Malta: A look at the Rolls Royce of European CBI programs in 2023…

Malta Citizenship By Investment 2023

Given the hefty price tag, Malta’s Citizenship By Investment (CBI) offering is not something we’ve written about much historically. But with CBI programs – and EU ones, in particular – dropping like flies in recent years, we figured we’d cover this option… While it still exists.

Let’s get into the details below.

Malta: A look at the Rolls Royce of European CBI programs in 2023…

Malta is a gorgeous island nation situated in the Mediterranean Sea. We’ve previously written about its Golden Visa… And its Retirement Visa… And its Global Residency Program – but hardly ever about its Citizenship By Investment offerings (both past and present).

Today, however, European Citizenship By Investment programs and Golden Visas are under pressure.
We had just completed the five stages of grief over Montenegro, Ireland and the UK’s programs getting terminated… When we heard the bad news about Portugal’s Golden Visa.

Plus, there is the ongoing legal wrangle between Brussels and Malta over their program…

So rather than waiting to see what happens next, today we take a look at the EU’s only remaining Citizenship By Investment option.

(Which, in line with the strict marketing guidelines issued by Residency Malta – a government agency that oversees investment migration to Malta – is not to be referred to as either a CBI or by its former name, the Malta Individual Investor Program.)

The official name is “Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment”. I.e., one is not even allowed to refer to it as a “program”.

(But if it walks and quacks like a duck…)

In any event.

Why Malta’s citizenship (and its passport) could make a LOT of sense…

Malta boasts one of the world’s most powerful passports, scoring an impressive A-grade in the Sovereign Passport Ranking Index. (It also offers THE best travel document among all the world’s CBI programs).

The island itself, while home to only 518,000 people, is an excellent place to live. The Maltese are very entrepreneurial, and enterprising expats tend to enjoy the environment a lot.

And as an added bonus, English is one of its two official languages. The other being Maltese – an amazing combination of Arabic, Italian and English.

Here are the salient program details at a glance…

Official Program PageVisa-free accessPart of the European Union? Part of the Schengen Area?Timeline to citizenship (and a second passport)
Komunita.gov.mtAccess the Schengen Area, the UK, the US, Canada and many more desirable countries… YesYes3 Years (€600,000 investment option);

OR 

1 Year (€750,000 investment option)

And yet, we’ve not written much about the Maltese citizenship offering. Not because we don’t like it; in fact, we think it’s an exceptional option – but because of its eye-watering price tag. 

More on this below…

Malta: A detailed look at the investment requirements…

(Towards Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment.)

Malta requires you to invest both time and money if you want to become a citizen there. Here is how the program works:

PROGRAM OPTIONS “STANDARD” “FAST-TRACK”
Donation to National Development and Social Fund (Non-refundable) €600,000 €750,000
Additional Fee Per Dependent Applicant €50,000 €50,000
Timeline to Naturalization 3 Years (36 Months) 1 Year (12 Months)
Due Diligence Fees €15,000 (primary applicant); 
€10,000 (per dependent)
€15,000 (primary applicant); 
€10,000 (per dependent)
Residency Card Issuance Fees €10,000 (primary applicant);
€5,000 (per dependent)
€10,000 (primary applicant);
€5,000 (per dependent)
Approved Charitable Donation €10,000 €10,000

But wait, there’s more…

In addition to parting with the substantial amounts of cash outlined above, the Maltese authorities also require you to either rent or purchase local real estate in Malta.

You have to buy a property in Malta worth at least €700,000, and keep it for a minimum of five years after receiving your citizenship.

OR you can lease a property with a minimum annual rent of €16,000 for five years or more. 

So, if you choose to rent, you will need to spend at least €80,000 on rent over five years ($16,000 X 5 Years = €80,000). 

This means that your total minimum cash outlay is going to be €690,000, if you choose to rent a property in Malta, and €1,310,000 if you decide to buy. You will need to add government and service provider fees to these amounts. And then you’re looking at 36 months of residency before applying for citizenship.

Why the residency requirements ahead of naturalization?

Malta is a member of the EU. That means they need to keep a lot of EU bureaucrats – who dislike CBI programs – at least somewhat happy. 

So, besides performing rigorous applicant due diligence, Malta requires you to hold residency in the country for at least 12 months before you can apply for citizenship to prove your “bonafide connection” to the nation. 

Still, this doesn’t mean that you will need to live there for an entire year if you want to apply for citizenship and a passport. All you will need to do is visit the country once to complete all the required paperwork.

After you become a citizen, there is no requirement to live in Malta… or anywhere in Europe, for that matter, unless you want to.

Is spending €690,000+ on an EU passport really worth it? 

Europe – and Southern Europe, especially – offers an amazing lifestyle, but passports from this region come with a sky-high price tag.

If money is not an issue, then spending €690,000 or more could make sense. However, if you want to live in Europe, but don’t require a passport from there immediately (or at all), then a residency option like Portugal’s D7 Visa or Spain’s Non-Lucrative Residency could do the job, too.

And neither of these require you to invest a penny. 

However, under these options, you will have to spend six months or more each year on the ground, or you will lose your residency.

If you plan to spend much less time than that in Europe each year, then consider one of the European Golden Visas: They are cheaper than CBIs, and provide you with residency (not citizenship), allowing you to live in a country indefinitely… or not at all.

And if you must obtain a second passport ASAP – for example, if you plan to renounce your US citizenship soon – then you could just participate in one of the streamlined and cost-effective CBI programs in the Caribbean.

NOTE: Our Total Access (TA) members benefit from deep discounts on a range of CBI programs around the world – including all five of the Caribbean ones. For example: you can save up to $35,000 on your CBI application as a family of four. To find out more about the benefits of TA membership, click here.

In conclusion

The EU is determined to stop all CBI programs within its borders. They already succeeded with Cyprus, and now they want to do the same to Malta. We don’t know how this standoff will eventually play out, but there is a good chance that the Maltese CBI option may eventually disappear. 

So if you are interested in Maltese citizenship today, you better take action soon…

Yours in freedom,

Team Sovereign Man

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