Malta Residency & Visa Programme

Through an amendment to the Immigration Act in 2015, affluent individuals and their families have the opportunity to attain permanent residency through the Malta Residency & Visa Programme (MRVP), also known as the Malta Golden Visa. Becoming a Maltese resident by investing in Malta through this programme will grant successful applicants freedom of mobility within the Schengen zone, making it an ideal programme and an asset for the non-EU investor who seeks new business ventures in the EU market.

Furthermore, as per the recent 2017 amendments, some of the more stringent provisions were repealed in an attempt to facilitate the process and allow the applicant to enjoy further benefits, such as the ability to reside freely in Malta for an indefinite period, without the obligation to do so.

Malta Golden VISA - Residency by Investment

The Malta Golden Visa is an excellent means through which high net worth foreign nationals can acquire Maltese residency, be able to reside indefinitely in Malta, apply for long-term residency and eventually for full citizenship. Becoming a Maltese resident through the Malta Golden Visa offers endless benefits to investors including border-free travel within the Schengen area, access to a work permit and the acquisition of tax residency status upon showing ordinary residency, thus allowing them to benefit from Malta's highly advantageous tax regime. To this effect, individuals who meet the eligibility criteria can benefit from a wide array of opportunities.

The New Malta Golden Visa - amendments to the MRVP in 2017

Every individual who is interested in applying for the MRVP is required to pay a non-refundable contribution fee of €30,000 (€5,500 of which is paid initially upon submitting the application while the remaining €24,500 is payable during the compliance stage). As a result of recent legal amendments the contribution fee now covers the main applicant as well as the spouse and the children of both the main applicant and the spouse at application stage. Moreover, the age limit for adult dependant children has been eliminated and hence, the main applicant can include children over the age of 26, as long as they financially depend on the said applicant, are not economically active and unmarried. However, if the adult dependant child gets married, the Main applicant has the possibility to include the spouse of the adult dependant child and his/her children against a non-refundable fee of € 5,000 per person. Parents and/or grandparents of the main applicant and/or spouse can also be included against a payment of a non-refundable fee of €5,000 each.

Quick and efficient process to obtain the MRVP

After submitting the residency application against an initial non-refundable fee of €5,500, the presented documents are formally verified and a due diligence exercise is initiated. The whole verification and due diligence process takes three months and is followed by a decision. If approved, the successful applicant will be granted a three-month compliance time frame during which the following criteria have to be satisfied:

1. Property purchase to obtain the MRVP

Purchase of property should be not less than €320,000 in the north of Malta or €270,000 in the southern region of Malta or in Gozo. Property rental is also an option as long as it is not less than €12,000 p.a. in Malta or €10,000 p.a. in the Southern region of Malta or Gozo.

2. Contribution fee for MRVP

Required settlement of the remaining €24,500 of the contribution fee.

3. Bonds investment through the MRVP

To obtain the Malta Residency and VISA programme, the successful candidate must make an investment of  €250,000 in Government approved bonds or shares to be kept for the initial 5 years. Thus, the investor may benefit from a return on investment within just 5 years. 

4. EU Health Insurance

The purchase of an all-covering EU health insurance is also a requirement.

After satisfying the aforementioned criteria, residency cards are issued thereafter, for the main applicant and his or her dependents.

Malta Golden VISA and Residency Rights

The Golden Visa entitles the successful candidate to various residency rights from which to benefit. As per the recent amendments, applicants who become Maltese residents are no longer obliged to spend a period of time abroad and hence are free to reside in Malta indefinitely. Residency is initially issued for 5 years and is freely renewable thereafter. Consequently, applicants may eventually apply for the long-term residency and ultimately for the Maltese citizenship.

Given this indefinite period of residency, applicants are granted working permits to be able to work in Malta. Moreover, given that Malta has been a European Union member since 2004 and a member of the Schengen Area since 2007, holders of the Maltese residency card can benefit from freedom of mobility in most EU Member States (that form part of the Schengen area) plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (parties to the European Free Trade Agreement), without being subjected to border controls.

MRVP and Tax Efficiency

The pillars of the Maltese taxation system are domiciliation and residency. Albeit not obliged to reside in Malta, holders of the residency card are granted a tax residency status upon exhibiting ordinary residence, that is, a physical residency period of at least 6 months (183 days). Acquiring a tax residency status can prove to be highly beneficial to the applicant, given that Maltese tax residents who are not domiciled in Malta are taxed on a remittance basis only on foreign source income (not foreign capital) which is remitted to Malta and only to the extent remitted.

Non-dom tax residents benefit under the remittance basis of taxation, thus income arising in Malta or remitted to Malta is taxable at an advantageous flat-rate of 15%. With regards to capital gains, capital gains arising outside of Malta fall outside the remit of Maltese tax, even when remitted to Malta and hence, only capital gains arising in Malta are taxable. Moreover, Malta does not impose any inheritance tax, gift tax or wealth taxes.

Moreover, throughout the years, Malta became a party to more than 70 double tax treaties with various countries worldwide, the majority of which are based on the OECD model.This ensures that 

Legal establishment of the Malta Residency & Visa Programme

The Malta Residency and Visa Programme was established by L.N. 288 OF 2015. The Maltese Government recently amended the aforesaid law through L.N. 189 of 2017, in order to make it more beneficial and efficient to prospects. The law is divided into a number of sections, each of which is explained with further clarity throughout the website.

Malta Immigration Agents - we are lawyers

Dr Jean Philippe Chetcuti specialises in Residency and Citizenship law and heads the firm's practice. He was the first to be licenced by the Identity Malta Agency to directly file citizenship applications under the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP). He holds licence IIP 001.

 

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chetcuti

Dip.Tax, Dip.ITM, B.A., LL.M.(Warwick), LL.D., TEP

Managing Partner, Citizenship Agent IIP 001

Jean-Philippe is a Malta Citizenship and Residency lawyer advising HNW individuals, business families and their advisors.  He has been instrumental in the design and success of the Malta Citizenship by Investment program as well as Malta's attractive residency programs. Jean Philippe also advises on international tax planning, trust & estate planning, citizenship & residency planning, immigration and resident-non-dom regimes.