Malta citizenship by investment

Article Breakdown

Malta Passport CoverThe Malta Citizenship by investment program is the last of the Mohicans in terms of quick access to EU citizenship for investors. It’s a great passport program, which is now under threat from Brussels. It does come with a price tag: you will have to make a minimum €750,000+ investment (most of which is a donation, so non-refundable).

Citizenship by Investment in Malta (MEIN) Malta is a famous investment program in Europe. It was established by the Maltese government to facilitate foreign investment and commercial skills into the country.

The former citizenship by investment program was formally paused after 1,800 applications were received. Following that, the new program was launched in November 2020. This new scheme provides a safe EU relocation route with a quick and easy residency acquisition.

Note: The former Malta Investor Programme, often known as the Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme, has been permanently canceled. We will still call it a CBI program, because that’s essentially what it is.

Malta citizenship by investment program details

Malta citizenship by naturalization for exceptional services is a new scheme that provides you and your family citizenship by a Certificate of Naturalization for contributing to the country’s economic development. Furthermore, there is a minimum investment required to be qualified for the program. You must also show proof of 12 or 36 months of residency in the nation.

According to the new laws, this citizenship program will be limited to no more than 400 successful candidates per year. It will also be limited after 1500 candidates have been awarded citizenship.

Investment Community Eligibility for Malta Citizenship Malta Agency is in charge of Malta Citizenship by Investment. The primary applicant must meet the following qualifying conditions, according to this federal government body:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • A minimum investment of €600,000 if you have completed 36 months of residency in Malta, or €750,000 if you have resided in the nation for 12 months.
  • Purchase a residential property in Malta worth at least €700,000 and keep it for at least five years. An alternative would be to lease a property with an annual rental value of €16,000 instead.
  • Please keep in mind that you are not permitted to rent or sell this property during the five-year period.
  • Donate €10,000 to any group that has been approved by the Community Malta Agency. You can also donate to a registered non-governmental organization or society that is involved in sports, culture, science, philanthropy, animal welfare, or culture.
  • To apply for citizenship, you must have a valid residence card. When you purchase real estate in Malta, you are given an e-ID card, which serves as your identity document.
  • Your family members and you must be in good health.
  • Due to the fact that this program draws wealthy overseas investors of high caliber, you will be subject to due diligence.

Benefits of Malta Citizenship and Passport

Rounded Malta Flag IconMalta (IIP) provides numerous benefits in exchange for an investment that promotes the national economy.

  • Work or study in EU countries – Citizenship gives you and your family the right to live, work, and study anywhere in the EU.
  • Strong economy – Malta is one of the EU’s fastest-growing economies, and you will have the opportunity to build your business after you obtain citizenship.
  • Visa-free travel – A Maltese passport allows you to travel visa free to 187 countries and territories, including the Schengen zone, EU members, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. You can also travel to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the majority of North, Central, and South American countries.
  • Family Life Quality – Malta is a beautiful country. Your family, like the locals, will enjoy clean air, property rights, and freedom of expression. Furthermore, there are several tourist attractions because it is one of Europe’s most popular vacation locations. It also boasts a modern infrastructure, such as internet access and safe banking.
  • Access to the Maltese Health Service – Malta has an exceptional healthcare system that is ranked among the top five in the world by WHO. Furthermore, it is supported through health insurance and taxation. Hospitalization, medicines, pregnancy, labor, and specialty therapies are all covered by health insurance.
  • Fast process – Citizenship can be attained in as little as 12 months.
  • Live in any EU country – Investors have the right to live permanently in Malta as well as in any other EU country. Because Malta is a full member of the EU, investors who obtain a Maltese passport have the right to live and work anywhere in Europe. Malta is also part of the Schengen Zone, which means there are no visas or passport checks while traveling between Schengen Zone nations.
  • Citizenship by descent – Passports can be obtained for family members, and citizenship can be passed down to future generations. This benefit for family members is, in fact, a crucial feature of the scheme. Your family will be able to work, live, and study at any institution in the EU while holding dual citizenship. It should be noted that additional donations are required for dependents to get citizenship alongside the main applicant. Children born to Maltese citizens immediately acquire Maltese citizenship, implying that your children and grandchildren will be granted Maltese citizenship for life.
  • Extremely advantageous tax exposure – Malta’s tax system is based on residency rather than citizenship, which means you may not have to pay tax in the country even if you obtain Maltese citizenship. Malta also has specific tax plans for new citizens, which can result in increased tax efficiency and exceptionally favorable tax exposure.

