The Malta Individual Investor Programme (“MIIP”) is widely recognised as on of the most successful citizenship-by-investment programmes in the world as it offers candidates of high net worth and good repute the luxury of visa-free travel to over 160 countries, including all Member States of the European Union and Canada.
The MIIP is the first of its kind to be recognised by the European Commission and in order to maintain these high standards, persons who get accepted into this programme must pass through several gateways to ensure that the stellar reputation of the Maltese passport is not compromised in any manner.
Qualifications and General Requirements
1) Age: All applicants must have achieved at least 18 years of age.
2) Contributions – A main applicant is required to make the following contributions:
- National Development and Social Fund: €650,000
- Real Estate - Applicant to choose 1 of the following 2 options:
i.Letting Option: A residential property must be leased for a minimum period of 5 years at a minimum annual lease payment of €16,000 OR
ii.Purchasing Option: A residential property must be purchased which is valued at not less than €350,000 and may not be sold before 5 years from the date of purchase
- Government Securities: €150,000.
3) Residence Status: All candidates must show that they have created a ‘genuine link’ with Malta. Citizenship is granted 12 months after the issuance of the residence card and proof of such genuine link.
4) Insurance: All applicants must provide evidence that they and their dependants are covered by a global health insurance policy with a minimum coverage of €50,000. Furthermore, proof must be shown that all candidates are able to maintain this policy for an indefinite period.
5) Due Diligence: All aspirants are asked to provide proof that they are ‘fit and proper’ to become Maltese citizens through the positive result of a rigorous due diligence process.
This section’s purpose is to show the level of standards related to eligibility criteria and does not comprehensively show each and every instance that may exclude an applicant from being given citizenship. Thus, it is strongly encouraged that any known aspect which may impinge on the eligibility of the applicant or his/her dependents is clarified from the very beginning of the application process.
Apart from the aforementioned requirements, other criteria must be fulfilled for an applicant and his dependents to be considered for Maltese citizenship. With a view of maintaining the integrity of this programme as well as of the island itself, detailed background checks on applicants and dependents aged 12 and over are carried out and a clean police conduct certificate is considered mandatory. Thus, applicants and dependents that have been indicted before an international Criminal Court or those that are under investigation by INTERPOL do not qualify for Maltese citizenship.
Candidates who at any time were charged with certain crimes such as money laundering, terrorism, funding of terrorism, crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes that infringe fundamental human rights, crimes that are punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year (excluding involuntary offences), and crimes that disturb the good order of the family (including offences such as defilement of minors and violent indecent assault) are equally ineligible.
In addition to this, Identity Malta or any other relevant institution has the right to discard an application of the aspirant or any of his or her dependents if the former or the latter are considered to be a potential threat to national security, if false information has been given, or in the event that the applicant or his or her dependents have been part of activities that are likely to tarnish Malta’s reputation and bring it to disrepute.
Finally, applications may also be unaccepted if the applicant has been denied a visa to a state with which Malta has a visa-free travel agreement. However, in this particular case it is at Identity Malta’s discretion whether or not to process the application anyway as if the former is satisfied with the worthiness of the candidate, he or she can still be considered for approval.
Identity Malta must, either directly, or through the concessionaire examine all applications which are presented through an Approved Agent.
Step 1 - Residency
The process is initiated with an application being lodged with Identity Malta for Maltese residency. The applicant must make a non-refundable payment of €5,000, and an additional €1,000 for each dependant, which payment is made on account of the €650,000 contribution. A residency card is issued within 5 days and the applicants are granted the right to reside in Malta for a period of 18 months. Once the residency card is issued, the 12-month residency time frame starts to run and during such period the applicant will benefit from visa free travel within the Schengen Area.
Step 2 – MIIP Application
The application and all supporting documentation are to be submitted to Identity Malta together with a non-refundable payment of €10,000 made on account of the €650,000 contribution.
Step 3 –Identity Malta to verify the application and commence due diligence
Once the application is submitted, Identity Malta proceeds to verify the completeness of the documentation submitted together with the due diligence exercise carried out by the Approved Agent within a time period of 90 days.
Step 4 – Letter of Acceptance
Following such time period, Identity Malta has 30 days from the date of completion of the verification period to notify the Approved Agent in writing about whether the application has been accepted or denied. At this point in the process, Identity Malta has the right to inform the Approved Agent that the application is still in progress.
