In a world of globalisation, interconnectedness and geopolitical instability, more and more educated and wealthy individuals are looking beyond their domestic shores to live, work, study, do business and travel freely. Malta’s IIP Programme is a means to achieve this global mobility.
The highly successful Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) offers ultra high net worth individuals and families the opportunity to gain Maltese, and therefore European Union (EU), citizenship, in return for an investment in the country’s social and economic development. Indeed, it is the first citizenship programme in the EU to be recognised by the European Commission.
Malta’s citizenship by investment programme targets those who would like to be globally mobile, and who can share their talent, expertise and business connections, while contributing to the country’s development.
Malta offers fantastic opportunities for applicants. Historically, the country’s geographical location in the centre of the Mediterranean has always been a unique selling point. But it is membership in the European Union that has given the state the added connectivity that should attract those seeking a second passport and a mobile lifestyle.
Malta is an English speaking nation. It offers a robust economy that continually registers high growth, a sound financial services industry that withstood the international financial crisis, a stable political milieu, diverse business opportunities, access to a booming property market, and a high standard of living.
FACT BOX: BENEFITS
- European Union citizenship within 1 year
- Schengen residency while you wait
- Visa free travel to more than 168 countries
- The right to live, study, work, do business, retire in Malta
- Access to free education and health-care
- Source and remittance-based taxation only: no wealth tax; no asset reporting; no inheritance tax
- Citizenship automatically handed down to newly born
- Low minimum presence requirement
FACT BOX: COSTS
- Contribute €650,000 to Malta National Development and Social Fund
- Spouses and children each contribute €25,000
- Unmarried dependent children (18-25 yrs) each contribute €50,000
- An investment in real estate of €350,000 or
- A property rental contract of €16,000 per annum
- Invest €150,000 in government-approved financial instruments
- Additional due diligence, passport and bank fees and charges
FACT BOX: ELIGIBILITY
Main applicant must
- be 18 years of age and in good standing
- have a clean criminal record
- be in good health
- establish a genuine connection with Malta
- have global health insurance cover
- fulfill the monetary obligations established by the IIP
- genuine link or 1 year residency
Only reputable applicants can acquire Maltese citizenship, and applicants can expect a thorough due diligence process in order to acquire a second passport.
The MIIP gives applicants the chance to be part of Malta’s success story and gain mobility to EU countries.
What are the benefits of the Malta Individual Investor Programme?
Malta’s IIP offers applicants naturalization by investment that comes with a large number, and a wide array, of important advantages, among which are Visa-free travel to numerous countries in the world, a safe and stable country that assures personal security, excellent education opportunities for children, possible tax planning benefits, and a high quality of life.
More specifically, with a Malta IIP, applicants gain a European Union citizenship within one year, while obtaining Schengen residency during the waiting period. An attractive perk to those eyeing global mobility is Visa-free travel to more than 168 countries, including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
A Maltese second passport gives individuals and their families the right to live, study, work, do business, retire and unite family in Malta, while at the same time requiring low minimum presence in the country. Citizenship is also automatically handed down to newly born children.
Individuals and families with a Malta golden visa in hand gives them access to internationally recognised and acclaimed educational institutions and high quality health-care services.
Malta’s residency tax regime for those holding an IIP implements source and remittance-based taxation only. Wealth tax or inheritance tax for new citizens does not apply, and there is no asset reporting.
Who is eligible for the Malta Individual Investor Programme?
The main applicant for citizenship must be at least 18 years of age.
The Government of Malta is committed to the highest standard of due diligence to ensure only deserving and reputable applicants are allowed to proceed for the grant of Maltese citizenship. A four-tier due diligence process is carried out directly by the Government that assesses applicants and processes and approves applications at various stages.
Applicants must demonstrate a clean criminal record, with checks being conducted with the International Criminal Court, Interpol and various other authorities and sources. Applicants must provide a police certificate which may be submitted subsequently to the submission of the application, but at all times prior to approval.
Applicants must show they do not suffer from a contagious disease or a health condition that could become a significant burden on the Maltese health system. They should also have a global health insurance cover for at least €50,000 for the main applicant and each of the dependants and must give proof that they can maintain it for an indefinite period.
Applicants must also demonstrate a genuine link with Malta, or a one year residence starting from the applicant’s first visit, on which s/he is issued with a one year residence permit within a short time.
It is understood that High Net Worth Individuals lead very international lives and would find it difficult spend a full year in any one country. Styled on the experience of the European Court of Justice, the genuine link test ensures that main and dependent applicants are able to demonstrate a genuine connection with the jurisdiction in their personal, social, philanthropic and commercial activities.
Persons already resident one year prior to IIP approval already satisfy this requirement.
