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Malta & The Schengen Area

The Schengen Area is an area made up of 26 European countries who decided to abolish internal border controls and strengthen common external borders. The Schengen Area has a common visa policy and functions as one jurisdiction for travel purposes. Common rules and procedures are applied to border controls and short stay visas. Simultaneously, cooperation and coordination between Police services and judicial authorities guarantee security, supported by the Schengen Information System (SIS) which is a common database shared by countries forming part of the Schengen Area.

The Schengen Area is distinct from the European Union (EU) and in fact, there are countries who are part of the EU but not in the Schengen Area and there are countries which are not members of the EU but part of the Schengen Area.

The Schengen Countries

Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are members of the Schengen Area but not members of the European Union. On the other hand, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus are EU members but not yet part of the Schengen Area.

The 26 Schengen countries in alphabetical order are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Malta and the Schengen Area

Malta joined the Schengen Area in 2007, three years after joining the European Union in 2004. On signing the Schengen Agreement, Maltese citizens or residents holding a Maltese residency card became no longer subject to border checks within the Schengen Area. Malta’s entry into the Schengen Area thus facilitated travel for citizens and residents of Malta especially coupled with the fact that most countries in the Schengen Area also adopted the Euro currency.

In a nutshell, the Schengen Area can be described as an area made up of 26 European countries which follow common rules in terms of police cooperation, strengthening of external borders and removing internal borders thus facilitating freedom of movement for its citizens and residents.

Malta Central Visa Unit

The Government entity in Malta, responsible for overseeing the Schengen Code and the national visa policies is the Central Visa Unit. The responsibility of issuing visas is shared also with the Maltese Embassies and Consulates outside of Malta. There are mainly 2 categories of visas which Malta issues:

  • Schengen Visa: This visa, also known as a short stay visa, is issued for a period not exceeding 90 days and is regulated by the EU’s common provisions.
  • National Type D Visa: This visa, also known as long stay visa, is issued for a period exceeding 90 days but not more than 365 days.

The Visa code establishes the conditions and procedure for issuing a short stay visa. Thus, any visa application to enter Malta for a short stay must conform with all the requirements in the Visa Code.

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme & Schengen Access

By virtue of the Schengen Agreement, the rights granted to nationals of countries within the Schengen Area are also extended to residents holding a visa or a residence card issued by a Schengen member state. Thus, a valid residence permit together with a travel document can be a substitute for a visa and a third country national presenting his own passport together with a Schengen issued residence permit is allowed to enter the Schengen zone for 90 days in a 180-day period.

The benefits of holding a Maltese residence card thus can be as simple as travelling to France for holidays with one’s family without the need of applying for a visa, paying fees, and waiting for the bureaucratic process to be completed. The benefits of a residence permit issued by a Schengen country are endless and significantly enhance one’s ability to move in the Schengen Area for any tourist or business-related travel.

Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) – For Non-EU Nationals

Non-EU nationals can benefit from Malta’s Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) which is a residence by investment programme granting a Schengen Residence card and thus giving the ability of visa-free travel within the Schengen Area. The MPRP is a residence programme based on an investment in property and a donation to the Government of Malta and to charity. It grants permanent residence within 4-6 months of submitting an application. Beneficiaries of such a programme enjoy the right to reside permanently in Malta and enjoy visa-free travel within the Schengen Area for 90 out of 180 days.

The main requirements include:

• Making a non-refundable contribution to the Government of €68,000 if purchasing real estate or €98,000 if renting a property, and
• Making a non-refundable donation of €2,000 to a charitable organisation, and
• Renting or Purchasing a property in Malta.

Applications under the MPRP are only to be submitted through a licenced agent. Our firm holds licence number AKM-ACCA-21 and can assist applicants to successfully apply for permanent residence under the MPRP.

 

Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) Benefits

Since Malta launched the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) in 2021, a number of non-EU nationals understood the importance to have a permanent residence in a European country which grants the right to reside permanently in a chosen country. The MPRP grants a permanent residence status within a period of 4-6 months from the submission of an application, making the MPRP one of the most efficient residence programmes in Europe. In addition, the MPRP is unique in the sense that it is the only residence programme to grant permanent residence immediately. As a result, once an application under the MPRP has been approved, the applicant and all qualifying family members can reside indefinitely in Malta and travel to the 26 countries forming part of the Schengen Area without a visa.

