Case Studies

Malta citizenship: visa-free entry to the Schengen area, the UK and the USA

Victor and Vera have two children. Their son Artem is 22 and is about to finish his studies in one of the British universities. Their daughter Maria is 15 and is currently studying at a Swiss boarding school.

Our protagonists

Victor and Vera are a married couple. Victor is 47 and works as the director of the Russian subsidiary of a large French company.

The family owns a house in France and plans to relocate there for permanent residence.

Since Artem is planning to find a job in the EU, he needs to obtain a work permit which is not guaranteed by visa or residence by investment.

Victor and Vera want visa-free access to the Schengen area, the UK and the US. However, they are not ready to move to any of these countries yet.

Challenges and tasks

The major problem for the family was traveling to the Schengen arearnand the UK. Since Artem plans to work there, his parents need to be able to visit him without facing any restrictions and with minimal costs.

Victor manages the Russian subsidiary of the French company specializing in high-tech kitchen appliances. He became the owner of a country house in one of the Toulouse suburbs two years ago. Eventually, he plans to settle there with his wife and travel Europe. Victor’s hobby is horticulture and he would like to buy a vineyard in the south of France to make his own wine.

Moreover, Vera had to frequently apply for the US visas to visit her sister in the United States. The process took weeks due to the complicated procedures, and planning the trips was very difficult.

Prior to contacting our company, the family’s trips to Europe and the United States were hard to arrange and only included business trips and leisure travel. However, it became obvious that was not enough.

Searching for the right solution

The family was considering a few options to obtain official status in Europe. None of them were acceptable, though:

  • obtaining investor visas in the UK did not suit Victor and Vera as they could not reside there permanently;
  • visitor visas were not an option due to the high taxes;
  • obtaining permanent residence in Hungary suited the family financially but did not allow them to move freely outside the Schengen arearnwhile Victor and Vera needed a visa-free entry to the UK and the US.

At the same time, the family had never thought about obtaining citizenship of Malta not knowing about this option.

Meeting at the Immigrant Invest

Victor was directed to us by his business partners who had previously contacted us with similar inquiries. Since the couple was actively looking for the ways to solve the problem of traveling to Europe, they decided to contact us for professional advice. Having analyzed the situation, we have offered the couple to obtain passports of Malta which would be the best solution to their problems.

Victor told us that he has never considered Maltese citizenship as he was simply not aware of the possibility.

Obtaining a residence permit in the UK was not an acceptable option due to the high costs (at least £2 million) and the requirement to live in the country for at least 185 days a year. At the same time, applying for residence in France is extremely difficult because of the tight quotas. Besides, France does not offer an investor program for the golden visas.

Together with the family, we went through all of the options that might be suitable. The family decided to go for Malta. And it was the right choice!

What has drawn the family’s attention to the Maltese program?

  • First of all, the ability to obtain citizenship of the EU member state. Before opting for Malta, Victor has only considered the options of obtaining residence permits or permanent residence. In his view, a second passport is much more preferable.
  • All family members are entitled to obtain citizenship. Moreover, even Artem, being an adult, was able to join the program. Malta allows applicant’s children under 27 years of age and parents to obtain its citizenship.
  • The costs one has to bear to gain Maltese citizenship was perfectly acceptable for Victor as the required investment is less than in the UK.
  • Malta recognizes dual citizenship so the family would not need to give up their Russian passports. Moreover, the Maltese Government is not obliged to provide the Russian authorities with the information regarding obtaining its citizenship by Russian residents.
  • Malta established reduced tax rate. In order to avoid double taxation issues, it signed an appropriate agreement with Russia. All family savings are kept in reliable banks and in a stable currency.
  • Maltese passport enables its holder to travel the Schengen area visa-free. It also gives visa-free access to other 160 countries including the United Kingdom and the United States which is a perfect solution for Victor and Vera.
  • Obtaining Maltese citizenship by investment is guaranteed by the state and so is the investment which is partly refundable. Obtaining passports takes no longer than 14 months.

Basic requirements of the program

Maltese investor program is among the most complicated in Europe. It consists of three major parts and defines three types of investment. Victor had to:

  • make a non-refundable contribution of EUR 650,000 as the main applicant as well as EUR 25,000 for his wife and each child to the National Development and Social Fund of Malta;
  • rent property in Malta worth at least EUR 16,000 per year or buy a home worth at least EUR 350,000 (he can get his money back in 5 years by selling the property at a profit);
  • buy Maltese government bonds or invest at least EUR 150,000 in government funds (he can get his money back in 5 years by selling the bonds).

