Malta Citizenship by Investment 2020 – the Ultimate Guide by Experts

Malta citizenship by investment is one of the most popular in Europe programs of its kind in Europe. It allows high net worth individuals who make investments in the country to acquire citizenship in Malta.

In this guide you can find out more about:

Your guide to citizenship by investment in Malta

Table of Contents

Citizenship by investment is when individuals are able to obtain nationality in a country through making an investment, usually in real estate or government bonds. In Malta, citizenship by investment is obtained by making a real estate investment, as well as contributions to a government fund and an investment in government-approved bonds.

The Maltese citizenship by investment program is one of the most popular in Europe primarily because of the benefits it provides those who invest in it, as well as the short timeframe within which you can acquire a passport.

Malta Individual Investor Programme

Officially known as the Malta Individual Investor Programme, the Malta citizenship by investment scheme was first introduced in 2014, aimed at attracting the investment of high net worth individuals of good moral standing. Each year over 1000 investors are granted citizenship in Malta through the program.

Benefits of Maltese citizenship by investment

Malta citizenship by investment allows applicants to enjoy all the benefits that come with having a European passport, and more.

1 – Freedom of movement within the EU

Malta is a full member of the EU, which means investors who acquire Maltese citizenship are entitled to live and work anywhere in Europe. Malta also lies within the Schengen Zone, meaning there are no visas or passport checks on travel with the other 22 Schengen Zone countries.

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2 – Visa-free travel

The Malta passport is one of the strongest in the world, and besides freedom of movement and visa-free travel within Europe, a Maltese passport also allows visa-free travel to 168 countries worldwide.

3 – Obtain citizenship in Malta fast

Another of the key benefits of Maltese citizenship by investment is that it allows investors to obtain citizenship within a much shorter timeframe than comparable programs in other countries. You can obtain Maltese citizenship in just one year.

4 – Passports for your whole family

Investing in Maltese citizenship means you can obtain a European passport not just for yourself, but also for the rest of your family. Extra contributions must be made for dependents to obtain citizenship alongside the main applicant. Children born to Maltese citizens also automatically get citizenship, so your children and grandchildren will inherit Maltese nationality.

5 – Tax efficiency

Malta’s tax system is based upon residency, not citizenship, meaning that you may not have to pay tax in Malta even if you obtain citizenship. Malta also has special tax schemes for new citizens which can result in additional tax efficiency.

6 – Stable and secure country

Malta has one of the highest GDP in Europe and one of the lowest unemployment rates and is one of the safest countries on the continent.

7 – Quick processing

Unlike other citizenship by investment programs, Malta has a relatively quick processing time, which can lead to investors obtaining citizenship in a year.

Eligibility for Malta Individual Investor Programme

In order to be eligible for the Malta Individual Investor Programme, you must:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • Have a clean criminal record

Malta citizenship by investment requirements

Investors must fulfill a series of requirements in order to qualify for Maltese citizenship by investment.

“Fit and proper” test

The Maltese government requires all applicants for Malta citizenship by investment to pass the “fit and proper” test. This involved a thorough background check to ensure that investors are of sound moral standing in their countries of origin, and is done through checks in INTERPOL and the International Criminal Court. You are also required to submit a criminal record from the police in your country of origin.

Good health

Applicants for Malta citizenship by investment must show that they are in good health, and must also be covered by an international health insurance policy.

Biometric data

Upon applying for Malta citizenship by investment, it is essential that all investors and their dependents provide biometric data to the Maltese government.

Malta citizenship by investment

Financial requirements for Malta Individual Investor Programme

There are a series of financial requisites that must be fulfilled in order to apply for Malta citizenship by investment.

€650,00 contribution to Maltese National Development and Social Fund

This contribution is non-refundable and does not provide any returns. Additional payments of €25,000 must be made for spouses and children (under the age of 25), €50,000 for older children and parents. The Maltese National Development and Social Fund contributes to Malta’s social spending and infrastructure, and finances projects for education, healthcare, and job creation.

