Case Studies

How to renew permanent residence in Malta: procedure specifics for investors

My wife and I can not sit in one place. One day we might choose to dine at home in Beijing, and the next day row a boat on Lake Como. Furthermore, our son is growing up and he would like to study in Europe.

But the red tape with visas got the best of us. So we thought; why not get permanent residence in the European Union? And the Maltese residence suited us perfectly.

Permanent Residence in Malta
Lizhong and Xinyan,
received permanent residence in Malta in 2016

Lizhong received permanent residence in Malta by investments in 2016. Five years have passed. During this time, the lawyers of Immigrant Invest confirmed the residence status of Lizhong and his family members several times. In the summer of 2021, they helped to change permanent residence cards to new ones.

We will explain why an investor cannot go without legal support from a licensed agent in the first five years after obtaining the status and for how long it is necessary to comply with the terms of the program.

Background: how Lizhong's family received permanent residence in Malta

In May 2015, Lizhong applied to Immigrant Invest to obtain permanent residence in Malta. The investor decided to become a Maltese resident in order to travel to the Schengen countries without a visa, send his son to study at a European school, and if desired, move the whole family to the European Union.

When Lizhong applied to Immigrant Invest, Malta had an investment program — Malta Residence and Visa Program. In March 2021, new rules came into force, and the program itself is now called the Malta Permanent Residence Program.

Comparison of terms of the Maltese permanent residence program

ConditionUnder the old rulesUnder the new rules
Purchase of government bonds€250,000No
Purchase of housing€270,000+
in the south and on the island of Gozo

€320,000+
in the north of Malta
€300,000+
in the south and on the island of Gozo

€350,000+
in the north of Malta
Rent of housing€10,000+
in the south and on the island of Gozo

€12,000+
in the north of Malta
€10,000+
in the south and on the island of Gozo

€12,000+
in the north of Malta
Administrative fee€30,000€40,000
Non-refundable government feeNo€28,000
when buying a home

€58,000
when renting
Contribution to a Maltese non-governmental organizationNo€2,000
Annual income€100,000+Not taken into account
Owned assets€500,000+€500,000+
€150,000 of which are financial assets
Fee for adding of parents€5,000
per person
€7,500
per person
Total for Lizhong 's family of five: spouse, son of 8 years old and two parents€302,000
when renting a home — the option that Lizhong chose in 2015


€560,000
when buying a home
€127,000
when renting a home

€385,000
when buying a home

Participation in the investment program for permanent residence in Malta took 10 months from the moment Lizhong applied to Immigrant Invest. The family received permanent residence cards in March 2016.

How long are Maltese permanent residence cards valid

Permanent residence permit in the European Union, including Malta, is issued for five years. Renewal implies the re-issuance of a permanent residence card based on a residence unlimited certificate, therefore the permanent residence status for an investor is life-long. The applicant receives the certificate together with the first cards.

5 years
validity period of the Maltese permanent residence cards
Biometric permanent residence card in Malta
This is what a new Maltese permanent residence card looks like. It is a biometric card with a high degree of anti-counterfeiting protection. New format cards are issued in Malta since August 2, 2021
Source: Identity Malta

Checking the investor for the fulfillment of the program conditions

During the first five years after receiving permanent residence, the investor confirms that he fulfills the program conditions. Namely, what he has:

  1. Capital in the amount of €500,000.
  2. Accommodation in Malta, either rented or purchased.
  3. Medical insurance.

Under the old rules, the investor also certified that he remains the owner of government bonds.

Confirmation of the fulfillment of the conditions is required in order to maintain the status of a Maltese resident. If the investor violates any of the conditions, for example, terminates the rental agreement and does not conclude a new one for the set amount, he will be deprived of permanent residence.

How Lizhong passed annual audits

The investor can not submit supporting documents independently to the Residency Malta Agency. It had to be done by an agent with a license from the Government of Malta. Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of the Malta permanent residence program. We do not only help to obtain the status, but also accompany our clients for the first five years. We inform the investor in advance of the fact that it is necessary to confirm the fulfillment of the program conditions. As a rule, in two months. This time is enough to prepare the documents.

Victoria Atanasova — Head of Immigrant Invest office in Malta
Victoria Atanasova,
head of the Maltese office of Immigrant Invest, lawyer in international and economic law

Ownership of assets. To confirm the presence of assets of €500,000, Lizhong provided the lawyers annually with:

  1. A bank statement.
  2. Registration certificates of property rights to real estate objects.
  3. Information about the securities held and a statement from the brokerage account.

The investor's asset list has changed over the course of five years. To participate in the program, Lizhong provided information on ownership of real estate in the amount of €350,000 and securities for €150,000.

To invest in permanent residence, the investor sold one of the properties for €200,000. However, he then earned €230,000 from business and bonds in a year. Therefore, the income covered the costs of participating in the program. The amount of assets held by the investor amounted to more than €500,000.

If an investor has purchased a property to participate in a program, that property is not counted towards proof of assets. Moreover, the cost of Maltese government bonds was not previously taken into account. The presence of assets, housing and government bonds are three different conditions of the program, each of which must be fulfilled separately.

Address of residence in Malta. To obtain permanent residency in Malta, Lizhong rented a two-bedroom apartment in Marsascala. For five years of lease, the investor paid €60,000 – five times less than the minimum cost of housing when buying under the program.

€60,000
Lizhong spent on five years of renting an apartment in Malta

To confirm the address of residence, Lizhong submitted a valid lease agreement.

