Nkosi, his wife and two adult children got residence permits in Germany and moved to the European Union. But the family’s life was overshadowed by the bureaucracy during resident permit renewals and the difficulty in obtaining a German passport.
The businessman decided not to wait for the problems to solve themselves and got Malta citizenship.
Learn from the Nkosi’s story:
- how investors obtain Malta citizenship in practice;
- how to confirm the legality of income and assets in case of owning a large holding company;
- how to visit Malta for fingerprinting and obtain a passport during a pandemic.
Reasons for getting citizenship in Malta, not in Germany
Lifetime status in the EU. A permanent residence permit or citizenship would save the family from bureaucracy and the need to renew the residence permit regularly.
Nkosi and his wife got residence permits for financially independent persons, which must be renewed every two years. Their children renew their student residence permits every year.
The family had to re-collect the documents each time to renew the residence permits. Nkosi confirmed that he had enough money to live in Germany with his wife. The children proved that they continue to study full-time at a university.
Terms of obtaining citizenship. The family could apply for permanent residence only after five years of living in Germany. Citizenship requires eight years of residency.
The spouses were unsure if they wanted to stay in Germany long enough to obtain permanent residence or a passport.
Nkosi was thinking of moving to a country with a warmer climate. In the autumn of 2020, his son Waaiz would move to France to start his postgraduate studies. At the same time, the son would be deprived of the opportunity to obtain permanent residence or German citizenship. The residence countdown would begin anew if he returned to Germany after the postgraduate program.
Second citizenship without renouncing the first one. Nkosi wanted to stay and live in the EU but did not consider giving up his Egyptian passport. He had a business in Egypt and came to Cairo for board meetings every month.
Germany does not allow its citizens to hold multiple passports unless they have citizenship in another EU country or Switzerland. Therefore, the family would have to give up their Egyptian citizenship to become German citizens and apply for visas to travel home.
Employment of children in the EU. Nkosi was worried that his children would face difficulties finding a job without EU citizenship.
A foreign graduate has several months to find a job in the EU. However, employers are reluctant to accept candidates without a residence permit or citizenship in an EU country.
To hire a foreigner, the company needs to confirm that there are no worthy candidates for the position among EU residents and citizens. The employer is also obliged to take on the preparation of documents and get a work visa for a foreign employee. Such rules apply in all EU states.
Nkosi began to look for an opportunity to solve the assigned tasks faster and more reliable. He found out that Malta offers to obtain citizenship in one year without renouncing the first passport.
How an investor can obtain Malta citizenship
Nkosi turned to Immigrant Invest for advice in May 2020. He wanted to obtain Malta citizenship with his wife and two children, 18 and 20 years old.
At Nkosi’s appeal, the Malta Individual Investor Program (MIIP) was operating in the EU.
The procedure for obtaining citizenship under the MIIP program took several stages:
Immigrant Invest has been a licensed agent who helps investors obtain Malta citizenship.
On May 12th, 2020, Nkosi signed an agreement with Immigrant Invest to participate in the MIIP program.
MIIP has been closed since July 2020
On July 31st, 2020, the Government of Malta stopped accepting applications for citizenship by investment. Moreover, amendments to the Maltese Citizenship Act (Cap. 188) came into force in November. They established new rules for granting passports to investors — by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.
Preliminary Due Diligence and preparation of documents for residence permits
The Maltese police carry out preliminary Due Diligence. The police verify information about all applicants over 12 years old against the Europol and Interpol databases.
The investor receives a supporting document as the check result — a Police Clearance. It is in the list of documents required for obtaining a Malta residence permit before citizenship.
Nkosi provided certified passport copies for all family members to pass the check and receive the Police Clearance.
The police responded a week and a half later. The investor successfully passed the check and could apply for a residence permit.
Preparation of documents for obtaining a residence permit took place remotely. Nkosi provided the lawyers with:
- copies of the family members’ passports;
- copies of German residence permit cards;
- a marriage certificate;
- birth certificates of children;
- a bank statement for the last six months;
- medical insurance.