One of the main benefits of the MPRP is that it allows the main applicant to include five generations in the same application. This family friendly measure is unique to the MPRP since other residence programmes (golden visas) in Europe impose a maximum age limit to include children, parents and grandparents of the main applicant.

Malta Permanent Residence Programme – Investment Options

The MPRP offers prospective applicants two investment options to choose from. Applicants may either:

  • Rent a Property and Pay a Government Fee of €98,000, or
  • Purchase a Property and Pay a Government Fee of €68,000

Under both options, once an applicant is approved, a donation of €2,000 to a local charity is also required.

The MPRP is thus the only European residence by investment programme which allows the applicant to rent a property without having to purchase before applying for residency.  In addition, the above investment is only to be done once the application is approved and not at the outset.

MPRP – Addition of Family Members

The MPRP is designed to allow the applicant to include a total of five generations. This includes:

  • Main Applicant and the Spouse
  • Parents of the Main Applicant and/or of the Spouse
  • Grandparents of the Main Applicant and/or of the Spouse
  • Children of the Main Applicant and/or of the Spouse (no age limit, must be financially dependent on the Main Applicant)
  • Future Grandchildren of the Main Applicant and of the Spouse

Efficient Process – MPRP

Once an application is submitted, the government agency will run a four-tier due diligence check on the applicant and the source of funds. A final decision on the application is taken within 4-6 months making this programme the most efficient residence by investment programme in Europe.

Visa Free Travel

Malta is a member of the Schengen Area which is an area made of up 26 countries which abolished borders and allows for the unrestricted movement of people. By obtaining residence under the MPRP, the applicant and qualifying family members are allowed to travel freely within the Schengen Area and stay for 90 days within 180 days.

Right to live permanently in Malta

The applicant and all qualifying members are given the right to live and settle in Malta for life without any restrictions. There are a number of reasons why applicants relocate to Malta including safety and stability and a pleasant climate with over 300 days of sunshine.

Malta is one of the safest countries to reside in the world. In addition, it is also an English-speaking country making it easy for expats to quickly settle on the island. Crime levels in Malta are exceptionally low in comparison with most EU countries making it the second safest country in the world and first in the EU according to a study carried out by the AfrAsia Bank Global Wealth Migration Review.

Residing in Malta gives beneficiaries the right to access leading healthcare institutions and enlist children in a world-class education system.

 

The full benefits of obtaining residence under the MPRP can be summarised into the following:

 

  • Malta is a member of the European Union (EU)
  • Malta is a member of the Schengen Area
  • Malta is a member of the Commonwealth
  • Malta has one of the strongest economies in the EU
  • Malta is economically and politically stable
  • Malta’s official language is English
  • Malta has the Euro (€) as it’s official currency
  • Malta has a first-class health and educational system
  • Malta enjoys one of the best climates in the world

How can we Assist?

Applications under the MPRP can only be submitted through a Licenced Agent. Our firm is licenced by the Residency Malta Agency to submit residence by investment applications on behalf of applicants. ACC Immigration holds licence number AKM-ACCA-21.

Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) – FAQ

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) is a route to obtain residence for non-EU nationals wishing to reside in Malta or to travel within the Schengen Area without the requirement of a visa. The MPRP is a residence by investment programme which is based on three main requirements, which are: an investment in property, a government contribution and a donation to a Maltese registered charity or NGO. The main benefit of the MPRP is that the programme is a straightforward one with applications processed within 4 to 6 months as long as the applicant satisfies all the eligibility requirements.

Which legislation regulates the MPRP?

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme was launched by means of Legal Notice 121 of 2021. This legislation lists down the eligibility criteria and requirements for non-EU nationals to obtain residence in Malta through the MPRP.

Is The Malta Permanent Residence Programme open only for non-EU nationals?

The MPRP is only available to Non-EU nationals. Currently the Malta residency agency is not accepting applications from nationals of Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela.

Will holders of MPRP be allowed to travel visa-free in the Schengen Area?

Beneficiaries of the MPRP may travel Visa-free to Schengen countries, and for a maximum period of 90 days within a 180-day period. The 26 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Do I need to satisfy all the investment requirements under the Malta Permanent Residence Programme?

The applicant must satisfy all the investment requirements and cannot choose only one of them. The applicant must thus: 1) invest in property, 2) pay a government contribution and 3) give a donation to charity or an NGO.

How much is an applicant required to invest in property?

An applicant is only required to invest in property once a letter of approval is issued. This is different from the residence programmes of Portugal and Greece whereby the applicant is not able to submit an application without first purchasing a property.

