Malta Citizenship By Investment Program
Update 28th January 2020: The Citizenship by Investment Program has received more than 1500 passport application from investors. The program is capped at 1800 applications so it is important to contact us and submit your citizenship application through one of our licensed service providers as soon as possible. The cap could be reached within a few months.
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About The Citizenship By Investment Program in Malta
Malta has a variety of possibilities to attain a Maltese citizenship. These include citizenship by birth, descent, marriage and naturalization. In addition Malta also launched the Individual Investor programme aimed at the ultra-high net worth individuals and families world wide. The pilot programme was initially launched by Identity Malta, the agency responsible for the administration of the programme. From its inception it has proved to be among the most popular jurisdictions for non-EU and EU nationals to settle in and attain Citizenship. Since Malta is part of the EU, the Maltese citizenship gives the right of establishment in all 28 EU countries. Malta is recognized for being stable, safe, neutral and a highly respected member state.
Eligibility for Citizenship By Investment in Malta
The Citizenship is granted to affluent individuals with good standing on the basis of a contribution to and investment in Malta. Among the requirements is a minimum age of 18, make a contribution, commit to providing proof of residential address in Malta, contribute to the National Development and Social Fund established by the Government and to fulfill the general requirements.
The Due Diligence Process
The due diligence process to obtain a Maltese Citizenship by Investment has one of the most stringent standards of any immigration program in the world. The four stage fit and proper test is carried out by the Government in cooperation with the Agent and various authorities. This ensures that Maltese citizenship is only granted to affluent persons.
Stage 1 – Standard KYC Due Diligence
The frist tier of the due diligence process is a standard KYC (know your customer) done by the IIP Unit and the Agent. This stage is done to get a general overview of the applicant through databases such as World-Check. This helps identify possible reputation risk and highlights any politically exposed and high risk individuals.
Stage 2 – Clearance From Authorities
The second stage provides clearance from various international and local authorities. A number of databases are used during this fit and proper test, such as Interpol, Europol and The International Criminal Court. Any issued encountered at this stage of the due diligence process are reported back to the IIP Unit.
Any Third Country Nationalists (TCN’s) also have to go through the standard Schengen screening procedures.
Stage 3 – Application Correctness and In-depth Checks
Stage 3 of the due diligence process consists of two steps. The first step is to check the application for correctness and making sure that all documentation is submitted and in the proper formats. In case of documents missing the IIP Unit will revert back to the Agent, put the application on hold, and request any outstanding documents or application errors.
The second part of stage three consists of in-depth online checks and verification of the documents submitted. The checks involve checking for sanctioned individuals and companies, corporate affiliations, significant one-time transactions, donations, inheritance, business partners and close associates. These thorough searches are conducted for each member of the family applying for the citizenship.
Stage 4 – Verification Of Information
The last stage of the due diligence process is verification of the information gathered of each applicant. Two reports are commissioned from international companies on every family member. Further checks of international and local databases in the countries of residence are performed to cover as much information as possible. Even discreet interviews of individuals who know the family are conducted during this stage.
The Final Decision Making Process
After all four stages of the due diligence process is completed, another member of the due diligence team reviews all the information gathered so far and prepares an internal memo. If there is any uncertainty, the IIP Unit questions the applicants further and verifies that information again through the same process.
Once there is a clear picture of the applicants which satisfies the requirements, the application is discussed internally with the IIP Due Diligence Team. The team consist of eight members from banking, risk, compliance and audit backgrounds trained in anti-money laundering regulations. All the information is then discussed again with the senior management team within the IIP Unit. In case of specific areas of concern, further reports and clarifications are gathered before a recommendation is made to the Minister.
The final decision is made through a collective decision by the senior management team. A recommendation is then prepared and submitted to the Minster responsible for Citizenship in Malta including all supporting documents, reports and findings. The Minister together with the IIP Team review the findings again which upon a final decision is made.
The Risk Matrix Process
In order to ensure that each application is examined thoroughly and constantly, the IIP Unit have developed an extensive risk matrix. This helps the decision making in a transparent and systematically way and where each application is treated similarly.
The risk matrix consist of seven categories:
- Identification and verification
- Business and corporate affiliation
- Politically exposed persons
- Legal and regulatory matters
- Relative impact on the applicants immediate network
The first six of the categories are fairly common in the financial sector, but the seventh category is bespoke to uncover the activities and impact on the applicants network and society in general.
Applications Monitored by an Independent Regulator
In order to ensure all procedures were followed correctly, and independent regulator reviews all applications. After consulting with the Opposition, the regulator is appointed by the Government. A report of each application is prepared and presented to the committee which is composed of the Prime Minister, The Minister responsible for Citizenship and the leader of the Opposition.
