The Ultimate Guide to Malta Citizenship by Investment

For those who are interested in a second citizenship to relocate their personal and business matters to an EU country, Malta’s first EU approved citizenship program, Malta Citizenship by Investment Program is a viable option. This program grants Maltese citizenship for life and it gets passed on to future generations by descent.

Malta got accepted as a member of the European Union in 2004, and is a part of Schengen area since 2007. As at June 2018, the number of applicants in the Maltese citizenship program was just over 1,431, out of the cap of 1800 applications in place for the whole program.

Malta Citizenship by Investment may be granted under an amendment passed in November 2013 to the Maltese Citizenship Act, Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta.  These amendments provided the framework for the enactment of LN 47 of 2014.  The Malta Individual Investor Program (MIIP) rules provide for affluent persons of impeccable standing and repute to be naturalised and to receive Maltese citizenship on the basis of a contribution to and investment in Malta. 

Benefits of Maltese Citizenship by Investment Program

Malta passport grants visa-free travel to over 166 countries, including EU, USA, Canada. It also enables its holder to live, work, study in any of the 28 EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland & Liechtenstein.

Family eligibility includes parents of main applicant and spouse, minor children, unmarried dependent adult children under 27. Descendants are also automatically entitled to citizenship thereafter.

Malta is a neutral, safe and stable country with a friendly people living a European lifestyle but with a Mediterranean quality of life.

Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Program has a four month processing time. Within the first three weeks, program grants residence cards with Schengen mobility for 18 months.

Eligibility for Malta Citizenship by Investment Program

To qualify under the regulations, the main applicant for Malta Citizenship by Investment must be at least 18 years of age and must meet the requirements outlined in this factsheet. The main applicant may also add dependents to a citizenship application. Their spouse, children, parents or grandparents can also benefit from the Malta Citizenship by Investment Program under certain conditions.

Good Health: Applicants must not suffer from a contagious disease and that they do not carry a disease requiring treatment that could impose a burden on the Maltese health system, and they should have the necessary documents to prove so.

Contribution to the National Development and Social Fund: To qualify for Malta Citizenship by Investment, the main applicant is required to contribute at least €650,000 to Malta.  Of this contribution, 70 per cent will go into the Fund set up by the Government of Malta and run by a board of trustees. The rest goes to the consolidated fund.   Spouses and children are required to contribute €25,000; unmarried children between 18 and 25 and dependent parents must contribute €50,000 each.

“Fit and Proper” Test: Malta Citizenship by Investment Program applies a high quality due diligence process in order to justly allow only the deserving applicants to have Maltese citizenship. Criminal record of the applicants must be clean in order to not jeopardize the acceptance of application. Applicants must also provide a police certificate which may be submitted subsequently to the submission of the application but at all times prior to approval.

Property Purchase or Rental: Applicants are required to make an investment in property of at least €350,000 or enter a property rental contract for at least €16,000 per annum, both on five-year contracts.

Investment in Bonds/Shares: Applicants are required to invest at least €150,000 in bonds or shares from time to time approved by the Maltese Government to be kept for at least five years. This investment will need to be made in stocks sanctioned by the government as beneficial to the Island.

Residence Status: Applicants must commit to a minimum physical presence in Malta before citizenship is granted. Provided that the applicant has met with the minimum residency requirements, it acts as the evidence of a genuine link with Malta, and enables the process to continue.

Taxation of New Citizens

Maltese tax system is based on domicile and residency – not citizenship. Residence for tax purposes is established by demonstrating an intention to reside in Malta indefinitely and definitely on the basis of a day count of 183 days.

Tax residents of Malta who are not domiciled in Malta are taxable on a remittance basis. Tax is due only on a sources basis on income and capital gains arising in Malta. A non-resident citizen of Malta is only taxable in Malta on Malta source income. So a Malta citizen who is a resident abroad is not taxable on their foreign sources of income.

Malta Citizenship Application Process

Apply for Residence: A deposit of only €5,000 is required at this stage on account of the €650K contribution: this covers the main applicant. Additionally, a fee of €1,000 is payable per dependent.

Day 0: Formal Application by Accredited Person: An application is formally submitted to Identity Malta with the essential supporting documents. Payments due now include the due diligence fees, passport fees and a deposit of €10,000 on account of the €650K contribution, less any payments made on applying for residency. Evidence of source of funds must be presented.

Day 90: Identity Malta confirms if documentation submitted is formally in order, subject to a further month of further verifications.

Day 120: In Principle Approval: This is the approval of the process conditional only to the fulfilment of the obligations undertaken under the Individual Investor Program.

Day 125: Formal Request for Contribution: Identity Malta requests payment of remaining balance on contribution.

Day 145: Deadline for paying balance on contribution.

Day 240: Final Compliance: Provide evidence of Property Purchase / Rental & €150K investment.

Day 183: Issue of Certificate of Naturalisation (maximum time to issue: 2 years). Subject to: Oath of Allegiance, 1 Year residence.

Grounds for Refusal of Malta Citizenship by Investment

As mentioned in this guide before, Malta Citizenship by Investment Program applies one of the strictest and highest quality due diligence processes out there. Identity Malta examines each application on its own regard and may be satisfied that the applicant is still worthy of being considered for approval notwithstanding the presence of any of the grounds listed below, due to special circumstances. In the case of approval, Identity Malta must provide reasoned opinion why the applicant should still be considered for approval and should refer the case to the Minister who has sole authority to approve.

  • Likely to cause disrepute to Malta
  • Denied a visa to a country
  • Providing false information
  • Having a criminal record or being subject of a criminal record
  • Potential national security threat