This is probably the most important question asked by number of wealthy clients applying for citizenship planning.
Malta is the only country running a citizenship by investment program has visa waiver with United States. No other country running a investor citizenship scheme is a part of Visa waiver program (VWP) with US.
Malta was first admitted into the visa waiver program in 2008. More than 7000 maltese nationals visited United States under VWP in 2018 according to DHS report with overstay rate of only 0.35%.
Malta can be the most valuable citizenship program if you want the perk of visiting United States often. You also have to apply for ESTA authorization and can only visit US for business or pleasure for 90 days. Cyprus, Bulgaria may get visa free access to US in the future. You can also check with our visa waiver tool
Malta has the strictest vetting standards when it comes to citizenship investors. They look more closely on source of funds, background and activities of the applicants (also family members) before even granting citizenship. Some country nationals subjected to US sanctions can’t even apply. With all the media attention around, they are extremely careful on who they grant citizenship. Malta does not want money alone, they also want you to bring talent, establish genuine links, engage in commercial activities and also actually live in the country.
The Maltese passport is not possible before 12 months. One in three applications are refused to keep the high standards.
Dont forget, Malta requires atleast €900,000 under Individual Investor Program. It is not an investment You essentially have to pay 650K to Government, and invest only 150K in stocks (returned). There are other fee as well. All in all the maltese citizenship program is great for super wealthy families.
Unless you have a super impressive profile and clean background, you are actually wasting time and money with Malta.
If you want Maltese passport, there is also a cheaper alternative. You can apply for Maltese golden visa, comes with schengen permanent residency for 125,000€ all inclusive. You go and live there and after 5 years they will give you citizenship through naturalization. You probably will also need to learn maltese language. Five years still good, not a lot of time compared to other countries like Latvia or Greece, where it takes almost 9 years to become a citizen.