Immigrant Invest’s lawyers completed government forms, translated documents into English and apostilled them.
The documents were ready in a week. After that, the investor had to buy or rent housing in Malta and submit fingerprints to Identity Malta Agency.
Arrival in Malta in 2020
In March 2020, Malta closed the border for foreigners and stopped accepting international passenger flights. It was possible to get into the country only by a business jet with a valid Schengen visa, an EU passport or a residence permit card.
On June 10th, 2020, Nkosi and his family flew to Malta using German residence permit cards on a business jet.
Germany has not yet begun a mass vaccination against coronavirus, so the family received negative PCR test results. They did not have to quarantine in Malta.
Malta residence permits for Nkosi's family
Renting of housing. The investor needs to have a registration address in Malta, as will be indicated on the residence permit card. The investor can buy or rent a residential property.
Nkosi decided to rent a property first. He planned to come to the country again in the summer and choose a property for purchase.
Immigrant Invest’s real estate experts selected several apartments for rent. The couple loved a three-bedroom apartment in the capital city of Valletta.
The lawyers contacted the landlord and checked the terms of the contract. Nkosi entered into a deal and transferred €20,000, the total price for a year of rent under the lease agreement.
Fingerprinting for residence permit cards is necessary within six months from the date of the Police Clearance receipt. The lawyers pre-booked a fingerprinting appointment for Nkosi and his family at the Identity Malta Agency on June 11th, 2020.
Applying for a residence permit. The lawyers applied for residence permits on the same day the family submitted their fingerprints. The application also included:
- filled government forms;
- copies of passports and certificates;
- bank statements;
- health insurance;
- the Police Clearance;
- the lease agreement with the investor's registration address in Malta.
Payment of fees. A day later, Nkosi received the details of the Maltese agency to pay the fees for the issuance of residence permit cards. The family of four paid €8,000: €5,000 was the cost of an investor’s card, and €1,000 was the card’s price for each family member.
Obtaining residence permit cards. Nkosi and his family returned to Germany immediately after fingerprinting. A lawyer of the Immigrant Invest’s Maltese office received the residence permit cards by power of attorney. The cards were ready four working days after contacting Identity Malta Agency.
The investor and his family members received residence permit cards valid for 18 months. The time is sufficient to pass the Due Diligence, fulfil investment conditions and get Maltese passports.
How Nkosi confirmed the legality of his business to pass Due Diligence in Malta
After receiving residence permits, investors pass a thorough Due Diligence at Identity Malta Agency. Maltese Due Diligence is one of the strictest globally, with about 25% of investors being rejected every year.
The investor's welfare history is the primary document for passing Due Diligence. It confirms the legality of income for investment in the Maltese economy.
In a welfare history, it is important to indicate all jobs and sources of income throughout the investor's life. Assets owned by the investor and his family members, such as real estate or a business, are also considered.
Nkosi owned a large business producing dairy products. The holding included farms, manufacturing plants and companies selling finished products.
The lawyers added to the Nkosi’s welfare history:
- a detailed description of the business structure with relations between all legal entities in the holding;
- brief characteristics of the holding companies;
- a tax reporting for the holding companies;
- forms indicating the amount of annual income and dividends that Nkosi received as the owner and board chairman at the holding;
- a business plan for the year ahead with a forecast of production and financial indicators, considering possible force majeure.
Together with financial records for Due Diligence, the lawyers prepared copies of standard documents: Egyptian passports and German ID cards of family members and marriage and birth certificates. Nkosi and Waaiz's military cards and police clearance certificates from Egypt and Germany were also required.
The lawyers also drew up an affidavit, where they confirmed the financial dependence of Nkosi's adult children. They attached statements of family members' bank accounts and receipts of payments for studies at universities.
