May 22, 2020

The rumors were misleading: the Maltese citizenship-by-investment program continues

The current citizenship-by-investment program in Malta is coming to an end as the set limit of 1,800 applications has been almost reached. However, by the end of 2020, the Government is planning to relaunch the program under new conditions.

The popularity of the Maltese citizenship-by-investment program

The Individual Investor Program (IIP) that allows acquiring citizenship of Malta was started in 2014. At that time, the limit of the applications for citizenship to be approved was set at 1,800 in total.

The required investment amount is a bit less than 1 million euros and it includes purchasing or renting real property in Malta as well as an investment into securities. All non-EU citizens are eligible to apply. You have to go through stringent compliance procedures, make the required investments, live in the country on a temporary residence permit and after a year or so, you will receive the Maltese passport.

According to Alex Muscat, the immigration secretary, 70% of the application quota has been already exhausted and by the end of 2020, the specified limit of approved applications is going to be reached.

This is why the country authorities have been contemplating extension or relaunch of the program. Early in May this year, an official statement was made: the Maltese citizenship-by-investment program is to continue. The conditions are going to change slightly, however.

Since the time the program was started in 2014, it has brought about 1.3 billion euros to the national budget. The money has been used to finance various social projects including the fight against the coronavirus.  

Citizens of a large number of different countries ‘purchase’ the Maltese citizenship. The Government does publish the names of the new citizens but they are published together with the names of those who have acquired citizenship of Malta via naturalization or marriage. In this fashion, the authorities of the country meet the strict transparency requirements and simultaneously protect the personal data of the new citizens.

By the way, only Malta and Austria publish the names of the new citizens. 

The European Parliament criticizes Malta – an EU member state – for granting citizenship to people from other parts of the world. We must note, however, that the Maltese immigration authorities reject a larger percentage of applications than any other country does. Only 76% of applicants obtain temporary residence permits and then full citizenship of Malta. At the same time, Great Britain approves 91% of applications for citizenship while Hungary approves 99% of such applications.

It is also a well-known fact that Malta has revoked citizenship and withdrawn passports of three people post factum. This happened after it came out that these people had concealed violations of law when they applied for citizenship of Malta.

The Maltese authorities are very careful in preserving the good reputation of the country. They do not accept everybody who is ready to pay. In addition to paying quite a large sum of money, you have to conclusively show that the capital that you are investing in the Maltese citizenship comes from legal sources and that you are a trustworthy person in general terms.

During the current pandemic, Malta has demonstrated a high level of medical services provided in the country as well as the ability to support its people and businesses. Thus, if you are looking for a second passport that will allow living in a safe and comfortable country, that will let you travel freely all around Europe and the best part of the world when the lockdown is over, and that will enhance your overall liberty, please give Malta some serious consideration. 

How you can acquire Maltese citizenship in 2020

By the end of 2020, the citizenship-by-investment program is going to be relaunched but the conditions are going to change. The list of the upcoming changes has not been finalized yet but there is some understanding of what we should expect:

  • The due diligence procedures are going to be strengthened even further. This concerns both the personality checks and the sources of income;
  • It is possible that the new stricter standards will be applied retrospectively as well and those who have already acquired citizenship of Malta will have to undergo additional checks;
  • The most important thing that Alex Muscat said was that the investment conditions are going to change. Possibly, larger investments into securities will be required and the necessary real estate investment amount is certainly going to be greater. The reason for that is the growth of real estate prices in comparison to 2014 when the program was first started.

However, you still have a chance to apply for Maltese citizenship via the Individual Investor Program (IIP) at the current prices as a few hundred applications are yet to be filed and approved.

The current conditions are as follows:

  • The main applicant has to be ready to spend around 1 million euros on obtaining citizenship of Malta;
  • The main applicant has to be of age;
  • It is required that the applicant for citizenship reside in Malta for 12 months on a temporary residence permit;
  • The main applicant for citizenship shall have real estate in his/ her possession that is worth 350,000 euros minimum. The ownership shall be retained for at least five years. Alternatively, the applicant can rent residential accommodations in Malta over five years on the condition that the rent agreement amount is at least 16,000 euros per year;
  • The applicant shall donate 650,000 euros to the social development fund;
  • The applicant shall also invest at least 150,000 euros into Government-approved state bonds;
  • The applicant shall have a medical insurance of an acceptable type;
  • The applicant shall undergo the due diligence checks.

Together with the main applicant, his or her family members can also apply for Maltese citizenship. This includes the spouse, underage children, unmarried children between 18 and 26 year of age if they financially depend on the main applicant, and the applicant’s parents over 55 year of age if they are dependent on the main applicant or his/ her spouse. 

The inclusion of every additional family member in the application will require an additional investment but its amount is almost negligible in comparison to the main investment that needs to be made.

Applications for Maltese citizenship can be filed only via a licensed immigration agency. Taking into account the 12 months that you have to reside in Malta, the total amount of time that obtaining the Maltese passport is going to take is between 13 and 15 months.

Why you should apply for citizenship of Malta

This is a very comfortable country to live and the Mediterranean climate is quite mild. The country also offers lucrative conditions to international business owners. The corporate tax can be as low as 5% in Malta.

As Malta is an EU member state, its passport will therefore make you an EU citizen so that you can travel freely all over Europe after the borders are open again.

The current crisis that has arisen due to the coronavirus pandemic highlights the necessity to enlarge the range of opportunities that you have. A second passport and especially the passport of a European country will serve this purpose very well without any doubt. If you have any questions related to acquiring citizenship of Malta, please contact us via e-mail [email protected] or Whatsapp or the live chat. We will reply promptly whatever method of communication you choose.

Is it true that the Maltese citizenship-by-investment program is soon to end?

Yes, this is true, as the set limit of applications for citizenship to be approved will soon be reached. However, it will be replaced by a new citizenship-by-investment program so the possibility to acquire Maltese citizenship for money is not going to disappear.

Is the new Maltese citizenship-by-investment program going to offer the same conditions as before?

In all likelihood, the conditions are going to change. You should expect a higher amount of investment required for obtaining citizenship of Malta. Besides, the due diligence checks are to become tougher.

Are there countries that offer their citizenship for less than a million euros?

Yes, there are such countries in the world. In particular, five countries in the Caribbean basin and the South Pacific state of Vanuatu require considerably smaller investments if you would like to obtain their passports. The price starts at US# 100,000.