Forget the private islands and luxury yachts. The latest must-have investment for wealthy people around the world is now Maltese citizenship. This can open doors to new investment opportunities, allow visa-free travel, and provide options to relocate your wealth with favourable taxation for non-domiciled individuals, or secure the future of your children, with opportunities to attend some of the best universities in Europe. The desire to travel visa-free and preserve and grow family wealth has led to a huge demand for Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs worldwide. With such a wide choice of CIP’s offered around the world, it is important to realise these programs are not all the same and decisions about dual citizenship should be made after careful consultation and based on clients’ individual needs.

In some circles, the most desirable second citizenship is now the one provided by Malta. That’s largely because Malta allows its citizens access to other countries within the European Union and the Schengen zone during their residency whilst they wait for their Maltese citizenship to be approved. This provides a wealth of options for their citizens on both a personal level and with regards to their ability to invest and travel for business more freely around Europe. The ability to become an EU citizen has made Maltese citizenship extremely popular with the ultra-rich. Malta’s citizenship by investment program began in 2013 and, since that time, they have accepted over 1,000 applicants. The Maltese program offers due diligence and transparency with a Maltese passport been granted within approximately 14 months.

The Malta CBI is more expensive than the popular programs offered through Caribbean countries but passports for an EU country are considered by many to be excellent investments, and of interest to those who want to exercise their Freedoms to live, work, study or travel visa free in Europe. Currently Malta requires their CBI applicants to invest €350,000 in property, commit to an annual lease of €16,000, or invest €150,000 in government bonds or approved securities. All purchases and investments must be pre-approved by Malta in order to qualify. Applicants must also donate €650,000 to Malta’s National Development and Social Fund. If a spouse and/or children are included in the application an additional contribution of €25,000 per applicant is to be made. Unmarried children between 18 and 27 years of age, and dependent parents over 55 years of age must contribute €50,000 each.

With an estimated 20,000 people applying for a second citizenship each year and a range of programs offered by countries around the world, it is important to review the benefits and costs. A second citizenship through the Maltese Citizenship by Investment program, on an expedited basis requires a sizeable inward investment in return for fast track citizenship, albeit provide a great return on investment over the long term. Savvy investors that are carefully evaluating their dual citizenship options or seeking expert advice to weigh the pros and cons of the various CBI programs prior to investing, consider Malta as one of the most attractive European citizenship options and a worthy contender.