Introduction to Malta
The Maltese archipelago is a group of islands located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea of which the largest and most populated island is Malta. Their strategic location has made the islands a historical hub for trade between Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. The Maltese islands benefit from a warm Mediterranean climate and over 300 days of sunshine, which make them an attractive destination for many tourists.
Malta is a popular place to study English as it is the official language alongside Maltese. Based on the British model, the highly rated education system is publicly funded and free.
The islands are also well-known for their safe environment, a very low crime rate, and an excellent public and private healthcare system.
The government type in Malta is a Parliamentary Republic with a model based on the Westminster system, and benefits from a very stable political climate. After gaining its independence in 1964 from the United Kingdom, Malta is now a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. Since its independence, Malta has had very positive diplomatic relations with the United States. In 2004, Malta joined the European Union and, in 2007, the Schengen area.
The main industries in Malta are tourism, financial services, manufacturing, and foreign trade. Over the years, Malta has developed a strong business development mindset and managed to attract many industries to establish their operations on the island thanks to competitive government incentives, one of which is the advantageous corporate tax regime. Successive Maltese governments have sought to conclude double tax treaties with important trading partners, as well as with emerging countries, to encourage the growth of international trade including that of financial services. To date, treaties are in force with over 70 countries and this policy is expected to continue in the future.
Legal Basis of the Malta Individual Investor Program (MIIP)
The Individual Investor Programme of the Republic of Malta is regulated by the Maltese Citizenship Act (CAP. 188) and the Individual Investor Programme of the Republic of Malta Regulations, 2014 (L.N. 47 of 2014). It aims to attract foreign direct investments in the country to support social projects while offering Maltese citizenship through a certificate of naturalization to investors and their families.
The Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) offers interested applicants the possibility to enhance their freedom of travel by providing access to over 160 countries visa-free. It is also a way for a growing number of wealthy foreign individuals to secure a plan B for themselves and their families by acquiring a citizenship in a safe and stable country with a charming lifestyle. Additional benefits include:
- Right to live, work and study in all EU countries (including Switzerland)
- Right to set up a business in Malta
- Lifetime citizenship passed onto future generations
- Attractive tax regime (residents of Malta who are not domiciled in Malta are taxable on a remittance basis)
- Access to high-quality medical facilities
- Relocation is up to the applicant’s choice but not mandatory
The full list of countries with visa-free/visa-on-arrival/e-visa access for citizens of the Republic of Malta can be found here (as of 01 June 2019):
To be eligible to apply under the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP), an applicant must comply with the below criteria:
- Be a U/HNWI of good reputation;
- Be a non-EU citizen who does not avail themselves of other tax exile schemes and property acquisition programs;
- Be approved by the government due diligence verifications;
- Be medically fit;
- Have a clean police record;
- Present evidence that the main applicant and dependents are covered by a global health insurance policy (coverage of at least €50,000);
- Present evidence that the main applicant has been a resident of Malta for at least 12 months preceding the day of the issuing of the certificate of naturalization;
- Financial Requirements
Any main applicant requesting Maltese citizenship under the Individual Investor Programme of the Republic of Malta must:
- make a non-refundable contribution of €650,000 to the Maltese Government, which is deposited in the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF), an additional €25,000 is required for each spouse and child dependent (under 18 y/o) and €50,000 for each parent and child dependent (18 to 26 y/o);
- lease a property for a minimum value of €16,000 per annum for 5 years, or purchase a property for a minimum value of €350,000 which cannot be let or sublet for 5 years; and
- acquire €150,000 worth of stocks, bonds, debentures, special purpose vehicles or other investment vehicles as may be identified from time to time by MIIPA for a period of 5 years
(The below timeline is an estimate assuming that the applicants provide all documentation in full and on time and subject to each application circumstances)
Day 1: Apply for Residency
Month 1 to 3: Preparation of IIP File and Submission of Application
Month 4 to 7: Identity Malta performs Due Diligence
Month 8: Approval and settlement of Contribution
Month 9 to 11: Purchase or Lease of Property and Purchase of Bonds
Month 12: Oath of Allegiance in Malta and Issuance of Certificate of Naturalization
The processing time for MIIP application would not be less than 6 months and cannot exceed 2 years, with an average of 12 months. The application process is very stringent, with Malta having one of the world’s strictest due diligence standards which allows the programme to have an exceptional reputation. Acquiring Maltese citizenship gives the privilege to become an EU citizen which is reserved for an elite of reputable individuals with a strong global network.
Established in 1996, GICG is a leading multinational firm offering residence and citizenship solutions to U/HNWIs globally. Our highly experienced team of over 30 professional in-house lawyers and qualified agents serve our global clients from 7 offices worldwide, offering 14 different programs.
GICG collaborates with many legal firms and immigration advisors globally to provide guidance and advice on residence and citizenship matters, through an effective agency system, ensuring a professional and efficient collaboration on both sides.
Our expertise in the investment migration industry has been recognised by many governments internationally as we have helped them in the creation process of new programs. We strongly support the promotion and sustainable development of the industry and the local economy.
GICG also offers a client advisory department, supporting clients with personal or professional related matters throughout their application process, in a confidential and personalized manner. Our unique expertise contributed to a 100% success rate in all our applications.