Immigration Law in Malta

Residency And Citizenship Law

As Malta's reputation grows as a high-quality place to live, work, do business, eat well or simply detox, we increasingly advise on immigration law, property law and tax implications of taking up residence in Malta and of investor routes to naturalisation and Maltese citizenship.  Our clients are a mix of entrepreneurs, investors, inventors, and high net worth individuals and families seeking increased mobility, an international lifestyle, a retirement destination, or easier business travel by taking up Maltese Permanent Residence or Maltese citizenship.   We provide specialist Maltese immigration law and personal tax advice and handle applications for residency, tax residence and citizenship in Malta.  We assist several international law firms, immigration professionals and tax practitioners to provide professional assistance and advice on relocation and tax matters in Malta.

Maltese Citizenship Exceptional Services to Malta or to Humanity

Acquisition of Maltese citizenship may be granted to any person who has rendered exceptional services to the Republic of Malta or to humanity. A certificate of naturalisation may be granted even to the spouse thereof. 

Maltese Citizenship for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment

High net worth individuals and families who hold investor residency for 3 or 1 year and who pass the financial, criminal and reputational due diligence process, may apply for Maltese citizenship and make a qualifying direct investment in Malta.


Maltese Citizenship by Birth in Malta

Every person born in Malta is deemed to be a citizen of Malta as from the date of his or her birth. In view of every person’s human right to nationality, the Maltese Citizenship Act also grants Maltese citizenship to any new-born infant who is found abandoned in any place in Malta deemed to be stateless until such person establishes his or her right to any other citizenship, if any.

However, in the case of a person, who is born on or after the 1st August, 1989, shall only be entitled to Maltese citizenship if his or her father or mother was or is either a citizen of Malta or was born in Malta. Such person must have been ordinarily resident in Malta for a period of three years on the date of application. Citizenship will not be granted if he or she has been convicted in any country of an offence against the security of the state.

Maltese Citizenship by Descent

Any person who is of a Maltese descent may obtain Maltese citizenship after making application and taking the oath of allegiance.

Where a person is of full age and capacity and happens to be a citizen of a country other than that in which he or she resides, and whose access to the country of which he or she is a citizen is restricted, may prove descent from a person born in Malta so as to acquire Maltese citizenship. This is subject to the Minister’s opinion that the grant is not contrary to the public interest.

Where a person is and has always been stateless and happens to have been born in Malta may also be granted Maltese citizenship if he or she has been ordinarily resident in Malta for a period of five years at the time of the application. The applicant must not have been convicted in any country of an offence against the security of the state or sentenced in any country to a punishment restrictive of personal liberty for a term of not less than five years.


Stateless Persons

Where a person is an alien or a stateless person, being of full age and capacity, may be granted a certificate of naturalisation as a citizen of Malta. This provided that such person has resided in Malta for a period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of application; during the six years immediately preceding the twelve month period, he has resided in Malta for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than four years; has an adequate knowledge of the Maltese or the English language; is of good character and would be a suitable citizen of Malta.


Maltese Citizenship by Marriage

A person may become a Maltese citizen if he or she marries a Maltese citizen. For the purposes of registration, the applicant shall make an application and take the oath of allegiance. The applicant shall have been married for at least five years and living with that citizen. But, where the applicant and his or her spouse are de jure or de facto separated, it is necessary that they had lived together for at least five years after the celebration of the marriage.

In the case that the applicant’s spouse is dead, he or she shall indicate that on the date of the application he or she was the widower or widow of a Maltese citizen. However, they shall had been married for at least five years and would still have been living together but for the demise on the date of the application. Acquisition of citizenship will only be granted if the Minister is of the opinion that it is not contrary to public interest.

Maltese Citizenship by Adoption

As from the 1st January, 1989, a child who is adopted by Maltese citizens acquires Maltese citizenship automatically. This provided that the adopted child was less than ten years of age at the date of the adoption.

Acquisition of Maltese Citizenship at Independence

Acquisition of citizenship was granted to nationals of the United Kingdom and Colonies to become Maltese citizens following independence. The general criteria to acquire citizenship included direct family descent, marriage and permanent residence prior to the appointed day.

Relocation Services

Our Maltese immigration law practice also provides relocation services to some of the largest players in Malta’s financial services and online gaming scenes. As part of our pre-immigration tax planning, we assist families in organising their banking and wealth management structures to ensure the desired results in line with Malta’s source and remittance basis of taxation for non-dom residents. Our tax and immigration lawyers have made use of the Highly Qualified Persons Rules as the most suitable route to taking up employment and residency in Malta, benefiting from a 15% flat rate on all employment income in the right circumstances.

Specialised Immigration Services

In addition to in-house Malta immigration law expertise, the firm’s partners operate specialised immigration entities licensed separately to handle residency and immigration applications as Authorised Registered Mandataries under Maltese immigration and tax legislation, and was the first to be licensed to handle Malta citizenship by investment applications under the Individual Investor Programme (2014-2020) and to obtain approvals of applications under the programme.

Our Immigration Partners

Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti is a licensed advocate and authorised registered mandatory, a member of STEP Malta (chairman between 2013-2016) and a member of the Global Migration Section of the American Immigration Lawyers Association AILA in Malta.  Dr Chetcuti is recognised figure in Maltese tax, citizenship and residence matters and is regularly invited to speak on Malta immigration law developments in international fora.

Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker is a licensed advocate, immigration agent and authorised registered mandatory, a member of STEP Malta (chairman between 2020 – present).  Dr Mifsud Parker is a recognised figure in the world of trusts and estate planning and tax and corporate structuring of wealth and business through Malta.

The Individual Investor Programme is Malta's Citizenship by Investment Programme and requires a significant contribution to the Maltese economy and covers spouse and dependent children up to 25 years and of dependent parents above 55 years.  Due diligence fees cover extensive due diligence on all applicants under this Malta Citizenship Scheme.  The programme reaches its quota of 1,800 applications in 2021.  

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Key Contacts

Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti

Senior Partner, Tax & Immigration

+356 22056111

Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker

Senior Partner, Corporate, Tax & Immigration

+356 22056122