Malta Citizenship by Investment Program: 2020 changes

Malta Coat of ArmsThe New Malta Citizenship by Investment Program leads to residency and a passport in Malta (EU) through a direct investment program (which is technically a donation).

All applications for acquiring Maltese citizenship are extensively reviewed, and unless the authorities are okay with the candidate after the due diligence process, the application is not forwarded for further consideration.

As a result, there are a few prerequisites that you must meet in order to be qualified for the program.

Investment Requirements

Any investment between €700,000 and €1,460,000 qualifies for the Maltese Citizenship program. The structure of the investment needs is explained below.

1st investment: donation (non-refundable)

When you apply for Maltese citizenship by investment, you must contribute to the National Development and Social Fund, which is overseen by a board of trustees and is organized by the government. These donations are used to fund projects such as public health, education, job creation, and social development.

You must donate €600,000 if you have been in the nation for 36 months or €750,000 if you have lived there for 12 months. Furthermore, this contribution is non-refundable.

Please keep in mind that each extra dependent requires an additional €50,000 payment.

2nd Investment: Fund

You must also make a donation of at least €10,000 to a registered non-governmental organization or society in addition to your contribution. It must be a non-profit organization.

3rd Investment: Real estate

It is mandatory to purchase a real estate property for at least €700,000 or lease a home for at least €16,000 every year. Furthermore, you must keep the purchased or rented property for at least five years from the date of the citizenship certificate.

Requirements for Maltese Residency

You must meet the residency criteria, just as you must meet the investment requirements. According to the new requirements, you and your dependents must have a Maltese residency for at least one year. The minimum investment limit for 12 months is €750,000; there is a new alternative if you want to save some money.

You can gain his Maltese citizenship by investing only €600,000 and saving €150,000 if you provide documentation of three years of living in Malta.

Furthermore, in order to obtain residency, you must make an application with the assistance of a qualified agent. Your appointment will be scheduled within six months following clearance by the Community Malta Agency and the Maltese police. Finally, you will be given an e-ID card, which will serve as proof of your residency in the country.

Malta Country Landscape Photo

Timeline for Obtaining Malta Citizenship through Investment

Malta Residency: Potential candidates who are not already residents in the nation are strongly urged to begin the residency procedure as soon as possible because Malta citizenship by investment requires at least 12 months of residency. To be granted nationality as soon as feasible, an applicant’s residency requirement must be met while they are completing the Malta citizenship application procedure.

The first step towards getting investor citizenship in Malta is to apply for a Residence Permit, which allows you to live in the nation and travel visa-free within Europe’s Schengen Zone. Candidates must physically travel to Malta to apply for residency because biometrics are required. If approved, resident status is granted for 36 months and can only be extended if the applicant has applied for citizenship by investment in Malta.

Following Maltese residency permission, a €10,000 payment is required towards the exceptional investment required for citizenship. Following the start of a nominee’s residency in Malta, the following payments are due.

Total Malta Citizenship Costs by Investment

Investment
National Development and Social Fund Contribution €600,000 for the main applicant (36 months residency)

€750,000 for the main applicant (12 months residency)
Real Estate Investment €700,000 for purchase option

€16,000 per year for rent option
Due Diligence fees €15,000 for the main applicant

€10,000 for other dependents
Admin Fees €11,000 for the main applicant

€3,000 for other dependents
Legal Fees These can vary highly depending on the number of dependents and documents that need to be translated and legalized.

