Citizenship by Investment Malta
Introduced at the beginning of 2014, the Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP) offers high and ultra-high net worth individuals and families worldwide citizenship in a highly respected EU Member Country. Malta has been a member of the European Union since 2004, enjoys a stable political climate, bi-partisan political scene, growing economy, and has some of the soundest banks in the world. The Malta IIP is the first investment citizenship program of its kind to be recognized by the European Commission, and the executive body of the European Union has formally acknowledged the legality of the program paving the way for its success. The Malta citizenship by investment application process is extremely efficient, and the government of Malta is committed to the highest standard of due diligence and vetting of investor applicants ensuring only persons of impeccable standing and repute will be admitted.
Successful candidates will be granted citizenship in Malta by a Certificate of Naturalization, which can also be extended to include their families. Once a candidate is awarded Malta citizenship, which includes EU citizenship, they have the right of establishment in all 28 EU countries and Switzerland. They also have the ability to set up business in Malta, and can get a Malta passport enabling them to enjoy visa-free travel to more than 160 countries across the world including the United States.
UPDATE: As of November 2016, the Individual Investor Program has received over 800 Malta passport applications on behalf of investors from more than 40 different countries. As of this date, the IIP Malta is still accepting new applications but the program is firmly capped at 1,800 participants, so we encourage you to act fast.
Eligibility for Individual Investor Programme Malta
An amendment passed in 2013 to Chapter 188 of the Maltese Citizenship Act, as well as the enactment of Legal Notice LN47 in 2014, legally grant eligible persons EU citizenship by investment via the Malta Individual Investor Program. To be considered eligible for the Malta citizenship scheme, the main applicant must be at least 18 years of age and must meet all the Malta immigration requirements outlined below.
Fit and Proper Test
The Malta citizenship by investment program has some of the strictest due diligence standards of any immigrant investor program in the world to ensure only deserving and reputable applicants are granted Maltese citizenship. As part of the Malta Individual Investor Programme, there is a four-tier due diligence process carried out directly by the government to assess candidates comprehensively. Applicants must have a clean criminal record, and the Malta government conducts extensive criminal checks with INTERPOL, the International Criminal Court, and various other sources and authorities. As part of the due diligence process, applicants must also provide a police certificate before they will be approved for European citizenship.
To be admitted into the citizenship by investment program Malta, applicants must show that they do not suffer from any contagious diseases. All applicants must also be covered by an international health insurance policy.
All individuals and families applying to the Malta Individual Investor Program must make a significant non-refundable contribution to the National Development and Social Fund set up by the Government of Malta and run by a board of trustees. The fund, which is on the same level as the central bank, finances projects in the country linked to public health, education, job creation, social improvement, and innovation. The following contributions must be made within four months of being issued a Malta IIP Letter of Approval in Principle:
Main applicant - €650,000
Spouse - €25,000
Minor children - €25,000 each
Children 18-26 (unmarried) - €50,000 each
Dependent parents & grandparents - €50,000 each
Adult children (physically or mentally challenged) - €50,000 each
Real Estate Purchase or Rental
Applicants must commit to retaining an immovable residence in Malta for a minimum time period of five years. This can be done by either buying a property in Malta for at least €350,000 and maintaining ownership for 5+ years, or by leasing a property for five years or more with a minimum annual rent of €16,000. Applicants must provide evidence of owning or leasing a property on the islands within four months of receiving a citizenship Malta Letter of Approval in Principle.
Before a person can be admitted for Maltese citizenship by investment, applicants are required to invest at least €150,000 in government approved financial instruments (bonds, stocks, and debentures that benefit the nation) and must commit to keeping the investment for at least five years.
Upon purchasing real estate or entering a property lease in Malta, investor citizenship candidates are issued a Malta identity document called an eResidence card. This signifies the commencement of their residency in Malta and also demonstrates the candidate's genuine link with the country. 12 months after an applicant has established residency in Malta, applicants who have maintained residence in the country will be granted citizenship. You do not need to spend all 365 days in Malta before citizenship is granted, Maltese law defines residence as "an intention to reside in Malta for any fiscal year, usually evidenced by a stay of a minimum of 183 days or by the purchase/rental of property together with a visit to Malta." Consequently, upon purchasing or leasing an apartment or villa in the Mediterranean island nation and procuring a Malta residence card, applicants are not required to spend any time in Europe. Candidates who have been a resident of the country for at least one year prior to I.I.P. approval already satisfy this residency requirement and can subsequently become a citizen of Malta much faster.
Malta Citizenship Scheme Application Timeline
Malta Residency: Potential candidates who are not already resident in the country are strongly advised to begin the Malta residency process immediately since the Individual Investor Programme has a 12-month residency requirement. To be granted citizenship in Malta as fast as possible, it is very important that the clock is ticking on an applicant's residency requirement while they progress through the Malta citizenship application process. Upon initiation of a nominee's residency in Malta, a small deposit of €5,000 for the primary applicant and €1,000 for each family member is due on account of the National Development and Social Fund contribution.
Day 1: A Malta Individual Investor Program application is formally submitted to Identity Malta by an Accredited Person. The application will contain imperative supporting documents, and evidence of source of funds must also be presented at this stage. The following fees are now due:
Due Diligence Fees
Principal applicant - €7,500
Spouse - €5,000
Minor dependents (aged 0-12) - no fee
Minor dependents (aged 13-17) - €3,000 each
Adult dependents - €5,000 each
Malta Passport Fees
All candidates - €500 each
Per application - €200
A total deposit of €10,000 is now due towards the monetary contribution. Any deposit made when applying for Maltese residency counts towards this amount.
Day 5: Identity Malta will notify the concessionaire or Accredited Person within five business days of submission to confirm whether client's application has been accepted for review or requires additional paperwork.
Day 90: Confirmation from Identity Malta that the application and supporting documentation are formally in order. The candidate is subject to a further 30 days of additional verification by the Government of Malta's regulatory body.
Day 120: Applicant is approved in principle. This signifies official Malta IIP approval conditional only on the candidate fulfilling all their remaining obligations under the Maltese nationality program for investors.
Day 125: Identity Malta sends the applicant a formal request for payment of remaining balance of National Development and Social Fund contribution. The candidate has 20 days to pay the full amount.
Day 145: Maltese IIP financial contribution deadline. The entire National Development and Social Fund contribution must be made by this time.
Day 240: Final citizenship by investment Malta compliance. Applicant must provide evidence of €150,000 bonds investment as well as a Malta real estate purchase or rental.
Issuance of Naturalisation Certificate: Once an applicant has fulfilled all their obligations under the Malta Individual Investor Program and taken an Oath of Allegiance, they will be issued a Certificate of Naturalisation and given a Malta Passport.
If you are interested in learning more about the Malta citizenship by investment program, please contact our team for a confidential consultation.
Tax Consequences of Citizenship in Malta
Obtaining European citizenship by investment through the Malta investor program does not have any tax consequences! Even if an individual moves their primary residence to Malta, they can retain the status of a "non-domiciled" person and therefore have an extremely advantageous tax exposure. Candidates that become a resident of Malta but are not domiciled in the country are only required to pay tax on any income they earn or receive in the country. Malta has no municipal taxes, no estate duty, no death or inheritance taxes, and no wealth or net worth taxes. Malta also has double taxation treaties with approximately 60 countries around the world. The corporate tax rate in Malta is 35%, but special tax concessions apply to non-resident or non-domiciled company owners.