In Malta, the applicant is required to either rent or purchase a property once the application is approved.

The applicant is required to rent a property for a minimum of €12,000 annually in Malta or €10,000 in the South of Malta or Gozo.

If the applicant opts to purchasing a property, he is required to purchase a property for a minimum of €350,000 in Malta or €300,000 in the South of Malta or Gozo.

How much is an applicant requited to contribute to the Government of Malta?

The Government contribution depends on whether an applicant decides to purchase or rent a property in Malta.

If the applicant decides to rent a property, the direct contribution and administration fee is of €98,000.

If the applicant decides to purchase a property, the direct contribution and administration fee is of €68,000.

At what stage is the applicant required to pay the Government Contribution and Administration Fee?

The applicant is only required to pay the €68,000 (purchase) or €98,000 (rent) once the letter of approval is issued. From this only €10,000 is to be paid within one month from the submission of the application.

Is the applicant required to pay additional fee for the spouse and children?

The Government Contribution and Administration fee of €68,000 (purchase) or €98,000 (rent) covers the main applicant, the spouse and their children. The applicant may also add the parents and/or grandparents at an additional government contribution of €7,500.

How much is an applicant required to donate to a charity organisation?

Once the letter of approval is issued, the applicant is required to donate €2,000 to a local registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic non-governmental organisation or society registered with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations, or as otherwise approved by the Agency.

Which family members are eligible to be added in the same application of the Main Applicant?

The main applicant may include in the same application, the spouse, financially dependent and unmarried children (no age limits) and parents/grandparents of the applicant and/or of the spouse who are also economically dependent on the main applicant.

Would a child of the main applicant be entitled to free education in Malta?

Under the MPRP, a minor is not entitled to free education. However, if the main applicant or spouse acquires a work permit, the children would be entitled to free primary and secondary education in state schools.

Is the permanent residence permit valid for life?

The residence certificate issued under the MPRP is valid for life as long as all the programme obligations are adhered to. The residence card is valid for 5 years and renewed every 5 years.

Can the applicant first rent and then buy a property?

An applicant may opt to rent a property and then replace it with a purchased property. During the first 5 years the applicant is however not allowed to first purchase, and then rent a property.

For how long is the applicant required to keep the property in Malta?

The applicant is required to hold the qualifying rented or purchased property for at least five years during which it cannot be rented out to other persons. After the five-year period, the applicant is still required to have a property rented or purchased in Malta to retain the residence card.

Is the applicant required to proof that he is economically self-sufficient?

The applicant is required to show evidence that he is in possession of €500,000 out of which €150,000 should be in the form of financial assets. This amount does not change according to the number of persons included in the application.

Liquid assets can be stocks, bonds, funds and bank deposits. Cryptocurrency does not qualify as financial assets.

For how long is the Applicant required to be in compliance with the economic self sufficiency requirement?

Monitoring of beneficiary’s €500,000 in assets, out of which a minimum of €150,000 need to be financial assets will be made yearly for the first 5 years.

Is the applicant required to have a Health Insurance Policy?

Under the MPRP, a health insurance policy is required. The health insurance should cover all beneficiaries for a minimum of €30,000 per annum and covering full expenses for Malta.

Is an applicant required to be in Malta to start the application?

The applicant is not required to be in Malta to submit an application, since an application can only be submitted by an Accredited Agent.

How can ACC Immigration Assist?

We are a licenced firm by Agenzija Komunita Malta, accredited to submit permanent residence applications on behalf of applicants. ACC holds licence number AKM-ACCA-21.

Why Are South Africans Moving to Malta?

Malta, one of the safest countries in the world is attracting a number of South African nationals who are relocating due to various reasons. With the rise of Covid cases, the increment of travel restrictions for South African passport holders, and the lack of safety in general, a number of South African nationals are applying for Maltese residency or citizenship as a Plan B to be able to relocate if the situation continues to deteriorate.

In this publication, we explain why Malta is the best option for South Africans wishing to, not only be granted the right to live in Europe, but also access all European financial markets while offering their children a future filled with opportunities and choices.

1. Malta is Safe and Secure

An increase in crime rates is most often directly attributable to lack of employment opportunities in a country. Malta boasts of one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, with an unemployment rate of only 3.6% in 2021, and finding employment in Malta is quite relatively easy.

