Maltese Permanent Residence Program
The Malta Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN) program is considered the best second citizenship program on the market. Since Cyprus suspended its citizenship-by-investment in 2020, the MEIN has remained the only citizenship-by-investment (CBI) program offering EU citizenship. It’s also the only CBI whose passport has visa-free travel in the U.S. for 90 days. All these factors place the MEIN above other citizenship programs on the market, which is why many UHNWI have relocated to Malta in the last few years.
Malta Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN)
The cost of the program is high. It requires between 600,000 EUR to 750,000 EUR in donations. In addition, you will have to either buy a property valued above 700,000 EUR or commit to renting a property for at least five years with a minimum annual rent of 16,000 EUR. Altogether, this places the minimum cash outlay at around 1 million EUR.
Still, Malta is one of the friendliest tax jurisdictions in Europe. As a tax resident, you are only taxed on what you remit to Malta at a rate of 15%. Only 90 days of physical presence in Malta are required to become a tax resident.
Malta Crypto Environment
Unlike most other jurisdictions, Malta saw the crypto boom as an opportunity to welcome a new and innovative industry to complement its already burgeoning services sector. Keen to have the first-mover advantage, Malta was the first jurisdiction to enact a comprehensive legislative package aimed at creating a regulatory ecosystem in which the industry could operate and proliferate.
Mobility: EU (indefinitely),
1-3 years for citizenship
Download our free factsheet with more detailed information about this program.
Who Can Qualify?
In 2020, the citizenship-by-investment program was changed and rebranded as a residency program with fast-track to naturalization rather than a pure citizenship program. Under the program, you can be fast-tracked toward citizenship after three years (600,000 EUR) or one year (750,000 EUR). When you apply, you first receive a resident permit. After a least one year of holding that permit, you can apply for naturalization. The process is streamlined into one continuous process. You won’t need to live in Malta during that time.
In addition, you will need to have accommodation in the country with the opportunity to either buy or commit to renting a property for at least five years. Application fees include a 15,000-euro due-diligence fee on the principal applicant and 10,000 EUR for any family members older than 13. In brief, you will have to pay application fees, make donations and make a real estate (or rental) commitment.
You will first have to make a philanthropic donation of 10,000 EUR to a registered cause (cultural, sports, animal welfare, etc.). In addition, you will have to do one of the following:
- Make a 600,000 EUR donation to the state if you are looking to request naturalization after three years;
- Make a 750,000 EUR donation to the state if you are looking to request naturalization after one year
You will have to add an extra 50,0000 EUR for every eligible family member you want to add to your application.
From the moment you receive your resident permit, you will need to have accommodations in Malta. You will need to keep your residence for at least five years from the moment you apply for citizenship. The property cannot be subleased or sublet to a third party during that period. Accommodations can take the form of:
- The purchase of a residential property of at least 700,000 EUR
- The lease of a residential property with an annual rent of at least 16,000 EUR
The Maltese passport is highly regarded on the second passport market. It’s the only one offering visa-free travel to the U.S. and freedom of movement in the European Union, making it an elite citizenship-by-investment program. For these reasons, more and more UHNW Americans are taking up Maltese citizenship.
Malta offers one the best tax environments in Europe, and English is an official language. It’s one of the warmest places in Europe and is an idyllic location for a vacation home. There are also some excellent English private schools on the island.
Under the program, the principal applicants will be able to include their spouse or the de-facto partner. They will also be able to include their unmarried children up to 29 years old.
Parents and grandparents of the main applicant or the spouse who are over 55 can also be included if they are financially dependent.
The four-tier due-diligence process of the Malta MEIN is the most rigorous in the world. You must also note that once a year, the government publishes the names of all new citizens in a government gazette, which means your naturalization process is not entirely private.
There are also several requirements unrelated to the investment to fulfill:
- You will need to prove economic self-sufficiency for the resident permit.
- You will need to provide a police certificate from every country you have stayed in for a cumulative period of six months or more (even in intermittent periods) over the last 10 years.
- You will need to provide a medical certificate stating that you and your family members are not suffering from contagious diseases and are in good health.
- You and your family must have global health insurance coverage worth at least 50,000 EUR for an indefinite period.
Malta Citizenship Application Process
The process for Maltese citizenship includes the receipt of a resident permit. Formally, you apply for MEIN, then the government agency first checks your eligibility and collects a small deposit (10,000 EUR) before providing you with a resident permit. You will need to have accommodations in Malta to receive your e-residency card. After one or three years following the issuance of your resident permit, you can apply for naturalization. The naturalization process takes around six months.
- Verify eligibility
- Start client onboarding process with Global RCG.
- Global RCG helps you gather the required documents.
- Global RCG assists you to find accommodations in Malta
Month 13 or 37
Month 16 or 40
Month 17 or 41
Access to the US
With the Malta e-residency card, you will receive a multi-exit visa allowing you to travel in and out of the Schengen Area. As an American, you can already spend 90 days in a 180-day period in the Schengen Area. But your e-residency card will guarantee you entry in Europe even during COVID-19 travel restrictions.
As a Maltese citizen, you will have freedom of movement within the European Union and can live and work freely in it as long as you desire. The Maltese passport provides visa-free access to over 180 countries worldwide, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Brazil.
Access to the US
More and more Americans are considering renouncing their American citizenship for multiple reasons. They want to know how they can circle back to the U.S. with their new citizenship. A Maltese passport for an American who has renounced his U.S. citizenship and U.S. passport is ideal. This is because Malta has a visa-waiver program with the U.S., meaning Maltese citizens can travel in the U.S. 90 days without a visa.
Malta is one of the most popular tax jurisdictions in Europe for wealthy people. You can obtain a tax residence certificate with only 90 days of residence in Malta if you don’t spend over 183 days in another single country. When applying for the Malta citizenship-by-investment program, you become eligible for the non-domicile tax regime. As such, your personal income will only be taxed on what you remit to Malta. The rate is capped at 15% but requires a minimum contribution of 25,000 EUR annually. This applies only if you want to become a tax resident in Malta.