5 Reasons for Rejection of Maltese Citizenship Applications

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chetcuti | 16 Jul 2019

5 Reasons Maltese Citizenship Application Was Rejected

Malta’s Junior Minister responsible for Citizenship, the Hon Julia Farrugia Portelli, has rightly stated that nowadays ‘more high net worth individuals are seriously weighing their options in resorting to global citizenship to ensure a better future for their families or to expand their business possibilities.’ This notion is visible on the beaming faces of adult and younger members of the family sitting around our festive boardroom table upon receiving Maltese citizenship. Which, although a regular sight for Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, it remains a precious feat to achieve. 

However, not all applicants share this good fortune. Frustrated investors, alongside their lawyers, are an occasional occurrence at the firm. Such applicants usually come to us for advice on how to proceed upon receiving a rejection letter from the Maltese Citizenship Agency. 

Malta IIP, A Selective Programme

It is a misconception that Malta’s Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) admits all applicants. According to statistics, 1 out of 4 applicants has been rejected over the programme’s four-year history. Malta’s Individual Investor Programme Agency (MIIPA) enjoys a gold standard four-tier due diligence process which, subsequently, only deems the most eligible global citizens worthy. 

MIIPA’s CEO, Jonathan Cardona, comments on the essentiality of operating a strong due diligence process. Indeed, the Agency’s aim ‘has always been to carefully select through the right checks and balances, and a rigorous due diligence process’. In turn, ‘the right global citizens [will see] Malta as their natural home and the place they [chose] to shape the world of tomorrow’.

Common Reasons for Ineligibility to the Malta Individual Investor Programme

Criminal Record

Having a criminal record, or being the subject of criminal proceedings, automatically renders an applicant ineligible for the MIIP. Moreover, the Agency prioritizes the standing of the reputational profile of the applicant’s family. As successful business families are often the target of bad press, it is Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates’ job to ensure that these issues are assessed and, if relevant, disclosed and explained. 
Additionally, Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), are not instantly excluded from the Programme. Nonetheless, they will still be subject to a rigorous due diligence process, to ensure a secure source of wealth, an apt reputation and that the applicant’s status is in line with Malta’s international relations. 

A Threat to National Security 

If the applicant is a potential national security threat to Malta, or any other European Union member state, there is no way that an application would go through.

Submission of False Information 

Those applicants who purposely and voluntarily submit misrepresented, or incomplete information, in their Maltese Citizenship Application are inevitably paving the way towards a rejection. 

Unclean Source of Wealth

Where there are strong indications that the source of funds and wealth of the applicant are not legitimate, there are stronger chances of getting an application rejected. 
Even though applicants are likely to be rejected even if one of the criteria above is satisfied, an applicant’s chances of getting approved depend on the ability of the investor’s lawyers to clarify the matter. Merely listing the applicant’s total net worth is insufficient for the MIIPA. It is up to the lawyers to explain how the income was generated. Alongside this, the relevant evidence must be submitted to corroborate such declaration. 

An Inauspicious Immigration History

On the occasion that an applicant was denied a visa to a country with which Malta has a visa-free travel arrangement and said applicant has not obtained a visa in that jurisdiction since, then the grounds for rejection of an application would be suitable. 

While applicants who had a visa refusal may be rejected, Identity Malta is vested with the discretion to still consider the application for approval, especially if the applicant’s agent demonstrates valid reasons to grant Maltese citizenship. An example would be if the rejection for the visa was based on insufficient travel insurance coverage or, an incomplete application. 


A 4 Step Success to apply for the MIIP - Malta Individual Investor Programme

The key to avoiding rejection is not only a comprehensive understanding of the abovementioned grounds for ineligibility. Examining the rationale of the programme is also crucial. Indeed; 

1.    Working with a reputable law firm would ensure a sense of security when disclosing confidential information, especially in the context of lawyer-client privilege. Minor indiscretions may have major implications on the outcome of the application, especially if not identified. 
2.    Asking about the firm’s data security standards would ensure that your law firm of choice deploys bank-grade security standards. In turn, this would assert that client data is secure, especially when faced with data breaches. 
3.    Opening up and giving your lawyers the full picture. A Chetcuti Cauchi Advocate consultant would prefer to be in control of the outcome of an application. Having all the relevant facts is an essential key to a successful application. 
4.    Having lawyers who are able to study the facts presented, to undertake their own undertake their own enhanced due diligence research to ensure the completeness of that information, to discuss a strategy that maximises your chances of success and, ultimately, are honest enough to advise you when the chances of a positive outcome are slim.

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Are you interested in knowing more about the Malta Citizenship by investment Programme (MIIP)? Feel free to get in touch with our Citizenship & Residency Lawyer for a consultation.

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