The Tax Implications of Maltese Citizenship

Obtaining Maltese citizenship through the country’s “Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services through Direct Investment” legislation has no tax implications!

Even if a person relocates their primary residence to Malta, they may be able to maintain the status of a “non-domiciled” person and hence have exceptionally favorable tax exposure.

Candidates who become residents of Malta but are not domiciled there must only pay tax on any income earned or received in the nation. Malta has no municipal taxes, no estate duty, no inheritance or death taxes, and no wealth or net worth taxes.

Malta also has double taxation accords with over 60 countries worldwide. The corporation tax rate in Malta is 35%, however non-resident or non-domiciled company owners are eligible for exceptional tax breaks.

The European Union

In 2004, Malta was admitted as a full member of the European Union. Treaties governing EU free movement allow Maltese residents to live, work, and study in any other European Union country, including Switzerland.

This means that citizens of Malta can travel to Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Schengen Zone

Malta has been a member of the European Union’s Schengen Area since 2007. This permits Maltese citizens to travel to 26 European countries without crossing any borders.

EU members Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden comprise the borderless zone, as do the four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

Individuals possessing a passport from any Schengen Area nation can travel to any other country in the borderless zone without having to go through a border check.

Malta Dual Citizenship

Individuals who earn a second citizenship in Malta through investment are not compelled by Maltese law to renounce their current citizenship.

Malta has no limits on dual nationality; in fact, the Malta Citizenship Act expressly states that dual citizenship is possible.

However, your present country of citizenship may impose restrictions that prevent you from obtaining a Malta second passport.

europe-map-with-magnifying-glass

EU cracks down on CBI programs

As a result, it is unsurprising that the EU administration in Brussels has taken issue with Citizenship By Investment (CBI) initiatives all over the world.

Pressure on European countries supplying CBIs, in particular, has risen in recent years.

While the EU’s principal worries have been security and potential money laundering threats, their complaints of CBIs also scent of overreach and a demand for control.

Brussels, aided by the leftist media, has stepped up its attempts to smear CBI programs and eventually pressurize governments that offer them to terminate them.

Despite the fact that these programs are completely legal and contribute significantly to the economies of many of the tiny, mostly Caribbean countries who offer them.

So far, the CBI program has suffered casualties.

Cyprus, which formerly offered the most costly Citizenship By Investment scheme in the world, was the first casualty in 2020. The program was terminated amid rising EU pressure, a barrage of negative publicity, and claims of malfeasance.

Moldova, a former Soviet republic, too attempted to begin a CBI program but was essentially pushed into canceling it in mid-2019 – before it had ever begun.

Vanuatu’s visa-free membership to the Schengen Area was then restricted for 18 months in 2021 owing to charges of inadequate due diligence, and cancelled indefinitely in 2022.

Next, Montenegro is shutting down their program on December 31, 2022, likely to remove any potential barriers to their own EU entry…

Is Malta’s CBI program next to be eliminated?

eu-flag-transparant-greenThe European Commission initiated “infringement actions” against Malta over their scheme over two years ago. The case was sent to the European Court of Justice in late September 2022.

Professional – and legal – perspectives differ on whether the EU’s litigation will succeed. Malta is preparing to put up a strong fight. And they may likely prevail in court, because it is up to each EU member to decide who they naturalize and under what conditions.

However, given the foregoing tendency, there is a strong likelihood that CBI programs as we know them will cease to exist in the not-too-distant future.

Low-tax nations and the UK’s so-called “Non-Dom” status option have also been increasingly targeted by the EU.

And, while these programs are entirely lawful, several news outlets, evidently motivated by political motives, have referred to them as ethically dubious, if not illegal.

These kinds of insinuations are, to say the least, deceptive.

There is nothing wrong with desiring more housing options, especially since both the EU and the US are in serious decline.

There’s nothing evil about wanting to pay simply the least amount of taxes needed by law. As we like to say at Sovereign Research, lawfully lowering your tax burden is the most risk-free investment you can make.

