Malta Citizenship And The Individual Investor Programme (IIP) Explained

Welcome to a multi-lingual information website about citizenship in Malta. We hope to help you learn much more about the potential options available for individuals and families to obtain residency and naturalisation in the EU’s smallest Member State.

This page will explain a few key points about Malta, Maltese citizenship and passports in general terms and the Individual Investor Programme in specific detail. If this information proves to be helpful, we will be pleased to discuss your personal situation in confidence to ensure the eligibility of you and your family.

As you will see from the layout of this site, we have multiple languages available to us. This means that should you wish to make an application under the Individual Investor Programme, we can arrange for translators and interpreters to assist during the process.

About Malta

The Republic of Malta is a chain of islands in the central Mediterranean Sea. Three of those islands are inhabited – Malta1, Gozo2 and Comino.

The Maltese population are essentially tri-lingual with Maltese and English being the official languages and most school children having been taught Italian to a good standard.

The country is a member of the European Union3, having joined on 1st May 2004. The Maltese Lira was replaced by the euro on 1st January 2008.

From Ramla Beach, Gozo

The climate is well known for endless blue skies and hot sunny days for most of the year. This has made the country a very popular destination with tourists from more northerly parts of Europe all year round. As such, tourism is a vital part of the economy.

Malta is a very densely populated country with the majority of the population living in the north of the country. The main residential areas of Sliema, St Julian’s and Gzira are all on the coast and have many foreign residents.

Moving inland, there are a number of cities with less foreign residents and, subsequently, cheaper prices and a different economy. Such cities include Mosta, Naxxar and Birkirkara.

Valletta skyline

The capital city is Valletta. It is an incredibly historic fortified city with ancient and protected buildings and imposing churches on every street. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site4.

Valletta is mostly a centre for shops, tourists, politicians and lawyers. Its lack of parking, supermarkets and general day-to-day conveniences make it a difficult location for many people to live in. Therefore, Valletta has a small and highly concentrated population.

Fiscally, the country is an onshore jurisdiction. However, there are a variety of rules in place that make Malta an interesting location for conducting business of many kinds. For example, the country has one of the most successful shipping registries in the world. This success has prompted the creation of an aircraft registry which is growing in reputation internationally.

These rules, as they relate to personal taxation have made the country popular as a destination for retirement with many different European nationalities.

Malta Citizenship

Malta citizenship

Being a Member State of the European Union, a Maltese passport operates under the same rules as every other EU nation. This means that each passport is valid for a period of ten years, enables visa free travel to over 160 countries and confers the right for its holder to establish residence in any other EU nation. Additionally, Malta is a member of the Schengen Area5 which guarantees the free movement of people within the member countries.

There are a number of ways in which people can apply for Maltese citizenship. For non-EU citizens, the process requires a residency period of 18 years in Malta before an application can be made. For citizens of other EU nations, this residency period is 6 years. A Malta citizenship application cannot be made and a passport issued before this qualification has been met.

There are no restrictions regarding dual nationality for Maltese passport6 holders. However, as with the established tax rules in the UK, it is not possible to have more than one domicile at a time. It is therefore possible for a person to be a citizen of one country but domiciled in another.

Potential Taxation Advantages
Domicile, as it relates to personal taxation, is a complex topic. We recommend an individual evaluation of your personal circumstances rather than the general information that can be published online.

Should you obtain Maltese nationality, your personal tax status may not change. This is obviously a complex area. However, should you choose to retain strong links to your home country, it is possible that you will retain the status of a non-domiciled person in Malta.

A person who is resident but not domiciled in Malta is taxable on all chargeable income arising outside Malta to the extent that such income is remitted into the country and on all chargeable income earned or derived in Malta.

All capital gains arising outside of Malta are not taxable in Malta irrespective of whether or not these gains are remitted to Malta. A person who is neither ordinarily resident nor domiciled in the Maltese islands is taxable only on income arising in Malta.

The Individual Investor Programme (IIP)

The Individual Investor Programme was established under Legal Notice 47 of 20147. It enables non-Maltese citizens to apply for residence that leads to citizenship.

Malta citizenship schemeAs an aside, I have spoken to potential clients that describe the IIP as the Malta Citizenship Scheme. In actual fact, the Maltese government specifically requests that accredited agents like myself avoid using the word “scheme” completely.

Individual Investor ProgrammeIndividual Investor Programme applicants need to meet stringent criteria8 (described below), make a contribution to the National Development and Social Fund and complete a 12 month residency period before they are naturalised.

