Malta’s Golden Visa – Why time is of the essence to apply in 2022

Malta Golden Visa 2022

How does Mediterranean island living sound as a Plan B option? Boasting a laid-back atmosphere, low taxes, and an exceptionally affordable Golden Visa, Malta ticks many of the boxes. But with Brussels now going after Golden Visas in a big way, this opportunity could disappear overnight in 2022…

Malta: A VERY affordable Golden Visa (AND super low taxes)

Just south of Sicily lies Malta, an archipelago consisting of three populated islands — Malta, Gozo, and Comino — along with several uninhabited ones.

Malta’s native language is Maltese, however almost everyone in Malta also speaks English — it was a British colony for 150 years — and Italian, due to its proximity to Sicily.

You can sail to Tunisia, Libya, Italy, or Greece from Malta. Through the centuries, the country’s strategic location made it a critical naval base and a popular trading port. Shipping and banking remain its vital industries to this day.

Like many other Southern European countries, Malta was rocked by the 2008/2009 financial crisis. During the past decade, the government has therefore been working hard to attract foreign capital and talent in various ways; including by offering a highly attractive tax regime.

(More details on this shortly.)

The islands have a decidedly entrepreneurial spirit, so it should be no surprise that the Maltese introduced a straightforward Citizenship By Investment (CBI) program a few years ago, and a Nomad Residence Permit, more recently. But prices for this CBI program start at around €700,000 plus professional fees.

The good news, however, is that Malta also has a much cheaper Residency By Investment program. The program is now formally known as the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP).

Let’s get into the details below…

Malta’s Golden Visa Program at a Glance
Investment options Starting from €150,000 when renting a local property.

Starting from €370,000 when purchasing one.

Minimum stay requirement to renew Golden Visa No minimum stay requirements.
Does it lead to citizenship? Yes, after five years of residency. But you will need to live there full-time, and learn Maltese.

Malta also allows dual citizenship.

Tax situation You will generally become a tax resident in Malta after spending six months per year there. But expats enjoy many tax breaks.
Minimum net worth requirement €500,000+ in assets, out of which €150,000+ must be financial assets (i.e. not real estate).

Golden Visa investment options 2023

To qualify for this program, you can either rent property or buy property. (Malta is one of the only Golden Visa countries to offer flexibility on this.)

Regardless of which option you choose, you will have to spend less money if you opt for the less developed regions of Malta — the Southern part of Malta Island, or Gozo.

And you will be required to keep this property (or continue renting it) for at least five years.

Let’s compare the two available options side by side.

A detailed breakdown of program costs

Purchase option Rent option
Donation  Make a €2,000 donation to a government-approved NGO
Admin Fee Pay a non-refundable admin fee of €40,000
Government Contribution Make a €28,000 government contribution Make a €58,000 government contribution 
Real estate rent/purchase Purchase a property for at least:

€300,000 if you buy in Southern part of Malta Island or Gozo, OR;

€350,000 if you buy elsewhere.

The investment must be held for a minimum period of five years.

Alternatively, you can rent a property:The total lease should last no less than five years, and in total cost no less than:

€50,000 when renting in Southern Malta or Gozo (€10,000 per year), OR;

€60,000 when renting elsewhere ($12,000 per year)

Total outlay From €370,000 in Southern Malta or Gozo (€420,000 elsewhere) From €150,000 in Southern Malta or Gozo (€160,000 elsewhere)

Work and family considerations

Golden Visa holders can do business in Malta with no restrictions. You can even work there, but you need to apply for a work permit first.

Furthermore, Malta’s family eligibility policy is generous. As part of your application, you can include your:

  • Spouse
  • Children under 18 years of age
  • Children over 18 years of age, if dependent on the main applicant
  • Minor children of an already approved dependent child and/or of their already approved spouse
  • Spouse’s parents and grandparents, and your own, if they are dependent on the main applicant.

Renewals and citizenship eligibility

Under Malta’s Golden Visa program conditions, you receive an “indefinite” residency permit.

However, the ID card itself is “only” good for five years. That means you need to come to Malta to renew it once every five years, at a minimum. And currently, the residency card cannot be renewed from abroad…

Under Maltese citizenship law, a person physically present in Malta for over five years has the right to apply for naturalization.

The Maltese Golden Visa should work for this purpose too.

However, for that to happen, you will need to reside in Malta during all these years, full time, and treat Malta as your primary home. Showing up occasionally won’t work.

And upon naturalization, you will also need to demonstrate knowledge of English and Maltese languages.

As a plus, Malta recognizes dual citizenship, so you won’t need to renounce your original passport.

NOTE: Sovereign Confidential members –  remember that you have access to a deep-dive Black Paper on Europe’s Golden Visa programs, including Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Latvia, Italy and Ireland. The report also covers the tax benefits of Malta’s program extensively. Be sure to reach out to us if you’d like a reference for a vetted service provider for each of these programs. 

Cheaper alternatives to the Maltese Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is not the only way to gain residency in Malta; there are cheaper alternatives too.

The country’s Retirement Program (RP) and the Malta Global Residence Program (MGRP) can help you make Malta your home for much less money, or even entirely for free. (You will need to prove that you have the required income and pay a certain minimum annual tax, though.)

The bottomline

As we’ve reported previously, the future of Golden Visa programs and Citizenship By Investment is looking uncertain in 2022. The options available on the market, as they stand today, will likely be the best deals you’ll ever get.

And the Maltese Golden Visa, in particular, can be exceptionally affordable if you opt to rent a property. So if you’re interested in making Malta part of your own Plan B, be sure to take action today.

Yours in freedom,

Team Sovereign Man

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