Indeed, it is just this rationale that pushed both our founder, Simon Black, and some of our team members to relocate to Puerto Rico in order to take advantage of the island’s extremely appealing tax benefits.

So, if you’re not a member of the “Lucky Bloodline Club” – persons with European ancestry who can receive EU passports in this manner – and you’re looking for second residency or a CBI passport, now is the time to act.

The CBI trend is definitely NOT your friend

Because the trend is against you. Just in the last few years…

The Panama Friendly Nations Visa, which was formerly one of the smoothest and most affordable residence schemes we’d encountered, has become significantly more expensive and restrictive.

Several of Portugal’s Golden Visa choices have become more expensive, while its property options have become significantly more limiting and less appealing. The Portuguese PM even mentioned sunsetting the Portugal Golden Visa program all together.

The Montenegro CBI’s gift component doubled from €100,000 to €200,000, and the program will end in December 2022.

The Turkish CBI nearly doubled from $250K to $400K – and may soon be gone entirely.

And, beginning in January 2023, the Greek Golden Visa program will double in price, from €250k to €500k, for residences in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Frequently asked questions

Any child born to a Maltese citizen will be a Maltese citizen as well. This means that children born to men or women who earned Maltese citizenship through the country's citizenship by investment legislation will be full Maltese citizens even if they were born outside of Europe. As a result, if your family receives Malta investor citizenship, your grandchildren will be able to obtain a Malta passport once they have grown up and started their own families. By investing in Maltese citizenship, you may provide future generations with greater political and economic freedom, as well as dramatically expanded educational prospects in the West. Many investors mention "family heritage" and "offering a better life for children and grandkids" as major motivators for sponsoring their family for second citizenship in Malta.

Malta citizenship by investment is conferred by a Certificate of Naturalization, and once you acquire Maltese citizenship by naturalization for extraordinary services, you will have it in perpetuity and can even pass it on to future generations.

If you do not already have Maltese residency, the minimum period required to obtain Malta citizenship by investment is 12 months. However, if you have already completed the residency requirement for the country's nationality as a result of investment regulations, you can obtain citizenship in Malta in as little as six months.

Under Malta's "Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment" legislation, any individual of integrity who is at least 18 years old and has a clean police record is able to apply for second citizenship. Citizens of Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela are not eligible to apply. Individuals with close relations to any of these nations are likewise ineligible to seek for Malta citizenship through investment. This list of prohibited nations is subject to change at any time based on consultation with the Sanctions Monitoring Board, and nationals of any country subject to a travel restriction imposed by the United States are immediately ineligible.

The Maltese Passport Office has been issuing biometric passports in accordance with EU and international requirements since 2008. Candidates must provide biometric information such as fingerprints to become a Malta national in compliance with the country's citizenship for extraordinary services legislation. This entails either physically visiting one of the country's international embassies or traveling to the country and visiting the Malta Passport Office, which is housed in the Evans Building on Merchant Street in central Valletta.

Applicants for Malta citizenship by investment must purchase or rent an immovable residential property. This begs the question of whether it is better for an investor seeking citizenship to buy or rent a residence in Malta. Investors who buy an apartment on the islands must spend at least €700,000 on the property. If an investor rents or leases an apartment on the islands, the annual rent must be at least €16,000. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.

When applying for Malta citizenship by investment, there are no citizenship examinations, and applicants are not required to know Maltese or even English to be accepted.

Malta citizenship awarded under the country's "Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment" rules can be revoked if an applicant fails to meet all of the conditions. To be granted citizenship, applicants must commit to living in Malta for five years after receiving an official certificate of citizenship. If a person fails to meet these standards and stops renting an apartment or selling their house in Malta before the five-year period expires, they may lose their citizenship as well as their EU passport. Investors who successfully obtain Malta citizenship must file a Compliance Form with the Agency on a yearly basis for the next five years from the day they were given nationality, certifying that they are complying with all of the conditions outlined in the citizenship by investment legislation.