Are You Eligible?
There has proved to be interest from talented, creative and wealthy families around the world in the IIP scheme. There have been interested applicants from countries as diverse as Russia, Ukraine, China, South Africa, Canada and even the United States.

Subject to a stringent vetting and due diligence process, including thorough background checks, IIP applicants and their dependants are granted citizenship in exchange for contribution.

Residence: The main applicant must commit himself to provide proof of residence in Malta for at least 12 months preceding the day of the issuing of the certificate of naturalisation and provide proof of title to residential property.

The applicant must commit to retaining a Maltese residence for a period of at least 5 years, either through the purchase of a property, for which the minimum value must exceed €350,000, or through leasing of a property, for which the minimum annual rent must exceed €16,000.

Contribution to the National Development And Social Fund:
The main applicant will be required to contribute €650,000 upon being approved.

Should the main applicant wish to also include his/her spouse or his/her child (under the age of 18) a further sum of €25,000 would have to be paid per dependent.

Moreover, should the main applicant wish to include a dependent parent or a dependent child (between the ages of 18 and 25) he/she would need to contribute a further sum of €50,000 each.

Stock / Bond Investment: In addition to the donation and property, a total of €150,000 must be invested in stocks or bonds which are to be sanctioned and approved by the government. Such investment needs to be for a minimum of five years. If an applicant required further details about the equities and bonds available we are able to provide a list of government approved assets.

Malta IIPGlobal Health Insurance: For at least €50,000 for the main applicant and dependents and must provide proof that the insurance policy can be maintained for an indefinite period. This is an integral part of the scheme.

What Documents Are Required?
IIP application forms and due diligence documents must be completed and submitted together with a non-refundable professional fee including:

a. Economic self-sufficiency form
b. Copy passport
c. Copy of comprehensive global health insurance with a minimum of €50,000 medical expense coverage per person.
d. Proof of financial means (bank statements etc.)
e. Electronic identity registration form
f. Application for naturalisation
g. Medical report and questionnaire to be completed by both the applicant and a licenced medical practitioner. Any medical documents presented in the course of the medical exam must also be included i.e. blood test results.
h. Statement of source of funds and wealth including details of annual income and estimated net worth.
i. Form of personal details, family information, education and employment.
j. Police certificate/certificate of conduct.

What Are The Financial Obligations?
Contributions to the National Social And Development Fund
Main applicant – of which €10,000 is payable as the Non-Refundable Contribution – €650,000
Spouse – €25,000
Children under the age of 18 – €25,000
Unmarried children aged 18 and over, but below 27 – €50,000
Dependent parents and grandparents aged over 55 years – €50,000

Due Diligence Fees Payable To Identity Malta
Main applicant – €7,500
Spouse – €5,000
Children aged 13 and over, but under 18 – €3,000
Unmarried children aged 18 and over, but under 27 – €5,000
Dependent parents and grandparents aged over 55 years – €5,000

Other Fees Payable To Identity Malta
Passport fee, per applicant, if not already paid – €500
Bank charges, per application – €500

IIP Application Notes
The minimum IIP application processing period is six months from the date of submission of the application in order that a Certificate of Naturalisation may be issued. There is also a maximum IIP application period of 2 years from the original date of submission.

IIP applications must be accompanied by supporting identification and verification documents authenticated in English.

The names of persons granted Malta citizenship9 under the Individual Investor Programme will be published on an annual basis, together with all the other names of persons granted Malta citizenship under other provisions of Maltese Citizenship legislation.

All Individual Investor Programme applications will be examined by the government. Applicants may be requested to attend an interview, which will be conducted by government officials in Malta or at any Maltese Embassy or High Commission of Malta.

If an interview is required, applicants will be notified by Identity Malta10 after the submission of the application documents.

The police certificate/certificate of conduct is the only document which may be handed in separately after the submission of the other documents.

We suggest that original documents, unless otherwise stated, should not be submitted, as they will be retained by Identity Malta Agency.

About The Author
This information has been published by Dr Mark Hyzler, B.A., LL.M. (Lond), LL.D., a residency and citizenship specialist at GVTH Advocates in Valletta.

I am an approved accredited agent with Identity Malta and am fully licensed to handle and submit applications under the MIIP programme.

If you would like to discuss your individual situation to assess your eligibility, please complete the form below and I will contact you.