Permanent Residence in Malta
The Republic of Malta is a Southern European country and consists of an archipelago situated centrally in the Mediterranean, 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km east of Tunisia, with the Strait of Gibraltar 1,826 km to the west and Alexandria 1,510 km to the east. Malta covers just over 300 km in land area, making it one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries. Its capital is Valletta. The country has two official languages, Maltese and English, with Maltese being considered the national language. Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a republic in 1974, whilst retaining membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. It is a member of the United Nations (since 1964) and a member of the European Union (since 2004). Malta is also a party to the Schengen Agreement (since 2007) and member of the euro zone (since 2008).
Immigration of EU-nationals to Malta
EU nationals require neither a visa nor a passport (an ID card or an expired passport are enough) to enter the country. Citizens of some developing countries do not need a visa and can live in Malta for up to three months providing they have a valid passport. Visas for other nationalities are valid for one month. Immigrants, even those with EU citizenship, are required to apply for a work permit. This exception to EU law was agreed upon before accession to safeguard the Maltese labour market.
Immigration of Non-EU-nationals to Malta
New Malta’s Global Residence Programme was signed into law and published in July 2013. Immigration of Non-EU-nationals to Malta is possible provided they have a family connection in Malta or seek Permanent Residence without right to work (No work permit or gainful occupation is possible in this case). Nevertheless, this type of residence is rather popular among Russian and other non-EU citizens for the reason it gives visa-free access to Schengen Area as well as possibility to reside in Malta permanently. The only requirements are to annually pay 15,000 EUR of taxes to Maltese Tax Service (Inland Revenue) as well as possess a house or a flat (or rent appropriate house or apartment in Malta). The beneficiaries of the program shall be taxed at a flat rate of 15 % on all income arising outside Malta and which is remitted to Malta, with the possibility of claiming relief of double taxation. Under the Global Residence Programme, the value of immovable property bought in Malta by third country nationals intending to benefit from the Programme is set at a minimum of 220,000 or 275,000 EUR depending on the location of the property as defined per law. The applicants may alternatively opt to rent the property for a minimum 9,600 EUR per annum in Malta. If the property being rented is located in the South of Malta or in Gozo the minimum annual rent would be brought down to 8,750 EUR.
Documents required in support of a Residence Application
The documents required for obtaining Permanent Residence Permits are the following. One should make a careful note about the requirements because missing or incomplete documents will hinder the issue of the permit.
- Birth certificate for applicant (and for his wife and children if any) – originals issued by a state authority; where the document is not in English, an official translation should be provided.
- Photocopy of passport for applicant and for his wife and children if any.
- Marriage certificate (if applicable) – originals issued by a state authority; where the document is not in English, an official translation should be provided.
- Confirmation of the purchased or rented property in Malta.
- Criminal conduct certificate (showing no previous convictions) for applicant (and for his wife and children over 14 years if any) – originals issued by a state authority. British citizens, instead of a Police conduct certificate, may obtain a Personal Access Enquiry Form from the police station of their place of residence.
- An application form signed by the applicant.
- Three passport colour photographs for applicant (and for his wife and children if any).
Once the documents have been legalized (apostil or consular legalization), you will need to lodge these with the Maltese High Commissioner’s Office or Maltese Embassy (whichever is applicable) of your country of nationality. The application and documents will be sent to Malta and we will check with the Inland Revenue Department about the progress of your application. Upon taking up residence in Malta, Immigration authorities will require evidence that the permit holders are in possession of a health insurance policy.
Please note also the following in relation to Permanent Residence applications: If the applicant is living with a partner but they are not officially married, two separate applications must be filed and both parties must satisfy the income requirements. Both parties will have to pay the minimum tax. However, if the parties opt to jointly buy or rent property at double the required minimum, the purchase or rental will cover both parties.
Legal Fees and Additional Costs
For assistance with residence permits Elma Global charges a fixed fee of EUR 12,000 per single applicant and EUR 15,000 per family with up to three dependents (applicant, his wife, and two children). In case applicants are not planning immediate relocation they will be expected to make two visits to Malta (one to apply for visa-stickers, another to get visa stickers and apply for PR-cards). The visits will entail additional costs and expenses (air tickets, hotels, etc).
