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Malta Citizenship

Specifics of international private law
Citizenship Euro > Malta Citizenship

Malta Governent Flag

The Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP)

 

The Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) is a fully regulated and EU approved scheme, introduced by the Government of Malta via Legal Notice 47 of 2014. It allows successful applicants to relocate together with their families and/or businesses to Malta, an English speaking European Union (EU) member state, by virtue of obtaining local citizenship.

A citizenship obtained via this programme grants the rights of full citizenship, allowing amongst other things the freedom to live, work and study in any other EU member state, as well as in countries holding special agreements with the EU, such as Switzerland. Moreover, it allows for immediate visa-free travel privileges to over 180 countries, including Canada and the US. Once obtained, the citizenship is valid for life and descendants will automatically be entitled to it thereafter.

What makes Malta unique?

 

The Republic of Malta is an independent island country ideally situated in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, between North Africa and Mainland Europe. It has been an EU member state as of 2004, and also forms part of the Schengen Area since 2007. The Maltese passport is within the top tier of the world’s list of most powerful passports, ranking 9th in Henley & Partners Passport Index, alongside Canada and Australia.

 

The island boasts one of the most dynamic economies in the Eurozone, with a current estimated budget surplus of 1.0 % of GDP. In recent years Malta has become a hub for online marketing and financial services, and as it strives to become “Blockchain Island” it is dedicated to devising a blockchain and cryptocurrency-friendly regulatory framework.
The archipelago of Malta is believed to have been inhabited since approximately 5900 BC, and due to its strategic location, at crossroads of contrasting continents, economies, cultures and natural environments, it has been contested and ruled by several great powers across the millennia. This has led to a colorful inheritance of archaeological, architectural and historical treasures, which is also reflected in the local native language.

 

At the turn of the millennium, Malta has transitioned from being an island steeped in tradition to becoming a very cosmopolitan society, yet it still enjoys a relatively crime-free and safe environment, in addition to a stable political climate. Benefitting from a Mediterranean climate, the islanders enjoy mild winters, hot summers and approximately 300 days of sun per year. This allows for an endless list of outdoor activities, with something to suit every age group and diverse types of interests.

The benefits of possessing a Maltese citizenship for South Africans

 

  • Freedom of movement and access to travel, live, work, study and invest, across the 28 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which form the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), a regional trade organization operating in parallel to the EU
  • Visa-free travel to over 180 countries, including EU member states, Schengen countries, Canada and the United States of America
  • English is one of the two official languages
  • Safe, Neutral and stable country
  • The applicant’s spouse, children, parents, grandparents and parents of spouse, are also eligible for citizenship
  • Strict vetting of applicants process and due diligence standards, ensuring that only highly reputable applicants are granted citizenship
  • Investment in property and bonds can be recovered after 5 years
  • Impartial and efficient application process, and reasonable
  • Good quality of life, boasting excellent healthcare (ranked 5th globally) and education systems
  • Obtaining a Maltese citizenship does not have any tax consequences. Local taxation is based on domicile and residence, not citizenship. Thus, successful applicants will not require a new domicile

The Criteria to be an Eligible MIIP Applicant

 

  • Applicants required to be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be in possession of a clean criminal record, which is to be verified by international authorities such as the INTERPOL
  • Interested parties must demonstrate good health and be free of contagious diseases or other conditions that may prove burdensome on Malta’s healthcare system

The requirements for a Successful MIIP Application Process

 

  1.  Main applicant must demonstrate a genuine link with Malta
  2.  A financial contribution to the National Development & Social Fund
  3.  An investment in Government approved bonds or shares
  4.  A property purchase or rental

 

1. Link with Malta

Under this requirement, the main applicant must demonstrate a genuine link with Malta, including a 1 year residence requirement. This one year residence period commences when the applicant visits Malta to formally take up residence, and is to be complemented by other factors that prove residence such as business activity, membership of clubs and/or professional associations, sponsorships and local philanthropy. Persons already residing in Malta for one year prior to IIP approval would already satisfy this requirement.

