FAQs

/FAQs
FAQs2022-04-22T09:39:20+02:00

Welcome to SMM FAQs section.
Here you’ll find the answers to our most frequently asked questions. Browse our FAQs by topics below to find the right answer you are looking for.

Corporate Law
Family Law
Immigration
Yacht Registration

Corporate Law FAQs

No, non-residents may also register a company under the laws of Malta. For non-residents who wish to build a non face-to-face relationship with us, enhanced due diligence will be conducted.

One needs not be present to register a company in Malta. However, and as explained in the previous question, for those who will not be present in Malta  and who wish to build a non-face to face relationship with us enhanced due diligence will be required. A power of attorney may also be drafted in order for our advocates to sign any documents required to submission to the Malta Business Registry on one’s behalf.

The procedure to open a company in Malta is quite simple. First of all, one needs to start thinking of the company name, where the registered office of the company is going to be held and who the shareholders and directors are going to be. One also needs to keep in mind that in case of a limited liability company registered under the Companies Act, a company secretary also needs to be appointed.

As until now, one cannot incorporate a company online. However, name reservation of a company can be done online. After incorporation, documents such as annual returns and other corporate documents may be submitted digitally via the Malta Business Registry’s online system.

The procedure to incorporate a company in Malta is a plain sailing process where a company may be registered in less than one day if all documents required to incorporate the company are correct and abide by Maltese corporate law.

The main documents which are required are the following:

  • Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company
  • Name Reservation
  • Form BO1 (if a shareholder is a body corporate holding more than 25% of the ownership of the company directly or indirectly)

Proof of transfer of issued share capital in the company’s respective bank account.

Yes, any trading company registered under the Laws of Malta may choose its economic activity as solely being export. In the case of export economic activity, one must then apply for an Import license from the authority concerned.

Yes, a company registered under the laws of Malta may include various economic activities simultaneously, including holding of investments of stocks, bonds and other financial assets. It is important that all the activities which the company will be exercising are stipulated in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company. However, if the company has only one shareholder, then then economic activity of the company has to be restricted to a principal economic activity.

Yes, it is possible for a company to have a single shareholder. For a registration of a single member company to be successful, one must keep in mind to indicate the main object and activities of the company in its Memorandum and Articles of Association.

A body corporate may act as a Director of another body corporate. A body corporate who intends to act as a director and/or judicial and legal representative of another body corporate must still abide by the Maltese Companies Act and the Company Service Providers Act.

A fee must be paid to the Malta Business Registry. The amount depends on the authorised share capital of the company which is to be registered. For example, a private limited company with the minimum of authorised share capital in accordance with the Maltese Companies Act requires a registration fee of 245euros.

Annual returns of a company must be submitted each year. The annual return fee depends on the number of authorised share capital the company holds. Therefore, such fee can vary from 100euros to 1,400euros.

Companies which are registered in Malta and subject to Maltese law are subject to a fixed rate of corporate tax of 35% on the company’s total income and capital gains at the end of each financial year. Companies who aren’t registered under the laws of Malta  however carry out economic activities in Malta are subject to tax on income or capital gains arising in Malta.

Individuals, companies, or businesses performing economic activities in Malta may apply for their Value Added Tax (VAT) number with the Commissioner for Revenue (CFR). One must first apply for an e-ID from Identity Malta then fill in the VAT online application form through the CFR website (cfr.gov.mt)

This depends on the bank institution where the company wishes to open its bank account with. This may take up to a month since the bank must first compile and examine all documents pertaining to the due diligence of the client before proceeding to the opening of the bank account.

Family Law FAQs

Separation proceedings may be quite lengthy, depending on the situation of the case. Firstly, the spouses who intend to separate must undergo mediation with assistance from their lawyers before proceeding to litigation.  If an amicable settlement is not reached between the parties, then the next step is for the parties to appear in the Family Court. Once litigation proceedings are initiated, the Court will hear all of the evidence provided by the parties including other evidence submitted by third parties such as a court expert. After final submissions from the lawyers of both parties, the family court will proceed by giving judgement.