For the fourth consecutive year, in 2021 crime rates in Malta decreased by 16% which shows that Malta is a safe country to relocate to. Malta’s crime rate, at 31 instances of crime per 1,000 inhabitants largely culminates above the EU’s average 59 instances per 1,000 inhabitants. Indeed, crime levels in Malta are exceptionally low in comparison with most EU countries making it the second safest country in the world and first in the EU according to a study carried out by the AfrAsia Bank Global Wealth Migration Review. These indexes and statistics reflect a number of factors such as freedom of the press, equality in terms of gender, multi-culturalism, respect to various cultures and religions and minimal exposure to natural disasters. As a full member of the European Union, Malta is recognized as a safe place where immigrants feel part of a welcoming community.

2. Malta is an English Speaking Country

Malta, being part of the Commonwealth, is the only country in the Schengen area with English as its official language. Being an official language of Malta, English is widely spoken and is considered to be the everyday life language of most Maltese residence, making the shift to Malta, for those wishing to relocate, very smooth and free of language obstacles.
For children and university students particularly, it allows them to continue their education path with no interruption caused by any language barrier. In addition, Malta hosts a number of English schools attracting students from all over the world.

3. Visa Free Travel Destinations for Maltese Citizens

These two reasons, combined with the 186 visa-free destinations you can access as a Maltese passport holder (including the US, Canada and the UK) places Malta as a top-notch choice for South Africans, wishing to offer their families a brighter future filled with opportunities, while protecting their personal and commercial interests.

How can South African Nationals Obtain Maltese Residency or Citizenship?

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the South African community in Malta is growing. We will now explain how a South African national can apply for citizenship or residency in Malta.

Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP)

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme is the most popular residence programmes with South African nationals based on the fact that this gives permanent residence which is valid for life. The MPRP was launched in 2021 and it grants permanent residence if an applicant satisfies the following requirements:

  1. A contribution of either €68,000 or €98,000 which is to be paid upon approval depending on whether the applicant rents or purchases property in Malta.
  2. An investment in property (rental or purchase), and
  3. A donation of €2,000 to a Maltese charity organisation or NGO.

Malta Global Residence Programme (GRP) for South Africans

The Malta Global Residence Programme on the other hand grants a special tax status by virtue of which an applicant can apply for a Maltese residence card. Since 2013, the GRP has been seeking expatriates seeking an alternative tax residence jurisdiction in the European Union.
The applicant must also satisfy 3 requirements including:

  • A one-time non-refundable fee of €6,000
  • An investment in property (rental or purchase), and
  • A minimum annual tax payment of €15,000

Malta Citizenship by Investment for South African Nationals

The Granting of Maltese Citizenship for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment is regulated by Legal Notice 437 of 2020. Under these regulations, investors can apply for Maltese citizenship after three years or by an exceptional investment after 1 year of residency.
Under these regulations, an applicant may apply for Maltese citizenship through investment if he satisfies the following requirements:

  • An exceptional contribution of €600,000 when the application is submitted after 36 months of residence or €750,000 when the application is submitted after 12 months of residence, and
  • An investment in property (rental or purchase), and
  • A donation of €10,000 to a Maltese charity organisation or NGO.

How Can We Assist?

ACC Immigration is licenced by Agenzija Komunita Malta to submit applications on behalf of interested applicants and holds licence number AKM-ACCA-21.

Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Acquiring Maltese citizenship by investment is possible through amendments done to the Maltese Citizenship Act and Legal Notice 437 of 2020. In this article we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions on the Granting of Maltese Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations.

What is the Legal Basis for the Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment Regulations?

The Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations (SL 188.06) lists down the eligibility criteria and requirements to apply for citizenship through investment in Malta.

Is there any maximum number of applicants allowed under these Regulations?

The number of citizenship certificates to be granted under these regulations shall not exceed 400 yearly and a total of 1,500 for the whole duration of the citizenship regulations.

Can the Main applicant add family members in the Malta citizenship by investment application?

The Malta citizenship regulations allow the main applicant to include in an application the spouse, unmarried children of the main applicant and of the spouse who have not yet attained the age of twenty-nine (29) as well as economically dependent parents and grandparents of the applicants over the age of 55.

What are the main requirements needed to apply for Malta citizenship by investment?

  1. There are three main requirements an applicant must do when he is approved for Maltese citizenship:
  2. Purchase a residential property worth at least €700,000 or rent a property for a minimum annual rent of €16,000, which shall be kept for a minimum of five (5) years, and
  3. Donate a minimum of €10,000 to a registered and compliant philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic NGO, and
    Make a non-refundable direct investment of 600,000 when the application is submitted after 36 months of residence or €750,000 when the application is submitted after 12 months of residence. An additional direct investment of €50,000 is required for each additional dependant.