 €350,000 investment in real estate

This investment must be maintained for at least 5 years in order for investors to maintain their Maltese citizenship. It is also possible to acquire Malta citizenship by investment through a 5-year rental contract, however, this route can be slightly more complicated to navigate.

€150,000 investment in government-approved bonds

This investment must be made into shares or an investment fund that has been vetted by the Maltese government. The investment fund is usually into something that the Maltese government considers beneficial to the country.

TOTAL: €1,100,000


Malta citizenship by investment processing fees

There are some additional fees required for the processing of the Malta citizenship by investment application.

Due diligence fees:

    • €7,500 for the main investor
    • €5,000 for spouse and other dependents
    • €3,000 for children between the ages of 13 and 18

Passport fees:

    • €500 per person

Bank charges:

    • €200 per application

Residency requirements for Maltese citizenship by investment

Applicants to the Malta Individual Investor Programme must prove that they have a genuine link to the country. This means that investors must establish residence 12 months before applying for the program, which entails purchasing or leasing an apartment. If investors intend to rent a property long term, they must be able to provide a copy of the lease agreement and proof of being resident in Malta for at least 183 days of the year. If investors choose to buy a property in Malta, there is no minimum number of days they are required to spend in the country, however, they are not permitted to rent out their property during the 5 years they are required to maintain their investment.

Tax treatment of new citizens in Malta

Tax in Malta is calculated not by citizenship, but by the tax residence of the individual and the source of their income. This means that even on acquiring citizenship in Malta, investors should not have to pay tax in the country, particularly as most investors are not domiciled in Malta. Foreign assets and income are charged at the source, so as long as the income is not sourced within Malta, it should not be liable to be taxed in the country.

Property tax on citizenship by investment in Malta

At the end of the mandatory 5 year investment period, investors may wish to sell their property in Malta. If the property has been listed as the resident’s sole residence during a period of at least 3 years, the sale is exempt from property tax. If the owner has not been resident in the property, it is liable for a 12% tax on the sale price.

Taxation in Malta

It is also important that investors in the Malta citizenship by investment scheme know that Malta has:

  • No inheritance tax
  • No estate duty
  • No wealth tax
  • No municipal taxes
  • No property ownership tax

What to consider before applying for citizenship by investment in Malta

There are a number of different considerations to take into account before applying for Malta citizenship by investment, specifically that under certain conditions citizenship can be refused or revoked if the correct requirements are not met.

Grounds for refusal for citizenship by investment in Malta

In recent years there have been an increasing number of refusals in applications for Maltese citizenship by investment. This is due to an increasingly strict due diligence process for vetting prospective citizens. The main reasons for the refusal of Maltese citizenship are:

  • Not having a clean criminal record
  • The investor is a potential threat to Maltese national security
  • The investor has previously been denied a visa to the country
  • Providing false information
  • Funds come from a suspicious source

Grounds for revocation of Malta citizenship by investment

It is possible to have your Maltese citizenship revoked if you do not comply with the requirements of the program. After being granted citizenship, applicants must maintain their residence in Malta for at least five years. If the initial investment is sold before 5 years, they can have their citizenship revoked and their European passport taken away.

Malta citizenship by investment application process

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A step-by-step guide to citizenship by investment in Malta

1 – Purchase qualifying real estate in Malta and register for residency

2 – Apply for Malta citizenship by investment, paying due diligence fees and deposit, submitting all of the correct forms and supporting paperwork, including criminal background check for main applicant and dependents from their country of origin.

3 – After 120 days the Maltese government will officially confirm whether the application has been successful and provide conditional acceptance.

4 – The investor must then pay what remains of the €650,000 contribution to the Malta development fund.

5 – Provide evidence of property investment and €150,000 contribution to an investment fund.

6 – Upon completion of all of the specified requirements, the investor and dependents will receive a naturalization certificate and be given a Maltese passport.

