If you are thinking of applying for Maltese citizenship to buy real estate in Malta or Gozo, the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP), present in this guide, could provide the ideal opportunity.
Launched in 2014, this successful programme has already permitted hundreds of people from outside the EU to acquire Maltese citizenship within a very short amount of time. Of course, this could enable you to enjoy all the rights and benefits that other Maltese people enjoy – including the ability to buy Malta real estate travel, work, study and live in Malta, and anywhere within the European Union.
Malta is an absolutely fantastic country to discover – whether you’re planning to live here full-time, or hope to use it as a base from which to enjoy other parts of the world. The island is located in the heart of the Mediterranean – just a short flight from central Europe and North Africa, making it the ideal gateway between the two.
Malta is also famous for its fantastic lifestyle. The climate promises around 300 days of sunshine every year, as well as mild winters that rarely dip below 9-degrees. As a result, much of the island can be enjoyed outdoors – from family outings to evenings spent dining al fresco by the sea.
Property in Malta
Property for sale in Malta also makes for a fantastic property investment. As prices have been rising steadily over the past few years and look set to continue on their upward trajectory – while still staying affordable when compared to other European amounts. This means you could choose to buy property in Malta from a sizeable apartment with a glorious sea view, a pretty townhouse in one of the village centres, or a beautiful villa with substantial grounds and a private swimming pool – it’s all available, and the purchasing process is simple and regulated.
MIIP has been created to grant citizenship to qualified and reputable foreign property investors, along with their families. Eligibility is based on an applicant’s ability to make a considerable contribution to Malta’s economic development, and successful applicants will be granted a certificate of citizenship by naturalisation for both themselves, and the qualifying members of their family.
If you would like to read up on the legal aspects of the MIIP, you will find it in Articles 10(9)(b) and 24(1)(i) of the Malta Citizenship Act, (Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta), and the Malta Individual Investor Programme Regulations, 2013 (Legal Notice 450 of 2013).
Am I eligible for MIIP?
Applicants buying Malta real estate as a foreigner need to meet the following requirements in order to be able to apply for MIIP and become a Malta property investor:
- Be at least 18
- Make the required contribution, as determined by the Schedule
- Meet applicant requirements
- Provide a residential address in Malta
- Invest in, among others,
- or special purpose vehicles;
- or to make other investments
as provided from time to time by Identity Malta by means of a notice in the Gazette.
How long will it take for me to get my passport?
Identity Malta will complete your application within six-to-eight months of receiving it. Once you have sent in your MIIP application, Identity Malta will check and confirm it within 10 working days, followed by an intense due diligence process that takes between 120 and 180 days to complete. During this time, Identity Malta will scrutinise your application and any supporting documents submitted by your Accredited Agent. Once this process is complete, Identity Malta will notify your Accredited Agent accordingly.
How will the procedure work?
Once Identity Malta obtains your pre-clearance, you will be given an application to lodge your Residency Application and to pay your Residency Stage fees. You will then need to attend a short meeting in Malta, to have your biometrics taken by Identity Malta. If everything has been filed correctly at that stage, you will receive your Maltese e-ID card within 10 working days, after which you will need to begin your compulsory 12-month residency on the island.
For the next step, you need you lodge your actual MIIP application – although you don’t need to be in Malta for this part and meetings can be held on your behalf. A number of documents will need to be provided, namely:
- A certificate of health from a reputable system that you and your dependants are not suffering from any contagious diseases and that you are in good health
- A list of documents for due diligence purposes
- Evidence, acquired through due diligence processes, that you and your dependants are fit and proper to hold Maltese citizenship
- A commitment to completing the total required contribution
- Commit to purchasing, or taking a lease, on an immovable residential property on the island
- Invest €150,000 in Government Bonds issued by the Central Bank of Malta
- Provide other documents, as required by Identity Malta.
It is important to note that any documents that are supplied in a non-original format, must be certified by a lawyer or public notary, and be duly authenticated by apostille in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention.
Once Identity Malta has completed their due diligence checks and your application has been successful, you will be issued with a Letter of Acceptance in Principle.
This letter will stipulate the time within which you will need to purchase or lease a property, pay your outstanding contribution, and invest in your portfolio obligation. Having completed all of these requirements and fulfilled your 12-month residency condition in full, the programme will move into its final stage – Naturalisation (Citizenship).
Having filled in some more forms and obtained your passport, you will be required the physically come to Malta to take your oath, and become a Citizen of Malta.
Fees & Contributions
The following fees are the minimum contribution you will need to make in order to apply for citizenship and invest in Malta property:
- Main Applicant – Part-Contribution of Non-Refundable Deposit – €5,000
- Spouse – €1,000
- Dependants (0-26 and 55 and onwards) – €1,000
- Renewal (of E-Residence card) – €200
Payment Request Voucher (PRV) Stage – Due Diligence Fees, Passport Fees, Contribution
- Deposit & Bank Charges
- Due Diligence Fees – €7,500
- Main applicant – €5,000
- Spouse – €3,000
- Children aged 13 and over, but under 18 – €5,000
- Unmarried children aged 18 and over, but under 27 – €5,000
- Dependent parents and grandparents aged over 55 years – €5,000
- Part-Contribution non-refundable Deposit Standard charge per application – €5,000
- Passport fee, per applicant, if not already paid – €500
- Bank charges, per application – €200
Contribution to National Development and Social Fund
- Main applicant – €640,000*
- Spouse – €25,000
- Children under the age of 18 – €25,000
- Unmarried children aged 18 and over, but below 27 – €50,000
- Dependent parents and grandparents aged over 55 years – €50,000
Property Investment Obligation
- Either purchase of residential property valued in excess of – €350,000
- Or lease of residential property, with minimum annual rental value of – €16,000
(In both cases the property must be held for a minimum of 5 years and must not be let or sub-let).
Portfolio Investment Obligation
- Required investment in a prescribed investment – €150,000
(Investment must be held for a minimum of 5 years)
Taxation Under MIIP
If you are resident and domiciled in Malta, you will pay income tax on your worldwide income. Personal income when buying property in Malta is taxed at progressive rates of up to 35%.
However, if you are resident in Malta but not domiciled on the island, you will pay tax on income arising in Malta, and income (excluding capital gains) that arises outside of Malta that is received in Malta.
Tax rates vary depending on your tax status. Your acquisition of Maltese citizenship under the IIP will not have any tax consequences and, even if you do move your residence to Malta, you will retain the status of a non-domiciled person and, as a result, will have limited, advantageous tax exposure.
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