How to Get Residence Permit in Malta: 5 Main Paths

All methods of obtaining a residence permit in Malta
All methods of obtaining a residence permit in Malta

Many wealthy non-Europeans want to legally become a resident in Europe for various reasons: tax residency, travelling to Schengen countries visa-free, moving the whole family to a developed European country, or having the option of leaving their original country quickly in the event of political or economic turmoil.

Getting a residence permit in Europe achieves these goals and solves these problems. However, only a few European countries grant a residence permit quickly: Malta is amongst the few that do.

A Maltese residence permit allows one to live in Malta for a year and then it can be extended for another year. The holder has the right to study, work and invite close family members to live with them in Malta. It can also be obtained by entrepreneurs who want to legally reduce their tax payments and are willing to pay a government fee of €6,000.

Benefits of a residence permit in Malta:

  • Visa-free travel to Schengen states.
  • Tax optimization through Malta’s flexible tax system.
  • Use of representative offices of international banks in Malta.
  • Tourism and real estate in Malta attracts entrepreneurs from all over the world. Investors receive a stable income. For example, renting out real estate earns a return of at least 5% per annum.
  • High level of public and personal security
  • Malta is one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world.
  • High quality of life, health care and education for entrepreneurs and their families.
  • Many British and American schools and universities are based in Malta.
  • Opportunity to live in a warm climate.

Malta Residency for investors and entrepreneurs

The fastest way to apply for a residence permit in Malta for the whole family is to take part in the state migration program for wealthy foreigners, the Malta Global Residence Program.

The main applicant’s spouse, children under 25 years old, siblings, parents and grandparents without any age restrictions can also participate in the program. The main requirement is that all the family members in the application, apart from the spouse, are financially dependent on the main applicant.

In order to take part in the program, an investor must fulfill the following four conditions:

  1. Rent a home in Malta for €8,750–9,600 per annum. The amount depends on the region selected: the rent is lower on the island of Gozo and in the south of Malta. Alternatively, the investor can buy property in Malta costing at least €220,000–275,000 depending on the region.
  2. Pay an administration fee of €5,500–6,000, depending on the region in which the property is located.
  3. Obtain health insurance for all family members participating in the program.
  4. Pay the minimum income tax of €15,000.

Residence permit holders are required to maintain their permits over time. This includes paying an annual income tax of 15% on income earned outside Malta but transferred to Malta or a minimum tax of €15,000. Income earned in Malta is taxed at 35%.

Participants have to file an annual tax statement. Also, the residence permit holder cannot spend more than 183 days a year in any country other than Malta. At the same time, there is no requirement to live or visit Malta.

Residence permit in Malta for employment

It is difficult to find an employer in Malta who will offer you a long-term contract. Generally, highly qualified specialists in IT, pharmaceuticals and financial services are in demand.

Many leading international companies are based in Malta. A residence permit for employment is issued jointly with a work permit, the residence permit must be renewed annually and its validity ends at the conclusion of the employment contract.

There are two types of visas for those who come to work in Malta: the regular work visa and the Blue Card. The latter is issued to highly qualified specialists with a salary at least 50% higher than the industry average.

Residence permit in Malta for education and training

Malta Residence Permit by Investment for education abroad
The University of Malta, founded in 1952, is the most prestigious university in the country

Students at schools and universities in Malta are issued a residence permit for the duration of their studies. The residence permit is issued under the contract with an educational institution. After graduation, these students have to look for a job in Malta in order to renew their residence permit, which will then be linked to their employment contract.

Residence permit in Malta for family reunification

Foreigners living in Malta can apply for a residence permit for their close family members. Once the family members get a Maltese residence permit, they are eligible to apply for Maltese citizenship five years later.

The opportunity to obtain a residence permit is given to foreign spouses of Maltese citizens. In this case, citizenship can be obtained even quicker, just two years after they get a residence permit.

Residence permit to run business in Malta

There are support programs available for entrepreneurs in Malta. Malta has an attractive tax system with lower taxes than in many other European countries and a stable economic climate. This attracts businessmen from all over the world to register their companies and get a residence permit. However, businesses registered in Malta must meet fairly high requirements.

Other types of residence permits in Malta

A residence permit can also be issued under special circumstances.

If a person has lived with the holder of a Maltese residence permit, permanent residence or citizenship for two or more years without registering their relationship, he or she can also obtain a residence permit in Malta. Proof of cohabitation and either your or your partner’s ability to cover your living costs will be required.

Residence permits are also issued for religious, medical and humanitarian purposes.