Good Health and Insurance Policy Requirements
Every applicant must declare by means of a health certificate, from a reputable health system, certifying the applicant is in good health and does not suffer from any contagious deceases. Furthermore, all applicants (including family member of the main applicant) must be covered by an international health insurance policy.
Citizenship By Investment Application Fees
In order for the application to be considered, there are some fees required to be paid upfront. These are as follows:
- Main applicant: 7,500 EUR
- Spouse: 5,000 EUR
- Children below 18: 3,000 EUR
- Unmarried children between 18 and 26: 5,000 EUR
- Dependent parent above 55: 5,000 EUR
Additionally there is a 200 EUR bank charge per application and upon successful applications, each passport costs 500 EUR.
Requirements For Submitted Documents
The application is to be completed and submitted in English, or be accompanied by certified translations. Furthermore, any copies of original documents must be authenticated by an apostille, or certified “as true copy” by a notary public, a licensed lawyer, a Maltese consular, a Diplomatic Officer or a Senior Officer of the Concessionaire.
Timeline of the application process
Within 90 days after presentation of the application, Identity Malta will verify the application as formally correct. In addition, they will verify the information presented, check that the due diligence fees, passport fees and bank charges have been paid. Also a verification of source of funds and a appropriate weighting will be carried out.
Within 30 days, Identity Malta will review the application further and carry out background checks. Once this step is completed the agent assisting you in the application process will be notified whether the application has been approved delayed or refused.
Once the approval of your application has been received, the applicant will be informed to remit the appropriate contributions within 5 days. These contributions are payable within 20 days from the notification.
The citizenship is only granted after the residency requirement is fulfilled and The Minister will issue a certificate of naturalisation after a period of 6 months to 2 years depending on the length of the process when the background checks are carried out. The passport will be issued upon completion of a separate form once the citizenship is granted.
The Maltese citizenship is permanent provided that the applicant commit to retain a residence in Malta for a period of at least 5 years and that there were no concealment of facts, fraudulent acquisition of the citizenship or deemed disloyal to the Government. These are all part of the ongoing requirements once the citizenship is granted.
Contributions to the NDSF
All individuals applying for Citizenship through the Citizenship by Investment Program in Malta, are required to make a non-refundable contribution to the National Development and Social Fund. This is an autonomous agency which was established by the Government of Malta and run by a board of trustees to manage and administer 70% of the contributions received from the Citizenship by Investment Program.
The National Development and Social fund (NDSF) contributes and supports major projects and initiatives of national and public importance. The fund is intended to develop and improve the economy, public services and the well-being of future generations.
The following financial contributions to this fund must be made within four months of receiving the Letter of Approval in Principle:
- Main applicant: 650,000 EUR
- Spouse: 25,000 EUR
- Children below 18: 25,000 EUR
- Unmarried children between 18 and 26: 50,000 EUR
- Dependent parents above 55: 50,000 EUR
A direct investment of 150,000 EUR is required to be made in Government approved financial instruments. This can be bonds, stocks and debentures that benefit the nation. The applicants must commit to keeping the investments for at least 5 years.
Real Estate Purchase or Rental
A further requirements is for the applicant to retain an immovable residence in Malta for at least 5 years. This can be done by purchasing a property in Malta for at least 350,000 EUR or by renting a property for with a minimum annual rent of 16,000 EUR.
The evidence of having retained a residence in Malta for at least 5 years must be provided within 4 months of receiving the Letter of Approval in Principle.
12-Month Residence Requirement
Upon purchasing or renting an immovable property in Malta, applicants are issued a Maltese Identity Card (e-Residence Card). The residency card demonstrates a genuine link and signifies the commencement of residency in Malta.
Although the requirement for citizenship by investment is having resided in Malta for one year, Maltese law defines residence as an intention to reside in Malta for a minimum of 183 days or by purchasing or renting a property together with a visit to Malta. This means that by visiting the country, buying or renting a property and acquiring a Maltese Identity card, you have satisfied this requirement.
Rights and Tax Exemptions
Once you have been granted citizenship through the Citizenship By Investment Programme, you will benefit from voting rights after being resided in Malta for 6 months during a 18 month period prior the the upcoming election. It is also possible to hold a dual citizenship since Malta recognizes this, but other countries you may hold citizenship in might impose restrictions depending on their laws related to dual citizenship.
After a period of 5 years, the sale of your property will be tax exempt. This is only if the property has been the owners sole and ordinary residence. If not there is a tax rate of 12% charged on the value of the property. Additionally, there will be no inheritance taxes, death taxes, estate duty, net worth or wealth taxes and no municipal taxes, rates or real estate taxes.
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