The complete guide to retiring in Malta

Retiring in Malta is an excellent opportunity for retirees looking to enhance their quality of living in a peaceful and exotic European nation. Malta offers several immigrant visa programs for non-Europeans including Americans wishing to retire on the islands. According to US expats already settled in Malta, the European nation is perfect for seniors wanting to reside in a secure country where one of the official languages is English, as well as a country that boasts an excellent healthcare system, affordable living costs, and a relaxed pace of living. 

Pros of retiring in Malta

Malta is one of the best destinations in the world for retirement. From a range of entertainment options, attractive property prices, and a friendly local population down to fantastic tax incentives, there are plenty of pros of retiring in Malta. 

Retire in Malta and enjoy:

Sun almost year-round Sun almost year-round
 Exploring quirky towns Exploring quirky towns
Swimming in the Mediterranean and island-hopping Swimming in the Mediterranean and island-hopping
A rich history and unique architecture A rich history and unique architecture
A community of like-minded expats and retirees A community of like-minded expats and retirees
Safe and tranquil lifestyle Safe and tranquil lifestyle

How to retire in Malta

How to retire in Malta depends on your nationality and personal circumstances.  Generally, there are four general routes expats can take to retire in Malta, depending on the individual’s unique situation.

1.Malta permanent residence visa

The Malta permanent residence allows non-EU nationals to live in Malta. You must renew your permanent residence permits each year to legally stay in the country. Do note that the permanent residence visa only allows you to live in Malta, but not work. So you can receive your pension at home, but can’t work in retirement in Malta.

Requirements of the Maltese permanent residence permit

  • Have a net worth of at least $39,5127.33 or earn an annual income of at least $26,039
  • Have a clear criminal background
  • Go through the interview stage 
  • Open a Maltese bank account
  • Once you obtain permanent residence, you must purchase a house worth at least $132,463 or an apartment worth at minimum $79,251. If you cannot buy a property, permanent residents must pay at least $4,698 in annual rent. 

2. The Malta Global Residency Program

The Malta Global Residence Program is a great option for retirees looking to receive special tax status and legally reside in Malta. However, do note that certain restrictions apply, depending on your nationality. You must also buy or rent property in Malta or Gozo and pay a minimum annual tax liability on foreign income received in Malta. 

 Requirements of the Malta Global Residency Program

  • Be a third country national or be non-Maltese, EEA, or a Swiss national
  • Have a stable and secure income or pension for yourself (and/or family)
  • Have full international medical insurance coverage
  • Be in good health, and have a certified health record
  • Be fluent in English or Maltese
  • Not stay in any jurisdiction for more than 183 days per year
  • Hold a qualifying property

3.Maltese Retirement Visa (Maltese Retirement Programme)

The Maltese Retirement Visa, also referred to as the Maltese Retirement Programme, allows EU, EEA or Swiss nationals to retire in Malta easily. Expat retirees living in Malta are only taxed on their Maltese derived income and on overseas income that is remitted to Malta. There’s no tax on worldwide income.

Requirements of the Maltese Retirement Visa

  • You must be from an EU or EEA country or a Swiss national
  • You must not live in any other country for more than 183 days per year. You must also live in Malta at least 90 days per year, over a five year period. 
  • You must own or rent a property in Malta or Gozo.  For buying, there is a minimum value of €275K for Malta and €250K for Gozo. For rentals, there is a minimum annual value of €9600 for Malta and €8750 for Gozo. When renting there is also a minimum term required of 1 year.

4. Malta citizenship by investment (MEIN)

Malta’s citizenship by investment program, also officially referred to as the Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services (MEIN), is a scheme that awards investors with passports, provided that a qualifying investment is first made. 

For non-EU expats interested in retiring in Malta permanently, the Malta Citizenship by Investment Program is a good choice, with an EU passport being possible in just under a year. The high-ranking Maltese passport is an excellent option for seniors wanting the chance to live or travel within the European Union freely, with a great tax system that’s advantageous to foreigners with residential status. For example, individuals are not taxed on foreign-sourced capital gains and foreign-sourced income.

Requirements for the Malta Citizenship by Investment Program

  • You must make an exceptional direct investment, invest in real estate, and make a donation totaling the value of or above €690,000 + costs. From that amount, you must invest €700,000 into residential real estate, or enter into a rental agreement at a minimum value of €16,000 per annum which must be maintained for five years.
  • Clean criminal record
  • Be in good health

For more information, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to the Malta Citizenship by Investment Scheme.

 

Best places to retire in Malta

As of 2020, the best places to retire in Malta are Sliema, St. Julian’s and Paceville towns. Considered the more ‘urban’ areas of Malta, the towns are located right by the coast with a mix of residential and commercial properties to pick from. Here you can easily find lots of shopping centres, bars, restaurants, movie theatres, marinas and a vibrant expat community. Do note that these towns are also more touristy, and may experience more bustle than other towns in Malta.

