Restart of the Malta citizenship programme for investment in September 2020

July 4, 2020
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New conditions for the Citizenship for Investment Program published
Photo: Adobe Stock
Malta’s citizenship programme will be relaunched in September 2020. Relevant amendments to the Citizenship Act have already been introduced in Parliament. Under the new rules, investors will be able to apply for passports in 1-3 years after receiving a residence permit. Also, the cost of participation will change and the Due Diligence procedure will be stricter.

The Malta Citizenship for Investment Programme will be renewed in September 2020. Investors will be able to apply for passports 1-3 years after residence.

Draft amendments to the Maltese Nationality Act have been published today, 3 July 2020, in the Government Gazette. Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship Alex Muscat said that parliament will approve them no later than September.

New conditions for citizenship programme

Participation in the new program will take place in 3 stages:

  1. Residence permit

This stage is mandatory even now. To obtain citizenship, the investor draws up a residence permit card of Malta. Family members can skip this stage – they do not need to obtain a residence permit.

  1. Family Eligibility test.

This is an updated Due Diligence check. Investor confirms sources of income and wealth, provides all necessary documents about themselves and their family.

  1. Registration of citizenship.

After 12 months after the residence permit is issued, the investor will be able to apply for citizenship.

“Previously, investors applied for citizenship immediately after issuing residence permit cards, and then waited several months for the completion of Due Diligence. Now the process of passport registration after filing the documents will go faster – the check by that time will have already been passed”, – said Victoria Atanasova, head of the Maltese office Immigrant Invest, a lawyer for international and economic law.

The new program provides for 2 options: registration of citizenship after 1 or 3 years from obtaining a residence permit. In the first case, the investor will contribute €750 thousand, in the second – €600 thousand.

The cost of all items under the Malta citizenship programme will change.

The cost of participation in Malta's citizenship programme for investment

Item of expenditure Current Malta citizenship programme for investment New Malta citizenship programme through residence
Minimum investment amount €650, thousand to Malta Development Fund

€150, thousand in government bonds
€750, thousand, if one year has passed since the registration of the residence**

€600, thousand if it's been 3 years since the residency was issued**

€10, thousand - charity donation
Investments for citizenship for family members €25, thousand per spouse and children under 18 years of age

€50, thousand for children over 18 years and parents
€50, thousand for each dependant
Purchasing property* €350, thousand. €700, thousand.
Rent a property for 5 years, the cost per year* €16, thousand. €18 thousand.

*You can choose from two options: either to rent or buy a property

**The money will be distributed in the same way as in the current citizenship programme: 70% will go to the Malta National Development Fund.

The house purchase process will remain the same. As before, when purchasing a home, investors will have to provide an architect’s report on the compliance of the object with the declared value. We accompany applicants in the process of buying a property and assist in the preparation of all necessary documents.

The number of issued passports will be limited: they will be issued no more than 400 per year. In total, the program is designed for 1500 new citizens.

The names of investors who apply for Maltese citizenship will continue to be published.

Due Diligence Update

Malta will update its Due Diligence to make it even more efficient. “The already rigorous Due Diligence will be strengthened to ensure that new citizens have acquired capital legally,” said Alex Muscat.

Malta’s Due Diligence is still a high standard. The country rejects around 23% of citizenship programme applications. Of the 1500 passports issued, only 4 have been revoked.

Successful Due Diligence 一 is the key to obtaining citizenship. It is therefore imperative that the software agent is well informed in this area. We have AML Compliance-certified specialists on staff. They carry out preliminary checks, which help to minimize the risk of failure.

Other program changes

The draft amendments include several other changes to the citizenship programme.

  • The Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency (MIIPA) will be dissolved. It will be replaced by a new agency that will oversee all avenues of acquiring Maltese citizenship.
  • The list of agents of the program will be reviewed in accordance with the new requirements. That’s why it’s important for an investor to pay attention to the fact that the agent has an updated license obtained in accordance with the criteria of the new program.

Reasons for reviewing the citizenship programme

Malta’s current citizenship programme for investment was often criticized by the EU. The Government has listened to the recommendations and sought to improve the procedures adopted.

Another reason is the desire to attract investors who will be associated with Malta. According to statistics, only 5% of applicants have opened a business in the country. The government is looking for ways to attract more investment to Malta.

Earlier we said that the current citizenship program has almost exhausted the quota limit. To be able to participate in it, investors need to apply for a residence permit until July 31, 2020, and for citizenship – until September 30, 2020.

The Maltese economy is already recovering from the pandemic. The consumer, IT and healthcare sectors are growing faster than other industries.

Also as part of the economic stimulus package in Malta reduced stamp duty on the purchase of property. This measure will remain in force until March 2021 and will allow investors to save thousands of Euros on participation in citizenship and residence permit programmes.

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