Invest in Malta: Understanding the Citizenship and Residency Programs

The Malta Residence and Visa Program (MRVP) and the Malta Citizenship by Investment Program (also known as the Individual Investor Programme or IIP) are introduced by the government of Malta to propose facilitation for high net worth individuals and their actions in the country. If the requirements of the programs are met, eligible applicants may acquire either a Maltese residency certificate and card (MRVP) or Maltese citizenship and passport (IIP) in a shorter time-frame, further acquiring benefits ancillary to both.

Legal Basis

The MRVP and the IIP are established by Legal Notice 288 of 2015 and Legal Notice 47 of 2014 respectively. The law establishes the requirements necessary for an applicant to be approved by the competent authority, as well as the eligibility requirements for prospective applicants, and grounds upon which either residency card or passport respectively may be revoked.

Benefits

The MRVP and the IIP both offer different benefits to those choosing to pursue obtaining either residence or citizenship. One of the main benefits pertaining to both programs includes entitlement to residency in Malta upon a successful application, and the possibility to include family members in the main application. Moreover, as an EU member, Malta residency grants the individual the right to visa-free travel within Europe and the Schengen area.

The MRVP and the IIP have differences, too. The clearest distinction is that individuals pursuing the MRVP are given a residence certificate and a residency card once approved, and those applying for the IIP acquire Maltese citizenship and a Maltese passport. IIP’s benefits include free movement within the European Union, visa-free access to over 169 countries including the US and Canada, as well as rights and freedoms accorded to Maltese and European Citizens. The IIP also provides a residency card to applicants within just 2-3 weeks of their application. However, the processing time for the MRVP is approximately four months, whilst that of IIP is of around 12 months.

Eligibility

Both programs involve a strict due diligence process that examines the applicants for their eligibility. For both programs, the main applicant must be at least 18 years of age, and commit to the contribution required, to purchasing the property, as well as to investing in government bonds, stocks or shares. The contribution, value of qualifying property and value needed to invest in government bonds varies depending on the location chosen. Furthermore, in both cases, the applicant must commit to paying the contribution established by law in full. In the case of the IIP, the applicant must also commit to proving residence in Malta.

In order to be eligible, applicants must also provide a police certificate issued by the Maltese authorities, the applicant’s country of origin as well as from each country of residence where the applicant has resided for a period of over six months during the last ten years. As persons of good standing, the main applicant and his dependents must also have a clean criminal record, and not be listed with the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL).

Requirements and Contributions

As two distinct programs, the requirements which must be fulfilled by applicants in order to successfully participate also vary. Individuals pursuing the MRVP program are required to pay a contribution of €30,000 to the Maltese Government. This fee covers the family (spouse and dependent children) of the applicant, whilst other dependents must pay a fee of €5,000 each. Furthermore, an investment of at least €250,000 must be made in government bonds which are to be kept for at least five years, as well as obtaining a qualifying property for the purposes of the MRVP. Such property must be purchased at a minimum value of €270,000 or rented at a minimum of €10,000 per annum. It must also be held for at least five years from approval of the application.  

The requirements for the IIP program differ from those for the MRVP. The contribution made to the Maltese Government is established by law at €650,000, with a further €25,000 for each spouse and minor child, and €55,000 for each additional dependent added to the application. The applicant must also invest in government bonds or shares with a minimum value of €150,000 to be kept for at least five years, as well as in a qualifying property. The property must be purchased at a minimum value of €350,000, or alternatively rented at a minimum value of €16,000 per annum. The qualifying property must be maintained for at least five years from approval of the application. In contrast with the MRVP, where no minimum presence is required, applicants of the IIP must prove presence in Malta upon application.