MALTA’S CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM CONTRIBUTES SIGNIFICANTLY TO MALTA’S ECONOMIC SURPLUS
When people think of an island country, their minds often turn to a Caribbean or Pacific tropical destination. However, people should not forget an island country, only 50 miles south of Italy, in the Mediterranean Sea – the archipelago of Malta. If you are looking to become a citizen of an island country that is close to Europe, Malta’s citizenship by investment program can offer an attractive possibility for you. The success of Malta’s citizenship by investment program (known as the “Malta Individual Investor Programme”, or “MIIP”) was confirmed by Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Malta’s Finance Minister Edward Scicluna at a press conference on April 23.
Finance Minister Scicluna advised that the MIIP had contributed 190 million euros to Malta’s overall economic surplus of 250.8 million euros in 2018 (the third year in a row that Malta had registered an economic surplus). The amount of 190 million euros signifies that many persons are transferring funds to Malta under the MIIP. Prime Minister Muscat added that a substantial part of the income from the MIIP (approximately 70 percent of it) went to the Malta National Development and Social Fund, for social projects which are independent from the government.
There are 3 primary financial conditions (all of which must be met) to acquire citizenship in Malta under the MIIP. First, you must make a non-refundable contribution generally of 650,000 euros (plus an addition of 25,000 euros each for a spouse and dependent children under age 18, or 50,000 euros each for dependent children between age 18 and age 26 and dependent parents above age 55, and various due diligence fees) to the above-described Malta National Development and Social Fund. Second, you must either lease property in Malta for a minimum value of 16,000 euros per annum, or purchase property in Malta for a minimum value of 350,000 euros. Third, you must acquire 150,000 euros worth of government bonds or bonds or securities listed on the Malta Stock Exchange. Under the second and third conditions described above, the property and the bonds or securities have to be held by the main citizenship applicant for a minimum period of 5 years. You also must establish residency in Malta for 12 months preceding citizenship. Besides a spouse, the MIIP citizenship application can also cover dependent children under the age of 27 and dependent parents above the age of 55. Nationals of Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea are ineligible for citizenship in Malta under the MIIP.
Among the advantages of citizenship in Malta are the ability to live and work freely across the European Union (“EU”), the right to attend any university of choice across the EU for free or for a minimum special tuition fee, complete access to all EU healthcare, banking, and other facilities, visa-free travel to more than 180 countries, lifetime citizenship which can be passed down to generations, and treaties with 82 nations to avoid double taxation.
For a lower investment, Malta also offers a separate residency by investment program (known as the “Malta Residence and Visa Program”, or “MRVP”), which can entitle you to reside indefinitely in Malta (without acquiring citizenship).