The Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP) is the first EU-approved citizenship program. The IIP was introduced into Maltese law in November 2013 and later legalized in February 2014 (through a legal notice). The program allows the Mediterranean country to give citizenship by a certificate of naturalization to wealthy individuals and families who are able to contribute to Malta’s social and economic development. The program is aimed at ultra-high net worth individuals and families from all around the world. It grants citizenship to an EU member country that is known to be neutral, stable, and highly respected. There’s an efficient application process for Maltese citizenship, and one of the strictest due diligence checks in the world. This ensures that only highly respectable applicants are admitted, thus safeguarding the reputation of the program.
The Global Citizenship Program Index (GCPI) report 2015 ranked Malta’s Individual Investor Program as the best citizenship program in the world, based on a number of factors such as visa-free access, flexibility, reputation, quality of life, compliance, investment requirements, processing time, residence requirements, and relocation flexibility.
Malta is an island country strategically located at the heart of the Mediterranean, South of Sicily (Italy). The country obtained its independence from Britain in 1964 and has remained a member of the commonwealth ever since. It joined the EU in 2004, adopting the Euro as its official currency. The nation has a 7, 500 years old history. In the 19th century, it’s fortified capital, Valetta, as at the heart of European culture. The country is today a parliamentary democracy with a strong legal system and well-established institutions. Malta has efficient health systems and evolved education services. The country boasts an excellent Mediterranean climate and a significantly low crime rate. It’s tourism, industrial and financial sectors are highly developed, and linked to the rest of Europe and the entire world.
The official languages are Maltese and English while the predominant religion is Roman Catholicism.
- Efficient process – fast processing time of just 4 months, fast-track residence cards given within 1-3 weeks and allowing Schengen mobility for 18 months, and passports issued after 12 months since the initial date of residency.
- Mobility – allows visa-free access to a total of 166 countries, including the US, the EU, and Canada. Successful applicants also earn the right to study work or live in any of the 28 member countries, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
- Since 2014, Malta’s IIP has been an EU-approved citizenship program.
- Allows family eligibility – main applicants (investors) can include their spouse, unmarried dependent adult children under the age of 27, and minor children.
- Safe, neutral and stable country with a friendly society that lives the European lifestyle blended with a Mediterranean quality of life.
- Access to a nation with vibrant tourism and financial sectors.
- Possible tax planning benefits.
- No restrictions on dual citizenship.
Under the citizenship by investment arrangement, Maltese citizenship is granted to foreign nationals over 18 years of age by naturalization based on the following investments and contributions:
- Investment in government approved financial instruments – the primary applicant is required to invest a minimum EUR 150,000 in government-approved financial instruments, to be maintained for at least 5 years. This condition may be considered satisfied within four months following approval in principle by Identify Malta.
- Investment in residential property – the primary applicant is required to make a commitment to reside in Malta for at least 5 years, either through the purchase of residential immovable property valued at EUR 350, 000 minimum, or through lease of property for which the annual rent is, at least, EUR 16, 000. Such property should not be let or sublet through the course of the first 5 years.
- Make the following contributions to the National Development & Social Fund (70%) and Malta’s Consolidated Fund (30%):
- Main applicant – make a payment of EUR 650, 000, of which EUR 10, 000 will be made as a non-refundable deposit before submitting the application. The remainder is paid after the application is approved in principle.
- Spouse – EUR 25, 000.
- Each Child under 18 years of age – EUR 25, 000.
- Each unmarried child aged 18 – 26 years – EUR 50, 000.
- Each dependent parent over 55 years of age – EUR 50, 000.
Further due diligence fees apply. The families of successful applicants enjoy full citizenship of life in Malta, which is also passed to their future generations.
Due Diligence Fees
- Principal applicant – EUR 7, 500.
- Spouse – EUR 5, 000.
- Minor dependents below 12 years of age – no fee.
- Minor dependents 13-17 years old – EUR 3, 000 each.
- Adult dependents – EUR 5, 000 each.
Additionally, candidates must pay a passport fee of EUR 500 each, plus bank charges of EUR 200 per application.
Application Procedure & Timeline
- Day 1 – interested candidate submits application to Identity Malta (the body tasked with overseeing the execution of the Individual Investor Program). Necessary documents and due diligence fees are paid at this stage. More so, a deposit of EUR 10, 000 is made towards the nation’s contribution fund.
- Day 5 – Identity Malta issues a notification to the authorized agent when the investor’s application has been accepted for review, or whether it requires further paperwork.
- Day 90 – Identity Malta issues a confirmation that the investor’s application, as well as the supporting documents, are officially in order. The applicant may be subjected to 30 more days for further verification by Malta’s regulatory body.
- Day 120 – the applicant is approved in principles. This means that he or she has been approved by the IIP just provided they fulfill all the remaining requirements under the country’s citizenship by investment program.
- Day 125 – a formal request is sent by Identity Malta to the applicant asking them to pay the remaining amount of the National Development and Social Fund contribution.
- Day 145 – this is the deadline for financial contribution. All EUR 650, 000 must be made by this time.
