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Malta, one of the southernmost points in Europe, is a small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea just south of Italy.
A population of just 515,000 people calls this beautiful place home, and you can too through Malta’s Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (MESDI) program.
The country started the program in 2020 to attract foreign investors to Malta by granting Maltese citizenship.
As a member of the European Union (E.U.), a Maltese passport holds great weight internationally while its great location means Mediterranean weather all year round.
If settling down in Malta sounds appealing to you, let’s take a closer look at its Citizenship by Investment program and examine what you need to do to ensure your application proceeds as smoothly as possible.
- Citizenship Program
- Who's the Malta Citizenship Program For?
- How Much Do You Need to Invest in Total?
- Procedures and Time Frame
- Dual Citizenship
- Is the Malta Citizenship by Investment Program Worth It?
- Why Malta?
- Effects that COVID-19 has had on the Program
- How to Get Maltese Citizenship
- Now, on to You
Malta’s Citizenship by Investment program has only just started and is looking to be an exceptional new opportunity for anyone hoping to get a new passport.
Like other nations that have instituted a citizenship by investment system, Malta is also looking to bring foreign investment into the country.
Malta’s Citizenship by Investment program is recommended for anyone looking to get an E.U. passport for the following reasons:
- straightforward process
- required amount of investment is lesser than similar programs
- takes a year to get citizenship, compared to five to 10 years for other programs
- don’t need to learn a new local language
- can apply for citizenship for your family without having to make additional investments
If you’re interested in calling Malta your home, you’ll need to submit your application )more on this later), which will then be processed by officials followed by a response.
By positioning itself as a new immigration destination, the small Mediterranean nation hopes to attract applicants who will be a positive influence on their country.
Who’s the Malta Citizenship Program For?
Malta’s Citizenship by Investment program is aimed at high net worth individuals who might also be looking to move to a beautiful new country while gaining the benefits of a widely respected passport.
With so many benefits to Maltese citizenship, if you have the time and capital, taking the plunge and applying is really worth it.
At the time of this writing, the Maltese passport lets you travel to over 180 countries visa-free. You can enter Europe’s Schengen Area, the U.S., Canada, and many other nations.
In addition, Malta is a good country to live and raise a family in and has an attractive tax system. You’ll find out more about that later in the article.
Once your application is approved, you and your dependents will be granted full citizenship to Malta.
To qualify for the Malta Citizenship by Investment program, there are a number of requirements that the Maltese government stipulates you must meet along with the associated costs.
Let’s take a look.
Age and Criminal Background Check
First, before you can apply, you as the main applicant must be over 18 years of age and display proof to Maltese officials that you have no prior criminal record.
You also need to show proof of residence in Malta for at least one year before you can apply for citizenship.
This can be done by purchasing a residential property in Malta worth a minimum of EUR700,000 or lease a property in Malta for a minimum annual rent of EUR16,000.
This property must be adequate for you and any dependents for five years from the date of issue of the certificate of citizenship.
During this process, you must stay in Malta for at least 14 days a year.
Next, you must make a number of financial contributions. You need to complete a non-refundable contribution to the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF) that varies depending on the number of individuals.
If you have resided in Malta for 36 months you must make a direct investment into the NDSF of EUR600,000. Otherwise, if you’ve resided in Malta for 12 months then you can get your citizenship early by making a direct investment of EUR750,000.
Any other direct investment requirements you might have must be carried out in accordance with Regulations S.L. 188.06, the Maltese government’s laws on citizenship.
The Maltese government also requires a EUR10,000 philanthropic donation to a Malta-registered non-profit organization that deals with anything from philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare, artistic issues or goals, or as otherwise approved by the agency.
There is also a required donation of EUR150,000 in bonds or shares that must be maintained for five years. These can only be stocks sanctioned and approved of by the Maltese government.
International Health Insurance
You must also demonstrate that you’re covered by an international health insurance policy until you’re granted citizenship.
This insurance policy must cover all worldwide expenses of up to at least EUR30,000 per family member.
Beyond that, you’ll also have to cover all other fees related to getting your application duly processed, such as:
- residence permit fee (main applicant: EUR5,000, dependents: EUR1,000 each)
- citizenship eligibility due diligence fees (main applicant: EUR15,000, dependents over the age of 12: EUR10,000 each)
- citizenship eligibility administrative fee (each applicant: EUR1,000)
- citizenship administrative fee (main applicant: EUR5,000, dependents: EUR1,000 each)
These fees amount to as much as EUR26,000 and can increase based on the number of dependents you have, so consult with an immigration lawyer or the relevant Maltese government official.