Apartments for rent in Marsascala for obtaining permanent residence in Malta by investment
An apartment in Marsascala, Malta

The apartment is located in a five-storey residential complex. The open plan integrates the living, dining and kitchen areas. The apartment also has two bedrooms, a bathroom and a spacious outdoor terrace overlooking the city. The apartments are rented and furnished. There is air conditioning, TV and Wi-Fi.

€12,000
rent for a year
€150,000
purchase price
66 m²
apartment area

In the second year after receiving permanent residence, Lizhong bought two apartments in Malta at the construction stage - for €230,000 and €250,000. He could not register with any of them, even when the house was completed. Under the terms of the program, for the first five years, the cost of the acquired housing must be at least €270,000.

According to the new rules, the investor cannot change the rental housing for the purchase, as before: the amount of the government contribution is tied to the chosen option. But you can change the housing itself: rent for rent, purchase for purchase. Cost requirements remain the same.

Victoria Atanasova — Head of Immigrant Invest office in Malta
Victoria Atanasova,
head of the Maltese office of Immigrant Invest, lawyer in international and economic law

Medical insurance. Lizhong took out insurance for each family member. The minimum coverage is €30,000 per person, and the insurance covered inpatient and outpatient hospitalizations. The cost of such insurance for a family of five was €2,500.

Renewal of permanent residence cards after five years

Permanent residence must be renewed every five years, while applicants receive new cards each time. For the reissument of cards, a fee is charged at €27.5 per person for each year of validity for a new permanent residence card. The fee for a five-year card renewal is €137.5 per person.

€687.5
The family paid for the renewal of permanent residence cards for five years

Immigrant Invest lawyers began preparations for the renewal of permanent residence in June 2021, two months before the cards of Lizhong and his family expired.

The procedure is different from the annual inspection. After five years, the investor no longer needs to confirm ownership of assets for €500,000. Also, the requirements for real estate are canceled; it is still necessary to have an address of registration in Malta, but housing can be anything.

Conditions for maintaining and renewing permanent residence in Malta

ConditionAnnually for the first 5 yearsAfter 5 years
Confirmation of assets for €500,000YesNo
Address of residence in MaltaYesYes
Change of housing to a cheaper one, from rent to purchase or vice versaNoYes
Medical insuranceYesYes
Self-submission of documentsNo, only through a licensed agentYes

Lizhong decided not to renew the lease of the apartment, but to register in one of the apartments he bought. In the four years that have passed since the purchase, the residential complex has been completed. The investor made repairs in the apartment and decided to rent out the property for travel.

The list of documents required for the renewal of permanent residence includes:

  1. Certificate of Maltese residency.
  2. Medical insurance for all family members.
  3. Sale and purchase agreement for apartments and certificate of registration of ownership.
  4. Certificate of registration address in Malta in the new apartment.
Apartments in Malta for the purchase of real estate under the program of permanent residence by investment
A three-bedroom apartment in Marsascala, Malta

The apartment is located on the third floor of a modern residential complex, a five-minute walk from the embankment. The apartment has three bedrooms, one of them with its own bathroom and wardrobe. The living room opens onto an outdoor terrace overlooking the sea.

€460 000
purchase price
115 m²
apartment area
from 5 to 7%
yield on rent per year

Submission of biometrics for re-issuing permanent residence cards

Every five years, the resident submits fingerprints at the Residency Malta Agency. Prints are needed to make new permanent residence cards: they are biometric in the European Union.

The lawyers pre-booked the date and time for the biometrics for Lizhong's family. It is compulsory to go to Malta: the Embassies of Malta in other countries or the Maltese visa centers do not take fingerprints for permanent residence cards.

The submission of biometrics in Malta was scheduled for July 28th, 2021. At this time, the family was in China.

Lizhong and his family were able to fly to Malta despite the fact that the country's border is closed to foreigners. Holders of permanent residence cards have the right to go to Malta at any time.

A lawyer from the Maltese office of Immigrant Invest accompanied Lizhong's family to take biometrics and, by proxy, applied for the renewal of permanent residence for the whole family.

If Lizhong did not have time to go to Malta and turn in biometrics before the expiration of the permanent residence card, he would still have extended the status. Permanent residence cards are reissued on the basis of an unlimited residence certificate.

Victoria Atanasova — Head of Immigrant Invest office in Malta
Victoria Atanasova,
head of the Maltese office of Immigrant Invest, lawyer in international and economic law

Permanent residence in Malta for a family’s future in the European Union

Lizhong received new permanent residence cards by mail on August 11th, 2021, two weeks after the biometrics were submitted. In the future, he will be able to renew permanent residence on his own: for this he will only need medical insurance and a Maltese registration address.

In February 2021, Lizhong's son Deming turned 13 years old. He will have to renew his permanent residence card at the age of 14 and 18. The rest of the family, only every five years.

The family spent August in Malta, in Marsascala. Deming studied at a language school. The couple and their parents often went to searnon a yacht, which they rented in a local marina.

Deming's new school year has begun at a private boys' school in the UK. Parents and grandparents will visit him frequently. As residents of Malta, they will be able to travel to the UK without a visa and spend up to 90 days in the country every six months.

In the fall, Lizhong and Xinyan plan to go hiking along the Blue Trail in Italy. The route passes through the territory of the Cinque Terre National Park. Along the way, the couple plan to visit fishing villages with colorful houses, taste wines at local wineries and sunbathe on the secluded beaches of the Mediterranean Sea.

From November to April, the couple and their parents will live in Malta. They like the island's warm Mediterranean climate when the temperature in January does not drop below +12°C.

We have talked about all the opportunities that Maltese residents get in the article "The advantages of permanent residence in Malta".

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

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