 

2. Financial Contribution

The main applicant is required to make a non-refundable contribution for each applicant within four months, 70% of which will go to the National Development and Social Fund, set up by the Government of Malta, and the remaining 30% to the consolidated fund. The former, finances local projects linked to social welfare such as public health, education and job creation.

 

The contributions are required as follows:
● Main applicant – €650,000
● Spouse – €25,000
● Minor children (below 18) – €25,000 each
● Children 18-26 (unmarried) – €50,000 each
● Dependent parents & grandparents – €50,000 each
● Adult children (physically or mentally challenged) – €50,000 each

 

3. Bonds/Shares Investment

An investment of at least €150,000 in Government-approved bonds, shares and/or debentures that benefit the nation, is required and must be kept for at least five years.
We will be able to direct and assist our clients in the acquisition of MIIP-approved collective investment schemes that invest only in Government Bonds.

 

4. Property Purchase/Rental

Applicants are required to invest in the real estate market by either purchasing a property with a minimum value of €350,000 or alternatively, enter a property rental contract with a minimum value of €16,000 per annum, both options on five year contracts.

Sale of Property:
Following the lapse of the obligatory 5-year period, the purchased property can be sold completely exempt from tax, as long as it serves as the resident’s sole and ordinary residence. If sold before the stipulated 3 years, a final property tax of 12% is chargeable on the selling price.

 

Other Tax Considerations :
● No death or inheritance taxes
● No estate duty
● No net worth or wealth taxes
● No municipal taxes, rates or real estate taxes

 

The MIIP Application Process

 

The application process and the procurement of the required documentation can be relatively uncomplicated. Once you get in touch with our team, the process will be simplified and expedited.

  • Initial Due Diligence and KYC checks, letter of engagement and Malta police clearance
  • Fast track residence cards granting Schengen mobility for 18 months, processed within 1-3 weeks, collection of biometric data, optional background verification report
  • Compilation and submission of citizenship application which includes collection of documents, preparation of forms, submission of application to MIIPA and start of MIIPA due diligence and KYC
  • MIIPA Processing which takes a minimum of 120 days and includes independent due diligence review and possibility of clarification requests
    Citizenship approval takes a 4 month processing time where letter of approval will be issued by MIIPA. At this stage contribution payment to NDSF, fulfillment of qualifying investment and fulfillment of qualifying property are requested
  • The passport is issued after a processing period of 12 months from the date of initial residency. Naturalization stage includes oath of allegiance, issuance of naturalization certificate, issuance of passport and issuance of Maltese e-identity cards.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIAMALTA RESIDENCE & VISA PROGRAMMEMALTA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
NEU -EUNon-EU only can applyNon-EU only can apply
INELIGIBLE NATIONALITIESAfghanistan, North Korea cannot applyAfghanistan, North Korea cannot apply
INVESTMENT OPTIONSApplication Fee + Property + BondsContribution + Property + Bonds
CURRENCYEuro €Euro €
CONTRIBUTION€30,000 + €5,000 per parent/grandparents€650,000 + additional for spouse, children, parents/grandparents
GOVERNMENT BONDS€250,000 or Financing Option at €100,000€150,000
REAL ESTATERent @ €10,000/12,000 or Purchase @ €270,000/€320,000 (min)Rent @ €16,000
Property Purchase @ €350,000
Can Partner Join?YesYes
CAN SPOUSE JOIN?Yesyes
CAN CHILDREN JOIN?Yes - No age limitYes - Up to age of 26
CAN PARENTS JOIN?Yes no age limit - If Financially dependent on Main ApplicantYes > 55yrs - if financially dependent on the Main Applicant
CAN GRAND-PARENTS JOIN?Yes if financially dependent on the main applicantYes if financially dependent on the main applicant
LANGUAGE TESTNot RequiredNot Required
PHYSICAL RESIDENCENo physical stay requirement15 days + Genuine Link Requirement
HEALTH INSURANCEEU Coverage of a min. €30,000 coverage including hospitalisationGlobal Coverage of a min. €50,000 coverage including hospitalisation
PROCESSING TIME3-4 months to residence12 months to citizenship

Frequently Asked Questions

1: Are there any nationality restrictions?

