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Real Estate in Malta
Second citizenship

Moving to Malta: benefits of Malta permanent residence and citizenship

Malta is a developed country with a high quality of life. Expats choose this country for immigration for a relatively low cost of living and more than 300 sunny days a year.

A Malta passport gives its holders many benefits, such as travelling to 180 countries without a visa, doing business in Europe, and providing excellent education to children. Also, one can get a PR permit in Malta to live there and travel the Schengen Area visa-free.

Read on to find out the reasons to move to Malta and the benefits of permanent residency and citizenship in this country.
Moving to Malta: benefits of Malta permanent residence and citizenship

Advantages of living in Malta

Malta is a warm, developed, and welcoming country. One can find many benefits to living there. 

Relatively low cost of living. Consumer prices in the country are generally lower than in some other EU countries, especially those in Western and Northern Europe. Also, the consumer prices in Malta, in general, are about 20% lower than in the United States. 

More than 300 sunny days a year. Malta has a mild and pleasant climate in any season; there are almost no rainy days in the summertime. The average air temperature throughout the year usually ranges between +9…32°C. 

The most comfortable weather in Malta is from May to October.

English-speaking country. Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English. You can speak English to travel and live in Malta without difficulty because 88% of locals speak English and use it in daily conversations.

Strong healthcare system. According to Statista, Malta scored 81.7 points on the Health index in 2021. This puts the country in 11th place among other states by their healthcare systems. 

Malta’s public health system provides free services to all Maltese citizens. And it’s easy for residents and citizens to access a clinic or hospital when needed.

High-quality education. For Malta citizens, education at state universities is free of charge. Also, children of Maltese citizens may study in schools and universities in other EU countries; they don’t need to get visas, and the tuition fees are usually lower for them than for third-countries citizens.

Benefits for entrepreneurs. Many business owners choose Malta as a place to open a business. Financial, maritime, gaming, tourism and other sectors are attractive for investment and company registration in Malta.

The Malta tax system can provide some benefits for business people. In particular, Maltese companies pay 35% corporate income tax, but their stakeholders can refund up to 100% of it.

Lots of attractions to visit. Malta attracts many tourists from all over the world with its sights. For example, in the capital of Malta, Valletta, you will find the Grandmaster’s Palace, once the residence of the Knights of Malta.

Best routes for hiking. Hiking enthusiasts will surely be satisfied with the numerous attractive ways. For example, you can visit Dingli cliffs and Fawwara trail: this route usually takes about 2 hours to complete. The route to Ghar Lapsi is more challenging but takes less than 1,5 hours.

Developed water sports activities. Malta is located on an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, which allows water sports enthusiasts to enjoy various outdoor water activities. Malta is known worldwide for its scuba diving. Kayaking, diving, snorkelling, and jet skiing are also popular.

Delicious food. Maltese cuisine was influenced by Italian one. Malta is situated in the Mediterranean sea, so fish dishes are widely popular; also, the country is renowned for its bread and pastizzi. 

There are five Michelin-starred restaurants in Malta. For example, you can visit the ION restaurant in Valletta and try seasonal dishes from a top-level chef.

Immigration to Malta: Ghar Lapsi Bay

Ghar Lapsi Bay is popular with tourists and locals as a hiking destination and a diving spot

Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta, Malta

The Grandmaster’s Palace was built in 1571 in Valletta, the capital of Malta. It was the residence of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St John

Traditional cuisine in Malta

Maltese pastizzi is a traditional savoury pastry that is usually filled with ricotta

Benefits of Malta citizenship

A Malta passport opens up many opportunities to its holders. 

Moving to Malta or other EU countries. A Maltese passport allows you to live in Malta. Also, you may relocate to another EU country without getting a residence permit in advance.

Visa-free access to 180+ countries. Maltese citizens can travel to the Schengen countries, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other states without a visa.

Ample opportunities for business and work. With a Maltese passport, one may work or open a company in Malta or another EU member state. Also, Malta citizens don’t have to obtain visas for business trips to other Schengen countries.

Tax residency in Malta. Malta citizens can live in the country for 183+ days a year to become its tax residents. Passport holders don’t get any additional benefits, but the Maltese tax system may be advantageous by itself.

Saving your first citizenship. Malta allows dual citizenship, so you do not need to give up the first passport if your home country also allows dual nationality. 

Disadvantages of Malta citizenship for investors

The long process of obtaining citizenship. Foreign investors wait up to three years to apply for their passports. However, they initially get residence cards to immigrate to Malta and travel to other Schengen countries visa-free.

Non-refundable investment. Foreigners must make a non-refundable investment in a state fund of at least €600,000 if they wish to get Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services. 

