditions:

  • made a non-refundable contribution to the National Development Fund in the amount of €800,000. Of these, Tigran paid €750,000 for himself and €50,000 for his wife;
  • donated to a non-government organisation in the amount of €10,000.

The investor decided to apply for Malta citizenship one year after obtaining the residence permit in Malta. If he had chosen to apply for citizenship three years after obtaining the residence permit, he would have contributed €650,000 to the state fund for himself and his wife.

Tigran made contributions to the state fund and a non-government organisation as soon as he received approval from the Identity Malta Agency. The investor transferred the money from his Armenian bank account using the details of the agency.

871,000 Tigran's expenses for Malta citizenship for himself and his wife

€800,000
Contribution to the state fund
€10,000
Donation
€20,000
Renting of real estate
€25,000
Due Diligence fee
€15,000
Issuance of residence permit cards fee
€1,000
Medical insurance

Last step:
obtaining Malta citizenship

Re-submission of biometrics. Immigrant Invest lawyers have booked Tigran and his wife for biometrics on 21 January 2021. On the appointed day, the couple flew to Malta.

The Immigrant Invest Maltese office lawyer accompanied Tigran and Yeva to the Identity Malta Agency, where they submitted their fingerprints.

The oath took place on the same day at the Identity Malta Agency.

Tigran and Yeva received their passports at the Malta department two days after submitting the biometrics. The procedure for obtaining citizenship took fourteen months from applying to Immigrant Invest.

13 months to obtain Malta citizenship

1
17 December 2020
Tigran turned to Immigrant Invest
2
+ 1 day
Preliminary Due Diligence
3
+ 2 weeks
Obtaining of Police Clearance Certificate
4
+ 3 days
Selection and rental of real estate
5
+ 1 week
Preparation and submission of documents for a residence permit in Malta
6
10 January 2021
Submission of biometrics for residence permit cards in Malta
7
17 January 2021
Obtaining Maltese residence permit cards
8
+ 4 weeks
Collection and submission of documents to Identity Malta
9
+ 11 months
Due Diligence at Identity Malta
10
14 January 2022
Obtaining the approval from Identity Malta
11
+ 1 week
Fulfilment of investment conditions
12
21 January 2022
Taking biometrics and taking an oath in Malta
13
23 January 2022
Obtaining Maltese passports

How did the spouse's life change with Malta citizenship

Tigran and Yeva make full use of the benefits of Maltese passports. Tigran transferred to the French branch of the company and began renovating a house in France to move there in the nearest future. As a Maltese citizen, he can live in any EU country without restrictions.

On her Malta passport, Yeva has flown to the UK to see their son. She did not apply for a visa to visit the country — she bought a plane ticket and arrived in London.

In the summer of 2022, the whole family plans to go to the US to visit Yeva's sister. The relatives will often see each other, as Tigran's family can travel without visas with Maltese passports.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.

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Let’s discuss the details

Schedule a meeting at one of the offices or online. A lawyer will analyze the situation, calculate the cost and help you find a solution based on your goals.

Victoria Atanasova
Head of the Maltese office, lawyer for international and economic law
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