The Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme is the first EU approved citizenship programme. The Republic of Malta enjoys a stable political climate and a bi-partisan political scene that is largely convergent on issues of national and economic importance. Malta has weathered the financial crises well and shared the limelight with Germany as the only two states maintaining economic growth in the Euro Zone. Malta's banks have been ranked amongst the top 5 soundest banks in the world.
Malta has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and is part of Schengen since 2007. Citizenship obtained under this programme grants the rights of full citizenship for life and can be passed on to future generations by descent. Maltese citizenship grants access to all investment opportunities in Malta and throughout the European Union open to Maltese and European Union citizens.
As at June 2015, the number of applicants in the Maltese citizenship program was just over 620, out of the cap of 1800 applications in place for the whole program.
Legal Basis for Malta Citizenship by Investment
Malta Citizenship by Investment may be granted under an amendment passed in November 2013 to the Maltese Citizenship Act, Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta. These amendments provided the framework for the enactment of LN 47 of 2014. The “Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) rules provide for affluent persons of impeccable standing and repute to be naturalised and to receive Maltese citizenship on the basis of a contribution to and investment in Malta.
Benefits of Malta Citizenship by Investment
- Efficient process:
- Citizenship approved after just 4 months processing time.
- Fast track residence cards within 1-3 weeks with Schengen mobility for 18 months.
- A total of 12 months to passport issue (inclusive of processing time) from date of initial residency.
- Visa free travel to over 166 countries, including EU, USA, Canada.
- Right to live, work, study in any of the 28 EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland & Liechtenstein.
- EU approved citizenship program since Feb 2014
- Family eligigibilty includes parents of main applicant and spouse, minor children, unmarried dependent adult children <27. Descendants automatically entitled to citizenship thereafter.
- Malta is a neutral, safe and stable country with a friendly people living a European lifestyle but with a Mediterranean quality of life.
Eligibility for Malta Citizenship by Investment
To qualify under the regulations, a Main Applicant for Malta Citizenship by Investment must be at least 18 years of age and must meet the requirements outlined in this factsheet.
The main applicant may also add dependents to a citizenship application his/her spouse, children and parents or grandparents, under certain conditions, to benefit under the Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme.
Beneficiaries under the Global Residence Programme may also additionally apply for citizenship under this Programme.
'Fit and proper' Test
Applicants must show they are in good standing and repute and will undergo a 'fit and proper' test. 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 that will assess applicants and will process and approve applications at various stages.
Applicants must demonstrate a clean criminal record, with checks being conducted with the International Criminal Court, INTERPOL and various other authorities and sources. Applicants must provide a police certificate which may be submitted subsequently to the submission of the application but at all times prior to approval.
Applicants must show they do not suffer from a contagious disease and that they do not carry a disease requiring treatment that could impose a burden on the Maltese health system.
Contribution to the National Development & Social Fund
To qualify for Malta Citizenship by Investment, the main applicant is required to contribute at least €650,000 to Malta. Of this contribution, 70 per cent will go into the Fund set up by the Government of Malta and run by a board of trustees. The rest goes to the consolidated fund. Spouses and children are required to contribute €25,000; unmarried children between 18 and 25 and dependent parents must contribute €50,000 each.
This contribution and the investments below need only be made AFTER approval of the applicants' citizenship petition.
Property Purchase or Rental
Applicants are required to make an investment in property of at least €350,000 or enter a property rental contract for at least €16,000 p.a. both on five-year contracts.
Investment in Bonds/Shares
Applicants are required to invest at least €150,000 in bonds or shares from time to time approved by the Maltese Government to be kept for at least five years. This investment will need to be made in stocks sanctioned by the government as beneficial to the Island. We are able to assist clients with the acquisition of approved collective investmeent schemes that invest only in Government Bonds.
The “residence requirement” requires evidence of a genuine link with Malta. Approved Agents obtain advance written approval from Identity Malta of their clients' proposed links. Citizenship is granted after 12 months from effective date of commencement of the genuine link with Malta. Candidates must commit to some presence (but not 365 days) in Malta before citizenship is granted. Persons already resident one year prior to IIP approval already satisfy this requirement.