Yes, nationals of  the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), or non-nationals of these countries who reside, do business, or have other significant ties with these countries, are not eligible for the MIIP.  Similarly, applications from citizens of countries included in the US Travel Ban, will be denied automatically.  Below is the full list of non-eligible nationalities:

  • Afghanistan
  • Chad
  • Iran
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Somalia
  • Syria
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
  • Nigeria
  • Eritrea
  • Tanzania
  • Sudan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Myanmar (also known as Burma)

 

2: Can my family be included in my application?

Yes, the main applicant may include a spouse, children under 18 years of age, financially dependent adult children under the age of 27, and parents of main applicant and spouse over the age of 55.

 

3: Can you also assist in obtaining Maltese citizenship by descent?

Yes, interested parties are kindly asked to compile the contact form found at the bottom of this page.

 

4: Can you help me find employment in Malta?

Unfortunately not. The immigration by investment programme was specifically launched by the government with the aim of attracting high net worth individuals, business owners and other individuals already in possession of financial resources to support themselves and contribute to the local economy.

Please note: New citizens do not require a work permit and may work in any other EU country, while new residents need to apply for a work permit, but would need to find their own employment opportunities.

 

5: Will I be able to travel to the United States as a Maltese passport holder?

Yes. The Maltese passport enables holders travel to the U.S. under the visa waiver programme, which allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the States without a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Source: U.S. Government

 

6: What is the minimum financial expenditure required to obtain the Malta/EU Citizenship?

The contribution is set at 650,000 Euro for the main applicant, 25,000 Euro for a spouse and each minor child under 18 years of age, and 50,000 Euro for each dependent parent over 55 years of age and each dependent child between 18 and 26 years of age.

Additionally, the applicant is required to (a) purchase a property at a minimum cost of 350,000 Euro, or (b) rent a property for at least 16,000 Euro per year, for a minimum of five years.  A five-year holding period is required for both options.

Furthermore, the main applicant is required to purchase 150,000 Euro worth of Government approved securities (bonds, stocks, and debentures), which can be liquidated after a five-year holding period.

 

7: Who are the recipients of the funds from my contribution?

Of the applicants’ contribution fee, 70% goes directly to the National Development and Social Fund, and the remaining 30% is transferred to Malta’s consolidated fund.

 

8: What taxes will new citizens incur?

Obtaining a Maltese citizenship does not have any tax consequences.  Local taxation is based on domicile and residence, not citizenship.  Thus, successful applicants will not require a new domicile.  Tax residents of Malta who are not domiciled in Malta are taxable on the remittance basis, meaning that they are not taxable on a foreign source income (income not received in Malta), nor on any capital gains arising outside Malta.  Only income and capital gains arising in Malta are subject to tax and a non-resident citizen of Malta is only taxable in Malta on income generated in Malta.

Other Tax Considerations: No inheritance or death;  taxes; No estate duty;  No net worth or wealth taxes; No municipal taxes, rates or real estate taxes.

 

9: Will my citizenship expire?

No.  Once citizenship under the Maltese citizenship programme is acquired, you and your family will be granted full citizenship for life, which is then passed on to future generations by descent.

 

10: Do I need to relocate to Malta or reside in Malta for a minimum number of days within a year in order to qualify for the programme?

Applicants do not need to move to Malta and/or reside in the country for a full year in order to satisfy the one-year residency requirement.  This requirement can be met by proving a genuine link with Malta in a number of ways such as the existence of utility bills, evidence of at least two visits within the year, having a club membership, engaging in any business activity in Malta, and so forth.  Our attorneys will be able to direct you in being fully compliant with the programme requirements, whilst considering your specific needs.

 

11: What is a genuine link?

As per EC approval, the Maltese Citizenship Programme is based on establishing a ‘genuine link’ between the main applicant and Malta.  Applicants do not need to relocate or reside in  Malta for a full year in order to establish a genuine link.  This can be alternatively ascertained in a number of manners such as: local business activity, presenting utility bills, memberships at local clubs or professional bodies, business activity, as well as involvement in or donations to local charities. Our attorneys will be able to direct you with your needs in mind, obtaining a written approval from the Maltese government in advance, in order to ensure that your proof of genuine link is accepted.