The Government of Malta, as a renowned citizenship for investment jurisdiction, will only admit investor immigration candidates who are extremely respected and have no ties to criminal activities. Detail background verification checks are done as part of the immigration Malta due diligence phase to ascertain if candidates are of good repute and that all finances have been obtained legally. The due diligence fees paid when filing a formal Malta citizenship application cover the costs involved while establishing that an investor's money is clean and that they are a reputable person. Malta investor citizenship has an impeccable reputation and the world's strictest due diligence standards, and any aspirant who is unable to identify and establish the legal source of their funds would be denied. Applications containing fraudulent information or omissions will be rejected as well.

The Maltese government has an excellent four-tier due diligence system that is widely regarded as the most advanced in the sector, and anyone deemed a potential reputational risk, national security danger, or currently under criminal investigation will be denied citizenship. Applicants who have been denied a visa to any country with which Malta has visa-free travel agreements will also be ineligible for citizenship unless they have since secured a visa from that country. Many former risk and compliance professionals from big banks make up Malta's due diligence team. The experienced staff has created a risk matrix for each application, which comprises a seven-step verification process. In addition to extensive background checks and anti-money laundering checks, Malta immigration authorities have journalists from Thomson Reuters and Exige create a detailed assessment of each individual, which is then put into their total risk profile.

Community The Malta Agency, which oversees Maltese economic citizenship legislation, does not recognize Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as legitimate investment currencies for financial transactions relating to immigration to Malta. As a result, you cannot use Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency to make the mandatory investments required to earn Malta citizenship through naturalization for extraordinary services.

A prior Malta citizenship scheme, which had a ceiling of 1800 applicants in August 2020, closed to new investment. There were speculations at the time that the Malta citizenship by investment program had been "canceled" or "suspended," but this was not the case; it merely reached capacity and closed down. Since then, the country has enacted new legislation providing citizenship in exchange for extraordinary services through direct investment, and it is now accepting new applications from respected investors worldwide. Please keep in mind that the island's current citizenship requirements have nothing to do with the former Malta citizenship scheme.

The term "Golden Visa" refers to a popular EU investor visa granted by a few Southern European countries, including Spain and Portugal, to foreign people who engage in their country's real estate industry. Many people refer to investment residency in Malta as a European Golden Visa. A Maltese investor visa may be appropriate if you want an EU residence permit rather than European citizenship. By eliminating the requirement for a Schengen Visa to travel within the European Union, Malta residency by investment can make conducting business in Europe easier.

A law firm, audit firm, intermediary firm, financial advisory firm, or other person or body that has been officially authorized to assist foreign nationals in obtaining Maltese citizenship will publicly display their Community Malta Agency Accredited Agent number, which can be independently verified on the Government of Malta's website here. Dr. Anton Tabone is a licensed Accredited Person with the license number AKM-TABO-21.

Applicants for Maltese citizenship by investment are not required to make the substantial contribution to the country's National Development and Social Fund until they have cleared the eligibility and due diligence stages and have been approved in principle. Once a person is approved in principle, the only conditions that must be met before they can be made a Maltese citizen are that they fulfill all of the remaining Malta citizenship requirements outlined in the regulations, such as making a significant financial investment and purchasing or leasing property on the islands. Community Malta Agency would never send a candidate an Investment Request Voucher (IRV) requesting full payment until they have gone through the intensive multi-tier due diligence screening and are deemed to be of excellent reputation.

In addition to obtaining a second passport, which makes international travel much easier, those who get Malta nationality by investment can attend university in Europe without having to qualify as a foreign student. Not only are admission standards at most top universities in Europe much lower for students from other EU nations than for those applying from overseas (particularly Asia), but tuition fees at universities and colleges are sometimes much lower for Europeans.

In terms of travel freedom, the Malta passport ranks tenth. It provides visa-free travel to over 185 countries, including the EU and Schengen area, as well as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Canada.

Yes, Malta allows dual citizenship, thus candidates seeking citizenship by investment may keep their current citizenship.

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