Step 5 – Provide Health Insurance
When the application is sanctioned, Identity Malta will send an acceptance letter to the candidate and ask for him or her to give proof of an internationally recognised health insurance policy which has a minimum coverage of €50,000 for the main applicant and each of the dependants. Moreover, proof must be shown that they can maintain the same for an indefinite period.
Step 6 – Identity Malta requests payment of contribution
Upon the acceptance of the application, the main applicant has 5 days in which to remit the contribution which is to be received within 20 days from such instruction.
Step 7 – Evidence of qualified investments
The main applicant must provide the written undertakings related to the required property investment and Government bond investment.
Step 8 – Certificate of naturalization is issued
Once all the requirements have been fulfilled, and investments made, Identity Malta will inform the Ministry and a certificate of naturalization granting Maltese citizenship will be issued.
National Development and Social Funds (NDSF) Contribution
Principal Applicant: €650,000
Each Dependant aged 0 – 17: €25,000
Each Dependant aged over 18: €50,000
Investment in Real Estate in Malta:
Letting Option: A residential property must be leased for a minimum period of 5 years at a minimum annual lease payment of €16,000; OR
Purchasing Option: A residential property must be purchased which is valued at not less than €350,000 and may not be sold before 5 years from the date of purchase.
Investment in Government securities
Principal applicant must invest €150,000 in Government securities
Government Due Diligence Fees
Principal Applicant: €7,500
Each Dependant aged 13 – 17: €3,000
Each Dependant aged over 18: €5,000
Passport Fees per Person: €500
Bank Charges per Application: €200
An archipelago composed of three islands, Malta is situated at the heart of the Mediterranean and is geographically located 60 miles south of Italy and 220 miles from the north of Africa. Malta has been a Member State of the European Union since 2004 and has a population of just over 440,000 inhabitants. Due to its rich and diverse history, Malta does not only enjoy its own unique language (the only Semitic language in the world which is written in Latin script), but thanks to a 150-year British occupation, the official languages of the country are both English and Maltese.
Thanks to this linguistic advantage as well as a wonderful Mediterranean climate, Malta has become a popular destination for expatriates who come from all over the world to enjoy the top-ranked healthcare, low crime rate and the Mediterranean culture and history which have been endorsed by renowned publications such as The Wall Street Journal who named it the “third best country in the world for expatriates” and The Telegraph which proclaimed it “the best place to retire”.
Aside from having the right to live, work and study in all Member States of the European Union, Maltese citizens are also able to enjoy visa-free travel to over 160 countries. Residents, on the other hand, are limited to visa-free travel across the Member States of the European Union in virtue of Malta’s membership to the Schengen area.
Thanks to the fact that it possesses political stability as well as a highly educated English-speaking work force, Malta has been able to focus on higher value-added services in industries such as tourism, gaming and financial services. In fact, the registered unemployment in Malta in 2016 was reported at 4.3% compared to the EU average of 10%. In addition to this, forecasts published by the European Commission in 2014 show Malta’s GDP as registering the highest growth rate since 2010 with growth being expected to accelerate slightly in both 2015 as well as 2016. The currency of Malta is the Euro (€).
Standard & Poor’s credit rating for Malta stands at A- with stable outlook. Moody’s credit rating for Malta was last set at A3 with stable outlook. Fitch’s credit rating for Malta was last reported at A with positive outlook.
Property in Malta
With real estate prices being compared to those found in other European Union Member States, Malta has a robust property market with recently published figures by the Central Bank of Malta showing property prices rising to 10.03% during the year to Q4 2015 – a surge that has been partially attributed to government measures aimed to support property demand.
Education in Malta
In Malta, schools are divided into two main categories: state and private. The former schools are found in almost every village and town in Malta and are completely free of charge. However, the language used is mostly Maltese, which makes it challenging for international students to communicate with their peers. Private schools, on the other hand, are divided into two further categories: church schools and independent schools. Church schools are generally heavily subsidised by the government, and parents are merely encouraged to pay a yearly donation as tuition fees. The language used in church schools is also predominantly Maltese. For this reason, independent (or international) schools are the preferred choice for expatriates living in Malta, since the English language is used in both the classroom, as well as extra-curricular activities. Parents sending their children to school in Malta are required to pay tuition fees, transport, school supplies and other associated expenses. The fees differ in accordance with the school chosen and generally range between €1,500 – €3,000 for every scholastic term.