Malta Citizenship by Investment Guide for 2024

If you’re investigating Malta citizenship by investment, you’re likely looking for specifics on how to make it happen.
June 3, 2024
Malta Citizenship by Investment Guide for 2024
Ana Fankhauser
June 3, 2024
TABLE OF CONTENTS

If you’re investigating Malta citizenship by investment, you’re likely looking for specifics on how to make it happen. This no-nonsense guide delivers exactly that. Here, you’ll find a rundown on the minimum investment of €600,000, eligibility criteria, and a realistic timeline—key components that define Malta’s unique offering. We’ll also touch on the unparalleled access to Europe that Malta citizenship by investment affords, without getting lost in sales jargon or unnecessary fluff.

Key Takeaways

  • The Community Malta Agency oversees the rigorous and organized Malta Citizenship by Investment program, which calls for a sizable investment, a thorough due diligence process, and a sincere commitment to Malta's laws and culture to uphold the integrity and prestige of Maltese citizenship.
  • Applicants must fulfill various requirements, including a minimum residency period, a significant non-refundable investment, purchasing or leasing real estate, providing a comprehensive set of documents, and taking an Oath of Allegiance, culminating in the potential to include their immediate family in the application.
  • Maltese citizenship offers numerous benefits, such as visa-free travel to over 160 countries, EU rights to live, work, and study, tax advantages for non-domiciled citizens, and the option to maintain dual citizenship, but it also involves understanding obligations and long-term commitments.

Exploring Malta Citizenship by Investment

Exploring Malta Citizenship by Investment

The Malta Citizenship by Investment program is not just about obtaining a second passport; it’s a gateway to a world of privileges. From the esteemed European passport to the high quality of life, the advantages are manifold. But Malta’s program is not simply about pouring money into the economy and obtaining instant citizenship. It’s a well-structured process that ensures the integrity and prestige of Maltese citizenship are upheld.

The Community Malta Agency, which oversees the program, has established strict due diligence procedures and a clear set of criteria. It ensures that only individuals who genuinely invest in Malta’s future, respect its laws, and appreciate its culture are granted Maltese citizenship. The process may seem daunting, but with the right guidance and understanding, acquiring Maltese citizenship can be a straightforward and rewarding journey.

Step-by-Step Process for Acquiring Maltese Citizenship Through Investment

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and so does the process of acquiring Maltese citizenship. The first step involves requesting residency under the CES, the new Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization Regulations. The Minister determines the applicant’s eligibility, and once confirmed, the application takes between 120 and 150 calendar days to process.

Legal advice from a lawyer versed in Maltese citizenship and real estate law is crucial during this process. Also, there is a residency requirement; applicants must live in Malta for at least one year before being granted citizenship. To obtain Maltese citizenship, the process may seem lengthy, but the rewards are worth the wait.

Initial Eligibility and Documentation

The path to Maltese citizenship begins with fulfilling the initial eligibility criteria. The primary applicant must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Demonstrate good health
  • Make a significant non-refundable investment into Malta’s National Development and Social Fund (NDSF)

The process is meticulous, requiring applicants to pass a rigorous due diligence process.

To apply, applicants must submit a wide range of documents. These include birth and marriage certificates, residence permit documents, and the citizenship application itself. Translation into English and apostilling of all documents is a requirement. Additionally, applicants must visit Malta or one of its international embassies to provide biometric data. This thorough process ensures that only the most suitable candidates are selected for the program.

Investment Options and Requirements

One of the key aspects of the Maltese citizenship program is the investment requirement. The primary applicant can choose to invest €600,000 for a residency period of three years or €750,000 to reduce the residency period to one year. There are additional fees for family members, making it vital for applicants to understand the financial commitment.

Applicants also have the option to fulfill the real estate investment criteria by purchasing property valued at a minimum of €700,000 or entering a lease agreement for at least €16,000 per year. Both options have a mandated duration of five years. A financial investment in one of the approved avenues is a mandatory requirement for acquiring Maltese citizenship through the exceptional services of direct investment route.

Finalizing Citizenship and Oaths of Allegiance

The culmination of the process is the finalization of citizenship. Candidates who are successful will need to travel to Malta in order to complete the citizenship process. This visit will be necessary for finalizing their citizenship status. It’s a momentous occasion, marking the end of one journey and the beginning of another as a Maltese citizen.

If you are 18 years old and older and applying for immigration in Malta, you are required to take an Oath of Allegiance as part of the application process. This is a mandatory requirement for all applicants within this age group. This formality is the final step in the process, after which the Certificate of Naturalization is issued. The typical processing time to receive citizenship after approval is between 2 to 3 months.

Navigating the Legal Framework: The Maltese Citizenship Act

Maltese law follows the jus sanguinis principle, allowing descendants of Maltese citizens to automatically acquire citizenship. This law forms the foundation of the Maltese Citizenship Act, which governs the process of obtaining Maltese citizenship.

