Malta is a beautiful island in the Mediterranean that is famous for its prosperity, high quality of life, stable economy, great business opportunities, as well as mild climate, beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage. It is also recognized as a country with a great educational system and relaxed lifestyle.

Benefits of citizenship in Malta:

  • Right to work and live anywhere in the European Union
  • Visa-free access to 185 countries of the world, including the UK, the USA and Canada
  • Great business environment, including high due diligence standards
  • Advanced healthcare
  • Attractive tax regime

How To Get Maltese Citizenship

By birth

Any person born in Malta is automatically granted citizenship if at least one of the parents is a Maltese citizen. The exception is applied to an abandoned child.

However, such a candidate must have been ordinarily resident in Malta for a period of three years on the date of application.

By descent/family reunification

In general, the rule is that a person who wasn’t born in Malta, upon proving that he or she is a direct descendant of a person born in Malta, which in his or her turn also has a parent of Maltese origin.

Other cases include:

  • born in Malta or to Maltese parents on 21 September 1964, Malta’s independence day from the United Kingdom, or to at least one Maltese parent before this date
  • being a subject of the United Kingdom before 21 September 1964
  • born in or outside Malta with a Maltese father in the period between 21 September 1964 until 31 July 1989
  • a person who at some time in his or her life was a citizen of Malta
  • a person who was adopted by Maltese nationals from outside Malta or Maltese citizens
  • a sibling of a Maltese citizen.

By registration (including by marriage)

Every foreign national that is married to a citizen of Malta for five years can apply for Maltese passport. It also includes spouses of the same sex since 2014. However, the rule is not only limited to this option. For example, if a person has been married for five years to a Maltese citizen, after what they get divorced or the Maltese partner dies, this person is still eligible for Maltese citizenship.

In case of a death of the spouse, there is even another rule: if the widow or widower can prove, that if it wasn’t for the partner’s death, they would have been married for five years or more.

There is another regulation that applies to widows or widowers. If the spouse died before 21 September 1964, the widow or the widower can apply for citizenship. The rationale behind this is that in this case the departed person himself or herself would have been eligible for citizenship, if he or her was born in Malta, as well as the parents.

By naturalization

Any person residing in Malta for over seven years has the right to obtain citizenship. However, the requirements are quite strict. For example, it is necessary to pass the language test and an exam on the general about knowledge of Malta, as well as the proficiency exam. Another requirement, which is different from most of other countries of the world is that the applicant shall have two persons vouching for him or her. Both of them must be over 18 and can’t be neither members of family, nor citizens by naturalization. Also, one of these sponsors should be a lawyer, a doctor, or a civil servant with a certain rank (e.g. judge, prosecutor, magistrate, notary, police officer, etc.)

For distinguished service to Malta

There is an option of obtaining Maltese passport for outstanding merits in such fields as science, sports, culture, or business. However, there are no clear criteria about these distinguished merits.

For political asylum

Malta is one of the European countries that welcomes refugees based on their proof that there is a great risk for their life or discrimination in their own country of origin. Supporting such victims, the Maltese government made them exempt of all the state fees.

Citizenship by investment

The citizenship by investment program in Malta is famous for its very high standards and reliability. This is one of the reasons why so many investors together with their family members opt for this destination.

Here are the requirements of the program:

  • The applicant must be over 18 years old
  • Clear criminal record. Maltese authorities take this point very seriously and have extensive criminal checks with different organizations all over the world.
  • Be a national of the country that is not on the banned list.
  • Valid residence ID card.
  • Non-refundable donation of €600,000 for a residence permit of three years or €750,000 for a residence status of one year to the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF). This amount is increased by €50,000 for each family member, i.e. a spouse, dependent children, parents or grandparents.
  • Purchase of a residential real estate object worth €700,000 in Malta. This property shall be kept under investor’s ownership for a minimum of five years. Another option is leasing a real estate object, also for five years, with an annual rental value of at least €16,000.
  • Non-refundable contribution to a registered scientific, philanthropic, artistic, sport, scientific, animal welfare, or cultural non-governmental organization that are on the list of the Community Malta Agency.
  • Health insurance and medical certificate confirming that the applicant doesn’t have any contagious diseases.

Application process

Step 1. After obtaining the residency card, the candidate can submit the citizenship application to Community Malta Agency. It can be done personally or through a representative. At this stage, the investor shall also present documents showing the origin of all the funds and indicate whether he or she is applying for the citizenship after one or three years of residency.

Step 2. Community Malta Agency will notify the applicant or the respective representative if the any additional documents are required. If not, Agency will send an Eligibility Payment Request Voucher (EPRV) about all the fees that the investor shall pay for the application process.

Step 3. Community Malta Agency will send response confirming all the receipt and conformance of all the documents and that the application was passed on for additional verification by the respective authority.

Step 4. Approval of the application. This is basically the most important step, since as of now to get the citizenship, the candidate shall only make all the respective investments and contributions.

Step 5. Within four months, the applicant shall present the following documents:

  • Proof of investment of €600,000 for 36 months residency or €750,000 for 12 months residency, and €50,000 for each dependent included in application
  • Proof of purchase or lease of a property, as well as the statement form the candidate declaring that this real estate object will be kept for at least five years
  • Proof of contribution to a respective non-profit organization

Step 6. The candidate will receive the confirmation of submission of all the documents and the authority will start the final processing of the application.

Step 7. Issuance of a letter inviting the applicant and all the dependents to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Step 8. Taking the Oath of Allegiance and applying for passport.

Dual citizenship

Malta has no restrictions about dual citizenship. However, it is important to check if the same applies to the country of origin of the applicant.

Taxes in Malta

Obtaining the citizenship of Malta still gives investors options of getting the non-domiciled status. In this case, the person will only have to pay tax on the income generated in Malta. As for wealth, net worth or inheritance taxes, the good news is that there aren’t any. Malta also has double taxation treaties with over 60 countries around the world.