Malta Start-Up Residence Programme

Dr. Antoine Saliba Haig | 13 Oct 2022

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The Residency Malta Agency together with the government entity Malta Enterprise has launched the Malta Start Up Residence Programme. The programme will continue to attract high quality entrepreneurs to Malta whilst offering new start-ups and ventures the opportunity to flourish in a well-respected European jurisdiction that is both economically and politically stable. 

After the launch of the Nomad Residence Programme, the Malta Start Up Residence Programme continues to build on Malta’s policy in attracting talent from all over the globe. Malta is a favourable jurisdiction for digital nomads and start-up ventures in many ways: Malta is a member of the European Union, English is one of Malta’s official languages, and its location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is an ideal bridge between the European and African continent. 

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Eligibility

To be eligible to apply an applicant must: 

  1. Be of at least 18 years of age
  2. Have a concrete intention to develop and/or extend the business in Malta
  3. Be the founder or the co-founder of an enterprise which has been registered for no more than 7 years, and fulfils the following:
  4. It has not yet distributed profits
  5. It has not been formed through a merger
  6. It has not taken over the activity of another enterprise
  7. A co-founder would be one of the first entrepreneurs to have set-up the start-up.
  8. Purchase or rent a residential property in Malta
  9. Be covered by a health insurance policy
  10. Not have previously had applications for a residence status or citizenship rejected in Malta or abroad.

This programme is open only to non-EU nationals. Nationals of (or have close ties with) Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela are ineligible to apply. 

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Investment Required

The incorporated Start-up in Malta is required to make an investment and/or paid-up share capital of not less than €25,000. 

In case where more than four (4) co-founders apply for the Start-up Residence Programme, an additional €10,000 is required to be invested or place per additional co-founder. In all cases, the maximum number of co-founders eligible for the Start-up Residence Programme is six (6). 

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Personal Taxation

The founder and co-founders applying under this programme must have a physical and tangible presence in Malta. Those benefitting from this programme are required to live and pay taxes in Malta. 

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Residence Permit Duration

Residence Permits issued under this programme will be issued for an initial period of 3 years following approval from the Residency Malta Agency and Malta Enterprise. This can be renewed for a further period of 5 years once the local government agencies confirm that the start-up is still operating and its founders still meet the eligibility criteria of the Malta Start-Up Residence Programme. 

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Qualifying Industries

Together with the residence application, the applicant is also required to submit to Malta Enterprise Agency, a business plan. 

Start-Ups are eligible if they operate in one or more of the following industries:

  • Software development
  • Manufacturing
  • Health, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences
  • Eco start-ups involved in the blue, green and sustainable industries
  • Other innovative economic activities which are enabled through knowledge and technology providing services or products which are currently not readily available in the relevant market, or which shall be provided through a process which is novel.

Start-Ups submitting applications without a business plan approved by Malta Enterprise are ineligible to apply under this programme. 

Prospective start-ups must also meet at least two of the following criteria: 

  • Propose products or services that have the potential to generate income from various geographical markets.
  • Produce products or services which are new or substantially improved compared to complementary products on the market
  • Utilise process which are new or substantially improved compared to those adopted in current complementary activities.

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Core Employees & Family Members

The Malta Start-Up Residence Programme is also open for core employees of the new venture who possess specialised skills and earn a salary of not less than €30,000.

In addition, this employment needs to take place within the timeframe in which the venture is classified as a start-up. 

The residence card will be issued for three (3) years, which upon successful completion will be extended to a further 3-year period. The application for core employees is to be submitted online after the Malta Start-up Residence permit is approved for the co-founders.

Family members of core employees, founders and co-founder may also apply for a Maltese residence permit. An applicant can include the spouse, de-facto partner, minor children and adult children who are financially dependent on the founder or the core employee.

The fees applicable for applying for the Malta Start-up Residence Programme are as follows:

  • €750 for each adult applicant or dependant
  • €82.50 per person to Identity Malta Agency for the issuance of the residence card covering a 3 year period. 

How Can We Assist?

Our firm enjoys the reputation of a premier specialist for company formation in Malta with roots in sound legal and tax advice supported by a fully-fledged team for company formation in Malta, company administration and company accounting teams. In addition, Chetcuti Cauchi can also assist in submitting residence permit applications under the Start Up Residence Programme. Led by Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti , Chetcuti Cauchi's award-winningImmigration & Relocation Law team is the oldest specialised immigration law practice in Malta. We have successfully represented individuals and families ranging from expatriate retirees, emigrants seeking employment, to HNW individuals listed in Fortune 500. 


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