The Act does not require a language proficiency test for applicants, making it more accessible for foreign investors. However, it’s important to note that the names of new citizens are published in the Government Gazette once a year. This transparency underscores the integrity of the program and the commitment of the Maltese government to uphold the prestige of Maltese citizenship.

Advantages of Being a Maltese Citizen

Being a Maltese citizen comes with a wealth of benefits. From visa-free travel to over 160 countries and access to 26 European countries within the Schengen Area without border control, the perks are immense. The Maltese passport is more than just a travel document; it’s a ticket to the world.

As a member state of the European Union, Maltese citizens enjoy the following rights and freedoms:

  • They are entitled to a European passport
  • They can live, work, and study in any EU and Schengen country
  • Their children can benefit from cheaper educational options without the need for student residence permits
  • Citizenship opens up opportunities to expand business operations internationally.

Dual Citizenship Considerations

While the benefits of Maltese citizenship are plentiful, it’s important to consider the implications of Malta's dual citizenship. Malta legally allows dual citizenship, meaning individuals can maintain multiple citizenships simultaneously. However, this is provided that the investor’s country of origin also permits dual citizenship.

This flexibility is a significant advantage for many investors. However, certain countries may impose restrictions on their citizens holding dual citizenship. It’s crucial to understand these potential limitations before embarking on the journey towards Maltese citizenship.

Financial Implications: Taxation and Investment in Malta

Taxation and Investment in Malta

Investing in Malta comes with financial implications beyond the initial capital outlay for the citizenship program. Acquiring Maltese citizenship through the investment program does not have tax consequences unless the individual decides to take up tax residence in Malta. This flexibility offers investors significant financial advantages.

Individuals with non-domicile status in Malta are only taxed on their Maltese-sourced income and are not subject to tax on foreign income or capital gains, provided they are not remitted to Malta. Malta also does not impose inheritance or death taxes, net worth taxes, or wealth taxes. This can be attractive for those considering financial planning in the country. This tax structure enhances the fiscal benefits for individuals considering Maltese citizenship.

Residency vs. Citizenship: What's the Difference?

While both residency and citizenship in Malta come with their own sets of benefits, there are key differences to consider. Citizenship involves holding dual nationality status for life, whereas residency generally allows a person to live in the country without conferring nationality. For those who value global mobility and the prestige of holding a European passport, citizenship may be the more desirable option.

Purchasing a property in Malta can give non-EU citizens a path to residency, but there are restrictions on renting out this property while maintaining the required residency period. By contrast, the first step towards Maltese citizenship by investment includes applying for a Maltese residence card, which is a precursor to the nationality application. Understanding these differences is crucial when deciding between residency and citizenship.

The Role of the Community Malta Agency

The Community Malta Agency plays a pivotal role in the process of acquiring Maltese citizenship. As the federal government body entrusted with controlling the Malta Citizenship by Investment program, the agency ensures that the program runs smoothly and efficiently, safeguarding its integrity.

The Community Malta Agency is responsible for:

  • Processing all applications for citizenship
  • Ensuring compliance with the applicable investment regulations
  • Administering the Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment program (CES)

The agency’s role in these processes is crucial for maintaining the high standards of the program.

Real Estate in Malta: Investment and Living Options

Real Estate in Malta: Investment and Living Options

Real estate investment is an integral part of the Maltese citizenship program. To qualify for residency through investment, options include a minimum investment of €600,000 to €750,000 or purchasing a residential property valued at a minimum of €700,000. These options provide investors with a tangible asset, a foothold in the beautiful island nation of Malta.

Beyond the investment aspect, living in Malta offers various lifestyle benefits, including:

  • Clean air
  • Robust property rights
  • Freedom of speech
  • Access to modern infrastructure and secure internet services

Whether purchasing property as an investment or as a place to call home, investing in Maltese property offers significant advantages.

Ensuring Compliance: The Stringent Due Diligence Process

Maintaining the integrity of the Malta Citizenship by Investment program is a top priority for the Maltese government. To ensure compliance, the Community Malta Agency employs a stringent due diligence process. This involves extensive verification checks to confirm the legal origin of the applicant’s investment funds.

The process involves thorough vetting of applicants, with biometric data, including facial features and fingerprints, collected as part of the application process. Any applicants found to pose a reputational risk, involved in criminal activities, under criminal investigation, or previously denied a visa from a country that has a visa-free travel agreement with Malta, can be denied citizenship. This stringent process ensures that only the most suitable candidates are admitted to the program.

Inclusion of Family Members

Malta Citizenship by Investment program is not just about the individual applicant. It also includes provisions for family members. The main applicant can include their immediate family members, such as:

  • spouse
  • children younger than 18
  • dependent children up to the age of 25
  • parents and grandparents over the age of 55

This inclusion means that the whole family can enjoy the benefits of Maltese citizenship. Once the primary applicant is eligible for citizenship by naturalization, they can also pass on their citizenship to their children. This generational benefit makes the program even more appealing for families seeking a better lifestyle and more opportunities.

