|March 3, 2014|
Previously published on February 26, 2014
Under Malta’s new Individual Investor Program (IIP), qualified foreign investors and their family members may now apply for Maltese citizenship. Applications are being accepted, even though the program’s legislation is not yet in place.
Investors and their family members must reside in Malta for at least twelve months prior to applying. They also must maintain their qualifying investments and Maltese real estate holdings for at least five years after obtaining citizenship. To qualify, applicants must meet three investment requirements:
- Contribute to a state fund a non-refundable cash donation of at least €650,000 for the principal applicant and an additional €25,000 for each dependent (spouse and children under 18 years). Applicants must provide an additional €50,000 for each accompanying child between the ages of 18 and 26 and for each accompanying parent over 55 years;
- Purchase real estate valued at €350,000 or more or lease a property with an annual rent that exceeds €16,000; and
- Invest a minimum of €150,000 in government-approved financial instruments, which must be maintained for at least five years.
Malta is an EU member state; and Maltese citizens may travel visa-free through and reside in any of the 28 other EU member states.
Applicants will be subject to background checks, and the source of the invested funds will be scrutinized to ensure they were gained through lawful means. Citizenship applications are expected to be processed in two years.
Only 1,800 Maltese passports will be issued under the IIP, though the government is considering raising the cap and launching a subsequent program.
Malta has introduced other programs for investors, including the 2013 provisional residence permit. That program offered reduced tax obligations for third-country nationals who own property in Malta and entailed no minimum residence requirement.
What This Means for Foreign Nationals
Investors and their families may apply for Maltese citizenship after contributing long-term investment funds. Because Malta is an EU member state, qualifying investors may enjoy the benefits of EU citizenship as well, including the right to travel visa-free through and reside in any of the other 28 EU member states.