 

12: How long does the application process take until I am granted citizenship?

The MIIP application takes approximately four months to process.  With regards to obtaining the Maltese passport, if the applicant has been residing in Malta prior to filing an application, the process is accelerated and the passport can be obtained in as little as six months. Upon submitting the Residence Application, the main applicant and his dependents are provided with an E-Residence document which is equivalent to a Schengen Visa, and grants borderless travel to all Schengen countries.

 

 13: How soon following date of purchase can I sell my Malta property?

As per the MIIP programme, the purchased property must be held for five years, after which . it can be sold completely exempt from tax, as long as it has served as the applicant’s sole and ordinary residence for a period of three years.  If the property is sold before the stipulated three years of sole residence, a final property tax of 12% is chargeable on the selling price.

 

14: Do I need to invest in a Maltese business/create employment opportunities to be eligible for the programme?

No. The MIIP Malta has no such requirements.

 

15: Will the Maltese citizenship automatically grant me European citizenship?

Yes. Since Malta is one of the member states of the European Union, its citizens are automatically EU citizens.  This grants successful applicants the opportunity to live, work or study in any EU member state and also in other countries holding special agreements with the EU.

It should however be noted that the total number of citizenships granted by the Maltese government under this programme is limited!

 

16: Can siblings, cousins, household staff or grandparents of the main applicant be included in the application?

From the above list, only grandparents may be included in the application.  Siblings, cousins and household staff may not.

 

17: In order to initiate the citizenship application process, one needs to apply for a residence card.  Is it necessary for the applicant to visit Malta to effect this application, or may this be done abroad?  How long is the residence card valid for?

Yes, applicants and any dependants above 12 years of age, must visit Malta in order to submit the Residence Application, as they are required to submit their biometric data.  The residence card is valid for 18 months.

 

 18: When would the 12-month residency requirement start being counted from?

From the submission date of the Residence Application.

 

19: In accordance with the MIIP requirements, one must submit a clean police conduct report.  Where is this obtained from?

A police conduct report providing a clean record, must be obtained from the applicants’ countries of birth and nationalities, as well as from countries in which applicants have resided for over 6 months in the last 10 years.

 

20: Is there a minimum amount of health insurance coverage requirement, in order to be eligible for this programme?

Yes, a minimum Global Health Insurance coverage of €50,000.

 

21: How many times does the applicant need to visit Malta during the application process and when?

Applicants are required to visit Malta twice:

1) To submit the Residence Application

2) To take an Oath of Allegiance

 

 22: At what age are the main applicants’ children required to submit their biometrics and/or take the oath of allegiance?

Applicants aged 12 years and above are required to submit biometric data in person, while the submission of a passport photo together with relevant forms, suffices for applicants below 12 years of age.

The Oath of Allegiance must be taken by any dependants aged 18 and above, at the MIIPA offices in Malta.

 

 23: How does an applicant benefit from our pre-immigration tax advice services?

The Tax Planning services we offer can save applicants up to 35% in tax charges.

 

24: Is the main applicant required to stay in Malta for a minimum period once the passport has been issued?  Where are biometrics required for the passport submitted?

No, there is no required period of residency following passport issuance.  The biometrics required for the passport application must be submitted at the Identity Malta’s offices in Valletta.

 

25: Is the main applicant required to be in Malta in order to submit the full citizenship application? In which language should documents be submitted?

No, applicants are not required to be in Malta for the full citizenship application.  All documents must be submitted in English.

 

26: Do you assist with the issuance of tourist/student visas for Malta?

No, we do not offer such services.  However, we may assist with the initial travel visa to schedule an in-person appointment at our offices, for parties interested in applying for residency or citizenship.

 

27: What is the difference between Caribbean and European Citizenship by Investment (CBI) schemes?

A Caribbean citizenship by investment is cheaper and faster to attain, however it does not offer visa-free travel and relocation opportunities to as many countries as the European citizenship.

