The Maltese government started offering its Citizenship by Investment programme in 2013. Since then it has issued many Maltese second passports, generating hundreds of millions for the Maltese economy. The money is poured back into social initiatives including housing, healthcare, and education.
The Maltese second passport application process is not the easiest or the cheapest. It is strict and comes at a high price. That being said, the benefits that come with it are impressive, notably allowing holders to travel, work, and reside throughout the EU, EEA, and Schengen Area. It also gives the holder the prestige of being a European Union citizen.
Maltese citizenship is obtained through a non-refundable contribution of EUR 650,000 and acquiring EUR 150,000 in government bonds. Applicants must also buy or rent a property of a certain value in the country. The timescale is around 12 months from start to finish.
Malta is a small archipelago situated in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and the coast of North Africa. It has a population of around 450,000 people that speak Maltese, English, Italian, and a selection of other European languages. After joining the EU as a fully-fledged member state in 2004, it began to establish itself as a hub for iGaming and other fintech industries. Today, this sector has grown and Malta is known as one of the leading jurisdictions for online gambling and related services. It was also one of the first to enact legislation in favour of cryptocurrency and blockchain and has been dubbed ‘The Blockchain Island’. As well as these sectors, it is home to a number of payment processors, software developers, advertisers, and other tech-related businesses.
Benefits of the Maltese Second Passport
The benefits of a Maltese second passport are:
- Visa-free travel to 184 countries
- Free movement throughout the EU, EEA, and Schengen Area
- e-Visas or on-arrival visas in 27 countries
- EU citizenship
- Commonwealth citizenship
- Right to travel, live, work, establish a business, or study in all EU Member States
- Possession of the world’s 8th strongest passport
- Free education to University level in Malta and some other EU countries
- Can be passed on via descent
- High level of social stability, education, healthcare, human rights, and access to social services
- A respected country
Requirements for the Maltese Citizenship
Anyone applying for Maltese citizenship via the second passport programme must have been an official resident for 12 months. This step can be completed as a part of the application process. Once residency is acquired, the subsequent steps of the citizenship process can be completed.
In addition to residency, the applicant is asked to make an investment in real estate. This can be in the form of purchasing a residential property or renting a residential property with a contract of five years. There is a minimum value threshold for both of these scenarios that must be met. Thankfully, the Maltese real estate market is thriving and there are a number of high-end apartments and villas available in prime locations, specifically tailored to second passport applicants.
Those applying for a Maltese second passport must also pass a fit and proper test. This seeks to establish that you are someone of good standing and do not have a criminal record. Background checks are thorough and look at criminal, civil, and reputational issues. You will also be required to provide an official police-issued background check.
The Maltese authorities will also need to be sure that you are in good health. You are required to provide evidence of a health check giving you a clean bill of health. This is to be sure that you will not become a burden on the country’s small healthcare service.
Finally, there are a number of additional financial obligations that must be met. We will discuss those in more detail below.
Contributions for Maltese Second Passports
In order to acquire a second passport from Malta, you will need to make certain financial contributions. They include the following:
A donation to the Maltese National Development and Social Fund. This is non-refundable and totals EUR 650,000 for one applicant. If you are applying for family members as well, there are additional donations between EUR 25,000 and EUR 50,000 for each applicant. This money is used by the Maltese government to develop the economy, infrastructure and society of the country.
An investment in government-approved stocks and bonds. Applicants are also required to invest in bonds, stocks, shares, or debentures that have been approved by the Maltese government. The minimum value of the investment is EUR 150,000 and the investment must be kept for at least five years. After this period has elapsed, the investment can be withdrawn. It is worth noting that the Maltese government cannot guarantee a return on the investment, nor can they predict the performance of the particular investment type.
Professional service fees. Before the second passport is issued, all fees must be paid up in full. These include administrative fees that are payable to the government and professional fees to the agent that has applied on your behalf. All applications for Maltese citizenship by investment are required to apply through an authorised agent. This agent will set their own fees for conducting due diligence, giving advice, handling paperwork, and submitting the application.
How long it takes
The process of acquiring a Malta second passport takes approximately one year from start to finish. This includes the mandatory one-year residence permit and the approval of citizenship. To ensure it doesn’t take longer, you must work with a professional and submit your documents quickly and correctly. Also, be aware that the one-year time frame is just a guide. There are cases where additional information is required, or the authorities might take longer to make a decision.
Application process for Maltese Citizenship
The entire process from start to finish can take around 12 months, as long as all required documentation is submitted correctly and on time.
- The first step is to engage a professional such as Fast Offshore that can apply on your behalf.
- Residency in Malta must then be applied for. This can be started online but a visit to Malta is required to complete the process. At this stage, a payment of EUR 5000 is required to be paid to the Government Fund.
- Once residency has been granted, the next steps towards citizenship can be taken. At this stage, you need to pay a due diligence fee, a further EUR 10,000 to the Government Fund, and a fee for your passport. You will also need to give evidence of where your money came from so the authorities can ensure it’s legitimate.
- When all of this has been completed and you have filled out the application and compiled the necessary documents, it can be submitted to the government. They will then take approximately 90 days to review it. At this time, they may ask for additional documents, request a meeting, or ask for certain clarifications. This can take another month. After 120 days have passed, if everything is in order, you will receive conditional approval.
- Once conditional approval has been received, all remaining investments and payments must be made. Evidence of them must be presented to the government. Then, you will receive a Maltese Certificate of Naturalisation.
- With the Certificate in hand, you can apply for your Maltese Passport.
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