It took two weeks to prepare the documents. On July 1st, 2020, lawyers submitted them for verification to Identity Malta Agency, and Nkosi paid a Due Diligence fee of €22,500 for a family of four.
On January 11th, 2021, lawyers received a response from Identity Malta Agency. Nkosi successfully passed Due Diligence without additional inquiries from the agency.
How to visit Malta during the pandemic
Nkosi could apply for Malta citizenship no earlier than 12 months after obtaining a residence permit — in July of 2021. Therefore, the family had to visit Malta in the summer of 2021 for two reasons.
First, Nkosi decided to buy a property in Malta. Before buying, he wanted to personally look at available properties and select one on the spot.
Secondly, applicants for citizenship submit fingerprints at Identity Malta Agency once again and then take an oath and receive passports in Malta.
Malta accepted foreigners and resumed flights with most countries at the time. But there were entry restrictions.
From July 14th, 2021, entry to Malta without quarantine is possible with a vaccination certificate. The vaccination must be made with an EU approved vaccine: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Jassen.
Suppose a person has not been vaccinated or got another vaccine not approved in the EU. In that case, the individual will have to spend 14 days on a paid quarantine in a special hotel upon arrival in Malta.
Applicants for Malta citizenship by naturalisation for special services by direct investment are exempt from quarantine regardless of their vaccination status. They can come to Malta with a negative PCR test result or a certificate of a previous illness.
The head of the Maltese office of Immigrant Invest
In the spring of 2021, Nkosi, his wife and daughter got vaccinated against coronavirus in Germany, and their son got the vaccine in France. All of them were immunised with the EU-approved Pfizer vaccine.
On July 20th, 2021, the family flew to Malta. When checking in for the flight and passing through passport control, they presented:
- residence permit cards of Germany and France, which gave the right to visa-free entry to other EU countries;
- vaccination certificates with an approved vaccine.
Buying real estate in Malta
The investor must have a registered address in Malta to get citizenship. Under the MIIP program terms, the investor could buy or rent housing considering the cost: from €16,000 per year when renting and from €350,000 when purchasing.
Nkosi decided to buy real estate: he planned to regularly go on vacation to the island with the family and possibly move to Malta in the future.
The couple flew to Malta before submitting the fingerprints to examine properties. The family loved an apartment with a private pool and views of the Mediterranean Sea in St. Julian's, a major resort town in Malta.
The lawyers checked the transaction and arranged a meeting for the investor and the seller to sign the purchase and sale agreement.
The apartment is located on the second floor of a new residential complex. The apartment has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The living room, kitchen and dining room are a single open space. The living room opens onto a spacious terrace with a pool and sea views.
The apartment is furnished and fully equipped with household appliances and high-speed Internet. The apartment is sold together with a garage for two parking spaces.
Fulfilment of investment conditions
In addition to buying or renting real estate, MIIP participants fulfiled two other investment conditions:
- Making a non-refundable contribution to the Malta National Development Fund.
- Buying government bonds from the list of the Central Bank of Malta.
The contribution to the National Development Fund. Nkosi contributed after receiving approval from Identity Malta Agency. Nkosi made the payment from his account in a German bank by transferring it to the agency's details.
The investor contributed:
- €650,000 for the main applicant;
- €25,000 for the spouse;
- €100,000 for two children between 18 to 26 years old.
The family additionally paid the passport fee of €2,000 for four applicants.
Purchase of government bonds. Nkosi acquired €150,000 worth of government bonds through a broker who was a Maltese partner of Immigrant Invest.
Nkosi will have to keep the bonds for at least five years, after which he will be able to redeem them and return the invested money.
€1,719,500 — expenses for obtaining Malta citizenship for the Nkosi’s family of four
|Renting a home in Malta to get a residence permit||€20,000|
|Fee for issuing residence permit cards||€8,000|
|Purchase of an apartment||€740,000|
|Contribution to the state fund||€777,000|
|Purchase of government bonds||€150,000|
Fulfilment of investment conditions took a month. Nkosi, his wife and their children spent the time in Valletta.
