Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment
Malta’s Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations allow applicants to obtain citizenship of Malta, but only after first residing in Malta.
Applicants must hold residency status in Malta for at least 12 months and pass an eligibility assessment to submit an application for citizenship.
Source: Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations, 2020 and the Community Malta Agency official website
Benefits of Maltese Citizenship
Citizenship of Malta comes with a wide range of benefits, including:
- Visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to around 180 countries and territories
- Ability to pass on citizenship to future generations
- Citizenship for life, with the right to live, work, and possess property in Malta
- Right to hold dual citizenship
Malta Citizenship Application Process
Under the Regulations, applicants may obtain citizenship of Malta upon the completion of a three-stage process, consisting of:
- 01. The Residency Stage
- 02. The Eligibility Stage
- 03. The Citizenship Stage
STAGE 01 THE RESIDENCY STAGE
Applicants must first apply to the Community Malta Agency (through an authorised agent) for residency in Malta. Residency status is initially issued for 36 months, and applicants aged 18 and over must hold residency status in Malta for at least 12 months to submit an application for citizenship.
It is expected that the timeframe from submission of a residency application to the issuance of the relevant e-residency card is 15 working days.
- 1. The main applicant must select a registered agent, who will submit the residency application and ensure relevant payments are made to the Community Malta Agency on behalf of the main applicant.
- 2. Once the application and payments are received by the Community Malta Agency, it performs Tier 1 due diligence on the main applicant/dependants and requests a first police clearance.
- 3. The Community Malta Agency then contacts the agent to inform the main applicant/dependants that they must attend a biometrics appointment and, potentially, an interview within six months of clearance.
At the residency stage, the following costs apply:
Part payment of non-refundable investment deposit Main applicant €10,000 Residence permit Main applicant €5,000 Each dependant €1,000 Residency card Main applicant €27.50 Each dependant €27.50
STAGE 02 ELIGIBILITY STAGE
Before completing the residence requirement, and in general within 12 months of the issuance of the residence card, the main applicant must apply through the same agent for an eligibility assessment with the Community Malta Agency.
If the main applicant passes the eligibility assessment and completes the residence requirement (12-36 months or 36+ months), then he/she can apply for citizenship.
- 1. Upon receiving the application for eligibility assessment, Community Malta Agency issues a formal receipt (including a payment request voucher) within two working days.
- 2. Upon receipt of the relevant fees due at this stage, the Community Malta Agency performs Tier 2 due diligence on the main applicant/dependants. Further due diligence fees may be required at this stage.
- 3. The Community Malta Agency then performs Tiers 3 and 4 due diligence.
- 4. Finally, the Community Malta Agency presents the application and its due diligence conclusions to the Minister.
- 5. After receiving the Minister’s final decision on whether to grant citizenship to the main applicant/dependants, the Community Malta Agency reports the decision to the main applicant’s agent via a letter of approval. A letter of approval for eligibility is expected to be issued within 120–150 calendar days of payment of the fees due at this stage.
At the eligibility stage, the following fees apply:
Due diligence fee Main applicant €15,000 Each dependant (aged 12+) €10,000 Benefactor €15,000 Administrative fee Per applicant €1,000
STAGE 03 CITIZENSHIP STAGE
At this stage, the applicant must make the relevant investment, the total cost of which differs according to how long the applicant resided in Malta under the residency stage. Upon completion of this stage, the main applicant/dependants receive citizenship of Malta.
- 1. The main applicant must fulfil all the following requirements:
- Make an exceptional direct investment;
- Note that the amount due for the exceptional direct investment varies according to whether the applicant has resided in Malta for (a) 36 months or (b) between 12 and 36 months.
- Make a real estate investment (either a purchase or rental) to be held for a minimum of five years;
- Note that the real estate chosen must be fit for the main applicant and dependants to live in
- Make a donation; and
- Pay administrative fees.
- 2. An undertaking to complete the above, and evidence of completion of the residence requirement, must be provided.
- 3. Approximately five working days from the provision of the relevant undertakings/evidence of completion of residence, an invitation to travel to Malta to take the Oath of Allegiance is issued to the main applicant and any dependants aged 18 or over.
- The Oath of Allegiance must be taken in Malta within six months of the letter of approval, and the applicants will not be allowed to take the Oath unless:
- all requirements are fulfilled and fees paid; and
- the applicant undertakes in writing to observe and fulfil all obligations for a period of five years from the issuance of the Certificate of Naturalisation.
- 4. The Certificate of Naturalisation is issued.
- 5. The Community Malta Agency conducts continuous monitoring of the main applicant/dependants for five years, and the main applicant/dependants must complete and file a Compliance Form at the Community Malta Agency every year for the first five years from the date of the Oath of Allegiance.
Costs and Fees
The following costs and fees apply:
Exceptional Direct Investment Main applicant (36+ months residency) €590,000 OR Main applicant (12-36 months residency) €740,000 Each dependant €50,000 Real Estate Investment Purchase an immovable residential property in Malta having a minimum value of €700,000 OR Take on a lease of a residential immovable property in Malta for a minimum annual rent of €16,000 Donation Donation to a registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic non-governmental organisation or society, or as otherwise approved by the Community Malta Agency €10,000 Administrative fee Main applicant €5,000 Each dependant €1,000
The following dependants may be included in an application under the Regulations:
- 1. The spouse of the main applicant in a monogamous marriage, or a person with an equivalent relationship such as a civil union, or another relationship with similar status
- 2. Biological/adopted children of the main applicant or spouse/equivalent, who:
- at the time of application submission and approval in principle are:
- aged under 18;
- aged 18-28, unmarried, and wholly maintained or otherwise largely supported by the main applicant; or
- at the time of application submission, are at least 18 and with a disability as defined in the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act
- 3. Parents/grandparents of the main applicant or spouse/equivalent aged at least 55, who, at the time of application submission and approval in principle, are wholly maintained or otherwise largely supported by the main applicant
Frequently Asked Questions
1 – Where is Malta?
