The Malta Residence and Citizenship Programmes - A Comparison

Comparing the different Residence & Citizenship programmes in Malta

Dr . Antoine Saliba Haig | 12 Jul 2018

The Malta Residence  Citizenship Programmes  A comparison

The Malta Residence & Citizenship Programmes

  • A comparison

The Malta Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP) and the Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme (also known as the Individual Investor Programme or IIP) were introduced in Malta to facilitate the process of relocation to Malta for high net worth individuals. Subject to the requirements established by law, eligible individuals may acquire either a Maltese residency certificate and card (MRVP) or Maltese citizenship and passport (IIP) in a shorter time-frame, further acquiring benefits ancillary to both. 

The Malta Residence & Citizenship Programmes

  • Legal Basis

The MRVP and the IIP were established by Legal Notice 288 of 2015 and Legal Notice 47 of 2014 respectively. The law establishes the requirements necessary for an applicant to be approved by the competent authority, as well as the eligibility requirements for prospective applicants, and grounds upon which either residency card or passport respectively may be revoked. 

The Malta Residence & Citizenship Programmes

  • Benefits

As two distinct programmes, the MRVP and the IIP both offer different benefits to those choosing to pursue obtaining either residence or citizenship respectively. 

One of the main benefits pertaining to both programmes include entitlement to residency in Malta upon a successful application, and the possibility to include family members in the main application, given that they are a spouse, or direct ascendants and descendants of the main applicant as well as dependent on him or her. Furthermore, with Malta being a member state of the European Union since 2004, both programmes offer benefits in terms of movement within Europe and the Schengen area. 

However, as two separate programmes, there are clear differences in the benefits accorded to each programme. The clearest distinction is that individuals pursuing the MRVP are given a residence certificate and a residency card once approved, and those applying for the IIP acquire Maltese citizenship and a Maltese passport. Amongst the benefits afforded to a successful IIP applicant, this includes free movement within the European Union, visa-free access to over 169 countries including the US and Canada, as well as rights and freedoms accorded to Maltese and European Citizens. The IIP also provides a residency card to applicants within just 2-3 weeks of their application. This benefit is not offered to applicants of the MRVP programme until their application has been approved. Secondly, while both programmes offer fast-track relocation to Malta, the processing time for the MRVP is approximately four months, whilst that of IIP is of around 12 months. 

A significant benefit of both programmes is the fast-tracked process of acquiring residency or citizenship. The estimated processing time of MRVP is approximately three-four months, whilst with regards to the IIP, citizenship is granted within a total of approximately 12 months. This consists of four months processing time, and an additional four months compliance period prior to the issuance of a Maltese passport. 
 

The Malta Residence & Citizenship Programmes

  • Eligibility

Applicants for both programmes are subject to a thorough due-diligence process to ensure that applicants are fit and proper persons, of good conduct and standing, and eligible to apply. For both programmes, the main applicant must be at least 18 years of age, and commit to the contribution required, to purchasing the property, as well as to investing in government bonds, stocks or shares. The contribution, value of qualifying property and value needed to invest in government bonds varies depending on the location chosen. Furthermore, in both cases, the applicant must commit to paying the contribution established by law in full. In the case of the IIP, the applicant must also commit to proving residence in Malta. 

In order to be eligible, applicants must also provide a police certificate issued by the Maltese authorities, the applicant’s country of origin as well as from each country of residence where the applicant has resided for a period of over six months during the last ten years. As persons of good standing, the main applicant and his dependents must also have a clean criminal record, and not be listed with the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL). 

The law also gives grounds whereby an individual may be considered not eligible to apply. These include provision of false information to the authorities, having served time for a criminal offence punishable by over one year of imprisonment, having a criminal record, being subject to ongoing investigation, or considered a threat to national security. The applicant must also not have been denied a visa to a country with which Malta has visa-free travel arrangements and has not subsequently obtained a visa to the country that issued the denial. Furthermore, some restrictions on nationality of applicants do apply: Afghanis and North Koreans are not permitted to apply for both programmes, whilst persons of Iranian nationality may only apply for the MRVP and are not permitted to apply for the IIP.   

 

  MRVP IIP
Spouse Can be included Can be included
Minor Children under 18 Can be included Can be included
Adult Children Can be included (no age limit) Can be included if aged between 18-26, unmarried and economically dependent on the Main Applicant.
Parents & Grandparents Can be included (no age limit) Can be included if over the age of 55 and economically dependent on the Main Applicant.

 

The Malta Residence & Citizenship Programmes  

  • Requirements & Contributions

As two distinct programmes, the requirements which must be fulfilled by applicants in order to successfully participate also vary. Individuals pursuing the MRVP programme are required to pay a contribution of €30,000 to the Maltese Government. This fee covers the family (spouse and dependent children) of the applicant, whilst other dependents must pay a fee of €5,000 each. Furthermore, an investment of at least €250,000 must be made in government bonds which are to be kept for at least five years, as well as obtaining a qualifying property for the purposes of the MRVP. Such property must be purchased at a minimum value of €270,000 or rented at a minimum of €10,000 per annum. It must also be held for at least five years from approval of the application.  

The requirements for the IIP programme differ from those for the MRVP. The contribution made to the Maltese Government is established by law at €650,000, with a further €25,000 for each spouse and minor child, and €55,000 for each additional dependent added to the application. The applicant must also invest in government bonds or shares with a minimum value of €150,000 to be kept for at least five years, as well as in a qualifying property. The property must be purchased at a minimum value of €350,000, or alternatively rented at a minimum value of €16,000 per annum. The qualifying property must be maintained for at least five years from approval of the application. In contrast with the MRVP, where no minimum presence is required, applicants of the IIP must prove presence in Malta upon application. Furthermore, both programmes require evidence of a coverage of a health insurance policy in Malta and Europe. 

Both the Malta Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP) as well as the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) offer avenues for investors of repute; whether seeking to obtain Maltese residency or Maltese citizenship respectively. Whilst differing in the requirements necessary for a successful application, both provide alternative methods of relocating to Malta, with distinct benefits accorded to each programme.  

  MRVP IIP
Contribution €30,000 covering all the family with the exception of parents. An additional fee of €5,000 applies for each additional parent.
  • Main applicant - €650,000
  • Spouse €25,000
  • Minor children €25,000
  • Adult children/parents €50,000
Government Bonds (to be kept for five years €250,000 €150,000
Purchase of Property €270,000 or €320,000 epending on location €350,000irrespective of location.
Rental of Property €10,000 or €12,000 depending on location. €16,000 irrespective of location.

 

Apply for the Malta Residence or Citizenship Programmes

Get in touch with our specialized Malta Residence & Citizenship by investment lawyers and find out if you are eligible to apply.
 


Request More Information
Please send me legal and other updates

Key Contacts

Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti

Global Managing Partner & Founder

+356 22056411

Dr Antoine Saliba Haig

Legal Associate

+356 22056446

Mr Kenneth Camilleri

Senior Partner, Global Immigration & Tax

+356 22056414