The eligibility criteria for the recently announced legislation, the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (CDI), include several requirements for foreign nationals. As stipulated by Legal Notice 437 of 2020, the new regulations allow for, following a residence period, the granting of citizenship by naturalisation to foreign individuals and their families who contribute to the economic development of Malta and can prove they meet the stringent tests for eligibility.
These eligibility tests require the applicants to prove that they and their family members are ‘fit and proper’ to acquire Maltese Citizenship, demonstrate they are in good health, and that dependant family members are wholly supported by the main applicant. The main applicant must be at least 18 years of age to apply and be of good conduct.
Fit and Proper
The assessment of whether an individual is fit and proper is based on a number of due diligence checks carried out by both the licensed agent and the Community Malta Agency (CMA), the responsible governing authority.
A clean police conduct certificate is required from the countries where the applicants have resided for at least six months during the last 10 years and from every country of citizenship. Such certificates must be issued from the national law enforcement authority in charge of criminal records in that country. The certificate needs to report the status of the applicant’s criminal record and is required for applicants over 16 years of age. This is diligently verified by the authorities with international records as part of the verification process or eligibility assessment.
Applicants and any of their dependants are deemed not ‘fit and proper’ if:
- Any members have been indicted of an offence before an International Criminal Court or have been arraigned at any time before such court;
- Are listed with the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) or Europol;
- Deemed to be involved in any activity which may cause disrepute to Malta;
- Are listed in international sanctions that apply restrictive measures on them, that Malta follows;
- Is an actual or potential threat to the national security of Malta; and
- Has been charged or found guilty of terrorism, money laundering, funding of terrorism, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Furthermore, applicants and their dependants must not have been charged or found guilty of crimes including, but not limited to, defilement of minors, rape, paedophilia, indecent violent assault, inducing underage persons to prostitution and abduction.
Applicants are deemed ineligible to apply if any member of the application has been denied a visa to a country with whom Malta has visa-free travel arrangements and has subsequently not obtained a visa from that country.
Applicants and their dependant family members must demonstrate that they do not have a contagious disease or significant health condition. A declaration attesting to their good health must be certified by a competent medical body and state that they are not likely to become a burden on the Maltese public health system.
Financially Dependant Members
The spouse and children under 18 years of age may be included in the application as dependants.
In order for other family members to be included in an application for Citizenship for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (CDI) they must demonstrate they rely financially on the main applicant, form part of the main applicant’s household and meet the criteria below. Such family members include:
- An unmarried, adult child of the main applicant or spouse who has attained the age of 18 but not yet 29 years at the time the eligibility for citizenship application is submitted;
- A parent or grandparent of the main applicant or spouse who is at least 55 years of age at the time the eligibility for citizenship application is submitted; and
- An adult child of the main applicant or spouse who is a qualified person with a disability as defined in the Equal Opportunities (person with Disability) Act.
The Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment requires the applicant to reside in Malta for a period of three years, or by exception, one year. There are three main investment requirements that constitute the exceptional direct investment. These include: the purchase of residential real estate for a minimum of €700,000 euro or renting a property for €16,000 annually for a period of five years. Make a capital transfer of €600,000, or €750,000 in the case of a one year residency period, and €50,000 for each dependant. The third investment requirement is to donate €10,000 to a recognised charitable organisation approved by the Community Malta Agency.
Kenneth is the Managing Director and co-founder of Vertex Alliance. By profession, Kenneth is a qualified and warranted accountant and tax advisor, and his expertise lies in residency and citizenship, international taxation, and wealth structuring. Previously, Kenneth held the position of Senior Director at an international law firm for a span of fifteen years, whereby he led both the Tax Advisory and Tax Compliance Departments as well as the Residency and Citizenship team responsible for the Asian market.