Malta provides the ideal conditions for start-ups to be launched. An educated English-speaking work force, a diverse and growing economy, and a robust legislative framework makes it the right place for businesses to grow and scale up. Malta is also a member of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the Commonwealth, and the Eurozone. Businesses starting up or relocating to Malta thus can have access to government and European Union funding to be used for research and development.

The Malta Start-Up Residence Programme makes it easier for those involved in the running of a start-up to relocate and conduct business from Malta. The programme is open only to non-EU nationals and designed to facilitate the setting up of start-ups and scale-ups in Malta.

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Eligibility

The Malta Start-Up Residence Programme is available only for non-EU individuals who are at least 18 years of age.

A founder or co-founder of a start-up must have a concrete intention to develop and/or expand the business in Malta. In addition, founders and co-founders benefitting from this programme, are required to have a physical and tangible presence in Malta, whilst paying taxes locally.

In order to be eligible, an applicant must be a founder or co-founder of an enterprise which hasn’t yet been registered for more than seven years anywhere globally and must:

  • Have not yet distributed profit
  • Have not been formed through a merger
  • Have not taken over the activity of another enterprise

Applicants who are nationals of, or have close ties with Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela are ineligible to apply under this programme.

Applicants must be covered by a health insurance covering risks in Malta, be in possession of sufficient financial resources to support their stay in Malta and rent or purchase a property in Malta.

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Requirements

The incorporated Start-Up in Malta is required to:

  • Place a tangible investment or have a paid-up share capital of not less than €25,000.

This investment covers up to 4 co-founders. Should there be additional co-founders, an additional €10,000 investment is to be made. In any case, the maximum number of co-founders eligible to apply under the programme shall not exceed 6.

  • Submit a business plan which is to be approved by Malta Enterprise.

Eligible start-ups must be engaged in one or more of the following activities:

  • Software development
  • Manufacturing or industrial services analogous to manufacturing
  • Health, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and life-sciences
  • Eco start-ups involved in the blue, green and sustainable industries
  • Other innovative economic activities which are enabled through knowledge and technology providing services or products which are currently not readily available in the relevant market, or which shall be provided through a process which is novel

Start-Ups must also meet at least two of the following criteria:

  1. Propose products or services that have the potential to generate income from various geographical markets,
  2. Produce products or services which are new, innovative, or substantially improved compared to other products in the market
  3. Utilise processes which are new or substantially improved compared to those adopted in current complementary activities.

Administrative fees to apply under the Malta Start-up Residence Programme are as follows:

  • €750 for each adult applicant / dependant for a 3-year Start-up Residence Permit
  • €82.50 to Identity Malta Agency for the issuance of the residence card, for each individual covering a three (3) year permit.

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Core Employees

Core employees of the Start-Up who are vital to start operating in Malta and who earn not less than €30,000 are also eligible to apply for a residence permit. This employment however must take place within the timeframe in which the venture is classified as a start-up.  Residence permits for core employees will be issued for three (3) years which can be renewed to a further three (3) year period. Core employees must also be non-EU nationals and must declare that their intention is to reside primarily in Malta once they are approved.

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Family Members

Family members of founders, co-founders and core employees of the Start-Up are also eligible to apply for a residence permit. The residence permits will have the same validity period of the residence permit of the start-up founder/co-founder or core employee. Family members which are eligible include the spouse, de-facto partners, minor children and adult children who are economically dependent on their parents.

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme: Residence Permit Duration

Residence permit for founders and co-founders are issued for an initial period of three (3) years following the approval by Residency Malta Agency and Malta Enterprise. The residence cards will be renewed for a further five-year period once it is confirmed that the start-up is still operating and that the founder and co-founders still meet the eligibility of the programme.

The collection of the residency card shall only be permitted once the start-up is fully incorporated in Malta and registered with the relevant local authorities.

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme Applications

Malta Start-Up Residence Programme applications are to be submitted to Residency Malta Agency and Malta Enterprise.  Our immigration firm is registered as a Licensed Agent with the Maltese immigration authorities according to Maltese law.  Led by Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker, our winning Immigration & Relocation Law team is the oldest specialised immigration law practice in Malta. We have successfully represented individuals and families ranging from expatriate retirees, digital nomads, emigrants seeking employment, to HNW individuals on the Forbes List.

We are able to advise you on the legal implications and requirements of the Malta Start-Up Residence Programme application process and indicate expected time frames based on the specific circumstances and nature of your application. Our advice covers the incorporation of the business, and rules applicable to immigrating to Malta under a number of available residence programmes as well as practical relocation assistance ranging from transportation and insurance to schooling and health insurance coverage.

Contact us for further information on the Malta Start-Up Residence Programme and other residency programmes.