The Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services - Citizenship following Direct Investment FAQs
HOW CAN I GET MALTESE CITIZENSHIP?
In order to apply for Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment, the applicant must ultimately satisfy the following eligibility criteria:
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Be in possession of a property in Malta; and
- Have passed the due diligence process undertaken by the Agency (i.e. be a person of good conduct).
WHO MAY HANDLE APPLICATIONS for MALTESE CITIZENSHIP BY direct INVESTMENT?
An application for Citizenship by Direct Investment may only be submitted by an Accredited Agent licensed by Community Malta Agency. GVZH Advocates is an accredited agent and Community Malta Agency is an agency set up specifically to handle citizenship by direct investment applications.
HOW DO I START MY APPLICATION?
The first step of the process would be to engage an accredited agent and sign a Power of Attorney which essentially will authorise the accredited agent to handle all matters on your behalf in respect of this application. One may then proceed with submission of the residency application. One of the requirements introduced through the new program is that an applicant and all adult dependents must hold Maltese residency status for a minimum of 36 months or by exception for a minimum of 12 months – not just the main applicant. It is important to point out that to apply for an e-residence card one must be in possession of property in Malta (either by title of lease or sale).
WHO MAY BE INCLUDED IN MY APPLICATION FOR CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT?
The law defines dependant as the following:
(a) the spouse of the applicant in a monogamous marriage or the partner in another relationship having the equivalent/similar status to a monogamous marriage. The latter includes: a civil union, domestic partnership and common law marriage. The term “spouse” in these regulations shall be interpreted as gender neutral, and it is within the Minister’s discretion to authorise on a case by case basis;
(b) a child, of the main applicant or of his dependant (as defined in the first paragraph). This would include an adopted child who is under the age of 18 years old at the time when the main applicant submits an application;
(c) a child, of the main applicant or of his dependant (including an adopted child) who is aged 18+ but has not yet attained 29 years of age, at the time when the main applicant submits an application, and who is not married and thus proves to the satisfaction of the Minister that he/she is wholly maintained or otherwise largely supported financially by the main applicant;
(d) a parent or grandparent of the main applicant or of his dependant whose age is 55 + at the time when the main applicant submits an application and who proves to the satisfaction of the Minister that he/she is wholly maintained or otherwise largely supported financially by the main applicant;
(e) a child, of the main applicant or of his dependant (including an adopted child), who at the time when the main applicant submits an application has already attained eighteen (18) years of age and is a qualified person with a disability as defined in the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A MALTESE PASSPORT?
Malta is a member of the European Union and therefore a Maltese passport is a European passport. This would also include the freedom to live and work within the EU and the EEA (including Switzerland). A holder of Maltese passport can also benefit from Visa free travel to over 170 countries including EU and the United States (ESTA).
WHAT NATIONALITIES ARE EXCLUDED FROM APPLYING FROM THE PROGRAMME?
Currently the policy of the Maltese Government excludes from applying individuals who either have nationality from or have close ties to the following countries:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- North Korea
- South Sudan
The Agency reserves the right to update the list of banned countries from time to time. Such list will be communicated with all Agents accordingly. The exclusion would also include non-nationals of the above countries but individuals who reside, do business, have significant ties in, or connections to these countries.
WILL NATURALIZED CITIZENS HAVE VOTING RIGHTS?
Citizens who have resided in Malta for a continuous period of 6 months during the 18 month period preceding the election will be entitled to vote.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO HOLD DUAL CITIZENSHIP?
Malta recognises dual citizenship. However, other jurisdictions might impose restrictions.
HOW AM I TAXED IF I AM A MALTESE CITIZEN?
Malta does not tax on the basis of citizenship alone, but on the basis of ordinary residence, source of income and other qualifying factors. Malta’s tax system is based on source and remittance of income. Therefore, income generated in Malta or income generated outside of Malta and remitted into Malta, could be subject to tax in Malta.
If a Maltese citizen does not reside permanently or ordinarily resident in Malta, he/she will not be taxed on worldwide income, but only on any foreign sourced income remitted into Malta.
WILL CHILDREN BORN TO MALTESE CITIZENS AUTOMATICALLY BE CONSIDERED MALTESE CITIZENS?
Yes, children born to Maltese nationals may be naturalised as Maltese citizens even if born outside of Malta.
HOW LONG IS THE PROCESS UNTIL I GET MY PASSPORT?
The process for such is as follows:
- Engage accredited agent (signing of the Power of Attorney);
- Submission of Residency Application;
- Agency performs Tier 1 due diligence and obtains 1st police clearance;
- Scheduling of biometrics-capture appointment/possible interview (to be scheduled any day within 6 months from issuance of said police clearance);
- Submission of eligibility application (this should be submitted within 12 months from issuance of residency card)
- Agency performs Tier 2 due diligence and ensures correctness and completeness of applicant. At this stage, the Agency may request further information/documentation;
- Agency performs Tiers 3 and 4 due diligence and presents the application and its findings to the Minister;
- Agent is informed of Minister’s decision as to whether applicant may proceed to apply for Maltese Citizenship;
- After 36 months (or reduced 12 months) from obtaining residence status, agent submits Citizenship application (applicant should declare if they intend to go for 36 or 12 month route when applying for residence permit);
- Agency will update the due diligence if deemed necessary and presents final findings to Minister;
- Agent is informed of Minister’s decision;
- If decision is positive then the applicant must fulfill the exceptional investment, donation and property requirements;
- Applicant is invited to come to Malta to take Oath of Allegiance and is subsequently issued with Certificate of Naturalisation.
These time frames are indicative and may be varied by Community Malta Agency based on the specific circumstances of each application.
