Residency & Citizenship

Residency And Citizenship Law

Quick links:  Malta Residence for EU Nationals | Malta Permanent Residence | Malta Global Residence | Maltese Citizenship Law

 

Residency & Citizenship for HNW Families

The firm has adopted a rounded approach to the legal needs of our clients by tapping into our wider, fully integrated firm-wide services. We start by identifying our clients’ personal and commercial objectives. We ensure that any domestic or international wealth structuring, family wealth issues or disputes, real estate and commercial transactions, family office matters or philanthropic intentions are aligned with such objectives. We also work closely with our Corporate and Tax teams to offer an all-inclusive service to our clients with their intricate personal and business legal requirements. In a typical scenario, it is our role to ensure that such clients familiarise themselves with Malta. We project manage their setting up from a legal, corporate and logistical aspect and assist them in compliance and ongoing matters.

Our Residency & Citizenship Expertise

Our immigration team, together with other professionals in the firm, including our tax advisors, assist persons wishing to relocate and retire to Malta using the appropriate Malta programme, whether this involves the attainment of citizenship or through one of the current, available residency programmes.

Maltese Citizenship by Birth or Descent

The Maltese Citizenship Act provides the grounds for the acquisition of citizenship under Maltese law namely birth, descent, marriage and naturalisation.

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.

Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation

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.

Malta Individual Investor Programme 2014

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.  

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.  Exceptional services include significant direct investments in Malta  A person may now acquire Maltese citizenship under the individual investor programme provided that he or she satisfies the necessary requirements. In all cases, an application shall be made and the oath of allegiance taken to this end.

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.

The firm represents a diverse clientele hailing from all corners of the world, given the firm's regional preparation in assisting clients in accordance with the peculiarities of their country / region of origin.  The firm speaks more than 10 languages and has special understanding of the MEA and MENA regions, the Indian subcontinent, Asia and South East Asia, Russia and the CIS, the Americas,  The nationalities represented by the Firm to date originate amongst others from the Middle-East, Russia and the CIS, China, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, France and the US. The firm provides VIP treatment to clients applying under this programme, offering end-to-end process management and concierge services, handholding the client and family members throughout the application process and project managing any personal relocation processes.

Malta Residence

We specialise in advising and assisting with all Malta Residence Programmes including:

Over the years, we have assisted individuals and families from all corners of the world to take up an alternative residence permit in Malta, taking advantage of Malta’s membership of the European Union since 2004 and importantly Malta’s Schengen status since 2007. The firm boasts the largest number of successful applications handled under the Malta Global Residence Programme since its inception when it was first known as the Permanent Residence Scheme and later the HNWI Rules.

Malta Relocation Services

We have also provided 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.

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Key Contacts

Dr Antoine Saliba Haig

Senior Lawyer

+356 22056446

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