Is Malta Now The Optimal Choice For American Investor Migrants?
Investment migration is an everchanging industry that is highly affected by macro and micro geopolitics, and the most recent trend was the rise of American immigrant investors.
After a few strenuous years marked by the pandemic and internal political strain, US citizens quickly realized that they needed to set a Plan B in place, and investors swiftly rushed to assess their options, focusing mainly on the familiarity of Europe.
Portugal’s Golden Visa, which is about to close its doors, garnered the lion’s share of American interest, while other options in Malta, Greece, and Spain also played host to a respectable number of American applicants.
American immigrant investors have led the way for Westerners considering enhancing their global mobility or structuring a resolute contingency plan.
Under Portugal’s Golden Visa, for example, the number of American applicants more than tripled between 2019 and 2022. Now that the program is shutting down, those applicants may head to Malta.
However, Malta’s Individual Investor Program (IIP) – which has now closed and was replaced by the Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization Program (MEIN) – has already been a magnet for Western investors. The Compound Average Growth Rate for applicants hailing from Northern America between 2016 and 2021 is an impressive 33.5%, highlighting how quickly the trend of investment migration is growing within the Western Hemisphere.
Considering that American applicants made up 18% of all Portuguese Golden Visa applications in 2023 and 17% of IIP applications in 2021, it is safe to presume the demand for European investment migration programs will continue to grow exponentially among Americans, and Malta now proves to be their optimal choice.
Overview of Malta’s investment migration programs
Malta is the only EU country that offers a citizenship by investment program through its MEIN, but it also has the Maltese Permanent Residency Program (MPRP) for those looking for a more economical option.
Under the MEIN, applicants can obtain Maltese citizenship within one to three years, depending on the investment amount. To qualify, applicants must have a clean criminal record, sufficient resources, and submit a complete application.
Qualifying investments under the MEIN are as follows:
- One year till naturalization: €750,000, OR
- Three years till naturalization:: €600,000
- Real estate
- Purchasing real estate for the amount of €700,000, OR
- Renting real estate for the annual amount of €16,000
- Donation of €10,000 to a pre-determined, approved NGO
An applicant can qualify for Maltese citizenship for an investment as low as €690,000.
The MPRP has similar qualification criteria but a much lower investment threshold. Applicants must:
- Acquire a personal residence by either:
- purchasing real estate for €300,000 in the South of Malta/Gozo or €350,000 in the rest of Malta; OR
- renting a property for a minimum of €10,000 annually in the South of Malta/Gozo or €12,000 in the rest of Malta
- Pay a government contribution of €28,000 if purchasing a property or €58,000 if leasing a property
- Pay an administrative fee of €40,000
- Donate €2,000 to an approved NGO
The processes of both programs are straightforward, and most of them can be completed remotely through the help of Immigrant Invest. However, biometrics must be submitted within Malta.
The optimal destination
Malta is exceptionally positioned to attract Western immigrant investors, not just because it has two amazingly attractive investment migration programs, but because of the country and what benefits it offers to successful applicants.
The MPRP is an excellent backup plan, as it does not require any physical residence for PR holders to maintain their status, and it offers an ideal second home for Americans and other applicants.
The idea behind utilizing the MPRP is to obtain a long-term residence permit that could be activated if the need arises but that does not require any effort to maintain it.
The MPRP offers its holders visa-free access to Europe and the right to live in Malta without hindrance, and more.
The MEIN, however, offers much more – it being a direct citizenship by investment program – because it grants successful applicants a certificate of naturalization and a Maltese passport.
The benefits of obtaining Maltese citizenship or residency are endless, but we will list the top ones here.
Increased global mobility
The Maltese passport is one of the world’s most powerful travel documents, ranking 8th worldwide, just one place after the US passport, and provides visa free entry into 186 destinations worldwide, nearly identical to the US’ 187. Since Malta allows dual citizenship, Americans do not need to forgo their US passport to qualify.
The Maltese passport offers Americans a great way to obtain a second passport that will enhance their global mobility or one that can maintain their level of travel freedom if they decide to renounce their US citizenship, a trend that is growing as highlighted by the record number of 2,872 renunciations in the first three quarters of 2022.
Another important factor is that the Maltese passport grants visa free entry into the US and Canada, so even if an American renounces their US citizenship, they can still enter the US without hassle.
Living in Europe
If a Plan B is to work, it must offer a similar standard of living to one’s original home country, and with the Maltese citizenship, Americans have the entirety of Europe to choose from if they ever decide to leave the US.
As EU citizens, Maltese passport holders can live, work, and study in any EU country they like, opening almost an entire continent to Americans who are considering a second home.
One issue that many Americans struggle with is the US healthcare system. In Malta, however, things are quite different, as it ranks fifth worldwide in terms of healthcare efficiency and quality, and it is free for its citizens and permanent residents (who take up gainful employment in Malta and pay social security contributions).
When considering a second home, one must contemplate the political framework of any destination. In the case of Americans and Malta, it is a great match since the EU nation is a constitutional republic and parliamentary democracy.
This political familiarity makes it easy for US nationals to integrate themselves within the nation’s political structure regarding civil rights.
Another major benefit Malta has is its outstanding education system, which is much cheaper than that of the US but very efficient.
Maltese citizens and permanent residents can enroll their children into any Maltese public school or higher education institute without their kids having to worry about crippling student debts.
Better tax structuring
US taxation is one of the world’s toughest regimes, and having a second home can help alleviate that. By becoming Maltese citizens or residents, Americans can restructure their tax responsibilities depending on how much time they decide to spend in Malta.
Americans can opt to become tax residents by living six months a year in Malta or forgo that. Depending on which state they are in, Maltese taxation may prove much more appealing.
Malta also has a non-dom tax program that offers a lower income tax rate for new residents which can help decrease the overall taxes a person has to pay.
Two simple programs with endless benefits
The Maltese MEIN and MPRP are some of the simplest investment migration programs in the world, and the country itself is an excellent destination, especially for the Western investor.
To know more about the Maltese MEIN and MPRP, contact Immigrant Invest through our website.