Before a court can order two spouses as legally separated, they must attend mediation proceedings. The typical scenario would include the two spouses, each assisted with their own lawyer in front of a mediator appointed by the Court. The purpose of mediation is to help the spouses reach an amicable settlement. If no amicable settlement can be reached, the mediator will refer the case to the Family Court where legal proceedings have to be initiated.

According to Article 19 of the Civil Code, family maintenance is an allowance which is usually paid monthly between the spouses or paid by the parents to their children. It is obligatory under Maltese law for parents to provide maintenance to their children until they reach the age of eighteen years, or until they reach the age of twenty-three years if the children continue to pursue their studies. Maintenance includes food, clothing, health, and habitation.

With regards to children, maintenance shall also include the expenses necessary for health and education.

The quantum which is paid for child maintenance is estimated according to the means of the person who is supplying such maintenance. The quantum of maintenance to be paid may be agreed upon by the parties by a deed of separation or determined by the Court by a provisional decree or upon final judgement.

When the Court evaluates and assesses the means of the person, regard shall only be had to his earnings, to his salary, to a pension payable by the Government, and to the fruits of any movable or immovable property which such person owns.

Not paying maintenance is considered to be a contravention in terms of the Maltese Criminal Code and hence non-payment of maintenance may result in hefty penalties and also jail time.

A change in the financial situation of the party who is paying maintenance does not allow such person not to pay maintenance, however Court proceedings must be initiated via an application submitted through the person’s lawyer, asking such Court to reduce the amount of maintenance which was initially agreed upon by the parties.

If no agreement is reached by the spouses, during separation proceedings, the Court may order which of the spouses shall remain residing in the matrimonial home for the duration of the separation proceedings via a provisional decree. The Court takes into consideration several factors however primarily focuses on the wellbeing of the child and may allow the spouse who will have the care and custody of the child to reside in the matrimonial home.

Upon financial judgement, the provisional decree may be altered or reversed by the Court, ordering the matrimonial home to be sold together with the total liquidation and dissolution of the community of acquests.

According to Article 66B of the Civil Code, newly amended in virtue of Act XXV of 2021, one of the spouses may apply for a divorce if the application is made after at least one year of separation during the two years preceding the application.

On the other hand, and if the spouses amicably agree to proceed with the divorce application jointly, the parties must prove that they have been living apart for a period of at least six months during the year preceding the joint application.

In this respect, it is important that on the day the proceedings are initiated the spouses are separated by contract or by judgment.

It is also important to add that before Court successfully grants the divorce between the spouses, it must be satisfied that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation between the spouses, and that that they are fulfilling their obligation to give maintenance for the children and/or to the other spouse is this applicable under the marriage’s circumstances.

If the spouses in question have no disputes arising between them, proceedings will take up to a maximum of six months. This however depends on the presiding judge and how long it takes for the case to be appointed.

If disputes arise between the parties during proceedings, it will take longer, depending on a case by case basis.

Immigration to Malta

The Maltese Passport ranks 5th on the Passport Power Rank scale according to Passport Index, offering access to 185 countries visa-free/visa on arrival basis.

A Maltese residence card allows visa-free travel to the 26 Schengen Countries limited up to 90 days for every 180 days in the Schengen Zone.

On the other hand, a Maltese Passport allows travel to 185 countries without requiring a visa (visa on arrival) including the United Kingdom (UK), United States (USA), Canada, Ireland, Morocco, and Jordan.

Since Malta is an EU Member State, Maltese Citizens have the right to work in all the other EU Member States. However, if you are a Maltese resident in possession of a Maltese Residence card, you would need to apply for a separate work permit to work in another EU country.

No, to obtain Maltese Citizenship by investment through the Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment Programme or through the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) one would need to know one of the official languages of Malta which includes English.

Yes, Malta allows having dual Citizenship, meaning having two citizenships simultaneously. Once one attains Maltese Citizenship, he can also keep hold of any other foreign citizenship, granting him with more freedom and independence.

In such case one would need to relinquish his citizenship. Before doing so, one must determine which citizenship would be best for his needs.  Some factors to look at would include global mobility, business possibilities and quality of life.

