The New Malta citizenship by investment legislation has an increased focus on ensuring applicants have a genuine link with the country. Successful candidates will be granted citizenship in Malta by a Certificate of Naturalization, which can also be extended to include their families.
The Malta citizenship by investment regulations include some of the strictest due diligence standards of any immigrant investor program in the world to ensure only deserving and reputable applicants are granted Maltese citizenship. As part of the application process, there is a four-tier due diligence process carried out directly by the Government to assess candidates comprehensively. Applicants must have a clean criminal record, and the Malta Government conducts extensive criminal checks with INTERPOL, the International Criminal Court, and various other sources and authorities. As part of the due diligence process, applicants must also provide a police certificate before they will be approved for Malta citizenship. Certain country nationals are completely barred from applying. All Investors who successfully become Malta citizens must file a Compliance Form with the Agency on a year basis, for five years from the date they were granted nationality, stating that they are abiding by all the requirements stipulated in the citizenship by investment legislation.
Citizenship Process & Timeline
The first step towards obtaining investor citizenship in Malta is always to apply for a Residence Permit, which can allow you to reside in the country and travel visa-free within the Schengen Area of Europe. Candidates must physically travel to Malta in order to formally apply for residency, as biometrics are needed. If approved, residency status is issued for 36 months and can only be extended if the individual has submitted a citizenship by investment Malta eligibility application. Upon Maltese residency approval, a deposit of €10,000 must be made towards the exceptional investment required for citizenship. The following payments are due upon initiation of a nominee’s residency in Malta:
Resident Permit fee (main applicant) – €5,000
Resident Permit fee (each family member) – €1,000
Residency Card fee (each person) – €27.50
Deposit towards non-refundable investment – €10,000
Potential candidates who are not already resident in the country are strongly advised to begin the residency process immediately since Malta citizenship by investment has a residency requirement of at least 12 months. To be granted nationality as fast as possible, it is very important that the clock is ticking on an applicant’s residency requirement while they progress through the Malta citizenship application process.
Once a Malta Residency Card has been issued, a citizenship by investment eligibility application can be formally submitted to Community Malta Agency by an Accredited Person. This eligibility pack will contain imperative supporting documents, and evidence of source of funds must also be presented at this stage giving a clear picture of how the applicant obtained his or her wealth over the years. A candidate should now indicate whether they are interested in obtaining Malta citizenship after 12 months of residency (€750,000 investment) or after 36 months of residency (€600,000 investment). Once a citizenship by investment candidate receives a Residency Card, they have 12 months to submit a citizenship eligibility pack. The following fees are now payable:
Due Diligence Fees
Principal applicant – €15,000
Spouse – €10,000
Dependents – €10,000 each
Benefactor (if applicable) – €15,000
Each person – €1,000
Malta citizenship by investment requires applicants to establish residency on the islands and build a genuine link with the country.
Community Malta Agency will notify the concessionaire or Accredited Person within five business days of submission to confirm whether client’s eligibility application has been accepted for review or requires additional paperwork. If accepted, the Agency will also send an Eligibility Payment Request Voucher (EPRV), which is how the above due diligence and administrative fees are to be paid to the Government.
After 90 days, Confirmation from Community Malta Agency that the economic citizenship eligibility application and supporting documentation are formally in order. The candidate’s eligibility is subject to a further 30 days of additional verification by the Government of Malta’s regulatory body.
After 12 months, Once an investment citizenship candidate has held residency in Malta for more than 12 months or 36 months, depending on which option they previously selected, he or she is eligible to formally apply for citizenship. This involves filing further documentation with Community Malta Agency confirming details previously submitted and informing of any changes. All documentation is thoroughly vetted at this stage, and the Agency performs extensive due diligence on each applicant.
Applicant is approved for eligibility by the Minister. This signifies official Malta citizenship by investment eligibility conditional only on the candidate fulfilling all their remaining obligations in accordance with the country’s investor citizenship regulations.
Once the Minister approves an investor citizenship application, an official Letter of Approval in Principle is issued by the Agency. The applicant now has four months to fulfill all the citizenship by investment requirements. At this time, the Agency will issue an Investment Request Voucher (IRV), which is a formal request for payment of remaining balance of National Development and Social Fund investment.
