Retiring in Malta is an excellent opportunity for retirees looking to enhance their quality of living in a peaceful and exotic European nation. For senior citizens with the desire to retire overseas in Malta, the country offers several immigrant visa programs for non-EU citizens. Programs suitable for planning in Malta include the Malta permanent residency by investment scheme the citizenship by naturalization program.
According to US expats living in retirement communities in Malta, the European nation is perfect for seniors drawn to a secure country where one of the official languages is English, as well as a nation that boasts an excellent healthcare system, affordable living costs, and a relaxed pace of living.
In this article, you’ll learn more about Malta’s retirement benefits for senior citizens, the best retirement destinations in Malta, and the requirements for the Malta retirement program to gain a renewable permanent residence permit by purchasing a retirement home in Malta.
Pros of Retiring in Malta
Malta is one of the best places for expats to retire. From a range of entertainment options, attractive property prices, and a friendly local population to fantastic tax incentives, there are plenty of pros to retiring in Malta.
Warm Mediterranean climate
Diverse towns on a small island
Low tax rate for successful applicants of the Malta retirement program
Rich history and unique architecture
Large expat and foreign retiree communities
Incredibly safe country with a tranquil lifestyle
Quality of life
Malta consistently ranks well in quality of life indices, and Malta’s retired expat experiences highlight the country’s safety, community spirit, warm Mediterranean climate, and good infrastructure as contributors to the overall high quality of life for residents.
Private healthcare for retirees in Malta is affordable. The country’s universal healthcare system consists of modern hospitals and facilities, providing free medical services to Maltese citizens and legal residents who make social security contributions.
While some of the best countries for Americans to retire are non-English speaking, English is one of the official languages in Malta, making it easier for Americans and other English-speaking retirees to communicate and navigate daily life.
Malta is known for its low crime rates, making it a safe place to live and retire. The country is among Europe’s ten most politically stable countries, according to the World Bank.
Malta is a member of the European Union and its Schengen zone, which means retirees with residence permits can travel visa-free throughout the Schengen zone and other EU countries.
Retirement homes in Valletta, Malta, and other popular towns among retirees are much cheaper than comparable properties in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. Additionally, purchasing or leasing a property in Malta can qualify retirees for permanent residency.
Rich expat community
The former British colony has been a popular retirement destination for decades, establishing a diverse expat community. This provides a sense of belonging for new retirees and offers opportunities for socializing and networking.
Cons of Retiring in Malta
While the benefits of retiring in Malta are extensive, the small EU nation may not be the most suitable option for all retired persons.
Limited space and population density: Malta is a small island with a dense population, which can lead to congestion, especially in urban areas, and limited space for recreational activities.
Traffic and parking issues: Traffic congestion, especially during rush hours and in tourist-heavy areas, can be a concern, and finding parking in busy urban centers can also be a challenge.
Limited natural resources: Malta relies heavily on imports for resources like water and energy, making the cost of living susceptible to fluctuations in global markets.
Small size and limited diversity: Malta is a small country, and some retirees may find the limited size and variety of the island’s offerings in terms of demographics and activities limiting.
Tourism impact: Malta is a popular tourist destination, and during peak seasons, some areas may become crowded with visitors, potentially impacting the tranquillity retirees seek.
Best Places to Retire in Malta
Some of Malta’s best cities to retire include Valletta, St. Paul’s Bay, and Victoria.
Beyond being the capital of Malta, this compact city holds the prestigious title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, steeped in rich history and culture. Although densely populated compared to other cities and with a higher cost of living, the city hosts the majority of the country’s events and activities. Additionally, the public transportation system is efficient, and a wide array of healthcare facilities and services are available.
St. Paul’s Bay
St. Paul’s Bay is a large town in the northern region of Malta. In peak season, the city’s population more than trebles. This makes it the ideal option for retirement rental properties in Malta, as a large property situated close to the beach with a sea view can be purchased for under $500,000. Valletta’s thriving expat community is another attractive factor.
Victoria, the capital of Gozo, Malta’s smaller sister island, earns its spot on our list of top cities in Malta due to its laid-back lifestyle. Despite its peacefulness, the city’s surrounding areas offer many fine restaurants, shops, hospitals, schools, and a regular ferry service to the mainland. A noteworthy advantage of retirement in Gozo, Malta, is foreign nationals can purchase or lease property at a reduced price to qualify for Malta’s investment visa.