I HAVE ALREADY BEEN IN MALTA FOR OVER A YEAR, WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO OBTAIN CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT?
The process is the same as that aforementioned, but the applicant would have already satisfied the requirement of 12-month residency in Malta – provided that they are in possession of a residence card issued 12 months prior. In such case they may proceed with the eligibility stage.
WHAT ARE THE EXACT REQUIREMENTS IN RESPECT OF REAL ESTATE?
At residence stage property is required to be able to submit this application. There is no minimum value threshold to be satisfied here however in the case of a rental, the term must cover the entire 36-month period (it is at Eligibility stage that the applicant will declare whether they have opted for 12 months or 36 months residency). It is after the Minister communicates his decision that he will be granting citizenship to the applicant that the applicant must satisfy property requirements. If applicant chooses to lease property the minimum annual rent must be EUR 16,000, whereas if applicant opts to purchase the minimum value of the property shall be EUR 700,000. The qualifying property would need to be maintained for at least five (5) years from the date of citizenship.
WHAT ARE THE EXACT REQUIREMENTS IN RESPECT OF THE INVESTMENT?
- Exceptional Direct Investment (EUR 590,000 if one opts for 36 months residency or EUR 740,000 if 12-month period). In addition, the investment for each dependent is EUR 50,000;
- Property obligations as aforementioned; &
- Donation to a registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic non-governmental organization or society, as approved by the Agency. The donation must amount to EUR 10,000.
CAN MY MALTESE PASSPORT BE REVOKED?
A Maltese passport may only be revoked in exceptional circumstances such as treason and crimes against humanity and public policy.
HOW LONG DO I NEED TO STAY IN MALTA AFTER THAT MY CITIZENSHIP HAS BEEN GRANTED?
Once that you are in possession of the Maltese passport, you may visit Malta at your leisure.
WHAT DOCUMENTATION IS NEEDED FOR APPLICATION OF CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT?
Aside from the duly completed application forms, one would also need to submit the following:
- Certified copies of all passports;
- Certified copies of all identity card (or jurisdictional equivalent);
- Certified copies of residence permits (permanent or temporary, as applicable);
- Certified copy e-Residency Card issued by Maltese Authorities;
- Military Record(s) (if applicable);
- Birth Certificates;
- Marriage and Divorce Certificates (as applicable);
- Documentary Evidence of Residential Address;
- Police Certificate/Certificate of Conduct;
- Suitable evidence of dependency for all dependants;
- Evidence of Business Ownership for Self-Employed Main Applicants;
- Social Credit Report (where applicable);
- Evidence of Employment for Main Applicants.
Community Malta Agency may ask for additional documentation.
IN WHICH LANGUAGES CAN THESE DOCUMENTS BE SUBMITTED?
Application Forms and accompanying documents shall be completed in English or accompanied by an authenticated translation if originally not in the English language.
DO DOCUMENTS, OR COPIES OF ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS, HAVE TO BE AUTHENTICATED?
Documents must be authenticated by an apostille (in terms of the 1961 Hague Convention), if certified by a foreign registered lawyer/notary public.
Legalisation would not be required if documents are certified by: a Malta registered lawyer/notary/commissioner for oaths; a Maltese Consular or a Maltese Diplomatic Representative.
DO ALL MY DEPENDANTS NEED TO GET A POLICE CONDUCT CERTIFICATE?
All applicants/ dependants aged sixteen (16) years and over at the time of application must provide an original police conduct certificate. Such certificate must be obtained from each country where that individual has resided for a cumulative period of six (6) months or more, over a period of ten (10) years prior to the submission of the application and from all countries where the applicant/ dependant holds citizenship. Police certificates must be in original format and less than six (6) months old when submitted to Community Malta Agency.
WHAT DOCUMENTATION DO I NEED TO PROVE THAT MY CHILDREN AND MY PARENTS ARE DEPENDENT ON ME?
Generally, Community Malta Agency accepts an affidavit (sworn declaration) by the main applicant highlighting the support for each individual who is over the age of 18, with the exception of the spouse. Such affidavit should declare whether the dependant is wholly maintained financially by the main applicant.
HOW IS THE DEPENDENCE OF THE APPLICANT’S PARENTS ON THE APPLICANT DEMONSTRATED TO COMMUNITY MALTA AGENCY? IS IT NECESSARY THAT THE PARENTS RESIDE AT THE SAME ADDRESS?
Community Malta Agency has not established rigid parameters for the extent of financial, physical or other dependency but will handle each family unit and its requirements on a case by case basis.
WHAT DOCUMENTS CAN BE SUBMITTED TO SHOW EFFECTIVE DEPENDENCY OF THE PARENTS ON THE APPLICANT?
To demonstrate financial, physical or other dependency of the parents on the applicant would typically require, bank statements showing transfers by the applicant to the parent, retirement certificates of the parents, medical certificates and other similar third-party confirmation letters.
WHAT ABOUT FOR CHILDREN OVER 18? WOULD LETTERS FROM A SCHOOL OR UNIVERSITY TO PROVE THE CHILD IS STILL IN FULL-TIME EDUCATION, OR BANK STATEMENTS TO SHOW A TRAIL OF PAYMENTS FROM THE PARENT TO THE CHILD BE SUFFICIENT? ARE THERE ANY MANDATORY DOCUMENTS THAT NEED TO BE SUBMITTED, APART FROM THE AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT?
Apart from the affidavit (for children over 18) and all the other typical due diligence documentation/administrative forms, one would be required to submit supporting documentation such as letter of enrollment (if they are pursuing studies or have completed them in the past).