On the other hand, European citizenship programmes are more costly and involve a lengthy process, whilst granting greater benefits in terms of freedom of movement and relocation possibilities.

 

28: Which is the best citizenship to possess?

Based on two indicators, safety and reputation of a country; as well as the wider opportunities for freedom of movement, a European citizenship is the most ideal to possess.

Caribbean passports on the other hand, are also good to possess as second passports if once requires a quick solution for unlimited visa-free travel to certain countries.

 

29: What are the advantages of possessing a European citizenship?

  • The right to live, work, invest and study anywhere within the EU
  • Visa-free travel to European Schengen countries
  • Easy entry via Esta to US and Canada
  • Citizenship and Residency Tax planning
  • The opportunity to live in stable and safe countries
  • Wealthy lifestyles and high standard of living
  • Access to free healthcare and education
  • The right to a pension and unemployment benefits

 

30: Are you an authorized agent?

At ProCitizenship we work exclusively and directly with government-appointed authorized agents, and have been proudly serving HNW clients since 2006.

 

31: Do passports granted via CBI schemes need to be collected in person?

For most Caribbean countries, as well as Maltese and Cypriot Citizenship by Investment programmes, passports may be collected by your agent, or from the consulate in your country.  However some countries have different procedures, with some even requiring an oath on collection. Your agent will advise you accordingly.

 

32: Is taking Oath required?

Yes, most countries require Oath taking.  Depending on the country, this can normally be done at consulates or passport offices or one of the government representatives can visit you for an additional fee.  St Kitts does not require applicants to take an Oath of allegiance.

 

33: How do I renew CBI passports after expiry?

The ProCitizenship team will be able to assist you with the passport renewal process.  Since at this stage one would already be a citizen, the process would be relatively simple normally incurring a charge of between 80 to 200 Eur or USD (depending on the country) in passport fees.  Citizens would not need to reinvest or renew the citizenship in any way.

 

34: Which CBI programmes have limited quotas?

  • Malta – 1800 IIP applications (total)
  • Montenegro – 2000 applications (total)
  • Cyprus – 700 applications (per year)
  • Turkey – no quotas
  • Vanuatu – no quotas
  • Dominica, Grenada, Antigua, St Kitts, St Lucia – no quotas

 

35: Which passports allow visa-free travel to the US and Canada?

Malta – visa-free to the United States and Canada (ESTA and eTA required accordingly)

Cyprus – Canada (requires eTA), United States (visa required)

Montenegro – Visa required for the U.S./Canada/U.K.

All Caribbean passports require visa to enter the U.S. and Canada.

 

36: Which CBI programmes have minimum residency requirements?

Minimum residency requirements vary by country as per below:

Malta – Genuine Link

Cyprus – 6 months

Greece, Spain – None

Portugal – 7 days per year

Antigua and Barbuda – 5 days.

St Kitts, Vanuatu, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia – None

 

37: What are the eligibility conditions for CBI programmes?

  • Reputable individuals with a clean police conduct/no criminal record
  • No involvement in financial fraud
  • Good financial status, being financially self-sufficient
  • Pass KYC and due diligence/background checks.
  • Clean business background
  • Good references from lawyers, bankers in case needed.
  • Clean travel records without visa denials. (In case of past visa denial kindly inform the ProCitizenship team).

 

 38: Is information pertaining to refused CBI applications shared between Citizenship by Investment Units (CIUs) across CBI countries?

Yes, information pertaining to refused or denied applications is shared between CIUs in CBI countries.  Governments are operating via a common framework so that if an applicant is refused in one CBI country, they cannot apply for CBI schemes in other countries.  Kindly contact ProCitizenship for further information.

 

39: Is dual citizenship allowed with CBI schemes?

While most developed countries have no restrictions with regards to dual citizenships, others prohibit it. This must be considered on a case by case basis, as it largely depends on the regulations of one’s current nationality or home country.

Some countries, such as India and China, would require nationals to give up their nationality, certain countries such as Saudi Arabia, consider dual/multiple citizenship a criminal offense.