Taxation and Sale of Property under the Malta Individual Investor Programme
The basis for taxation under the Maltese tax system is based on domicile and residency, not citizenship. The grant of Maltese citizenship to a non-domiciliary of Malta does not of itself, cause the beneficiary to acquire a new domicile of choice in Malta. Residence for tax purposes is established by demonstrating an intention to reside in Malta indefinitely and definitely on the basis of a day count of 183 days.
Tax residents of Malta who are not domiciled in Malta are taxable on a remittance basis. Accordingly, non-doms who are not resident in Malta are not taxable on foreign source income not received in Malta, nor on any capital gains arising outside Malta whether remitted or not. Tax is due only on a sources basis on income and capital gains arising in Malta. A non-resident citizen of Malta is only taxable in Malta on Malta source income.
Therefore Malta’s residency tax regime for those holding an MIIP implements source and remittance-based taxation only. Wealth tax or inheritance tax for citizenship by investment holders does not apply, and there is no asset reporting.
Sale of Property
After the lapse of the obligatory 5 year period, property in Malta can be sold completely exempt from tax if such property is held for a period of 3 years as the resident’s sole and ordinary residence. If sold before the lapse of 3 years, a final property tax of 12% is chargeable on the selling price.
Malta has concluded double taxation treaties with around 60 countries with a number of other agreements signed and waiting to come into force. The standard VAT rate in Malta is of 18%. The corporate tax rate is 35%, however special tax concessions apply for non-resident / non-domiciled owners.
What are the costs under the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP)?
The Malta Citizenship by Investment Scheme is aimed at ultra-high net worth persons. Individual investors are required to contribute at least €650,000 to Malta’s National Development and Social Fund. The Fund finances major projects of national importance. It also funds social and capital projects of public interest, linked to community and economic welfare of the State such as education, research, health care, justice, public services, enterprise and business, innovation and job creation.
Additionally, spouses and children are required to contribute €25,000 each, while unmarried dependent children between 18 and 25 contribute €50,000 each.
Applicants are required to make an investment in real estate of at least €350,000 or enter a property rental contract for at least €16,000 per annum, both on five-year contracts.
Applicants are also required to invest at least €150,000 in government-approved bonds, shares, collective investment schemes or debt or equity securities listed on the Malta Stock Exchange, to be kept for at least five years.
In addition applications carry due diligence fees of €7,500 for the main applicant, €5,000 for spouse, €3,000 for each child and €5,000 for dependants aged 18-26 and 55+. Passport fees cost €500 per person and bank charges €200 per application.
An individual’s total contribution as indicated above to Malta’s IIP results in the granting of a Maltese second passport and hence European Citizenship, and the freedom to live, work and study anywhere in the EU.
Steps, Procedures and Timeline to apply for the Malta IIP
The Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme grants European citizenship within 12 months. In a matter of 2-3 weeks of submitting a Malta Citizenship application, applicants receive e-Residence Cards granting Maltese residency with full Schengen rights.
The efficient application process ensures a fast-track were citizenship is approved after 4 months of processing time. Passports are issued up to 12 months from date of initial residency.
Once citizenship is granted, the new Maltese citizens enjoy full rights, as well as access to 168 countries visa-free including UK and USA.
STEP 1: Apply for residency
Applicants who are not already resident in Malta are advised to start the process of residency to set the clock ticking on the 1-year residency requirement. A deposit on account of the €650,000 contribution is due at this stage – €5,000 for main applicant and €1,000 per dependent.
STEP 2: Submit formal application (Day 0)
An application is formally submitted to Identity Malta. This should include all the essential supporting documentation. Payments due now include the due diligence fees, passport fees and a deposit of €10,000 on account of the €650,000 contribution, less any payments made on applying for residency. Applicants need to present evidence showing their source of funds.
STEP 3: Identity Malta confirmation (Day 90)
Identity Malta confirms if the documentation submitted is formally in order. This is subject to a further month of further verifications.
STEP 4: Approval in principle (Day 120)
Approval of the process is given, on condition of the fulfillment of all the other obligations established by the IIP.
STEP 5: Formal request for contribution (Day 125)
Identity Malta requests from applicant payment of the remaining balance on the €650,000 contribution and passport fee.
STEP 6: Deadline for paying balance (Day 145)
This is the deadline for applicant to settle the outstanding balance on the €650,000 contribution.
STEP 7: Final compliance (Day 240)
Applicant will provide evidence that s/he has purchased or rented property and that s/he has invested the required funds in government-approved financial instruments.
STEP 8: Certification (Day 183)
A Certificate of Naturalisation is issued to the applicant, subject to an Oath of Allegiance and a 1-year residency. (The maximum time within which a certificate of naturalisation is issued is two years)