High expenses for obtaining citizenship. Foreigners and their families usually spend about €1 million or more to get Malta passports. This amount is higher than the expenses of those who acquire citizenship in Caribbean countries; nevertheless, a Maltese passport gives one a lot more opportunities and freedom.

How to obtain Malta citizenship

Foreigners can obtain Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment. They first need to get a residence permit and then apply for a passport after a year or three.

To get Malta citizenship, foreigners must fulfil the following conditions: 

  • donate to a non-governmental organisation;
  • contribute to the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF);
  • buy or rent a residential property. 
Contributing to NDFS
Investing in a non-government organisation
€16,000+ annually
Renting housing
Buying real estate

The amount of contribution to NDFS depends on when you can apply for citizenship:

  1. €600,000+ if you apply for citizenship after three years of residency.
  2. €750,000+ if you apply for citizenship after a year of residency.

All the investment requirements are mandatory. Applicants can only choose whether to rent a property or buy real estate. 

Conditions for renting or buying real estate to get Malta citizenship

ConditionThe minimum cost of housingDetails
Renting a property€16,000+ annually, rent for five yearsFirst, investors rent real estate while they have a Malta residence permit. The price is unlimited.

To apply for citizenship, investors must make a new lease agreement for €16,000+ per year. 
Buying real estate€700,000+Investors can purchase real estate worth at least €700,000. After five years, they can sell the property and return the money.

One can apply for Malta citizenship when they have fulfilled all the requirements. 

Documents that investors must provide to apply for citizenship:

  1. A passport.
  2. Resident IDs of other states, if applicable.
  3. A certificate of no criminal record.
  4. Confirmation of a registration address in Malta.
  5. Proof of transferring a contribution to the state fund and donating to a non-governmental organisation.
  6. Proof of renting or buying real estate and other real estate documents.
  7. Medical insurance.
  8. Application forms.

Also, some additional documents are needed for the Eligibility Test, which is a Due Diligence check that every applicant passes. It is intended to learn whether an applicant is law-abiding and has gained their capital in legal ways. If not, the application is rejected. The exact list of documents for the test is based on the particular case, and a licensed agent compiles it.

Investor’s family members can also apply for citizenship, but the final amount of expenses, in this case, will depend on the number of applicants. In particular, the contribution to the NDSF for each family member is €50,000, and there are also some additional fees.

Pros and cons of Malta permanent residence

Foreigners can participate in the Malta Permanent Residence Programme to get permanent residency. PR status has various advantages and disadvantages; let’s observe them.

Benefits of Malta permanent residence. With the Malta Permanent Residence Programme, you can get a decision on your application in 4—6 months after submitting the documents, and living in the country for several years is not required. In comparison, the non-investment path to PR in Malta takes 5+ years.

Permanent residency is granted for the whole life.

Family members can also apply for Malta permanent residence with the investor. Investors may include up to four generations in the application, and they have no age restrictions.

Investors are not required to live in the country permanently after getting residency. You can immigrate anytime, work, study, and do business there. In addition, a Malta permanent residence permit allows visiting the 25 Schengen states without a visa. 

Another benefit is that you can profit from investing in real estate in Malta by renting a property out.

Disadvantages of the Malta permanent residence by investment. Foreigners who have received permanent residency in Malta have limited opportunities compared to those who have been granted citizenship.

For example, a Malta permanent residence permit allows travelling only to the Schengen states for 90 days in 180, while Malta citizens may visit 180+ countries visa-free and stay in other Schengen states for a long time.

To participate in the programme, foreigners must provide non-refundable payments of at least €70,000.

Another possible disadvantage is that all family members applying to participate in the programme must be principally dependent on investors: they can not work or receive any income. However, it is a usual requirement for family members in residency‑by‑investment programmes.

Conditions for obtaining a Malta permanent residence

Investors must fulfil several conditions to obtain Malta permanent residence: pay an administration fee, donate to a Maltese non-government organisation, and buy or rent a residential property. Investors can choose whether to rent a property or purchase housing to participate in the programme, and the other two requirements do not have options.

Investors also should confirm that they have assets of at least €500,000, where €150,000 are liquid financial assets.

€300,000+ / €50,000+
Buying real estate or renting it for 5 years
€28,000+ / €58,000+
Contribution to the government; depends on whether one buys or rents housing
Administration fee
Donation to a non-government organisation
Amount of assets to confirm

Investors can take part in the Malta permanent residence programme if they are over 18 years old and correspond to the following conditions:

  • have no criminal record and are not under sanctions;
  • have no visa denials in the countries with a visa-free regime with Malta;
  • can confirm their income;
  • have medical insurance;
  • have available assets of €500,000+ and €150,000 as liquid financial assets.

An investor’s family members — a spouse, children under 18, parents, and grandparents — can also participate in the programme. Children over 18 can also apply, but if they are unmarried and principally dependent on the investor.

