Following the conclusion of the Malta Individual Investor Program (IIP) in September 2020, the Maltese Government has announced the details of its highly anticipated replacement. The Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Program is designed to provide Maltese citizenship to eligible investors and their dependents. This program is being managed and supervised by Community Malta Agency, a governmental entity which has been recently established and will handle all matters concerning Malta's citizenship
Announced by Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communities, Hon. Alex Muscat, this citizenship for investment program is subject to strict conditions and requirements. In fact, the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Program will provide a Maltese passport to up to 1,500 families in total. Each year, a maximum of 400 families will be granted such citizenship, following the successful completion of the application process
Under the Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations, an applicant for citizenship must
be at least eighteen (18) years of age and can include in his application as a dependant:
- A spouse in a monogamous marriage or partner in another relationship having the same or similar status to marriage, including a civil union
- a child or an adoptive child of the main applicant or his/her spouse, who has not yet attained eighteen (18) years of age at the time of submission of the application
- a financially dependent, unmarried child of the main applicant or of his/her spouse, who has attained eighteen (18) years of age but has not yet attained twenty-nine (29) years of age, at the time of the submission of the application
- a financially dependent parent or grandparent of the main applicant or of his/her spouse, over the age of fifty-five (55) years
- a child or an adopted child of the main applicant or of his/her spouse, who at the time of the application is qualified as a person with disabilities
The applicant and any of his dependants must submit a health form duly filled and certified by a recognised medical practitioner, clinic, hospital, medical or health institute attesting that the applicant and his dependants are in good health and are not suffering from any contagious disease and are not likely to become a burden on the Maltese public health system.
Apart from the general eligibility requirements established above the main applicant and dependants must also satisfy the due diligence process.
Applicants must provide proof of residence for a period of either 12 or 36 months. Once an applicant decides which period to go for, this decision cannot be changed. These two options are subject to different investment requirements, so it is vital that applicants select the most desired one from the get go.
Proof of Investments and Donation
A minimum direct investment of €750,000 must be made by the main applicant opting for the 12 month residency period. Similarly, a direct investment of €600,000 must be made for individuals opting for the 36-month residency period.
In addition to the minimum direct investment, applicants are required to provide proof of investment in residential property in Malta. Two options are available, namely investment in immovable property on the Islands with a minimum value of €700,000 or a lease of a property with a minimum value of €16,000 each year.
In either case, the chosen property must be able to adequately and suitably host the applicant and any dependents as listed in the application. The minimum period for lease agreements to be accepted is five years from the date of issue of the certificate of citizenship.
Another condition on the issuing of the certificate of naturalisation is proof of a donation to a community organisation. A minimum of €10,000 must be made to an eligible philanthropic, sport, scientific, cultural, animal welfare, or artistic society or NGO. Before a donation is made, it is recommended to check with Community Malta Agency or an approved agent to ensure that the intended entity is suitable.
The Application Process
The Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services application process is split into 11 steps and designed to ensure proper due diligence and checks are carried out. Applications are treated on a first come first served basis, and it is not possible to request priority processing or to take any shortcuts. It is not possible for the applicant to apply directly with the authority, so an approved agent must be engaged.
The application process starts by engaging an approved agent and signing a power of attorney to appoint the said agent to act on behalf of the main applicant. The agent is obliged to carry out a Tier 1 due diligence on the main applicant and dependents and, subject to a satisfactory result, prepare and submit the residency application pack to the Community Malta Agency. The Agency will then carry out a Tier 1 due diligence and obtains initial police clearance
Following the issuance of the residency cards to the main applicant and dependants the agent will then submit the Citizenship eligibility application to the Community Malta Agency and other necessary documents to the authorities, including the Public Registry and Passport Office.
At this stage The Community Malta Agency performs a Tier 2 due diligence and ensures correctness and completeness of the application. The Agency may request further information and documents to ensure all the necessary documentation is in order.
The Agency further performs a Tier 3 and Tier 4 due diligence exercise. The results of the various due diligence exercises and findings are passed on to the Ministry and a decision on eligibility is made by the Minister. Following the completion of the minimum residency period (12 or 36 months), the applicant can apply for citizenship. Further due diligence is carried out and findings and recommendations are passed on once again to the Minister.