Other options for those who prefer a laid-back lifestyle include Zebbug, Rabat, and Mdina. These destinations provide an escape from city noise and a traditional village atmosphere. Whatever your real estate needs are, whether you’re seeking a residential property to call home or looking to invest in luxury real estate, you can turn to our comprehensive Malta real estate guide for expert insights and valuable information to help you make informed decisions.
Cost of Living for Retirees in Malta
As a small Mediterranean archipelago, the Maltese islands have many wonderful activities and entertainment options catering to everyone. Despite being a small nation, the cost of living in Malta is quite affordable and is one of the primary reasons why expats are choosing to retire in this beautiful nation.
Rental costs in Malta
According to Numbeo, on average, you can find a spacious one-bedroom apartment for about €800 per month in Malta compared to €1,550 in the United States. One-bedroom apartments in cheaper cities like Gozo have monthly rents as low as €330.
Living costs in Malta for a single person
In terms of the cost of living for a single person compared to other developed countries around the world, here are some examples, excluding rent:
Cost of Living
Healthcare costs in Malta
The quality of public and private healthcare in Malta is outstanding and is highly affordable compared to private health insurance premiums in the United States. If you are a Maltese citizen, the public healthcare system is free, and legal residents can access Malta’s public healthcare system by making social security contributions. Malta retirement visa requirements may include paying a fee for public healthcare.
If you’re a retiree who prefers private health insurance, standard premiums through private hospitals such as Saint Thomas Hospital or insurance providers like Allianz Care and Bupa range from €150 to €250 for senior citizens.
Should you become a naturalized citizen of Malta and gain EU citizenship, you will be entitled to free medical care in Malta and other countries in the European Union through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Visa Options to Retire in Malta
How to retire in Malta depends on your nationality and personal circumstances. Expats can take two common routes to gain a residency permit or citizenship and retire in Malta.
Malta Retirement Program (MRP)
If you’re considering retiring in Malta, the Malta Retirement Program (MRP) is the official retirement program for Malta. It offers an exclusive opportunity for EU, EEA, Swiss, and non-EU nationals to secure a residence permit for retirement in Malta. To qualify for the MRP, the primary applicant must:
- Be at least fifty-five years old
- Be in receipt of a pension income, of which at least 75 percent is remitted to Malta
- Own or be leasing a property in Malta
- Have health insurance
The requirements include prerequisites such as owning a property of a minimum value or leasing a property with a minimum rent, and holding no other visas obtained through a residence program.
Malta Permanent Residence Program
Malta’s official retirement residence program is the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP), a residency by investment scheme enabling foreign nationals to obtain a renewable Maltese permanent residence permit. This is ideal for retirees seeking to make a move to Malta permanently.
The residence permit program revolves around a real estate investment: A purchase or a five-year lease agreement. Real estate must be purchased for at least €300,000 in Southern Malta/Gozo (€350,000 in the rest of Malta). A five-year lease must be signed for at least €10,000 per year in Southern Malta/Gozo (€12,000 in the rest of Malta). The program is selective, and real estate investors must fulfill eligibility criteria to gain a permanent residence permit, which include:
- Being a third-country national (non-EEA/EU and non-Swiss nationals)
- Not being a national of or having close ties to a sanctioned country
- Having sufficient financial resources to sustain themselves and their dependent family members without working in Malta
- Holding a clean criminal record and being considered fit and proper
Malta Citizenship by Naturalization Program (CES)
While you cannot directly acquire Malta citizenship by investment, you can qualify for Maltese citizenship by naturalization scheme. Officially called the Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment program (CES), it is an EU citizenship program offered by the Maltese government rewarding foreign nationals with a naturalization certificate for exceptional contributions to Maltese society.
The program requires a series of three investments amounting to a minimum threshold of €690,000. The investment consists of a real estate purchase for at least €700,000 or a five-year least with an annual rent of €16,000, a non-refundable investment of at least €600,000, and a charitable donation of €10,000. Successful foreign nationals gain a Maltese passport within 12 to 36 months, depending on their investment.
The citizenship program has similar requirements to the MPRP, such as holding a clean criminal record, being a third-country national, and having no ties to sanctioned countries.
Taxes for Retirees in Malta
Malta provides a tax-efficient environment for retirees. You’re deemed a tax resident in Malta if you spend more than 183 days there. The Maltese government imposes no worldwide income tax, and foreign income remitted to Malta is taxed at 15 percent.
Any income issued in Malta is subject to tax at the standard rate of zero to 35 percent. Those planning on retiring in Malta with retirement income received from foreign bank accounts must pay a minimum annual income tax of €7,500, with an additional tax of €500 per dependent and carer.