To fulfil all the requirements, investors should choose whether to buy housing or rent one

Conditions for renting or buying real estate in Malta to get permanent residence

Renting of housing€10,000+ annually, rent for five yearsOne of the options is to rent a property. The minimum cost depends on the region:
  • €10,000+ per annum — on the island of Gozo and in the south of Malta;
  • €12,000+ per annum — in the city centre of Malta or in the north.

Investors have to rent a residential property for five years. 
Buying real estate€370,000+Investors can buy residential real estate in Malta to take part in the programme. The minimum purchase price depends on the location:
  • €300,000+ — on the island of Gozo and in the south of Malta;
  • €350,000+ — in the city centre of Malta or in the north.

After five years, you can sell the property and return the money for the purchase.

The amount of contribution to the Maltese government depends on whether you buy or rent real estate. In the case of purchasing an object, the minimum contribution amount is €28,000, and in the case of renting one, it is €58,000. An additional €7,500 is paid for each parent and grandparent in the application.

Valletta, Sliema, and St. Julian’s are the most popular locations to rent or buy a property in Malta. The island of Gozo and the south of Malta are less developed, and real estate prices are lower there. 

Examples of properties to buy to obtain Malta PR

How to obtain Malta permanent residence

There are seven steps that investors should take to apply for a Malta permanent residence programme. The application processing usually takes 4—6 months. 

Step 1. Pass a preliminary Due Diligence check. This step is mandatory for all applicants. Immigrant Invest has its own Compliance Department: its initial Due Diligence reduces the application rejection risk to 1%. The preliminary Due Diligence takes one day.

Step 2. Collect the necessary documents. Layers provide the investor with the list of required documents; then, they translate papers into English and fill out government forms. This process takes about 4—5 weeks. 

At this stage, the applicant pays a non-refundable administration fee of €10,000. 

Step 3. Pass a Due Diligence check. It takes at least four months. If an applicant has passed the check, they get a letter of approval.

Step 4. Fulfil all the conditions. After getting the approval, investors can fulfil investment conditions: pay a contribution and the remaining administration fee, donate to a non-government organisation, and rent or buy a property. 

The administration fee must be paid in two months, and to fulfil other conditions, the investor has eight months after the approval.

Step 5. Provide fingerprints. The principal applicant and all the family members should provide their fingerprints at the Residency Malta Agency. This step requires a trip to Malta, and fingerprinting takes about a day.

Step 6. Wait for the final approval. The Residency Malta Agency reviews the documents submitted after the investment is done and then issues the final approval. This step usually takes about a month.

Step 7. Obtain your permanent residence permit. The Residency Malta Agency issues a Certificate of Residence and permanent residence cards. It usually takes about two weeks.

Adult applicants obtain PR permits for five years. Minor children must renew their cards within a month after they turn 14 or 18. 

Moving to Malta from the US

Americans can travel to Malta with a United States passport for up to 90 days. If one wishes to move to Malta from the USA, they should get a Malta residence permit or become a country’s citizen.

Malta is quite a popular place among American retirees due to its pleasant climate, wide spread of the English language, and low cost of living alongside good healthcare and food. Americans usually choose Valletta, Victoria, Birgu, St. Paul, and Mdina to live in Malta.

Frequently asked questions

Is moving to Malta a good idea?

Malta is a developed country with a pleasant climate and low living costs. There are beautiful hiking routes, good spots for diving, lots of sights and delicious food. Prices in Malta are generally lower than in Western Europe and the United States.

Malta citizenship also has numerous benefits. For example, you can travel to 180+ states without a visa with a Maltese passport and work or open a company in the country or abroad.

Can a foreigner live in Malta?

Yes, foreigners can live in Malta. EU citizens can move to Malta without a visa, and non-EU foreigners must receive a residence permit.

How long should I stay in Malta to get citizenship?

The process of obtaining a Malta passport takes a long time. Maltese legislation allows investors to apply for citizenship only 1 or 3 years after receiving a residence permit, and ordinary naturalisation takes 5+ years.

How much money do I need to move to Malta?

You’ll need a residence permit or citizenship to move to Malta. There are some opportunities for investors: for example, one can get a Malta PR permit by investing €150,000+ in the country’s economy.

Prices in the country are generally lower than in Western or Northern Europe. The cost of living in Malta, in general, is about 20% lower than in the United States. 

Can I live in Malta permanently?

Yes, you can get Malta permanent residency and immigrate to the country. A foreigner must meet the following conditions: 

  • pay state and administration fees;
  • donate to a Maltese non-government organisation;
  • buy or rent a residential property. 
Moving to Malta: benefits of Malta permanent residence and citizenship
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