In 2020, the Maltese government has revisited its citizenship legislation to consider all matters relating to citizenship by birth, by registration, by naturalisation, dual and multiple citizenships and for exceptional services by direct investment.
A Residency Route Which Can Lead to Citizenship in Malta
‘Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment' provides foreign individuals and their families, who contribute to the economic development of Malta, a route to becoming citizens of Malta.
Malta is a member of the European Union and all its citizens can travel, live, work, study and set up business in any of the member countries together with visa-free travel rights to more than 180 countries.
Community Malta Agency (the Agency) is the authorised Maltese Government Agency responsible for administering the processing of all applications, leading to Maltese Citizenship.
Under the new regulations, applicants can opt for residence in Malta, leading to citizenship choosing between two options:
- application after three years of residence in Malta, for a lower contribution fee; OR
- application for citizenship after one year of residence in Malta.
To be able to apply for Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment, an applicant needs to make a direct investment to the Maltese economy, make a donation and hold a residential property.
Exceptional Services Requirements
- Direct Investment
Applicants, who can prove residency status in Malta for 36 months prior to the naturalization, are required to make a direct investment of €600,000 whilst applicants who prove a residency status in Malta for at least 12 months are required to make an exceptional direct investment of €750,000.
If the applicant is accompanied by qualifying dependants, a further investment of €50,000 per dependant is to be made.
An applicant cannot apply for a certificate of citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services, before he/she has proved that he/she has become a resident of Malta for the minimum period required.
- Philanthropic Donation
Prior to the issue of a certificate of Maltese citizenship, the applicant must donate a minimum €10,000 to a registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic non-governmental organisation or society, or as otherwise approved by the Agency.
- Property Investment
Once an applicant is approved and prior to the issue of a certificate of Maltese citizenship, the application must either purchase or rent residential property in Malta. If the applicant opts to purchase a property, an investment of at least €700,000 must be made. An applicant may alternatively take a lease on a residential immovable property in Malta, for a minimum annual rent of €16,000. The applicant must retain the property for at least 5 years from the date of the issue of the certificate of Maltese citizenship.
All individuals interested in applying for this programme, are required to do so through a registered approved agent, who will be acting on behalf of the client in all matters related to the Application for Eligibility and Application for Citizenship.
The Dixcart office in Malta can assist with the agency services.
Eligibility Criteria for Applicants
The Malta government aims to attract people of the highest calibre through the Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment and grant them Maltese residence, following a rigorous due diligence process and adherence to strict criteria.
To be eligible for the Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment, an applicant must meet a number of criteria:
- Be 18 years of age, or older. Eligibility may also extend to applicant's dependants including the spouse or de facto partner, or a person with whom a relationship is held through a status which is the same as or similar to marriage, children, parents and grandparents under certain terms;
- Is willing to contribute, through an exceptional direct investment, to the economic and social development of the Republic of Malta;
- Provides proof that he/she has been a resident in Malta for at least 12 or 36 months preceding the day of issue, of the certificate of naturalisation;
- Meets all the application requirements; and
- Commits to providing proof of residence in Malta and proof of title to a residential property in Malta in accordance with the regulations.
It is important to note that a maximum quota of 400 applicants per year will be accepted with a total maximum number of applicants set at 1,500 for the entire scheme.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.