Within four months of being approved in principle, a Malta citizenship investment candidate must provide documented evidence of having satisfied all requirements of the legislation. This includes evidence of the following:
- Exceptional direct investment of €600,000 (€10,000 deposit + €590,000) if 36 months residency
- Exceptional direct investment of €750,000 (€10,000 deposit + €740,000) if 12 months residency
- Exceptional direct investment of €50,000 for each dependent included in application
- A copy of lease or purchase agreement for a property in Malta along with a declaration from applicant that property will be kept for a minimum of five years
- Receipt of donation to an appropriate non-profit organization in the country
- Proof that personal, commercial, and financial ties to the country that were committed to in residency proposal letter have been or are currently being honoredOnce an applicant’s “post-approval pack” is received, final citizenship by investment Malta compliance is performed by the Government. At this point, the entire National Development and Social Fund monetary contribution (exceptional investment) must have already been made in full. Until a candidate has gone through the extensive multi-tier due diligence screening and is found to be of excellent repute, Community Malta Agency will never send them an Investment Request Voucher (IRV) asking for full payment.Applicants for citizenship by investment in Malta are not required to make the sizable contribution to the country’s National Development and Social Fund until after they have passed the eligibility and due diligence stage and have been approved in principle.
When the Agency has finished their final review of a Malta citizenship by investment application and determined all obligations were fulfilled in their entirety, a Letter of Invitation will be issued to the applicant and dependents so they can schedule an appointment to take the Oath of Allegiance. Malta immigration candidates aged 18 or older must physical travel to the country to take this oath, and it should be taken within six months of receiving Approval in Principle from the Minister.
Once a citizenship through investment candidate has taken an Oath of Allegiance, they will be issued a Certificate of Naturalization and given a Malta Passport.
Obtaining Maltese citizenship via the country’s “Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment” regulations does not have any tax consequences! Even if an individual moves their primary residence to Malta, they may be able to retain the status of a “non-domiciled” person and therefore have an extremely advantageous tax exposure. Candidates that become a resident of Malta but are not domiciled in the country are only required to pay tax on any income they earn or receive in the country. Malta has no municipal taxes, no estate duty, no death or inheritance taxes, and no wealth or net worth taxes. Malta also has double taxation treaties with approximately 60 countries around the world. The corporate tax rate in Malta is 35%, but special tax concessions apply to non-resident or non-domiciled company owners.
Individuals that obtain a second citizenship by investment in Malta are not required by Maltese law to renounce their existing citizenship. Malta has no restrictions on holding dual nationality, in fact, the nation’s Citizenship Act specifically provides that Malta dual citizenship is permitted. This being said, your current country of citizenship may have restrictions that prohibit you from possessing a Malta second passport.
Malta citizenship through investment is granted by a Certificate of Naturalization, and once you obtain Maltese citizenship by naturalization for exceptional services you will have it forever and can even pass it on to future generations. There are no citizenship tests when a person applies for Malta citizenship by investment, and applicants are not required to know Maltese or even English to be accepted for financial citizenship.
Children who obtain Malta nationality by investment can go to university in Europe without needing to qualify as a foreign student.The the tuition rates charged by universities and colleges will be much lower for European citizens.
Any child born to a parent who is a Maltese citizen will also be a citizen of Malta. This means children born to men or women who obtained Maltese nationality under the country’s citizenship by investment regulations will be full Malta citizens even if their place of birth is not in Europe. Consequently, if your family obtains Malta investor citizenship then when your children grow up and have families of their own your grandchildren can also have a Malta passport. Participating in Maltese citizenship by investment can gift future generations of your family with increased political and economic freedom, as well as significantly increased educational opportunities in the West. Many investors cite “family legacy” and “providing a better life for children and grandchildren” as senior influences in their decision to sponsor their family for second citizenship in Malta.
People who acquire Malta citizenship by investing can vote in political elections provided they have been resident in the country for 6 of the past 18 months.
Malta is currently accepting new applications from reputable investors worldwide.