Malta offers two visa programs through investment, one for permanent residency and one for citizenship.
Malta is a full member of the European Union, is part of the EU Schengen visa zone and English is widely spoken on the island.
Malta’s citizenship-by-investment program is widely acknowledged as one of the most efficient currently available, with a solid reputation based on its rigorous due diligence and vetting procedures. The program is a donation-based system, with the core investment being a monetary contribution to a National Development and Social Fund established by the nation’s government. All applicants must fulfill the investments listed below in order to qualify for Malta’s citizenship-by-investment program:
- Non-refundable EUR 650,000 donation to the National Development and Social Fund, plus an additional EUR 25,000 donation for their spouse and each minor dependent, and an additional EUR 50,000 donation for each adult dependent
- Investment in a personal residency in Malta, either by purchasing a property worth at least EUR 350,000, or leasing a property at an annual rent of at least EUR 16,000. Both purchased and leased properties must be retained for at least five years.
- Investment of at least EUR 150,000 euros in government-approved stocks, bonds, or other financial instruments, and maintain the investment for at least five years
For investors not interested in a Maltese passport but seeking the benefits of residency, Malta also offers a number of attractive options. The Malta Residence and Visa Program (MRVP) offers foreign investors the possibility of acquiring an EU residence permit that offers visa-free travel within Europe’s Schengen Area if they fulfil the following criteria:
- An investment in government bonds of EUR 250,000 to be retained for a minimum period of five years
- A non-refundable government contribution of EUR 30,000 (EUR 5,500 of which is an advance government administrative fee)
- A property purchase of EUR 320,000 (EUR 270,000 in South Malta or Gozo), or a property lease of EUR 12,000 per annum (EUR 10,000 in South Malta or Gozo)
Applications for Maltese Citizenship by Investment are processed by the government run entity. To qualify for citizenship the main applicant must pass a ‘fit and proper’ test. Applicants must show they are in good standing and repute. The Government of Malta is committed to the highest standard of due diligence to ensure only deserving and reputable applicants are allowed to proceed for the grant of Maltese citizenship. A four-tier due diligence process is carried out directly by the Government to assess applicants and process and approve applications at various stages. In addition to the qualifying investment applicants must provide a police certificate demonstrating a clear criminal record. Applicants must show they do not suffer from a contagious disease or a health condition that could become a significant burden on the state. And importantly, applicants must demonstrate a “genuine link” with the island. The genuine link test ensures that the main and dependent applicants are able to demonstrate a genuine connection with the jurisdiction in their personal, social, philanthropic and commercial activities.
The main applicant may also add dependents to a citizenship application including his or her spouse and children under 18. Dependent children up to the age of 25 can be included along with dependent parents and grandparents over the age of 55.
Like all European countries, the Maltese tax system subjects persons to tax on the basis of domicile and residence and not citizenship. Residence for tax purposes will require a stay of at least 183 days in any one year. Tax for non-residents is due only on income and capital gains arising in Malta. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is chargeable on property as a main residence sold within 3 years at 12%. However if retained for 5 years there is no taxation on sale. There are no inheritance or death taxes and no net worth or wealth taxes in Malta.
Living, Working and Studying
Applicants and their families gaining citizenship in Malta gain the full rights of EU citizens and have the ability to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union.
Applicants gain a European passport and the access this gains allowing travel to 182 countries and districts without a visa including USA and Canada.
The Maltese Citizenship through Investment program is ideal for investors who have the time to wait and who are committed to Malta and able to show and develop genuine ties with the island. The overall cash outlay is lower than that of Cyprus, however the lost contribution element is not conducive to maximizing return on investment.