A small country in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta, a little over 300 km² in size, has become home to half a million inhabitants. Despite its small size, the country has been a member of the EU since 2004. This is one of the main reasons why foreigners wish to acquire Maltese citizenship.
There are several ways to get a Maltese passport. Some ways require long-term residence in the country, others - hundreds of thousands of euros of investment https://immigrantinvest.com/malta-citizenship-by-investment-en/. How valuable is the citizenship of Malta and what should you do to become one of the holders of the passport of this state?
Key Benefits of Maltese Citizenship
1) Malta has been a member of the EU for almost 20 years. This means that every citizen of this country can travel to any Schengen country without the need to obtain a visa, live there without a residence permit, and work if they get the appropriate permission.
2) It is difficult to overestimate the power of the Maltese passport, which allows you to use a visa-free regime when visiting 170 countries of the world, including EU countries and even the USA. Some of the countries on this list require a visa on arrival at your destination or an eTA.
3) The high standard of living in Malta will probably attract foreigners more than living in other EU countries. An expert assessment by Victor Esik from Immigrant Invest identified several advantages of living in this country https://immigrantinvest.com/blog/malta-citizenship-benefits-en/. Firstly, the citizens of Malta have access to free education and a high-level public health system. Secondly, Malta is considered one of the safest states with a low crime rate. Thirdly, the strong economy of the country contributes to the development of business, especially in the financial and tourism sectors. This is evidenced by the assessment of the level of economic development A+ by the Fitch rating agency.
4) The tax regime in Malta determines the need to pay taxes depending on the permanent residence of the taxpayer. In addition to the tax benefits that citizens of the country can receive for a successful start of a business, residents of Malta do not pay inheritance tax, property (not always), and gifts.
5) The law of Malta allows dual citizenship. This is an important advantage for foreigners who do not want to give up their native passports.
How to get citizenship in Malta?
This method is considered quite difficult. A foreigner wishing to get citizenship of Malta through naturalization must obtain a residence permit and live in the country for 5 years. It is also necessary to obtain permanent residence. A foreigner can leave Malta only for a period of not more than six months. In doing so, the applicant must:
- Confirm the legality of the origin of funds;
- Get medical insurance;
- Learn the language, law, and history of Malta to pass the exams.
- Prepare an order from several citizens of the country. One of the guarantors must be a government official, a lawyer, or a doctor.
If a child is born in the territory of Malta, they can become a citizen only if at least one of their parents has Maltese citizenship. Citizenship by birth is also conferred on found abandoned and recognized stateless persons.
Marriage to a citizen of Malta will enable a foreigner to get a passport of this country. A prerequisite is the duration of the marriage for at least 5 years. One of the advantages of this method is the possibility of living and working immediately after marriage, even without the need to obtain appropriate permits. Fictitious marriages will lead to criminal liability.
Malta has a program whereby foreigners can get a Maltese passport through investment. To do this, investors must meet the following conditions:
- A non-refundable investment of 750,000 euros after living in Malta for a year.
- A non-refundable investment of 600,000 euros after living in Malta for 3 years.
- A mandatory donation of EUR 10,000 per applicant to an NGO approved by the Malta Public Authority.
- Purchase of real estate worth a minimum of 700,000 euros. It cannot be sold within 5 years.
- Lease of residential property with a minimum annual rent of 16,000 euros for 5 years.
Foreign investors may include their family members in the application. In this case, the corresponding fees and additional investments must be paid for each applicant. For example, if you choose a non-refundable investment after a long stay in the country, you must pay an additional 50,000 euros for each family member. In addition, the applicant must be over 18 years of age.
This way is not easy as it has many conditions. The following individuals can apply for Malta nationality:
- Children who were born between 21 September 1964 and 31 July 1989 outside Malta and whose father is a citizen of Malta.
- Former citizens of Malta.
- Children who were born in Malta to at least one parent before 21 September 1964.
- Children who were born outside of Malta to a father with a Maltese passport (who was also born outside of Malta) if their grandfather or great-grandfather was born in Malta.
- Brothers or sisters of citizens of Malta.
- Guardian of a minor citizen of Malta.
- People whose grandparents have a Maltese passport.
- Adopted or raised by Maltese citizens outside of Malta.
To apply, it is necessary to contact the embassy or consulate.
How long does the process of obtaining a passport take?
The speed of obtaining citizenship depends on the method chosen by the foreigner. Firstly, it is important to fulfill all the requirements for the duration of residence in Malta. Then, the foreigner fulfills the rest of the requirements. These can be investments, passing exams (citizenship by naturalization option), etc. The applicant then takes the oath.
Even after obtaining citizenship, it is important to follow all the instructions. For example, a foreigner cannot sell the purchased property for 5 years. All the necessary documents must be prepared in advance and filled out without errors. Otherwise, the process will take even more time. All the necessary fees must also be paid.
The Maltese passport is valid for 10 years. Then, it must be extended. To do this, you need to fill out the required form, prepare an electronic identity card and other documents, and come to the passport office.
Each foreigner chooses how to become a Malta citizen. Obviously, not everyone has relatives who are citizens of Malta, so some options may not be suitable. Each method requires residence in Malta for an extended period.
The Citizenship by Investment program is quite profitable if the investor was already going to buy real estate in this state. In addition, a foreigner can bring their relatives. On the other hand, the amount of investment required is high compared to similar programs in other countries. But at the same time, one should not forget that Malta enjoys all the benefits of EU membership and is in itself a country with a strong economy and excellent conditions for living and doing business.