Malta citizenship by investment timeline

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Maltese residency vs citizenship

One of the main benefits of obtaining citizenship by investment in Malta as opposed to just residency is that once it has been granted, investors hold citizenship for life, even if they sell their investment after the mandatory 5-year period.

Children of Maltese citizens also automatically inherit citizenship, which means you can pass on European citizenship to your children and grandchildren.

How can Global Citizen Solutions help me?

Investors can encounter many difficulties when applying for citizenship or residency, which is why it is beneficial to have an expert provide you with personalized assistance throughout the process.

This can help you by:

  • Minimizing the visits you have to make to the designated country
  • Having someone who works solely on your behalf
  • Reducing hassle
  • Getting the inside knowledge from someone with years of experience of the market

 

 

Frequently asked questions about citizenship by investment in Malta

How can I get Malta citizenship?

It is possible to acquire Maltese citizenship through investment. In order to do this, you must make a €650,000 non-refundable contribution to the Malta National Development Fund, a €350,000 investment in real estate which must be maintained for 5 years, and a €150,00 investment to a government-approved fund, which must also be maintained for 5 years.

Is there a language test for Maltese citizenship?

There is no language requirement for Maltese citizenship.

Do I need a lawyer to get citizenship by investment in Malta?

The citizenship by investment process in Malta must be carried out by a government-approved agent. You will also need a lawyer familiar with Malta citizenship and real estate law, though this can usually be found through your agent.

Is Malta a member of the European Union?

Malta is a full member of the European Union, and Maltese citizenship entitles bearers to freedom of movement throughout the European Economic area.

Is Malta in the Schengen Zone?

Yes, Malta is within the Schengen Zone, which entitles those with Maltese passports freedom of movement throughout the Schengen Area.

How much does Malta citizenship cost?

Maltese citizenship investment costs around €1,150,000, with additional costs for dependents.

Should I buy or rent property in Malta?

It is possible to either buy or rent a property for a five-year period to fulfill the requirements for Maltese citizenship by investment, however it is important to note that there is a 183-day stay requirement for those who choose to rent a property. There is no stay requirement for investors who choose to buy real estate in Malta.

Can I rent out my property in Malta?

You cannot rent out your property in Malta during the 5-year minimum requirement, as it is considered to be in conflict with your intention to maintain residence in the country.

Can I pass Maltese citizenship on to my children/grandchildren?

Yes, children of Maltese citizens are automatically eligible for Maltese citizenship, so your children and grandchildren can also get European passports.

How fast can I get Maltese citizenship?

You must hold Maltese residency for at least a year before obtaining citizenship, however, the application for citizenship can be done concurrently, so that at the end of the year you can also obtain Maltese citizenship.

Can my Maltese citizenship be revoked?

Under specific conditions, Maltese citizenship can be revoked if the real estate investment is sold or the investment is withdrawn before the mandatory 5-year period is completed.

Does Malta recognize Bitcoin?

Malta does not recognize Bitcoin as a method of payment for the Malta citizenship by investment program.

Can I buy Malta citizenship?

It is not possible to buy citizenship in Malta, however, by making a contribution to the Maltese National Fund, a real estate investment and an investment to a government-approved fund, you can obtain Maltese citizenship.

How can I get Malta citizenship?

It is possible to acquire Maltese citizenship through investment. In order to do this, you must make a €650,000 non-refundable contribution to the Malta National Development Fund, a €350,000 investment in real estate which must be maintained for 5 years, and a €150,00 investment to a government-approved fund, which must also be maintained for 5 years.

Is Malta a member of the European Union?

Malta is a full member of the European Union, and Maltese citizenship entitles bearers to freedom of movement throughout the European Economic area.

How much does Malta citizenship cost?

Maltese citizenship investment costs around €1,150,000, with additional costs for dependents.

How fast can I get Maltese citizenship?

You must hold Maltese residency for at least a year before obtaining citizenship, however, the application for citizenship can be done concurrently, so that at the end of the year you can also obtain Maltese citizenship.