Maltese Citizenship for Exceptional Services

CBI Index Ranks Malta First for Freedom of Movement

The 2021 Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Index published by the Financial Times provides a comprehensive analysis of various citizenship programmes worldwide. The fifth edition of the CBI Index issued in 2021 ranks Malta first under the ‘Freedom of Movement’ pillar. Malta scored 10 out of a maximum of 10 points under this pillar confirming Malta’s passport as one of the best travel documents to hold. When obtaining Maltese citizenship through naturalisation, descent or through investment one gets to travel to 186 countries without a visa or visa on arrival, thus avoiding lengthy and bureaucratic visa procedures.

Freedom of Movement Index

Freedom of movement between countries is of utmost importance to any individual or family seeking a second or alternative citizenship. This applies irrespective of whether the individual wishes to travel for business purposes, to visit family or for leisure. In the CBI index of 2021, the Freedom of

Movement Pillar measures the country’s citizenship on the basis of three factors:

  1. The number of countries which a passport allows travel to without restrictions
  2. The number of prime business hubs to which it provides access and
  3. The degree to which a given citizenship provides settlement rights in other nations.

When conducting this research, emphasis was placed on the total number of countries that may be visited without a visa or a country which gives a visa on arrival since neither requires the receipt of a visa in advance of travel. As business travel is of paramount importance for prospective global citizens, a passport’s ability to provide access to the world’s leading economic and financial centres was also evaluated.

Right to Settle & Travel

Malta is a member of the European Union and the Schengen Area. Therefore, any Maltese citizen can travel, work and reside freely in any European Union member state. Being a European Union country, Malta offers its citizens extensive settlement rights and travel opportunities. The EU Freedom of movement is very vast in scope and includes the free movement of persons, goods, capital and services.

Malta Visa-Free Countries

The below is a comprehensive list of visa-free or visa on arrival countries for Maltese passport holders:
1. Albania
2. American Samoa
3. Andorra
4. Anguilla
5. Antigua and Barbuda
6. Argentina
7. Armenia
8. Aruba
9. Australia
10. Austria
11. Azerbaijan (e-visa)
12. Bahamas
13. Bahrain (e-visa)
14. Bangladesh (visa on arrival)
15. Barbados
16. Belarus
17. Belgium
18. Belize
19. Benin (e-visa)
20. Bolivia (visa on arrival)
21. Bosnia and Herzegovina
22. Botswana
23. Brazil
24. Brunei
25. Bulgaria
26. Burkina Faso (visa on arrival)
27. Cambodia (e-visa)
28. Canada
29. Cape Verde
30. Chile
31. Colombia
32. Comoros (visa on arrival)
33. Costa Rica
34. Cote D’ Ivoire (e-visa)
35. Croatia
36. Cyprus
37. Czech Republic
38. Denmark
39. Djibouti (e-visa)
40. Dominica
41. Dominican Republic
42. Ecuador
43. Egypt (visa on arrival)
44. El Salvador
45. Estonia
46. Eswatini
47. Ethiopia (e-visa)
48. Fiji
49. Finland
50. France
51. Gabon (e-visa)
52. Gambia
53. Georgia
54. Germany
55. Greece
56. Grenada
57. Guatemala
58. Guinea (e-visa)
59. Guinea-Bissau (visa on arrival)
60. Haiti
61. Honduras
62. Hungary
63. Iceland
64. India (e-visa)
65. Indonesia
66. Iran (visa on arrival)
67. Ireland
68. Israel
69. Italy
70. Jamaica
71. Japan
72. Jordan
73. Kazakhstan
74. Kenya
75. Kiribati
76. South Korea
77. Kuwait (visa on arrival)
78. Kyrgyzstan
79. Laos (visa on arrival)
80. Latvia
81. Lebanon (visa on arrival)
82. Lesotho
83. Liechtenstein
84. Lithuania
85. Luxembourg
86. Madagascar (visa on arrival)
87. Malawi (visa on arrival)
88. Malaysia
89. Maldives (visa on arrival)
90. Marshall Islands
91. Mauritania (visa on arrival)
92. Mauritius
93. Mexico
94. Micronesia
95. Moldova
96. Monaco
97. Mongolia (visa on arrival)
98. Montenegro
99. Morocco
100. Mozambique (visa on arrival)
101. Myanmar (e-visa)
102. Nepal (visa on arrival)
103. Netherlands
104. New Zealand
105. Nicaragua
106. North Macedonia
107. Norway
108. Oman (e-visa)
109. Pakistan
110. Palau
111. Panama
112. Papua New Guinea (e-visa)
113. Paraguay
114. Peru
115. Philippines
116. Poland
117. Portugal
118. Qatar
119. Romania
120. Russia (e-visa)
121. Rwanda (visa on arrival)
122. Saint Kitts & Nevis
123. Saint Lucia
124. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
125. Samoa
126. San Marino
127. San Tome and Principe
128. Saudi Arabia (visa on arrival)
129. Senegal
130. Serbia
131. Seychelles
132. Sierra Leone (visa on arrival)
133. Singapore
134. Slovakia
135. Slovenia
136. Solomon Islands
137. Somalia (visa on arrival)
138. South Africa
139. South Sudan (e-visa)
140. Spain
141. Sri Lanka (e-visa)
142. Suriname
143. Sweden
144. Switzerland
145. Tajikistan
146. Tanzania
147. Thailand (visa on arrival)
148. Timor-Leste
149. Togo (visa on arrival)
150. Tonga
151. Trinidad and Tobago
152. Tunisia
153. Turkey
154. Tuvalu
155. Uganda
156. Ukraine
157. United Arab Emirates
158. United Kingdom
159. United Stated of America
160. Uruguay
161. Uzbekistan
162. Vanuatu
163. Vatican City
164. Venezuela
165. Vietnam (e-visa)
166. Yemen
167. Zambia
168. Zimbabwe

How to Obtain Maltese Citizenship through Investment?

The granting of Maltese citizenship by investment is regulated by Legal Notice 437 of 2020 which lays down the eligibility criteria and requirements of these regulations. Under these regulations an applicant may apply for citizenship for himself, the spouse, children up to the age of 28 and financially dependent parents and grandparents of the applicant and the spouse over the age of 55 years.

Under these regulations, an applicant can apply for Maltese citizenship after three years or by an exceptional investment after 1 year of residency when satisfying the following requirements:

  1. Making 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
  2. Making an investment in property (rental or purchase), and
  3. Donating €10,000 to a Maltese charity organisation or NGO.

How Can We Assist?

As a Maltese immigration firm, we are accredited and hold licence number AKM-ACCA-21. We guide applicants interested in obtaining Maltese citizenship through the various routes. Over the last 20 years our immigration team has successfully assisted a number of individuals and families to acquire citizenship in Malta and benefit from the numerous advantages it offers.

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.