Grounds for Refusal of Malta Citizenship by Investment
Identity Malta will regard all applicantions on a case by case basis and may be satisfied that the applicant is still worthy of being considered for approval nothwistanding the presence of any of the grounds listed below, due to special circumstances. In the case of approval, Identity Malta must provide reasoned opinion why applicant should still be considered for approval and should refer the case to the Minister who has sole authority to approve.
- Providing false information
- Having a criminal record or being subject of a criminal record
- Potential national security threat
- Likely to cause disrepute to Malta
- Denied a visa to a country
Grounds for Revocation of Malta Citizenship by Investment
The revocation ("deprivation") from Maltese citizenship is well regulated and is governed by the Maltese Citizenship Act. Legitimate grounds for deprivation of citizenship would be that:
- citizenship was acquired by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact or
- such citizen has shown himself or herself by act or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards the President or the Government of Malta or
- such citizen had engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in or associated with any business that was motivated by willingness to assist an enemy in that war.
Various authorities on constitutional law have expressed their position on this subject, largely to the effect that it would be contrary to fundamental human rights for any government to issue a blanket revocation of citizenship based on its grant under the Individual Investor Programme.
Taxation of New Citizens
The basis for taxation under the Maltese tax system are based on domicile and residence – not citizenship. The grant of Maltese citizenship to a non-domiciliary of Malta does not of itself, cause the beneficiary to acquire a new domicile of choice in Malta. Residence for tax purposes is established by demonstrating an intention to reside in Malta indefinitely and definitely on the basis of a day count of 183 days.
Tax residents of Malta who are not domiciled in Malta are taxable on a remittance basis. Accordingly, non-doms who are not resident in Malta are not taxable on foreign source income not received in Malta, nor on any capital gains arising outside Malta whether remitted or not. Tax is due only on a sources basis on income and capital gains arising in Malta. A non-resident citizen of Malta is only taxable in Malta on Malta source income.
Sale of Property
After the lapse of the obligatory 5 year period, property in Malta can be sold completely exempt from tax if such property is held for a period of 3 years as the resident’s sole and ordinary residence. If sold before the lapse of 3 years, a final property tax of 12% is chargeable on the selling price.
Other Tax Considerations
- No inheritance or death taxes
- No estate duty
- No net worth or wealth taxes
- No municipal taxes, rates or real estate taxes
Malta Citizenship Application Process
Application Time Frames & Payments
1. Apply for Residence: applicants who are not already resident in Malta are advised to start the process of residency to set the clock ticking on the 1 year residency requirement. A deposit of only €5,000 is required at this stage on account of the €650K contribution: this covers the main applicant. Additionally a fee of €1,000 is payable per dependent.
2. Day 0: Formal Application by Accredited Person: An application is formally submitted to Identity Malta with the essential supporting documents. Payments due now include the due diligence fees, passport fees and a deposit of €10,000 on account of the €650K contribution, less any payments made on applying for residency. Evidence of source of funds to be presented.
3. Day 90: Identity Malta confirms if documentation submitted are formally in order, subject to a further month of further verifications.
4. Day 120: In Principle Approval: This is the approval of the process conditional only to the fulfilment of the obligations undertaken under the IIP.
5. Day 125: Formal Request for Contribution: Identity Malta requests payment of remaining balance on contribution.
6. Day 145: Deadline for paying balance on contribution.
7. Day 240: Final Compliance: Provide evidence of Property Purchase / Rental & €150K investment.
8. Day 183; Issue of Certificate of Naturalisation (maximum time to issue: 2 years). Subject to: Oath of Allegiance, 1 Year residence.
Our Citizenship Services
Applications for Maltese Citizenship by Investment are to be made to and processed wholly by Identity Malta. Applicants must be represented by an Accredited Person that is a licensed Maltese Authorised Registered Mandatory (ARM). Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti (Chetcuti Cauchi Advisors Ltd) holds licence no. IIP 001 and has satisfied the additional requirements imposed by the IIP Regulations over and above the requirements for ARMs under other legislation. The programme imposes more responsibilities on ARMs to ensure the highest standards of quality are maintained throughout the application process, for the protection and benefit of applicants and the reputation of the Maltese citizenship by investment programme. More info about our Malta Citizenship Applications service and our our First Citizenship Approvals.
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