The Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme
The Maltese Programme “Citizenship by Investment” (CBI) is the first approved programme for citizenship in the EU. Malta is politically stable and its bi-partisan government largely agrees on matters of economic and national importance. Malta endured the global financial crisis and, along with Germany, managed to maintain its economic growth. These were the only states in the Euro Zone that succeeded in doing so. The Maltese banks rank in the top 5 of the most stable in the world. Malta became a member of the EU in 2004 and entered Schengen in 2007. The citizenship acquired under the CBI programme is full, held for life and passed on descendants. It allows access to the opportunities for investment in Malta and the whole EU that are open to its citizens.
As of June, 2015, over 620 candidates have applied for Maltese citizenship under the programme, with a limit of 1800 submissions for the duration of the programme.
Legal Basis for Malta Citizenship by Investment
CBI can be granted by virtue of an amendment to the Citizenship Act, Chapter 188 in the Maltese Laws, promulgated November, 2013. It provides the legal framework for implementation of LN 47 (2014). The rules of MIIP (Maltese Individual Investor Programme) allow for naturalization of prosperous people with impeccable reputation. Such persons can obtain Maltese citizenship if they are willing to contribute to the country and make investments in it.
Benefits of Malta Citizenship by Investment efficient process
The efficient procedures of the CBI programme bring the following benefits:
– approval of citizenship after a short, 4-month period for document processing;
– receipt of a “fast track” card for residence within one to three weeks; 18 months of Schengen mobility;
– twelve months period from the initial residency date to the issue of a passport (including processing).
– Travel without a visa to more than 166 countries (the EU, USA and Canada included);
– Work, live or study in any member state of the EU (28), Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.
Citizenship programme approved by the EU since February, 2014
The parents, spouse and children (minor and unmarried dependent adults) of the main applicant are also eligible for citizenship.
Malta is a stable, neutral and safe country with hospitable people with European standards and Mediterranean culture.
Eligibility for the Maltese CBI programme
According to the regulations all main applicants for the CBI programme have to be of the full age (18) and fulfil the requirements listed in the present fact-sheet. In their applications they are permitted to list dependents (spouse, children, parents, grandparents) who, under particular conditions, may benefit from the citizenship programme. Approved candidates in the programme for Global Residence may additionally submit applications for the Maltese CBI programme.
The applicants must demonstrate their good standing and reputation by undergoing a suitability test. The Maltese Government has adopted due diligence procedures of the highest standards to guarantee that only worthy and reputed applicants qualify for Maltese citizenship. It implements a four-stage due diligence procedure to assess candidates and processes and approves their applications through the consecutive phases.
The applicants have to show lack of criminal records. The government asks INTERPOL, the Criminal Court and many other official institutions and sources for references. The applicants are requested to provide a certificate from the police. It can be submitted after the application’s receipt but, in any case, before approval.
The applicants must demonstrate that they do not carry diseases that are contagious or require treatment which may burden Malta’s health system.
Support for the social fund and national development
In order to apply in the CBI programme, the candidate needs to make a contribution to Malta amounting to no less than 650 000 Euros. Seventy percent of this contribution will be transferred into a governmental fund managed by a trust. The remaining thirty percent go to a consolidated fund. Minor children and spouses have to contribute 25 000 Euros; dependent parents and unmarried adult children (18 – 25 y.o.) are required to contribute 50 000 Euros each. These contributions, along with the investments described below, are made after the approval of the application for citizenship.
Purchase or lease of property
All applicants are expected to invest no less than 350 000 Euros in property or rent property for no less than 16 000 Euros per year on 5-year contracts.
Acquisition of Bonds / Shares
Applicants must invest periodically no less than 150 000 Euros in government-approved bonds / shares and keep them for five years or more. The stocks have to be declared as beneficial with respect to the country. We offer our assistance in the acquisition of an appropriate scheme for collective investment dealing solely with governmental bonds.