Is the applicant required to keep the qualifying investment for life?

The applicant is required to keep the qualifying purchased or rented property for at least five years from the date on the certificate of naturalisation.

When is the starting date for the residence period?

The residence period starts on the day when the Malta residence card is issued. All adult dependants who wish to apply for Maltese citizenship under these Regulations must hold a residence permit in Malta.

Are there any nationals of certain countries who are not eligible to apply?

Nationals or individuals with close links to Afghanistan, Congo, Iran, N Korea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Venezuela are ineligible to apply for Maltese citizenship under these Regulations.

Are Due Diligence Fees payable for all applicants?

Due diligence fees only apply for individuals over the age of 12. The due diligence fees payable are of €15,000 for the Main Applicant and €10,000 for each dependent included in the application.

Can an applicant add dependants after the submission of the application?

The application is final when the citizenship eligibility is submitted and the fees at that stage are duly paid. The applicant can only apply for Maltese citizenship to any new-born children at that stage.

At what stage must the applicant decide on which route to take?

The applicant should declare his intention whether he will opt for the 1 year or 3 year route when applying for the Malta residence permit.

Is the applicant required to take an Oath of Allegiance?

The applicant and all adult dependants are required to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of Malta.

How can we assist?

ACC Immigration is licenced by Agenzija Komunita Malta to submit citizenship by investment applications on behalf of interested applicants and holds licence number AKM-ACCA-21

Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment Benefits

The acquisition of Maltese citizenship through the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services regulations grants a number of benefits to highly talented individuals who are willing to invest in Malta.

Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment for the Whole Family

Applicants and their family members are given the opportunity to receive better education, high quality healthcare and standard of living. With the continuously changing geopolitical situation, applicants are securing a second nationality in the European Union which offers more stability, safety and peace of mind. Upon acquisition of a Malta passport, applicants and their family members are able to reside freely in Malta and to travel to over 180 countries without a visa.

Malta, unlike certain regions in the world offers political and economic stability and this appeals to various foreign investors looking for a safe yet highly competitive jurisdiction to do business. Malta also enjoys a highly skilled and English-speaking workforce making it attractive for high-net-worth individuals to open up or relocate their enterprises.

Benefits of Granting Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment

The acquisition of Maltese citizenship by investment grants a number of benefits to foreign applicants such as:

  • Maltese Citizenship within 3 years or exceptionally after 1 year of Residence
  • Inclusion of Family Members
  • English Speaking Country
  • Visa Free Travel to over 184 Countries
  • Citizenship for life
  • Malta allows Dual Nationality
  • Free Healthcare & Education
  • Citizenship is passed down to Future Generations

 

Maltese Citizenship within 3 years or exceptionally after 1 year of residence

An applicant must hold a residence status in Malta for at least 36 months or at a higher investment for 12 months before submitting a citizenship application. On applying for residence in Malta, the applicant and his family members are granted a Maltese residence card.

 

Inclusion of family members

Under the Malta Citizenship by Investment Regulations, the applicant may include in the application, his/her spouse, a child up to the age of 28 who is un-married and economically dependent on the main applicant, and economically dependent parents and grandparents over the age of 55.

 

English speaking country

The English language is one of Malta’s official languages and the majority of the population speaks English. This makes it ideal for foreign investors and their family members to relocate to Malta. Malta is also a famous hub for students looking to learn English in Malta and there are over 40 English schools on the island.

 

Visa free travel to over 184 countries

Applicants who are granted Maltese citizenship by direct investment enjoy visa free travel to over 184 countries with a Maltese passport. This ranks the Malta passport in the top 10 of all passports worldwide.

 

Citizenship for life

Once obtained, the applicant and all family members obtain Maltese citizenship which is valid for life. Applicants get the right to reside, work and stay in Malta without any restrictions.

 

Malta allows dual nationality

Applicants who obtain Maltese citizenship through investment are not required to renounce their original citizenship by Maltese law. By virtue of the Maltese Citizenship Act, it is lawful for any person to be a citizen of Malta and at the same time a citizen of another country. Malta thus allows not only dual nationality but multiple.