Malta is an island country in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Italy, 284 km east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. With a population of about 515,000 over an area of 316 km2, Malta is the world’s tenth smallest country in the area and fourth most densely populated sovereign country.
2 – Are the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations a continuation of the Malta Individual Investor Program (IIP)?
No, the Malta Individual Investor Program (IIP) ended in 2020. The Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations introduced an entirely new and independent route to citizenship in Malta.
3 – Can I obtain citizenship of Malta immediately?
No, there are two steps you must complete before obtaining citizenship. First, you must complete the residence requirement and the eligibility assessment.
4 – What is the minimum residence requirement under the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations?
You must complete at least 12 months of residence in Malta before applying for citizenship.
5 – Do I have to be physically present in Malta during the residence period?
Yes, you must demonstrate physical presence in Malta and build connecting factors during the residence period.
6 – Who must complete the residence requirement?
The main applicant and all dependants aged 18 and above must provide proof of residence in Malta.
7 – For how long will my residence card remain valid?
Your residence card will remain valid for up to 36 months and can be renewed if you have applied to take part in the eligibility stage that precedes citizenship.
8 – I am not married but am in a civil union. Can I apply with my partner?
Yes, qualifying dependants include spouses in a monogamous marriage and partners in a relationship with similar status to monogamous marriage (including a civil union, domestic partnership, or common law marriage).
9 – I have no children, but my spouse/partner does. Can I include them in my application?
Yes. You can include your children or those of your spouse/partner so long as, at the time of application submission and approval in principle, they are:
- Aged under 18
- Aged 18-28, unmarried, and wholly maintained or otherwise primarily supported by you
You can also include children over the age of 18 who, when the application is submitted, have a disability as defined in the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act.
10 – Can my adopted child be included in the application?
Under the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations, adopted children have the same rights as naturally born children and must fulfil the same requirements to qualify as dependants.
11 – I take care of my parents. Can they be included in my application?
Your parents and grandparents, or those of your spouse/partner, aged at least 55, who, at the time of application submission and approval in principle, are wholly maintained or otherwise largely supported by you, can be included in your application.
12 – Are citizens of any country ineligible?
The Community Malta Agency determines which nationalities are ineligible for Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment. As of March 2021, citizens of, or persons with close ties to, the following countries are deemed ineligible:
- The Democratic Republic of Congo
- North Korea
- South Sudan
13 – Other than the final investment, are there any other costs and fees that I must pay?
There are several applicable costs and fees throughout the process, including the residence permit and residence card cost. You are also responsible for Due Diligence Fees and Administration Fees.
14 – Are there any requirements I must fulfil after I obtain citizenship?
You (and your dependants) must complete and file a Compliance Form at the Community Malta Agency every year for the first five years from the Oath of Allegiance date. This is because Community Malta Agency conducts continuous monitoring for five years (for example, to ensure you hold your real estate investment for the entirety of the five years).
15 – Why are there two thresholds for the Exceptional Direct Investment?
The amount required for the Exceptional Direct Investment changes according to whether you have resided in Malta for between 12 months and 36 months or 36 months or more. The threshold is higher for those who have lived in Malta for less time.
16 – How much of the Exceptional Direct Investment must I provide in my initial deposit?
The initial deposit requirement is €10,000 and is non-refundable. This means that you’ll either be asked to pay €590,000 (36+-month residency) or €740,000 (12–36-month residency) at the citizenship stage.
17 – When must I pay the bulk of my Exceptional Direct Investment?
You must make the payment within four months of the issuance of your letter of approval in principle.
18 – What real estate options do I have?
You must either purchase real estate worth €700,000 or rent real estate for at least €16,000 per annum. The property must be held for five years from the date of issue of your Certificate of Naturalisation. The real estate property you choose must be residential and adequate, and suitable for you and your dependants.
19 – Can I switch my real estate investment?
Throughout the five-year hold period, you may be authorised by Community Malta Agency to substitute your real estate by purchasing or leasing another equivalent property.
20 – Who can I make my €10,000 donation to?
The donation must be made to a registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare, or artistic non-governmental organisation or society, or as otherwise approved by the Community Malta Agency.
21 – Who must take the Oath of Allegiance?
The main applicant and all dependants aged 18 or over must take the Oath of Allegiance in Malta within six months of the approval in principle.
22 – Is there a medical requirement?
Yes, a recognised medical practitioner, clinic, hospital, medical or health institute, or other health care system must attest that you and your dependants are in good health, not suffering from any contagious disease, and not likely to become a burden on the Maltese public health system.
23 – What is meant by the five-year continued monitoring requirement?
The Community Malta Agency conducts continuous monitoring of the main applicant and his or her dependants for five years from the grant of citizenship. During these five years, the main applicant and dependants must complete and file a Compliance Form at the Community Malta Agency every year. They may also be asked to attend an interview.
24 – Which entity is responsible for managing Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment in Malta, and what is its official website?
The responsible entity is the Community Malta Agency. Click here to visit its official website.
25 – What is CS Global Partners’ role?
CS Global Partners is a registered Referral Sub-Agent for Malta’s new naturalisation for exceptional services direct investment offering, governed by the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations, 2020. Our licence number is AKM-ACCA-21
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