- Day 240 – Final compliance is carried out for the Maltese citizenship program. The applicant is asked to provide evidence of EUR 150, 000 investment in government bond, as well as ownership or rental of Maltese real estate.
- Issue of Certificate of Naturalization – once the applicant has satisfied all conditions set under the IIP, and taken an Oath of Allegiance, they are issued with a Naturalization Certificate, and granted a Malta Passport.
In addition to the investment requirements set out above, applicants must satisfy additional eligibility requirements:
- Applicants must of good repute, and must undergo a ‘fit and proper’ test.
- Produce a certificate that shows the applicant and his or her dependents are of good health and do not suffer from any contagious ailments.
- Produce police certificates that demonstrate clean conduct.
- Applicants must never have appeared before any international criminal court, and must not be listed by INTERPOL. More so, they should not have any pending charges or convictions of certain crimes such as pedophilia, rape, indecent assault, terrorism, defilement of minors, abduction, funding of terrorism, money laundering, crimes against humanity, crimes related to infringement of the protection of fundamental freedoms and human rights, and war crimes.
- Applicants must not pose a threat to public policy, national security or public health.
- Applicants must not currently be been denied visa to any nation that has a Visa-free arrangement with Malta.
Circumstances for Denial of Maltese Citizenship Through Investment
Identity Malta considers all applications on a case-by-case basis. Below are grounds that may lead to denial, though:
- Provision of false information.
- Potential threat to national security.
- Denied visa to another country.
- Likelihood to disrepute Malta.
- Have a criminal record, or is subject to criminal proceedings.
- Economic self-sufficiency form.
- Copy of a comprehensive, global health insurance cover worth, at least, EUR 50, 000 medical coverage for each person.
- Copy of passport.
- Registration form for electronic identity.
- Proof of financial means such as bank statements.
- Application for naturalization.
- Medical report with attached medical exams.
- Statement of the source of wealth and funds, featuring such details as yearly income and approximate net worth.
- Certificate of conduct.
- Personal details form, including family information, employment and education.
Grounds for Revocation of Maltese Citizenship
Revocation for Malta citizenship is well regulated and is stipulated in the country’s Citizenship Act. Grounds for citizenship deprivation are:
- In the case where citizenship was initially acquired through false representation, fraud, or concealment of any material fact.
- Where the citizen is disloyal to the President or Government of the country, by speech or act.
- Where the citizen has engaged, communicated or unlawfully traded with an enemy with the willingness to help them in war.
Is the Malta citizenship-by-investment permanent?
Malta’s citizenship through investment is granted under a Naturalization Certificate. Once you obtain EU citizenship under the country’s Individual Investor Program, you’ll have it forever. This citizenship can also be passed to your future generations.
How fast can I acquire Maltese citizenship?
The process can take as little as 6 months, sometimes up to 12 months.
Is the Mata citizenship program still active?
Yes. The Individual Investor Program is accepting new applications from high-net-worth individuals and families from across the world. If interested, you can take advantage of the opportunity right away.
Which is better, buying property or renting an apartment in Malta?
One of the requirements to qualify for Maltese citizenship is that the applicant must purchase property worth, at least, EUR 350, 000, or rent a home for a minimum annual rent of EUR 16, 000. There are cons and pros to both options. The biggest advantage with buying is that you make an investment that can be recovered. On the other hand, the biggest advantage with renting is that it costs a lot less money in the first place.
I’m I required to speak in a certain language?
You are not required to speak a specific language in order to apply for the Malta investment program. There are no citizenship tests carried out either.
Is Malta a safe country to invest in?
Yes. As of now, Malta is an economically secure nation. Its banking sector is the 2nd largest in the Eurozone. The country’s government bonds are in high demand, and its credit rating is excellent (BBB+).
What is a Malta Golden Visa?
Golden Visa is the word used to refer to popular investor visas offered by South European nations such as Portugal and Spain. Some people will casually refer to Malta’s Individual Investor Program (MIIP) as Golden Visa Malta.
What is the purpose of the due diligence process?
Malta and a lot of other countries that offer citizenship programs are keen to admit only highly respectable individuals with no criminal record. Malta’s Due Diligence is one of the strictest in the world. It involves background verification checks that are designed to ascertain a candidate’s good repute, as well as confirm that the source of their wealth is legal.
Can my children go to school in Europe?
If you qualify for Malta’s second citizenship, traveling the world will be very easy. Your children will be able to go to school anywhere in Europe without the need to qualify as ‘foreign students’.
How many islands form Malta?
The Maltese archipelago is made up of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Malta is the largest of the three. It’s also the most populated. The capital city of the country is located in Malta. Gozo is the second largest island, characterized by booming fishing, tourism, and agriculture industries. Comino happens to be a very small island located between Gozo and Malta. When IIP applicants go to Malta in order to get a residency card, and take an Oath of Allegiance, they have to visit the capital, Valletta, conveniently located near the Malta International Airport.
How many citizenship applicants can the IIP accommodate?
Malta’s Individual Investor Program is open to 1800 applicants. This makes it one of the most exclusive schemes available.