Which residence permit is easier to obtain

The fastest and easiest path of all the ways of obtaining a residence permit in Malta is participating in a program for wealthy foreigners — the Global Residence Program.
Terms Malta Global Residence Program Other paths to residency
Who gets it? The whole family Only the applicant
Obtaining period 2–3 months Depends on the quota availability
Guaranteed receipt Guaranteed No guarantees
Working in Malta Allowed if a special permit is obtained Allowed only for a residence permit for employment
Study at universities Allowed Allowed only for a residence permit for studying
Housing rent or purchase Mandatory Mandatory
Length of stay Unlimited 183 days a year or more
Possibility of residence permit renewing Unlimited number of times - For the duration of the work or study contract

- For the period of company registration

- Unlimited for family reunification

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If you have not yet decided which path of obtaining a residence permit in Malta is right for you, contact Immigrant Invest lawyers. They will carefully study your circumstances and aims, select the appropriate option and accompany you throughout the procedure for obtaining a residence permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are several ways to obtain a residence permit in Malta.

  • The safest and fastest option is to participate in the state investment program, the Malta Global Residence Program. Residency by investment means that the applicant does not need to permanently live in Malta; however, at the same time, they cannot spend more than 183 days a year in any other jurisdiction.
  • Employment. An annually renewable residence permit card is issued based on the applicant’s employment contract.
  • Education at a Maltese university. The residence permit is valid only for the period of study. If the geopolitical situation becomes more complicated, it may be difficult to obtain a student visa.
  • Family reunification. A Maltese citizen can apply for a residence permit card for their close foreign relatives. After five years of residence in Malta, the relative will be able to apply for citizenship. A foreign spouse can apply for citizenship just two years after moving to Malta and getting a residence permit.
  • Business registration. The applicant registers a company in Malta and gets a residence permit as a business owner. Their company becomes tax resident in Malta and benefits from Malta’s favorable tax structure and state support for entrepreneurship.

These are the standard options for obtaining a residence permit in Malta. Residence permits for civil partners, as well as for religious, medical and humanitarian purposes, are less common.

Among all the paths of obtaining a residence permit in Malta, the program for wealthy foreigners, the Malta Global Residence Program, stands out.

The main costs of the program are:

  1. Investment in real estate: rent or purchase.
    Rental cost of at least €9,600 per annum in the Central and Northern part of Malta or €8,750 per annum on the island of Gozo and the South of Malta.
    Applicants interested in buying real estate need to pay at least €275,000 for their property in the Central and Northern part of Malta or €220,000 on the island of Gozo or in the South of Malta.
  2. There is a non-refundable one-time administrative fee of €6,000 for a property rented/bought in Central or Northern Malta or €5,500 for property on the island of Gozo or in the South of Malta.
  3. The annual tax payment is 15% of any income sourced from outside Malta but transferred to Malta. The minimum tax charge is €15,000 per annum.
  4. The health insurance policy covering all EU countries for a period of one year costs at least €500 per applicant. The cost depends on the age and state of health of the applicant.

A holder of a residence permit by investment is not required to permanently live in Malta. However, at the same time, they cannot spend more than 183 days a year in any other jurisdiction.

The total cost of the residence permit card depends on the number of participating family members of the main applicant and is calculated individually.

The Malta Global Residence Program offers members a number of benefits related to business activities, residence and travel.

The program optimizes the tax structure and tax payable:

  1. 15% tax rate is due on income that originated outside Malta but was transferred to Malta. The minimum tax payable per annum is €15,000.
  2. 35% tax rate is charged on income sourced in Malta.
  3. 0% tax rate on foreign income that is not transferred to Malta.
  4. There is no inheritance tax or surcharge for the main applicant's spouse, children or other relatives included in the application.

A residence permit issued by Malta, an EU country, allows the holder to move to a country with a high quality of life, medical facilities and educational institutions. It gives the holder the right to conduct business or work in Malta after obtaining a work permit. It allows visiting other Schengen states without a visa for up to 90 days in any half-year period.

Violation of the conditions on which the residence permit was granted is the primary reason that a Maltese residence permit can be withdrawn or become invalid. If the residence permit holder discovers that they are in violation of any tax obligation they must report it to the Maltese tax authorities within four weeks. Otherwise, a fine of €5,000 may be charged.

The Maltese tax department may decide not to cancel the residence permit by investment under the following circumstances:

  • If the requirements of the residence permit were not met due to circumstances beyond the holder’s control;
  • If the holder has made every possible effort to correct the violation and fulfill their obligations under the program.

In addition, there are a number of general grounds, including the provision of false information, violation of the law and posing a threat to the national security of the country, for revoking citizenship or a residence permit.

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