The money Victor would need to invest in Maltese economy will partially returno him thanks to the stable economy of the state. Victor decided to buy a villa overlooking the sea.

Thus, the minimum investment his family made amounted to EUR 1,250,000. They would be able to get EUR 500,000 back in 5 years. That scenario was quite acceptable for Viktor and Vera.

Optimal solution

Immigrating to Malta from Russia on your own is quite a long and labor-intensive process. In order to keep good spirits and reduce the risks and the time spent on paperwork, it is better to seek professional advice. That was exactly what Victor and Vera did by contacting Immigrant Invest.

Together with a representative of our company, they visited the immigration office to be explained the procedure for obtaining citizenship. It completely matched with the information they received from Immigrant Invest consultants. We signed a contract and started the process.

Step by step procedure for obtaining Maltese passports

Stage 1: Obtaining residence in Malta

As we said, applying for citizenship takes up to 14 months. However, the applicant and his family can live in Malta and benefit from the privileges granted to the EU residents during this very period. To be able to do so, one has to apply for Maltese residence.

Victor made a non-refundable contribution to the Government of Malta in the amount of EUR 5,000 plus EUR 1,000 for his wife and each child. However, this contribution is not the additional cost! The entire amount is considered to be part of the EUR 650,000 investment.

Stage 2: Filing the application

To submit his application to the Maltese Government, Viktor made a 1-day trip to Malta accompanied by the representative of our company. Together with the application, he attached documents confirming the payment of fees for the upcoming due diligence checks as well as the passport fees. Also, Victor had the papers regarding the EUR 10,ooo payment (minus the payment made at stage 1) as part of EUR 650,000 investment. In addition, Victor provided details about his investment sources.

In order to initiate the process of obtaining citizenship, each family member is required to apply for the international health insurance worth at least EUR 50,000.

Stage 3: Due diligence checks

The Government of Malta carefully examines persons applying for its citizenship. In particular, it submits enquiries to Interpol, the International Criminal Court, etc. Since Victor and Vera were not involved in any criminal cases, the process was finished in 3,5 months.

The Maltese Government notified our company of a positive decision on Victor’s case in a letter. That meant the family successfully passed due diligence checks and was allowed to invest.

Due diligence costs amounted to EUR 45,000 per main applicant, EUR 10,000 per spouse and EUR 6,000 per each child. Total costs at stage 3 amounted to EUR 67,000.

Stage 4: Contribution to the National Development and Social Fund of Malta

Within 1,5-2 months, we received a request to make the remaining contribution to the National Development and Social Fund. According to the rules, the contribution must be made within 20 days upon receiving the request but Victor did that even sooner.

Stage 5: Purchasing real estate and securities

The investor is allowed 125 to 140 days to finalize the purchase. At this stage, we were working together with a Maltese estate agency and offered Victor various properties. Eventually, he decided to buy a small mansion worth EUR 355,000 in Sliema. We also helped our client to choose the most profitable securities to invest in. The lawyer at Immigrant Invest was following the deals closely to ensure that all legal requirements are complied with.

Finalizing property purchase took more than 3 months. That done, we filed the appropriate papers confirming the purchase of property and securities to the Maltese Government.

Stage 6: Taking a vow and obtaining passports

Thanks to quick and coordinated actions, Victor took his vow and obtained his Maltese passport in a year. The government issued certificates of naturalization to all family members. It took another 1,5 months to obtain biometric passports.

The ultimate result of our cooperation

The life of the family has positively changed after getting Maltese citizenship. Children became more integrated into the European way of life. Artem had no problems getting hired by a prestigious company he had been dreaming of working at. The cost of Maria's studies in a boarding school in Switzerland dropped significantly since European citizens pay much less.

Vera did not have any problems visiting her sister in the United States. The couple spent summer holidays at their home in Toulouse making optimistic plans for the future. Victor was able to leave his managing position at the Russian subsidiary, and started working at the company’s French office in Lyon.

The couple is going to retire and live in France as well as travel the world visa-free. Victor thinks about applying for a loan in one of the European banks to start making his own wine brand. Additionally, there is always an option to reside in Malta and live in a family house by the sea.

If you are thinking of moving to Malta, check out the related investor program and contact us for an inclusive consultation.

We will keep publishing successful stories of our clients.

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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