Comparing Malta Residence and Citizenship Programmes

Comparing the Residence & Citizenship programmes in Malta

Dr. Antoine Saliba Haig | 11 Nov 2020

The Malta Residence  Citizenship Programmes  A comparison

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme and the Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment Rules were introduced in Malta to facilitate the process of relocation to Malta for high net worth individuals. Subject to the requirements established by law, eligible individuals may acquire either a Maltese residency certificate and card (MRVP) or Maltese citizenship and passport (IIP) in a shorter time-frame, further acquiring benefits ancillary to both.

Residence & Citizenship by Investment in Malta

The MRVP and the IIP were established by Legal Notice 288 of 2015 and Legal Notice 47 of 2014 respectively. The law establishes the requirements necessary for an applicant to be approved by the competent authority, as well as the eligibility requirements for prospective applicants, and grounds upon which either residency card or passport respectively may be revoked.

Benefits of Malta Residence & Citizenship Programmes

As two distinct programmes, the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (previously MRVP) and the Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment Rules (previously the Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme or IIP) both offer different benefits to those choosing to pursue obtaining either residence or citizenship respectively.

One of the main benefits pertaining to both programmes includes entitlement to residency in Malta upon a successful application, and the possibility to include family members in the main application, given that they are a spouse, or direct ascendants and descendants of the main applicant as well as dependent on him or her. Furthermore, with Malta being a member state of the European Union since 2004, both programmes offer benefits in terms of movement within Europe and the Schengen area.

However, as two separate programmes, there are clear differences in the benefits accorded to each programme. The clearest distinction is that individuals completing the Maltese Permanent Residence Programme are granted an indefinite residence certificate and a residency card, and those applying for Maltese citizenship are naturalised and obtain a Maltese passport. Amongst the benefits afforded to a successful Maltese Citizenship applicant are free movement and establishment in any of the 28 member states of the European Union, visa-free access to over 172 countries including the US, UK and Canada, as well as rights and freedoms accorded to Maltese and European Citizens.   During the residence period of the Maltese investor route to citizenship, investors receive a residency card within 3 to 4 weeks of their application. This benefit is not offered to applicants of the Maltese Permanent Residence programme until their application has been approved. Secondly, while both programmes offer relocation to Malta, the processing time for the Maltese residence application is approximately four to six months, whilst an investor application for Maltese citizenship takes 6 months within the minimum 36 month residency (which may be reduced to  12 months on making a higher investment in Malta.

A significant benefit of both programmes is the efficient process of acquiring residency or citizenship. The estimated processing time of Maltese permanent residence application is approximately four to six months, whilst Maltese citizenship is granted within 1-2 months from satisfying the minimum 12 month residence period.  This includes the four to six month processing time, and time to comply with the investment and property purchase requirements leading to the issuance of a Maltese passport.

Eligibility for Maltese Residence & Citizenship Programmes

Applicants for both investment migration programmes are subject to a thorough due-diligence process to ensure that applicants are fit and proper persons, of good conduct and standing, and eligible to apply. For both programmes, the main applicant must be at least 18 years of age, and commit to the contribution required and to purchasing or renting the property. The investment amount and value of qualifying property varies depending on the location chosen. Furthermore, in both cases, the applicant must commit to contributing of the direct investment established by law in full. In the case of the investor route to Maltese citizenship, the applicant must also prove residence in Malta for 12 months.

In order to be eligible, applicants must also provide a police certificate issued by the Maltese authorities, the applicant’s country of origin as well as from each country of residence where the applicant has resided for a period of over six months during the last ten years. As persons of good standing, the main applicant and his dependents must also have a clean criminal record, and not be listed with the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL).

The law also gives grounds whereby an individual may be considered not eligible to apply. These include provision of false information to the authorities, having served time for a criminal offence punishable by over one year of imprisonment, having a criminal record, being subject to ongoing investigation, or considered a threat to national security. The applicant must also not have been denied a visa to a country with which Malta has visa-free travel arrangements and has not subsequently obtained a visa to the country that issued the denial. Furthermore, some restrictions on nationality of applicants do apply: Afghanis and North Koreans are not permitted to apply for both programmes, whilst persons of Iranian nationality may only apply for the MRVP and are not permitted to apply for the IIP.

 

 Malta Permanent ResidenceMaltese Citizenship by Direct Investment Rules
SpouseCan be includedCan be included
Minor Children under 18Can be includedCan be included
Adult ChildrenCan be included (no age limit)Can be included if aged between 18-28, unmarried and economically dependent on the Main Applicant.
Parents & GrandparentsCan be included (no age limit)Can be included if over the age of 55 and economically dependent on the Main Applicant.

 

The Malta Residence & Citizenship Programmes

Requirements & Contributions

As two distinct programmes, the requirements which must be fulfilled by applicants in order to successfully participate also vary. Individuals pursuing the MRVP programme are required to pay a contribution of €30,000 to the Maltese Government. This fee covers the family (spouse and dependent children) of the applicant, whilst other dependents must pay a fee of €5,000 each. Furthermore, an investment of at least €250,000 must be made in government bonds which are to be kept for at least five years, as well as obtaining a qualifying property for the purposes of the MRVP. Such property must be purchased at a minimum value of €270,000 or rented at a minimum of €10,000 per annum. It must also be held for at least five years from approval of the application.

The requirements for the IIP programme differ from those for the MRVP. The contribution made to the Maltese Government is established by law at €650,000, with a further €25,000 for each spouse and minor child, and €55,000 for each additional dependent added to the application. The applicant must also invest in government bonds or shares with a minimum value of €150,000 to be kept for at least five years, as well as in a qualifying property. The property must be purchased at a minimum value of €350,000, or alternatively rented at a minimum value of €16,000 per annum. The qualifying property must be maintained for at least five years from approval of the application. In contrast with the MRVP, where no minimum presence is required, applicants of the IIP must prove presence in Malta upon application. Furthermore, both programmes require evidence of a coverage of a health insurance policy in Malta and Europe.

Both the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MRVP) as well as the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) offer avenues for investors of repute; whether seeking to obtain Maltese residency or Maltese citizenship respectively. Whilst differing in the requirements necessary for a successful application, both provide alternative methods of relocating to Malta, with distinct benefits accorded to each programme.

 Malta Permanent ResidenceInvestor Route to Malta Citizenship: 36 monthsInvestor Route to Malta Citizenship: 12 months
Contribution€30,000 covering all the family with the exception of parents. An additional fee of €5,000 applies for each additional parent.
  • Main applicant - €600,000
  • Spouse €50,000
  • Minor children €50,000
  • Adult children/parents €50,000
  • Main applicant - €750,000
  • Spouse €50,000
  • Minor children €50,000
  • Adult children/parents €50,000
Purchase of Property€300,000 or €350,000 depending on location€700,000  €700,000  
OR   
Rental of Property€10,000 or €12,000 depending on location.€16,000 (minimum 5 years)€16,000 (minimum 5 years)

 

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