Also, make sure you’re prepared to make this investment as the payments are non-refundable and represent a major financial commitment.
How Much Do You Need to Invest in Total?
As part of the Malta Citizenship by Investment program, you’re expected to make a sizable investment and donation to the Maltese government in order to qualify for the program.
On top of that, you’ll need to pay any relevant fees that are required of you. At the end of the day, the bulk of the cost of the application will be the investment and donation portions.
These costs can range anywhere from around EUR800,000 to close to EUR1.5 million depending on the options you take.
To have your application processed successfully, you’ll need to provide a number of required documents to prove your identity and satisfy local officials.
Pay close attention to which documents are required specifically for you, as different forms apply to different people.
There are applications for e-residency forms, residence permit, residence documentation, electronic identity registration forms, health insurance forms, declaration for submission of the citizenship application, and other forms that can change as the program changes.
Next, you need to complete eligibility and citizenship application forms. Again, you need to carefully ensure you find the documents you’re required to fill and submit them as part of your application.
The Maltese government may ask you to procure other supporting documents so they can better perform their due diligence checks, so double check with them.
Procedures and Time Frame
If you’ve read through the previous sections and have decided to apply for citizenship, below are the steps you have to take.
You may professional help when it comes to applying for citizenship, so finding an immigration and citizenship lawyer to walk you through the process is advisable.
Due Diligence and Background Check
The first step that is performed is the due diligence and background checks to ensure no issues exist.
Then, after the checks are completed and a government deposit has been made, you’ll be given a residence card to begin your legal residence in Malta.
Next, you must acquire residence in Malta to move forward with the citizenship process. This physical residence will be used on your application forms.
Don’t take too long searching for a property to buy or rent as the market moves quickly in Malta.
Submit Your Application
Your next step is to complete the citizenship application and comb over them thoroughly in case there are any errors.
Then, produce the relevant fees and supporting documents for yourself and your family. This includes your spouse, dependent adult children, dependent children under 18 years of age, and parents and grandparents over the age of 55.
Make sure to also produce any required supporting documents the immigration and citizenship authorities request.
Contribute to the National Development and Social Fund
Once you receive a letter of approval in principle from the government of Malta, you need to contribute to the NDSF.
These fees must come from the account you specified on your application.
Submit More Documents
After you get the letter of approval in principle, you now have four months to submit more proof to satisfy the Maltese governments requirements.
You’ll need need the following:
- copy of a sale and purchase agreement of a property with a minimum value of EUR350,000 or
- signed lease agreement with a minimum annual rent of EUR16,000
- financial portfolio obligation of a minimum of EUR150,000
- proof of health coverage
- proof of your residence period
Swear the Oath of Allegiance
Finally, the Maltese government will provide you with an invitation letter to visit Malta and swear its Oath of Allegiance.
Your application can be seriously jeopardized if the government believes you have falsified any of the information on your application.
For this reason, ensuring your application is accurate is absolutely paramount. Double and triple check the application to make sure there are no errors that might slip through.
At the end of all this, you’ll be naturalized as a Maltese citizen, with the Community Malta Agency (CMA) conducting continuous monitoring for five years.
Malta allows dual citizenship, so you can keep your old citizenship(s) — and any future offspring of yours (and their offspring) will be Maltese citizens.
Is the Malta Citizenship by Investment Program Worth It?
If you have the net worth to afford investing anywhere from around EUR800,000 to EUR1.5 million and the benefits of Maltese and E.U. citizenship are important to you, then it’s a great choice for you.
Let’s take a quick look into why Malta is a good place to live.
Situated in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta has beautiful beaches, access to the open sea, and great yearly weather to make it an attractive destination.
The climate is typical Mediterranean weather, warm almost all year round with just a small dip in the winter. Temperatures range between 12.5 °C (54.5 °F) and 27 °C (81 °F) depending if it’s summer or winter.
Also, the country doesn’t have any extreme cold or hot seasons and stays temperate all year.
The country is home to a number of bays and beach fronts, with the weather permitting beach life well into October.
All sorts of water activities can be enjoyed in Malta, such as swimming, windsurfing, jet and water skiing, para-kiting, and snorkeling.