Long-Term Commitment: Understanding the Residence Requirement

The path to Maltese citizenship involves a long-term commitment. The citizenship by investment program in Malta includes a residency requirement that applicants must satisfy. Applicants must fulfill a minimum residency requirement of at least 12 months before they are eligible to apply for citizenship.

Applicants need to submit a citizenship eligibility application within 12 months from the issue date of the residency card. This is a mandatory requirement for all individuals seeking citizenship. Although this may seem like a lengthy process, it is an essential component of the program’s integrity. It ensures that only those who are committed to Malta and its values can become citizens.

The Malta Golden Visa: An Alternative Path

For those who may not be ready for the commitment of citizenship, the Malta Golden Visa presents an enticing alternative. This investment route offers residency instead of citizenship, providing a stepping stone for those who wish to establish a connection with Malta.

The Malta Global Residence Program enables individuals to live in Malta economically self-sufficient by renting or owning a permanent address on the islands. Acquiring a Malta Golden Visa takes approximately 4 months to a year after application. This program offers an appealing route for those looking for a more flexible path to residency in Malta.

Renewal and Revocation Policies

Malta Citizenship by Investment is a lifetime commitment. The citizenship obtained through the program is permanent, providing lifelong status to the investor. However, it’s essential to note that after obtaining citizenship, investors are subject to continuous monitoring for five years by the Community Malta Agency to ensure compliance with regulations.

Although citizenship is permanent, there are instances where it can be revoked. This includes cases of failed periodic due diligence, proven fraud in the application, or actions threatening national security. These policies maintain the program’s integrity and ensure that only the most suitable candidates retain their Maltese citizenship.

Global Mobility: Visa-Free Access with a Maltese Passport

Visa-Free Access with a Maltese Passport

One of the most significant advantages of Maltese citizenship is the global mobility it offers. Maltese citizens can travel to 187 countries visa-free, opening up a world of travel and business opportunities. With a Maltese passport, the world is truly at your fingertips.

Visa-free access with a Maltese passport includes more than 180 countries and regions, such as the UK, USA, and Canada. The Maltese passport is not just a travel document; it’s a gateway to the world, ranked as the 12th best in the world for global mobility.

Investing in Malta's Future: Contributions to National Development and Social Fund

Investing in Maltese citizenship is not just about personal gain. It’s also about contributing to Malta’s future. The benefits of investing in Maltese citizenship include:

  • Underpinning economic stability and growth in Malta
  • Enhancing the country’s development
  • Funding social programs, including those related to animal welfare,

By investing in Maltese citizenship, you are not only securing your own future but also making a positive impact on the country.

Investments from the Citizenship by Investment program help sustain vital sectors like tourism, which contributes to 15% of Malta’s GDP. This economic boost enhances the country’s development and creates opportunities for the local population. It’s a win-win situation that benefits both the investor and the nation.

Preparing for Your Application: Health Insurance Requirements

Before embarking on the journey towards Maltese citizenship, it’s important to prepare adequately. One important aspect to consider is the health insurance requirement. Applicants for Malta citizenship by investment are required to have comprehensive health insurance covering worldwide medical expenses, with a minimum coverage of at least 30,000 euros for each family member.

The health insurance policy must be kept active until citizenship is officially granted. The policy should cover a wide range of medical expenses, including:

  • hospitalization
  • prescriptions
  • pregnancy
  • childbirth
  • specialists’ treatments

This ensures that applicants and their families have access to healthcare services, contributing to their well-being and peace of mind during the application process.

Summary

The journey to Maltese citizenship is a path paved with opportunities and rewards. From the advantages of visa-free travel to over 160 countries, the prestige of holding a European passport, and the opportunity to contribute to Malta’s development, the benefits are manifold. However, it’s not just about the benefits; the program requires a significant commitment in terms of investment and residency requirements.

The process may seem daunting, but with the right information and guidance, it can be a rewarding journey. The Malta Citizenship by Investment program offers a unique opportunity to become part of a dynamic and prosperous European nation. Whether you’re looking to expand your business, secure a better future for your family, or simply enjoy the lifestyle and culture of this Mediterranean gem, Malta offers a wealth of opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Malta Citizenship by Investment program?

The Malta Citizenship by Investment program enables foreign nationals to obtain Maltese citizenship by making a substantial investment in the country's economy. This program offers a pathway for individuals seeking citizenship in Malta through investment.

What are the benefits of being a Maltese citizen?

As a Maltese citizen, you can benefit from visa-free travel to over 160 countries, the right to live, work, and study in any EU and Schengen country, and opportunities for international business expansion. These advantages make Maltese citizenship highly valuable.

Can I include my family in the application?

Yes, the main applicant can include immediate family members in the application. This will allow your family to join you in the process.

What is the difference between residency and citizenship?

The main difference between residency and citizenship is that residency allows living in a country without granting nationality, while citizenship involves holding dual nationality status for life.

Are there any health insurance requirements for the application?

Yes, comprehensive health insurance covering worldwide medical expenses with a minimum coverage of at least 30,000 euros for each family member is required for the application.

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