Residency Programs

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chetcuti | 27 Sep 2016

The Malta Residence  Citizenship Programmes  A comparison

Both individuals and families are time and again choosing Malta as an alternative residence for private, business or financial purposes. From families to retirees seeking a safe jurisdiction with a warm climate and high quality healthcare and education, to budding entrepreneurs and successful business men who want to take advantage of all the opportunities which Malta offers, Malta has seen it all. The jurisdiction offers a number of Malta Residency Programs to suit the needs of different individuals and families.

Legal Basis for Malta Immigration

The Immigration Act, Chapter 217 of the Laws of Malta, is the main legal instrument which regulates Immigration in Malta, providing for the exemption of foreign spouses of citizens of Malta and their dependents under 21 from the requirement of periodical permission from the Immigration Authorities, the granting of temporary residence permits, the granting of permanent resident permits, the granting of permission for foreigners to work in Malta.

There are a number of Malta Residency programs and schemes which have been introduced to the Maltese Immigration Act through various amendments. Our firm specializes in immigration, particularly residency and citizenship law. Our specialists can help you choose one of the Malta Residency Programs which suits your needs and specific situation and provides a whole plethora of ancillary and concierge services related to Malta Residency Programs in order to make the relocation process as seamless and hassle-free as possible.

Eligibility for Malta Residency Programs – a quick overview of the main Malta Residency Programs

Eligibility for Malta Residency Programmes – a quick overview of the main Malta Residency Programmes

Benefits of various Malta Residency Programs 

Implemented in 2007, the Malta Ordinary Residence Scheme is available to EU, EEA & Swiss nationals who want to relocate to Malta. This scheme is particularly attractive to those who are searching for a safe, high quality and tax efficient jurisdiction where they can transfer their tax residence. Individuals who are financially independent, purchase or rent property in Malta and have a full health insurance may submit an application for an Ordinary Residence Permit. The processing time for the permit takes 6-8 weeks and will give the individual the freedom to reside and work in Malta, as well as Schengen residence. This permit also includes the applicant's family members and gives them access to high standard education and healthcare.

With regards to tax, non-domiciled residents under the ordinary residence scheme will benefit from taxation on a remittance basis, and will only be taxed on income and capital gains which arise in Malta.

  • Malta Permanent Residence Scheme, and subsequent Malta Residency Programs for HNWIs

Finding its roots in 1988, the Malta Permanent Residency was designed for affluent EU and non-EU individuals and their families who want to take up permanent resident status in Malta and transfer their tax residence within our shores. Permanent Residents of Malta are entitled to taxation at the flat rate of 15% on remitted income.  Income arising in Malta to a permanent residence permit holder is subject to tax at 35%. In 2010, the scope of the Permanent Residency Scheme changed; however all existing Permanent Residency permits remain valid.

As of 2011, applications for permanent residency are to be made under the Malta HNWI rules which are available in two streams: one for European nationals and another for non-European nationals. For more information about the HNWI Schemes refer to our publication on the Malta High Net Worth residence schemes for EU nationals and non-EU nationals as well as a specialised permanent residence scheme for Swiss and for HNWIs from Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. 

This program is ideal for financial independent individuals and is open to all non-EU nationals. The program grants a special tax status to third country nationals who satisfy a number of criteria.. Under the Global Residence Program Rules, non-domiciled residents of Malta enjoy special tax status, a flat rate of 15% on foreign source income. 

Similarly, highly qualified persons, such as aviation executives and financial services executives may benefit from the Highly Qualified Persons Rules which also grants a special tax status to EEA and Swiss nationals, as well as third country nationals.

This program offers fast track permanent residence in Malta through the granting of an EU residence card which grants visa-free travel within the Scheme Area. Affluent applicants of impeccable standing and repute will be granted such benefits on the basis of a contribution to and investment in Malta through the Malta Residency and Visa Program.

This program grants residence to economically self-sufficient applicants who maintain a permanent address in Malta in the form of residential property purchased or rented in Malta or Gozo, with no minimum presence required. This program includes the family members as well as domestic staff of the applicant who will benefit from free mobility within the Schengen Area, as well as a remittance basis of taxation with a 15% flat rate.

  • Malta Residency Programs for Pensioners

The United Nations Pensions Program provides for the granting of a special tax status and Schengen residence to individuals who meet a number of conditions. An individual may benefit under this scheme if he/she is in receipt of a United Nations pension of which at least 40% is received in Malta.

EU/EEA/Swiss individual pensioners can also be eligible for the Malta Retirement Program  which grants them a special tax status of 15% on foreign-sourced income

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