Malta published its new path to citizenship by investment. This new policy is named the Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment. It is abbreviated by some agencies as MEIN (Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization). It replaces the previous version of the Maltese citizenship by investment program. The name of the old route was the Malta Individual Investor Program (MIIP).
The quota of the MEIN is set at 1,500. Also, the policy will not grant more than 400 passports per year. These numbers are for the main applicants. Dependent applications may exceed these figures.
The New Form of Requirements
- In this new version of the route to Maltese citizenship, applicants have two contribution options. The standard option’s contribution requirement is €600,000. This route lays out a 36-month period for citizenship. The other option is the express route. It shortens the period to just 12 months. Yet, the contribution requirement goes up to €750,000. In MEIN, the applicant must pay €50,000 for each dependent.
- The old version did not mandate donation. Applicants generally donated around €5,000. The new version requires a €10,000 donation to an NGO.
- The real estate option remains in the policy. Yet, the minimum investment goes up to €700,000. The rental option has the same threshold. It is €16,000 per year. Applicants must hold the property for five years to be eligible for citizenship.
- The policy no longer requires investment for government bonds.
- The new policy has an upgraded due diligence process. The fees are slightly higher. Now, the main applicant pays €15,000 for the process. Also, each dependent pays €10,000.
- The maximum age for dependents is 29 in the new policy. It was 27 in the previous version. Dependents who are legally proven to be disabled can also be included in the application without any age limitation.
- In MEIN, all applicants must apply for residence. There is a non-refundable fee for this step. It cost €5,000 in the previous format. The new policy requires €10,000 per applicant.
Step by Step Outline of the Process
The first step of MEIN is the application for residence. Once the process starts, applicants submit the required documents of eligibility. This period is called the due diligence process. After the residence application is approved, the required contributions must be finalized by applicants. Then, applicants may apply for naturalization. Provided that the application is approved, potential citizens must swear an oath within six months. The final step is the issuance and delivery of passports.
Dependent Eligibility Requirements
The new policy has altered requirements for dependent eligibility. These categories are listed by the Maltese law firm Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates.
An applicant applying under these regulations can include in a citizenship application the following dependents:
- The spouse in a monogamous marriage or partner having the same or similar status. The term ‘spouse’ shall be construed as gender-neutral
- A child of the Main Applicant or the spouse under the age of eighteen (18)
- An economically dependent and unmarried child of the Main Applicant or the spouse who has not yet attained the age of twenty-nine (29), at the time when the citizenship application is accepted by the Agency
- A child of the Main Applicant or the spouse, including an adopted child who at the time of the application has attained the age of eighteen (18) and is qualified as a person with a disability
- An economically dependent parent or grandparent of the Main Applicant or the spouse above the age of 55
The rules for ineligibility are also listed by the firm.
- The person or any of the dependents is or was indicted of an offense before an International Criminal Court or has been arraigned at any time before an International Criminal Court, whether such person has been found guilty or otherwise
- The person or any of the dependents are listed with INTERPOL or EUROPOL
- The person or any of the dependents is an actual or potential threat to Malta’s national security, public policy, or public health
- The person or any of the dependents has been charged or found guilty of terrorism, money laundering, funding of terrorism, crimes against humanity, war crimes, defilement of minors, indecent assault, and other serious crimes
- The person or any of the dependents has been found guilty or suspected or has criminal charges brought against him for any criminal offense punishable with more than one (1) year imprisonment, other than an involuntary offense
- The person or any of the dependents is or is likely to be involved in any activity which may cause disrepute to the Republic of Malta
- The person or any of the dependents has been denied a visa to a country with which Malta has visa-free travel arrangements, and has not subsequently obtained a visa from that country
- The person or any of the dependents is named or listed in international sanctions
If an applicant makes a false statement or otherwise omits material information, the application may be suspended and considered inadmissible.