 

Free healthcare & education

Maltese citizens enjoy free and good quality healthcare in public clinics and hospitals around the island. Education is also free for all Maltese nationals up to the first University degree. In addition, students are also given a stipend for academic related expenses.

 

Citizenship is passed down to future generations

Maltese citizenship law allows for the acquisition of Maltese citizenship of any new-born children as long as one of their parents is Maltese irrespective of where the child is born. Hence Maltese citizenship is passed down to future generations.

 

How can we assist?

ACC Immigration is licenced by Agenzija Komunita Malta to submit citizenship applications on behalf of interested applicants and holds licence number AKM-ACCA-21.

The Malta Global Residence Programme & The Malta Permanent Residence Programme: A Comparison

Malta has a number of residence programmes aimed at attracting non-EU/EEA nationals to obtain residence status in Malta. The various programmes range from those intended to confer the status of permanent residence to programmes giving a special tax status. To this effect Malta offers two main residency routes through the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) and the Malta Global Residence Programme (GRP).

The main difference between these two programmes is that the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) is a permanent residence programme whilst the Global Residence Programme (GRP) is a temporary one which mainly gives a special tax status.

Residence status obtained under the MPRP is valid for life, whilst the residence status obtained under the GRP is renewed on an annual basis subject to paying an annual tax. The GRP is therefore a tax residence programme granting tax residency whilst the MPRP does not automatically lead to a tax status in Malta. Under the GRP, a beneficiary is required to pay a minimum annual tax of at least €15,000 whilst under the MPRP there is no such requirement of paying an annual tax in Malta.

The Malta Global Residence Programme (GRP)

The Malta Global Residence Programme (GRP) is a tax residence programme conferring a tax status. Once the tax status is issued, the applicant can apply for a Maltese residence card. Beneficiaries of this status obtain the right to reside in Malta, and to travel within the Schengen Area without a visa. Beneficiaries also get the benefit of having their foreign source remitted income at a flat rate of 15%. Any income generated in Malta is however taxed at a flat rate of 35%.

There are three main requirements to participate under this programme:

  1. Pay a one-time government application fee of €6,000,
  2. Invest in a Property in Malta (either rental or purchase*),
  3. Pay a minimum annual tax of €15,000

*The Minimum Purchase value is of €220,000 and the Minimum Annual rent is of €8,750 annually.

Under this programme a main applicant can include the spouse, children who are under the age of 25, siblings and directive relatives in the ascending line provided that they are financially dependent on the Main Applicant.

Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP)

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) is a permanent residence by investment programme for non-EU/EEA nationals granting a PR status within a period of 4-6 months. Beneficiaries of this status obtain the right to settle, stay and reside permanently in Malta and also the right to travel within the Schengen Area without a visa.

Applicants are eligible to apply under this programme if they show that they have capital of not less than €500,000 out of which €150,000 are to be financial assets.

There are three main requirements to participate under this programme:

  1. Pay a donation of €2,000 to a local philanthropic organisation,
  2. Invest in a Property in Malta (either rental or purchase*),
  3. Pay a Government Contribution of €98,000 (when renting) or €68,000 (when purchasing)

*The Minimum Purchase value is of €300,000 and the Minimum Annual rent is of €10,000 annually.

Under this programme a main applicant can include the spouse and their parents, grandparents and children as long as they are financially dependent on the main applicant.

Comparing the GRP & MRVP Programmes

 

  GRP MPRP
Minimum Annual Tax €15,000 per annum Zero
Tax Rate 15% – Foreign Source Income
35% – Local Source Income
0% – 35%
Property Purchase Central/North EUR275,000
South/Gozo EUR220,000
Central/North EUR350,000
South/Gozo EUR300,000
Property Rental Central/North EUR9,600
South/Gozo EUR8,750
Central/North EUR12,000
South/Gozo EUR10,000
Minimum Stay in MT* No min. stay No min. stay
Official Application Fee €6,000 €68,000 if purchasing, or

€98,000 if renting

 

Philanthropic Donation Zero €2,000
Dependants Spouse, Children up to 25 years, brothers, sisters and parents
(If financially dependent)
Spouse, Children
(if financially dependent )
+ Parents & Grandparents
Application Process 4 months 6 months

Why choose ACC Immigration?

The firm is a leader in Maltese immigration law and advises international families on all aspects of taxation, citizenship and residence law in Malta.  The firm’s Maltese residence and citizenship law practice is led by founder Dr Priscilla Mifsud Partner who holds licence number AKM-ACCA-21.

