Malta citizenship by naturalization: new program explained

Malta, a Meditteranean island-nation of raw beauty, charm, and tranquility, has long been an attractive spot for international investors. Not only does it offer great weather, old character homes, and a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also a bitcoin-friendly nation, with optimal property investment opportunities and a vibrant startup community. In late 2020, the Maltese government rehauled the way it offers citizenship by investment to qualifying candidates. As such, Malta citizenship by investment changes came into effect in 2021. The new Malta program, also referred to as Malta citizenship by naturalization, offers investors the opportunity to settle down in this gorgeous European nation, gain a second passport, and tap into limitless business opportunities. 

What Malta citizenship by investment changes should I be aware of? 

Malta citizenship by naturalization, officially called Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization (CES),  is a new policy rolled out by the Maltese government that offers an expedited route to citizenship through investment. It lets eligible applicants and their qualifying family members obtain Maltese citizenship by making investments and a non-refundable contribution in Malta.

The policy was launched at the end of 2020, and shouldn’t be regarded the same way as Malta’s previous Individual Investor Programme. Instead, this is a new residence regime in its own right, which may lead to citizenship later down the line.

What are the benefits of Malta’s new program? 

Top benefits of Malta’s new program include:

  • Visa-free travel to 184 countries
  • Access to a financial hub and prime jurisdiction for international business
  • Enjoy top-rated, free healthcare as a Maltese citizen
  • Excellent quality of life
  • Citizenship can be passed down to future generations

Investment requirements

To qualify for Malta citizenship by naturalization, you have to make the following three investments.

A direct, non-refundable investment
A direct, non-refundable investment
Invest at least €600,000 or €750,000 for the main applicant, depending on the residence period selected (12 or 36 months). Extra €50,000 is required for each dependent.
Property investment
Property investment
A residential property lease for a minimum of €16,000 per year for a period of 5 years or the purchase of a property for a minimum of €700,000 that must be kept for at least 5 years.
Philanthropic donation
Philanthropic donation
A donation of €10,000 to a registered sport, cultural, scientific, philanthropic, animal welfare, or artistic non-governmental organization or society as approved by the CMA

Application considerations

All applicants, including family members included in the application, must pass several stages of a strict due diligence process. This ensures only the most qualified and high-standing members are selected for citizenship consideration. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a cap of 1,500 applications, with no more than 400 successful applications per year, which are processed by The Community Malta Agency (CMA).

How to apply

From the time you submit your application for residence, to the time you acquire citizenship, it takes between 12-36 months.

To apply for Malta’s CES, you must take the following steps.

  • Application for residence 
  • Submission of eligibility assessment (due diligence)
  • CMA issues an Approval in Principle after the application payment has been made
  • Submission for naturalization for exceptional services by direct investment (you must make the respective investments)
  • Oath-swearing followed up by the Maltese passport

For more information on how to apply for Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization, check out our Ultimate Guide to Malta Citizenship by Investment below.

Take a look at our Malta Citizenship Ultimate Guide by local experts

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Stay on top of Malta citizenship by investment updates

If you are considering applying to Malta’s new program, we advise you to consult with one of our second citizenship consultants, who can walk you through key Malta citizenship by investment updates and ensure you have all the information you need to lodge a successful application. Contact us today for a confidential discussion.

Frequently asked questions about Malta citizenship by investment changes

What Malta citizenship by investment changes should I know about?

In late 2020, Malta’s prestigious Individual Investor Program closed, only for a brand new Malta program to take its place. Today, this ‘program’ is considered more of a policy than anything else, and it welcomes qualifying investors of high social and moral standing to make a significant contribution to the nation. In turn, they are rewarded with Maltese citizenship, provided that they pass a thorough due diligence process and meet the policy criteria.

Why should I apply for Malta citizenship by naturalization?

Maltese citizenship is a goldmine for international investors looking to tap into an opportunity of a lifetime. Malta’s citizenship by naturalization allows high-standing applicants and their family members to invest and relocate to this beautiful country, as well as access business opportunities in the country, along with residency rights in Europe.

How to apply for Malta's new program of citizenship?

You must go through a thorough due diligence process, pass the policy criteria and make the necessary investments to acquire Maltese citizens

How long until I can get a Maltese passport via Malta citizenship by naturalization?

Usually, it takes anywhere between 12-36 months to acquire a Maltese passport, depending on your residence status.

What is the Community Malta Agency?

 It’s a regulating agency that deals with all the administrative affairs of the CES policy. It carries considerable power to carry out extensive due diligence and background screening of applicants for naturalization and to demand from them full disclosure of assets.