The U.S. allows dual/multiple citizenships, yet US citizens will be taxed on their global income irrespective of where they live.

Chinese or Indian nationals wishing to apply for a second citizenship, and/or individuals not requiring a passport, may apply for golden visa programmes in Malta, Portugal, and Greece.

 

40: Can Chinese citizens acquire dual citizenship?

Unfortunately, not. Chinese nationals who acquire a second citizenship automatically lose their Chinese (PRC) citizenship.  At this stage, such individuals would no longer be able to use their Chinese passport as proof of Chinese citizenship to enter China, even if the passport is unexpired.

To this effect, former Chinese citizens wishing to visit China, must apply for a Chinese visa at the Chinese consulate, where they will normally be asked for their passport for it to be cancelled.  China is one of the countries that has exit checks.

 

 41: Do you have a refund policy?

Yes, we do have a clear refund policy which one can find in the engagement letter.

 

42: Which documents need to be apostilled or super legalized?

Our team at ProCitizenship will be ensuring that all your documents are in order, however, the collection of such documentation may prove being a tedious and lengthy process for our citizenship consultants.  Thus, in the name of avoiding unnecessary delays and being able to better serve our applicants, we kindly ask our clients to start preparing all the relevant paperwork for at least one month in advance.

 

43: Which Personal Documents are required?

  • Marriage Licenses, Divorce agreements, Divorce Decree
  • Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates
  • Single Status to Marry, No record of a Marriage
  • Criminal Record – Criminal Background Check
  • FBI Criminal Background Check (Federal Document)
  • Local Police, Sheriff’s Department, etc…
  • Power of Attorney – General, Special, Finance, Real Estate, etc.
  • Notarized copies of Passport, Affidavits, and other documents
  • Papers for Adoption purposes
  • Certificate of Naturalization (Federal Document)
  • Transcripts (High School, College, University, or any other issuing agency)
  • Diploma, Degree Certificates, Graduation Records
  • Permission to Travel, Consent by Parent(s) to travel with Minor Children

 

44: Which Corporate Documents are required?

  • Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Incorporation
  • Merger Agreements
  • Authorization letter for Bank, Finance, Office, and related company matters
  • Certificates of Amendment
  • Certificate of Good Standing
  • Power of Attorney
  • Certificate of Incumbency
  • Corporate Resolution
  • Certification of Free Sale
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Certificate of Analysis
  • Corporate Forms
  • Joint Venture Agreements
  • Stock Purchase Agreement in Foreign Companies
  • Business Letter of Invitation

 

45: Which countries are planning to launch CBI programmes in the future?

  • The following 9 countries may be opening Citizenship by investment schemes:
    • Greece citizenship by investment launching 2020
    • Albania
    • Croatia
    • Georgia
    • Macedonia
    • Romania
    • Serbia
    • Guyana
    • Vincent and Grenadines

 

46: What is a deed poll?

A deed poll is a legal document that proves a change of name.

 

47: When is the EU imposing the electronic travel authorization (eTA) requirement?

The EU will be imposing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) as of 2021, to regulate entry into the Schengen area.

This will affect all visa waiver countries entering the Schengen area, and an online authorization costing approximately 7 Euro, must be presented prior to boarding an aircraft.

  • ETIAS authorization will be required for citizens of the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K. and others.
  • ETIAS authorization will also be required for CBI holders from Moldova, Montenegro, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Vanuatu

ETIAS will not be required by the following:

  • EU/EEA member states plus Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania
  • Residence permit holders from Schengen states including permits issued under Golden visa programmes.
  • Schengen visa holders.

 

48: Which countries are not listed in the OECD list of CBI/RBI schemes?

OECD as listed in 8 CBI countries to comply with CRS requirements with banks. This means that if you are in possession of a passport from these 8 countries, you have to declare tax residency status from all jurisdictions when you open a bank account in a foreign country. These eight countries are Malta, Cyprus, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts and  Vanuatu.

  • Turkey, Moldova, and Montenegro are not listed in the OECD list.
  • Portugal, Greece, Spain, Ireland, the U.K. offering golden visa programmes are not listed

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