While Malta has a capital gains tax of between 15 and 35 percent, you can rest assured that your airs will benefit from a favorable inheritance tax regime. Malta does not impose inheritance tax on assets inherited by close relatives, including spouses, children, and direct descendants.
This means that your heirs can inherit your assets without facing significant tax liabilities. Additionally, Malta offers a full exemption from capital gains tax on inherited immovable property and imposes neither gift nor wealth tax.
Retirement in Malta for US Citizens
Malta is one of the best countries for Americans to retire. It has specifically been recommended for non-EU expats nearing their retirement age and looking for a calm and peaceful lifestyle in one of the Mediterranean’s most peaceful islands.
Three reasons why US citizens should consider retiring in Malta are:
- The presence of a large American expat community
- Access to high-quality living with affordable property options
- A Mediterranean island with fantastic air connections to the rest of Europe via the Malta International Airport
- A country with superior political stability to the US and a harmonious atmosphere.
For US citizens retiring in Malta, life on this island is anything but boring, from Malta’s climate, suitable for diving activities and lounging on beaches, to visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites and modern art exhibits and museums.
Malta’s very low crime rates, low cost of living, and easy residency options for US citizens are just a few reasons the island is considered the ideal place for US retirees compared to other retirement destinations.
How Can Global Citizen Solutions Help You?
Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique migration consultancy firm with years of experience delivering bespoke residence and citizenship by investment solutions for international families. With offices worldwide and an experienced, hands-on team, we have helped hundreds of clients worldwide acquire citizenship, residence visas, or homes while diversifying their portfolios with robust investments.
We guide you from start to finish, taking you beyond your citizenship or residency by investment application.
Frequently Asked Questions About Retiring in Malta
How much do I need to retire in Malta?
Your lifestyle and spending habits determine how much you need to retire in Malta. The cost of living in Malta is relatively low, and many expats with a monthly budget of around $2,000 to $3,000 live comfortably in Malta. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in one of the island’s cheapest cities can be as low as $350.
Is Malta a good place to retire?
Malta is definitely a good place to retire if you like excellent weather, island life, and incredible living standards in a safe environment. Malta also has a thriving community of expats, so if you’re looking for a social retirement, the archipelago is a great option.
Is retiring in Malta from the US possible?
Retiring in Malta from the US is straightforward through Malta’s investment visa programs. Americans can retire in Malta by investing in one residential property through the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP) or gain Maltese citizenship through a real estate investment, a non-refundable investment, and a philanthropic donation.
What is the Malta retirement scheme?
The Malta retirement scheme attracts third-country citizens (non-EU/EEA, non-Swiss nations) receiving a pension to invest in real estate in order to gain permanent residency.
Retire in Malta versus Portugal; which country to pick?
Whether you should retire in Malta or Portugal depends on your budget, objectives, and lifestyle preferences. Portugal has a cheaper overall cost of living, and the Portugal Golden Visa option is attractive for non-EU nationals looking to retire in Western Europe.
Meanwhile, Malta is slightly more expensive for retirees, with higher property prices than in Portugal. However, Malta offers an island lifestyle and the opportunity to gain EU citizenship in as little as 12 to 36 months.
What is the minimum age to qualify for retirement in Malta?
The official retirement age in Malta is 65. Maltese citizens born between 1962 and 1968 can opt for an early pension under specific circumstances.
Are there any restrictions on working or starting a business in Malta as a retiree?
The Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP) doesn’t provide the right to work or start a business in Malta. Successful applicants of the Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment program (CES) are eligible to work and start businesses in Malta after gaining citizenship.
Can I bring my spouse or dependents with me when retiring in Malta?
For senior citizens looking to retire in Malta with a spouse or dependents, the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP) and the Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment program (CES) allow family members to be included in the application for an addition financial contribution and processing fees.
Can I import my personal belongings and pets when I retire in Malta?
As an EU member state, Malta allows individuals to import their personal belongings without paying customs duties or taxes, provided they are for personal use and have been owned and used by the individual for at least six months before the import. This may require documentation proving ownership and usage.
Malta follows EU regulations for the movement of pets. To bring your pet to Malta, you will need a valid pet passport issued by an authorized veterinarian, proof of microchipping, and a rabies vaccination certificate. Additionally, your pet may need to undergo a blood test to ensure the effectiveness of the rabies vaccination and will need to quarantine upon arrival in Malta.