Other popular options among expats are St. Paul’s Bay, Qawra and Mellieha. You’ll find a significant community of retirees and families living here, drawn by the many museums, restaurants, shops, marinas and hotels. While busy in the summer months, these towns are mostly quiet and calm in the off-season, with real estate prices being quite affordable. 

Cost of living to retire in Malta

As a small Mediteranean island, Malta has many wonderful activities and entertainment options catered to everyone. Despite being an island, the cost of living in Malta is quite affordable. That’s one of the main reasons why expats are choosing to retire in this beautiful nation.

For example, renting a spacious one-bedroom place in Malta costs around €952. Compared to the United States, rental prices in Malta are 34% cheaper. It is also important to note that rental prices will vary depending on the location. A city-centre apartment or a beach-front apartment will cost considerably more than the quieter villages in-land. Utility bills cost around €82.

In Malta, a delicious three-course meal will cost you as little as €33, with plenty of dining options to choose from.

Healthcare in Malta

The quality of healthcare in Malta is outstanding and it’s extremely affordable compared to having private health insurance in the United States.

If you are a Maltese citizen, healthcare is free and open to everyone. Despite this, many citizens choose to pay into private schemes since they offer a range of services and security. 

If you’re moving to Malta for retirement, then it’s recommended to enroll in a private healthcare scheme. If you are a EU citizen with a E121 form then health care is also free which significantly helps to keep the cost of living in Malta down. Just use the E121 form to get a Certificate of Entitlement.

Malta property outlook for retirement

Where to buy real estate in Malta depends largely on your lifestyle preferences, financial outlook, and whether you prefer city life or more peace and quiet. 

In general, you have two options for buying Malta real estate: buy a property by itself or under the Malta Citizenship by Investment Program. To qualify for the Citizenship by Investment program, you must make a Malta real estate investment worth at least invest €700,000, or enter into a rental agreement at a minimum value of €16,000 per annum which must be maintained for five years, on top of other investments. This is a highly recommended option for retirees looking to get the most out of their residency in Malta, since you can get a passport in Malta and travel around Europe freely.

Some of the best cities to buy property in Malta include Sliema, St. Julian’s, and Gzira. These cities are renowned for the range of restaurants, nightlife, shopping places on offer, as well as stunning coastline lookout points.  Valletta and Mdina are also good cities to buy homes in, as they boast beautiful architecture, a rich culture, and offer a more fast-paced lifestyle. 

If you’re into laidback country style life, then either Zebbug, Rabat, or Gozo are good options. Here you can escape from the city noise and relax in a traditional village atmosphere. Whatever your real estate needs are, you can check out our Complete Guide to Malta Real Estate here

Retirement in Malta for US citizens

Retirement in Malta for US citizens is highly recommended if you’re looking for a peaceful and calm lifestyle in one of the Mediterranean’s most dazzling islands. 

Three reasons why US citizens should consider retiring in Malta:

  • Huge American expat community
  • High-quality living with affordable property options
  • Safe and secure Mediterranean island with fantastic air connections to the rest of Europe

For US citizens retiring in Malta, life on this island is anything but boring. From diving to beaches, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and modern art, Malta’s low cost of living and easy residency options for U.S. citizens is a great reason to consider the island for retirement. 

More on Malta

Frequently asked questions about retiring in Malta

How much do I need to retire in Malta?

How much you need to retire in Malta depends on your spending habits but generally speaking, the cost of living isn’t high in Malta. Some expats get by with $2,600 per month or less. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment averages around $750 to $800 per month.

Is Malta a good place to retire?

Malta is definitely a good place to retire if you like excellent weather, island life, and excellent living standards. Malta also has an excellent community of expats, so if you’re looking for a social retirement, then Malta is a great option to consider.

Is retiring in Malta from the US possible?

Retiring in Malta from the US is possible indeed! Americans who retire in Malta have done this through Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Program or the Malta Permanent Residence Permit scheme.

What is the Malta retirement scheme?

The Malta retirement scheme attracts nationals from the EU, EEA and Switzerland who aren’t working, and are receiving a pension, to retire in Malta. Americans who want to retire in Malta will have to apply for a different program like Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Scheme.

Retire in Malta vs Portugal, what country to pick?

To retire in Malta vs Portugal, depends on your budget and objectives. In Portugal, it’s possible to retire comfortably for $2,000 per month (rent included), and Portugal’s Golden Visa option is an attractive option for non-EU nationals looking to retire. Meanwhile, for Malta, it’s slightly more expensive for retirees, with property prices more pricy than Portugal. However, both countries make it worthwhile to retire in, due to their affordable living standards, safety records, and excellent climate.