Questions and Answers Regarding Immigration to Malta (Under Global Residence Programme 2013) and Regarding Incorporation of Maltese Companies:
Question: I was checking the info about the permanent residency in Malta. The individual acquiring the permanent residence, is he eligible to apply for the Maltese citizenship?
Answer: These are two different programs. One is the program for tax residents (who are ready to pay 15,000 EUR of taxes annually + actually reside in Malta more than 6 months per year). Theoretically, citizenship application is available after 6 years of actual residency in Malta. In practice, the program is relatively new (lunched in 2013) and not a single applicant applied or received citizenship so far. Most probably, citizenship will not be available under the scheme. Another one is Maltese citizenship by investment program which is for very large investors only. You certainly may first you take one program and then switch to another. However, you will not be able to have both. After you become a Maltese (EU) citizen, you will have no right to have special tax residence because this is for non-EU nationals only.
Question: We are interested in incorporation of Maltese Company for international purposes. Can this be combined with acquiring Residence in Malta based on fixed annual tax EUR 15,000? And further, in case our Maltese Company becomes not only international but becomes also local (having source of income also in Malta), in that case will Residence in Malta still possible under the mentioned tax arrangement?
Answer: The low tax benefit for companies registered in Malta is only available to non-resident shareholders. Therefore, if you want to become a permanent resident, then you would not be entitled to a tax refund for the Malta registered company. You can resolve this but creating a company in another jurisdiction which could then be the shareholder of the Maltese Company. The foreign company in turn may be beneficially owned by you and act as the non resident shareholder eligible for a tax refund.
Question: We are in common-law relationship. We know that in this case we are unable to apply under on and the same application for Residency in Malta. Malta is strict regarding this and does not recognize the common-law relationship as equal to marriage. So, we are expected to apply separately. Can we use the same property, at least?
Answer: This is correct. In your case you must apply for Residency separately. But when the applications are approved you will be able to use the same property as long as the rent or price is at the minimum level required by law (EUR 9,600 per year each applicant with regards to rent, or EUR 275,000 each applicant with regards to purchase). I hope the answer is helpful.
Question: Is there any possibility such as formation of business in Malta for Indian citizen studying in London? If yes, would you please tell us time period of complete documentation and your charges for the legal assistance?
Answer: Incorporation of Maltese company or purchase of a business in Malta does not give a possibility for non-EU nationals to apply for residence permit. Non-EU nationals can get a residence permit in Malta provided that they have a non-Maltese source of income and provided that they are not going to be employed in Malta. This immigration scheme was elaborated for high net worth individuals only.
Question: I am Iranian national looking for a second citizenship. Maltese investment option sounds promising but do I need to live in Malta for certain amount of time in order to be eligible to apply for the Maltese passport? Would you have any other suggestions because I’m well settled with a stable job in U.A.E. and do not intend to leave this place for good anytime soon.
Answer: Strict physical residency requirement of 6 years apply to those who look for Maltese citizenship. Moreover, dual citizenship is not allowed and after 6 years of residence you will be expected to renounce your Iranian citizenship if you decide to apply for Maltese citizenship. There are two more options of EU citizenship by investment: Bulgaria and Portugal. In Bulgaria you will be expected to invest 512,000 EUR into bonds and in Portugal – 500,000 EUR in real estate. In Bulgaria citizenship is possible after 1-5 years (depending on the nature and on the amount of your investment). In Portugal you can apply for citizenship after 6 years from the date of the initial permit. Money (500,000 EUR) may be invested into realty objects. In Bulgaria physical residence is not required, dual citizenship is recognized. In Portugal physical residence is minimal (7 days per year during the first 5 years after which you can get permanent status), dual citizenship is recognized.
If you have any questions regarding immigration to Malta or wish to use our legal assistance in obtaining permanent residency or citizenship-by-investment in Malta contact us today