All these wonderful activities and beautiful vistas will be at your fingertips once you live in Malta. In fact, you can enjoy them all year-round once you’re living there.
Another really attractive aspect of life in Malta is the high standard of living.
Citizens of Malta have access to great private schools and medical facilities, and the country has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe.
It also has a low cost of living index to go with its great standard of living.
The country is blessed with great weather, but the country also ensures that there is a lack of pollution with clean air to be enjoyed by its citizens.
Malta has all the forms of modern infrastructure you would expect, like phone and internet service as well as secure banking.
It also has air and sea routes to Europe and other international destinations, so you can travel without any issues.
For a family of four, the average cost of living can be somewhere around EUR2,732 without rent. For a three bedroom apartment, rent can vary between EUR1,100 and EUR1,400 depending how close you are to the city center.
The country’s primary methods of public transport are buses and taxis. Both are quite affordable and extensive.
As an island, some imported goods will be expensive in Malta, but the trick is to spend like a local and buy local products.
Raising a Family
As a former British colony, Malta’s school system still has its roots in British education systems.
The country has state schools that are free for all students, with transportation and books paid for by the government.
There are also private international schools that charge tuition fees but serve as a community hub for expats who’ve made Malta their home — it’s a great way to meet other people for both parents and kids alike.
On average, private schools can cost around EUR3,700 a year, so it’s really quite comparable to a lot of other nations.
The language of instruction is English in private schools, so that’s a major advantage for any children who are already used to schooling in the language.
Make sure to prepare yourself for life in Malta, as it comes with its own sets of pros and cons, and navigating them beforehand will ensure you come to enjoy your new life in the country.
Access to Europe
Located smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta is a prime location to reach everywhere quickly. You can get to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East with a quick flight or by sea.
There are actually a number of different ways to get Maltese residency, but Malta’s Citizenship by Investment program is the most direct path to naturalization and citizenship benefits.
Malta has a similar tax system to most other countries in Western Europe but with an interesting difference.
Foreign residents only have to pay Maltese tax on the income they generate in Malta or on money they remit back to Malta.
The country otherwise has a progressive tax rate with different rates for individuals, married couples, and parents.
There is also no wealth tax and no inheritance tax, which is a major positive.
The tax system can be a bit tricky so meeting with a tax advisor would be an excellent choice.
Individuals in Malta pay income tax on the following scale:
- 0 percent EUR0 – EUR9,100 no subtraction
- 15 percent EUR9,101 – EUR14,500 EUR1,365 subtraction
- 25 percent EUR14,501 – EUR19,500 EUR2,815 subtraction
- 25 percent EUR14,501 – EUR60,000 EUR2,725 subtraction
- 35 percent EUR60,001 and over EUR8,725 subtraction
Couples in Malta pay this rate:
- 0 percent EUR0 – EUR12,700 no subtraction
- 15 percent EUR12,701 – EUR21,200 EUR1,905 subtraction
- 25 percent EUR21,201 – EUR28,700 EUR4,025 subtraction
- 25 percent EUR28,701 – EUR60,000 EUR3,905 subtraction
- 35 percent EUR60,001 and over EUR9,905 subtraction
Parents in Malta pay this rate:
- 0 percent EUR0 – EUR10,500 no subtraction
- 15 percent EUR10,501 – EUR15,800 EUR1,575 subtraction
- 25 percent EUR15,801 – EUR21,200 EUR3,155 subtraction
- 25 percent EUR21,201 – EUR60,000 EUR3,050 subtraction
- 35 percent EUR60,001 and over EUR9,050 subtraction
Effects that COVID-19 has had on the Program
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maltese government started this program in 2020 and are expecting to accept applicants regardless.
You can still apply and have your application reviewed by the CMA.
How to Get Maltese Citizenship
Now that you’ve read through our guide to Malta’s Citizenship by Investment program and have decided that Malta is the right choice for you, here’s what you need to do next to start your application process.
The CMA handles citizenship applications for Malta, so you’ll need to follow their instructions to the letter to ensure your application is processed smoothly.
Also, get in touch with an immigration lawyer to aid you through the intricacies of this process.
At the end of the entire process, once you complete the due diligence checks, applications, and financial commitments, you can say hello to your new home in Malta.
Now, on to You
For those interested in the Maltese Citizenship by Investment program, simply fill out the form below, and a representative from the program will get back to you shortly.