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 provbided the framewokr for the enactment of LN 47 of 2014. The “Individual Investor Programme (IIP) 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.
Eligibility for Malta Citizenship by Investment
The main applicant may also add 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. The Maltese IIP allows for the granting of citizenship by a certificate of naturalisation to foreign individuals and their families who contribute to the economic development of Malta.
To qualify under the regulations of this programme, a Main Applicant for citizenship must be at least 18 years of age and must meet the follow requirements:
Contribution to the National Development & Social Fund
To access the Maltese citizenship program, main applicants must be represented by Authorised Registered Mandataries and are required to contribute €650,000 to Malta. Of this contribution, 70 per cent will go into a National Development and Social Fund to be set up by the Government of Malta and to be run by a board of trustees on the lines of the Sovereign Wealth Fund in Norway. The rest will go to the consolidated fund.
The CNDSF's scope will be to carry out projects linked to education, innovation, job creation and the implementation of the jobs plus strategy, social projects and projects in the public health sector. The fund will be on the same level as the Central Bank
Spouses and children of applicants for Malta citizenship are required to contribute €25,000 while unmarried children between the ages of 18 and 25 and dependent parents will also be granted citizenship on the basis of a contribution of €50,000 each.
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 in Malta to be kept for five years. This investments will need to be made in stocks sanctioned by the government as beneficial to the Island. The total investment to be made by applicants for Citizenship by Investment would be of €1.15m.
The “residence requirement” is satisfied on showing a genuine link with the Island of Malta. Approved Agents are able to seek advance written approval from Identity Malta that their clients' proposed links satisfy Identity Malta. Citizenship is granted after 12 months from effective date of commencement of the genuine link with the Maltese Islands. This is not to mean that candidates need to spend 365 days in Malta before citizenship is granted. In practice, all the client needs to do is visit Malta to have their biometrics taken at the beginning of the process and then to take the oath of allegiance at the end.
The definition of residency should be interpreted in the spirit of the residency clause by which the legislator wants applicants to forge links with the island. Acceptable criteria include having local mobile phone, a car, membership of a local club or professional body, as well as any involvement in philanthropy. Persons resident in Malta one year prior to the approval of their IIP application need not satisfy further residence requirements.
'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 process applications subject to Governmental approval 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.
Grounds for Refusal
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
Notwithstanding the above, Identity Malta will regard applicants on a case by case basis and may be satisfied that the applicant is still worthy of being considered for approval 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.
Malta Citizenship Rights
Malta has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and part of the Schengen Area since 2007. Malta Citizenship by Investment grants the rights of full citizenship and access to all investment opportunities in Malta and throughout the European union open to Maltese and European Union citizens.
Taxation of New Citizens
Residents of Malta who are not domiciled in Malta are taxable on a remittance basis. 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. Accordingly, non-doms who are not domiciled in Malta are not taxable on foreign source income not received in Malta and also not taxable on any capital gains arising outside Malta, whether remitted to Malta or otherwise.
Malta Citizenship Application Process
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 Authorised Registered Mandataries 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.
Chetcuti Cauchi’s Citizenship Services
Chetcuti Cauchi enjoys a sterling reputation in the areas of citizenship and residence planning and in the handling of legal and tax matters relevant to the structuring and planning of personal wealth and personal interests and business worldwide. Our Citizenship & Residence Planning team is led by partners Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti and Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker.
Jean-Philippe acts as the firm’s managing partner and serves as the Chairman of STEP, the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners and on the executive committee of IFSP, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners. Jean-Philippe co-founded and acts as secretary of the Malta Association of Family Enterprises, which he represents at the European Family Business. JP is personally accredited under the first licence issued by Identity Malta to handle Malta Citizenship by Investment applications.
Priscilla is a private clients lawyer specialising in immigration law and in trusts and estates. She is a member of the Maltese Chamber of Advocates and serves as Technical Chair of STEP.