If this step is successful, the applicant is required to fulfil the necessary direct investment, donation, and property investment. Upon evidence of all three investments and donations, the applicant is invited to take the Oath of Allegiance and is granted Maltese citizenship. The authority will continue to monitor the applicant for a further period of five years.
In certain cases, applicants may be subject to additional conditions and will be advised by their appointed agent or the authority. As per the previous citizenship by investment program, residents of banned countries cannot apply. Others, such as those residing in China, will need to provide particular documents, such as credit reports.
Your Agent for Acquiring Maltese Citizenship
RC International is an immigration advisory firm which specialises in supporting applicants looking to become residents or citizens of Malta. Known for being efficient and creative, we can support you both at the application stage and once you have attained Malta citizenship. Our extensive network of industry professionals is at your service when you need them.
Costs - Residency Stage
|Non-refundable deposit||Approximate property rental||Residencepermit||Residency card|
Costs - Eligibility Stage
Contributions - Investment Request Voucher
|Exceptional direct investment||Administration|
|36 months residency||Less than 36 months residency|
|Purchase of immovable property||Lease of residential immovable property||Donation|
Immovable property must be retained by the applicant for a minimum period of five years following the issuance of the certificate of citizenship.
An archipelago composed of three islands, Malta is situated at the heart of the Mediterranean and is geographically located 60 miles south of Italy and 220 miles from the north of Africa. Malta has been a Member State of the European Union since 2004 and has a population of just over 440,000 inhabitants. Due to its rich and diverse history, Malta does not only enjoy its own unique language (the only Semitic language in the world which is written in Latin script), but thanks to a 150-year British occupation, the official languages of the country are both English and Maltese.
Thanks to this linguistic advantage as well as a wonderful Mediterranean climate, Malta has become a popular destination for expatriates who come from all over the world to enjoy the top-ranked healthcare, low crime rate and the Mediterranean culture and history which have been endorsed by renowned publications such as The Wall Street Journal who named it the “third best country in the world for expatriates” and The Telegraph which proclaimed it “the best place to retire”.
Aside from having the right to live, work and study in all Member States of the European Union, Maltese citizens are also able to enjoy visa-free travel to over 160 countries. Residents, on the other hand, are limited to visa-free travel across the Member States of the European Union in virtue of Malta’s membership to the Schengen area.
Thanks to the fact that it possesses political stability as well as a highly educated English-speaking work force, Malta has been able to focus on higher value-added services in industries such as tourism, gaming and financial services. In fact, the registered unemployment in Malta in 2016 was reported at 4.3% compared to the EU average of 10%. In addition to this, forecasts published by the European Commission in 2014 show Malta’s GDP as registering the highest growth rate since 2010 with growth being expected to accelerate slightly in both 2015 as well as 2016. The currency of Malta is the Euro (€).
Standard & Poor’s credit rating for Malta stands at A- with stable outlook. Moody’s credit rating for Malta was last set at A3 with stable outlook. Fitch’s credit rating for Malta was last reported at A with positive outlook.
Property in Malta
With real estate prices being compared to those found in other European Union Member States, Malta has a robust property market with recently published figures by the Central Bank of Malta showing property prices rising to 10.03% during the year to Q4 2015 – a surge that has been partially attributed to government measures aimed to support property demand.
Education in Malta
In Malta, schools are divided into two main categories: state and private. The former schools are found in almost every village and town in Malta and are completely free of charge. However, the language used is mostly Maltese, which makes it challenging for international students to communicate with their peers. Private schools, on the other hand, are divided into two further categories: church schools and independent schools. Church schools are generally heavily subsidised by the government, and parents are merely encouraged to pay a yearly donation as tuition fees. The language used in church schools is also predominantly Maltese. For this reason, independent (or international) schools are the preferred choice for expatriates living in Malta, since the English language is used in both the classroom, as well as extra-curricular activities. Parents sending their children to school in Malta are required to pay tuition fees, transport, school supplies and other associated expenses. The fees differ in accordance with the school chosen and generally range between €1,500 – €3,000 for every scholastic term.