Boarding passes and return plane tickets came in handy for the family to confirm that they had been in Malta for several weeks. Staying in Malta helps establish a connection with the country essential for obtaining citizenship.
Along with the confirmation of their stay in Malta, the lawyers submitted documents to Identity Malta Agency to fulfil the investment conditions. Namely:
- a SWIFT receipt for the contribution to the state fund;
- a certificate of purchase of Maltese government bonds;
- a sale and purchase agreement for residential real estate in Malta;
- the architect's conclusion on the value of the acquired property.
Two weeks later, the lawyers received an invitation from Identity Malta Agency for the family to re-submit their fingerprints and take an oath.
Fingerprinting, taking an oath and getting Maltese passports
Re-submission of fingerprints. Lawyers signed up Nkosi for fingerprinting on August 25th, 2021. On the appointed day, the Maltese office lawyer escorted the family to the passport office in Valletta, where they submitted their fingerprints for biometric passports.
The oath took place on the same day at Identity Malta Agency.
The passports were handed to the family in person at the Maltese passport office four working days after the fingerprinting and oath.
The procedure of obtaining citizenship took 15 months from the date of the first application to Immigrant Invest.
15 months to obtain Malta citizenship
How to get Malta citizenship under the new conditions
From November 20th, 2020, investors can get Malta citizenship only by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.
The procedure for obtaining citizenship differs from the MIIP program. The investor can apply for citizenship 12 or 36 months after the residence permit. The purchase of government bonds is no longer included in the list of investment conditions. The Minister responsible for matters relating to Malta citizenship makes the final decision on investor applications.
Investment conditions for obtaining Malta citizenship
|Condition||Under the old rules ⛔️||Under the new rules ✅|
|Renting housing for a residence permit||The rental cost does not matter|
Rent for at least a year
|The rental cost does not matter|
Rent for a year or three years
|Renting housing for citizenship||Cost is €16,000+ per year|
For 5 years
|Cost is €16,000+ per year|
For 5 years
|Purchase of housing for a residence permit and citizenship||Cost is from €350,000|
The term of ownership is from 5 years
|Cost is from €700,000 |
The term of ownership is from 5 years
|Contribution to state fund||€650,000+||€600,000+|
When applying for citizenship 3 years after the residence permit
When applying for citizenship a year after the residence permit
|Purchase of government bonds||€150,000+||Cancelled|
|Charitable donation||Not charged||€10,000|
Residence permit cards are valid for 36 months instead of 18. The investor should confirm the connection with the country, such as spending several weeks in Malta or visiting the History Museum.
If Nkosi got Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services, the final expenses would mainly depend on the period between residence permit receipt and application for citizenship.
If investors want to get a passport in a year, they contribute at least €750,000 to the state fund. If the waiting period is three years, the contribution is at least €600,000. In any case, each family member pays an additional fee of €50,000.
Nkosi rented an apartment for €20,000 per year and then bought an apartment for €740,000. Both properties could qualify for the new conditions.
A year after the residence permit, the family got Malta citizenship, investing €1,719,500. To get the Maltese passport in a year under the new rules, an investor would have to invest €37,000 more. But if Nkosi had applied for citizenship three years later, he would have saved €73,000.
Nkosi's expenses on obtaining citizenship under the new rules
|Expenses||Application for citizenship 1 year after a residence permit||Application for citizenship 3 years after a residence permit|
|Renting housing for a residence permit||€20,000||€60,000|
|Fee for residence permit cards||€35,000||€35,000|
|Purchase of housing||€740,000||€740,000|
|Contribution to the National Development Fund||€900,000||€750,000|
Maltese citizens have the freedom of movement and visa-free entry to more than 180 countries. They also can live, work, do business and study in any EU country.
Learn more about Malta citizenship benefits in our article — “Pros and cons of getting the Maltese passport”.