 

Personal Taxation of Maltese Residents

This overview of Malta’s personal taxation of Maltese residents applies to persons taking up residence under European freedom of movement rules, under any immigration rights or residence programme as well as under the Maltese Citizenship by Exceptional Services rules.

Personal Tax Connecting Factors

Under Maltese law, the connecting factors determining the taxability of individuals are domicile and residence, remnants of Malta’s British colonial history dating back to the 1940s.

Citizenship is not a factor that effects the taxation of individuals and therefore acquiring Maltese citizenship by exceptional services does not, alone and in itself, give rise to any tax consequences.  Contact us for Maltese tax advice on the tax implications of the residence required by the Maltese citizenship rules, to assess the extent to which it may result in tax residence and to plan all remittances required under the investor citizenship route.

Permanent resident status under immigration law, particularly the Permanent Residence Programme Regulations of 2021, is not equivalent to Maltese tax residence.  Accordingly, Maltese permanent residence permits issued under these Regulations do not automatically result in residents being considered tax resident in Malta given that this immigration programme does not require any minimum physical presence in Malta in any given year.  Contact us for a consultation on the requirements, implications and planning of tax residence in Malta.

Tax Resident Status

Tax resident status is not an automatic consequence of acquiring permanent residence in Malta.   Tax resident status results from a residence in Malta of over 183 days, or where residents have spent less than the 183 days in Malta, they may demonstrate various connecting factors evidencing their intention to reside in Malta ordinarily.  Permanent residents of Malta requiring formal confirmation of their tax residence status in Malta are able to obtain this through a separate procedure – prior legal advice is recommended.  Contact us for a tax consultation.

Taxation of Non-Malta residents

Non-tax residents are only subject to tax on local source income, that is income arising in Malta including salaries, local business profits, rental income and pension income.

Malta Tax of Foreign Domiciled Residents of Malta

Tax residents of Malta enjoy a remittance basis of taxation, often referred to as res non-dom taxation, whereby they are only subject to Maltese tax on their foreign income only to the extent remitted to Malta.  Res non-doms are not subject to Maltese taxation on their foreign source capital gains, whether remitted to Malta or not.   The enjoyment of the res non-dom tax regime by persons having incomes sources abroad exceeding €35,000 are subject to a minimum annual tax of €5,000.

Taxation of Income in Malta

Income is taxable in Malta only if it arises in Malta.  Income arising abroad, is only taxable in Malta if a person is tax resident in Malta and only on that portion that is remitted to Malta.  Capital gains are taxable in Malta only if arising in Malta but are subject to various exemptions.  Capital gains arising out of Malta are not subject to tax, nor are they reportable, whether remitted to Malta or not.

Other Maltese taxes

Malta has no wealth or capital taxes, no wealth reporting obligations, no inheritance taxation, no property taxes, no dividend taxes, and no system of rates.

Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment

Granting of Maltese Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations

Legal Notice 437 of 2020 prescribes the requirements for the acquisition of Maltese citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services to Malta on the basis of exceptional interest in accordance with Article 10(9) of the Maltese Citizenship Act, Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta. The Government of Malta has established a new governmental agency, Community Malta to be responsible for the administration of Maltese citizenship applications under various routes including investment.

Investment Requirements for Maltese Citizenship through Exceptional Services

Prior to submitting a citizenship application, the applicant shall provide a title to a residential property in Malta. If the Minister is satisfied that the applicant meets the necessary criteria, the applicant is to submit the relevant forms and supporting documents. The applicant shall not submit the citizenship application before he has completed the residence requirement.

The applicant is required to submit:

  • Proof of residence in Malta for at least thirty-six (36) months or by exception of (12) months against a higher investment, preceding the date of application
  • Undertaking to purchase a residential property worth at least €700,000 or rent a property for a minimum annual rent of €16,000, which shall be kept for a minimum of five (5) years from the oath of allegiance
  • Undertaking to donate prior to the issue of a certificate of naturalisation, a minimum of €10,000 to a registered and compliant philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic NGO or society
  • Undertake to make a non-refundable investment of €600,000 when the application is submitted after 36 months of residence or €750,000 when the application is submitted after 12 months of residence
  • Undertake to make a non-refundable investment of €50,000 for each dependant

Once this is submitted, the Agency shall evaluate the application and submit a report to the Minister responsible for citizenship. If the application is approved, the Community Malta Agency shall issue a Letter of Approval in Principle to the Applicant. The applicant shall be required to complete the process and take the Oath of Allegiance within six (6) months from the approval.