The requirement for residence demands evidence of a true connection with Malta. Approved agents receive in advance the written consent of Identity Malta (IM) for the links proposed by their clients. Citizenship can be granted 12 months after the effective beginning of the true connection with Malta. The candidates have to be present in the country for a certain period of time (not necessarily a full year) in order to obtain citizenship. People who have lived in Malta for one year before the approval of their applications already fulfil this requirement.
Reasons for CBI refusal
Identity Malta (IM) considers the documents of applicants individually and may decide that, because of special circumstances, an applicant can still qualify for approval even if one of the grounds mentioned below is present. If this happens, IM has to provide a substantiated opinion for consideration of the applicant and notify the Minister who has the exclusive authority to grant approvals.
Reasons for refusal of citizenship under the CBI programme
– provision of false information;
– presence of criminal records or the person is a subject in criminal records
– risk of a threat to national security
– probability of undermining Malta’s reputation
– visa denial
The deprivation (revocation) from citizenship is subject to the stringent regulations laid out in the Citizenship Act of Malta. The following cases represent legitimate grounds for revocation:
– citizenship obtained by fraudulent means;
– untrue representation or concealment of material facts;
– demonstration of disloyalty or disaffection towards the Government or the President by speech or acts;
– engagement, unlawful trade or communication with enemies of the nation;
– engagement or association with business motivated by intentions to assist such enemies.
Different experts in the field of constitutional law express opinions on the subject. Their main consensus point is that issuing an unconditional revocation based on the grant of citizenship under the investor programme would be in breach of human rights.
Taxes for new citizens
The Maltese system for taxation is based on residence and domicile rather than citizenship. If a non-domiciliary is granted Maltese citizenship, this does not automatically oblige the person to obtain a domicile in Malta. For the purposes of taxation residence is established through the intention to live in Malta either indefinitely or indefinitely based on a 183 days count.
Taxes of Maltese residents not domiciled in the country are collected based on remittance. Respectively non-doms not living in Malta are not subjects to tax for income from foreign sources that has not been obtained in Malta, nor for capital gains generated outside of the country, regardless of their remittance. Only income / capital gains from Maltese sources are subject to taxation. Thus non-resident citizens are taxable only in Malta and with respect to income from Maltese sources.
After the end of the mandatory period of 5 years any purchased property in the country can be sold with full tax exemption if the resident has held the property as his ordinary and only residence for 3 years. If the property is sold before the end of the third year, a 12 percent property tax is charged with respect to it selling price.
No taxes are charged for inheritance, death, wealth or net worth. Also there are no municipal or real estate taxes / duty.
Application for Maltese citizenship: Terms and payments
– Application for residence: candidates who are not Maltese residents may consider this option in order to start fulfilling the 1-year requirement for residency. At this time the main applicant is required to deposit 5 000 Euros of the 650 000 Euros contribution. In addition, each dependent is required to pay 1 000 Euros.
– Day 0: Submission of a formal application by an accredited person: The formal application with the necessary supporting documents is submitted to IM. The payments that need to be made at this stage include fees for due diligence, passport issue and 10 000 Euros of the 650 000 Euros contribution, if no payments were made with the submission of the residence application. Evidence must be provided for the sources of funds.
– Day 90: IM checks and confirms whether the submitted documents are in order. Another month is allocated for further verification.
– Day 120: Approval in principle – approval is granted on the condition that the obligations under the investment programme are fulfilled.
– Day 125: Official contribution request – IM requests the payment of the contribution in full.
– Day 145: Contribution payment deadline.
– Day 240: Last check for compliance – submission of evidence for thepurchase / rental of property and investment of 150 000 Euros.
– Day 183: A Naturalisation Certificate is issued (the maximum period to issue is two years). Necessary prerequisites: Allegiance Oath, one year of residence.
The applications submitted under the CBI programme are processed exclusively by IM. Every candidate needs to have an accredited representative – Maltese Authorised Registered Mandatory (ARM). We are licensed for this purpose and fulfil the extra requirements of the investment programme regulations for ARMs, that complement all other existing regulations on the matter. They impose additional responsibilities to guarantee the maintenance of top quality standards during the process of application for the benefit and protection of the candidates and the good reputation of the CBI programme.