Inclusion of Family Members

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:

  • 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.

Due Diligence – Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment

Community Malta Agency shall administer the due diligence and verification process of the eligibility of the applicants. The Agency shall cause due diligence checks to be performed also by third parties including one or more internationally recognised specialised due diligence service providers, in respect of every applicant. Such due diligence checks shall be of a four (4) tier nature or more, as the Agency shall determine from time to time and may include security checks to be carried out by law enforcement authorities in line with the Data Protection legislation.

When submitting an application for citizenship under the exceptional investment route the following due diligence fees are to be paid:

  • €15,000 – Main Applicant
  • €10,000 – Each Dependant
  • €15,000 – Benefactor (if applicable)

Eligibility for Maltese Citizenship through Exceptional Services

Applicants under these regulations shall be eligible if that person:

  • Undertakes to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of Malta
  • Undertakes to promote the fundamental and democratic values of the Republic of Malta
  • Undertakes to support the Maltese community in the spirit of social justice and equity
  • Undertakes to render an exceptional contribution to the Republic of Malta through an exceptional direct investment in the economic and social development of the Republic of Malta
  • Undertakes to declare that the applicant and his dependants are fit and proper persons to hold Maltese citizenship
  • Undertakes to submit a medical examination report attesting that the applicant and his dependants are in good health and not suffering from any contagious disease and not likely to become a burden on Malta’s public health system
  • Undertakes to submit a police conduct certificate

Grounds for Ineligibility

A person may not apply under these regulations if:

  • The person or any of the dependants is or was indicted of an offence before an International Criminal Court or has been arraigned at any time before an International Criminal Court, whether such person has been found guilty or otherwise.
  • The person or any of the dependants are listed with INTERPOL or EUROPOL
    The person or any of the dependants is an actual or potential threat to Malta’s national security, public policy or public health
  • The person or any of the dependants has been charged or found guilty of terrorism, money laundering, funding of terrorism, crimes against humanity, war crimes, defilement of minors, indecent assault and other serious crimes
  • The person or any of the dependants has been found guilty or suspected or has criminal charges brought against him for any criminal offence punishable with more than one (1) year imprisonment, other than an involuntary offence.
  • The person or any of the dependants is or is likely to be involved in any activity which may cause disrepute to the Republic of Malta
  • The person or any of the dependants has been denied a visa to a country with whom Malta has visa-free travel arrangements with, and has not subsequently obtained a visa from that country
    The person or any of the dependants is named or listed in international sanctions
  • If an applicant makes a false statement or otherwise omits material information, the application may be suspended and considered inadmissible.

Quota

The number of certificates by Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment granted (excluding dependants) shall not exceed four hundred (400) per annum, and a total of 1,500 for the duration of the regulations.

 

Malta Citizenship By Marriage

Legal Basis – Maltese Citizenship by Marriage

 

The provisions regulating the acquisition of Maltese citizenship by Marriage were transferred from the Maltese Constitution to the Maltese Citizenship Act in 2000. Before such an amendment, a foreign national could apply for Maltese citizenship immediately after marriage. The legislator felt that marriage alone didn’t satisfy the genuine link criteria with Malta and thus introduced a five-year minimum period.

Article 6 of the Maltese Citizenship Act today states that any person who marries a Maltese national shall be entitled upon making an application and taking an oath of allegiance to be registered as a citizen of Malta. Individuals are only entitled to apply for citizenship under this route if on the date of the application, and on the date of registration, such person is still married to, and still living with the Maltese national for at least 5 years.

The law also caters for instances where the Maltese national passes away. In such a case, if the widow/er of a person who was a Maltese national had been married and living together for at least five years, an application can still be submitted.

The law also provides that no person shall be entitled to be registered as a Maltese national under this clause unless the Minister responsible for citizenship is satisfied that the grant of citizenship is not contrary to the public interest.

The above provisions apply also to individuals who contract a civil union or same-sex marriage.

 

Malta Citizenship Applications

Applications are to be submitted through the Maltese Government Agency (Komunita Malta). We are authorised to assist with the application process and act as liaisons between the applicant and the Maltese authorities. We are also able to assist in witnessing the affidavit required under this application through our Commissioner for Oaths.

Led by Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker, our Citizenship team is the oldest specialised immigration law practice in Malta. We are able to advise you on the legal implications and requirements of the Maltese Citizenship application process.