Currently, holders of passports from the below countries are excluded from obtaining Maltese citizenship under the citizenship by Investment Programme.

  • Afghanistan
  • Chad
  • Iran
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Somalia
  • Syria
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
  • Nigeria
  • Eritrea
  • Tanzania
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Myanmar (also know as Burma)
  • Russia [as of 02/03/2022 until further notice]
  • Belarus [as of 02/03/2022 until further notice]

Maltese Permanent Residence can be obtained by non-EU nationals under the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP). Read more about the requirements to apply for this program.

Yes, however, once one obtains Maltese Permanent Residence, he would need to satisfy the residence requirement to be eligible for Maltese Citizenship. In order to be eligible for Maltese citizenship by Naturalisation, one has to reside in Malta continuously for a minimum period of 4 years during the 6 years, as well as throughout a period of 12 months after the first requirement has been satisfied, before submitting an application. Each application is subject to strict due diligence and consideration of the government, and only those suitable citizens would be granted citizenship status.

Obtaining residence in Malta is the first step of the application and the applicant has to abide by residency requirements stipulated under the applicable programme and legislation.

Long-term residency is a status that can be granted to these third-country nationals (TCNs) who resided legally and continuously in Malta for a period of 5 consecutive years immediately prior to the submission of the application. Persons holding refugee status and subsidiary protection (but not asylum seekers) can also apply for long-term residence status.

To obtain long-term residence status one needs to satisfy the eligibility criteria by living five consecutive years on the Maltese Islands. It is also necessary to prove certain integration measures, such as including a pass mark of at least 65% in MQF Level 2 Maltese language certificate.

EU Citizens have the right to live and work in Malta without the need to apply for a work permit. However, if EU Citizens who would like to stay in Malta for work or other purposes, and their stay would be longer than 90 days, they would need to apply for Maltese residency. They may do so under Ordinary Residency rules. All that is required is to prove that one is financially stable or engaged in employment or self-employment. For assistance with obtaining a residence card, you may get in touch with our immigration team.

Yes, the responsible Minister may revoke citizenship acquired by exceptional investment at any time, if such individual has become a threat to national security or is involved in conduct which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of Malta.

Every Maltese resident is subject to tax on income earned in Malta or Remitted to Malta which ranges from 0% to 35% depending on the income bracket.

Social Security Contributions are mandatory payments made to the Department of Social Security (DSS) in accordance to the Social Security Act (Cap. 318), calculated weekly and paid to the government by direct deductions from the employee’s salary. The same amount which is paid by the employee is paid by the employer. There are different rates for persons who are employed and those who are self-employed. In return for social security contributions, the payee would receive monetary governmental benefits, including pensions to retirees, payments to widowers, pensions of invalidity, maternity benefits, and medical needs support.

Malta Yacht Registration

In principle, it takes about two to three working days to receive a provisional certificate valid for 6 months subject to a complete file being lodged with a Maltese Registrar of Ships. In exceptional cases, an extension of the overall 6 months (issued in intervals) validity period can be granted.

Registration fees apply as stipulated in the First Schedule on the Merchant Ship Act [CAP.234] and depend on the type, length and tonnage of the vessel.

  • European Union (EU) citizens;
  • EEA, Swiss and UK citizens;
  • Legally constituted corporate bodies/entities irrespective of nationality.

In order to register any type of vessel for private or commercial use, the owner (natural or legal person) must provide the following documents :

  • A complete application form;
  • The proof of being allowed to own a seagoing vessel;
  • The company’s incorporation documents, in the case of legal entities;
  • The international tonnage certificate, if applicable;
  • The international loadline certificate, if applicable;
  • A declaration of ownership;
  • Documentation proving the boat is seaworthy;
  • A certificate of survey;
  • A builder’s certificate, if the boat is new;
  • A bill of sale, if the boat was purchased;
  • Cancellation of previous registration, if applicable;
  • Pay applicable registration fees.

Size of the vessel: Yachts eligible for registration must be 6 metres or more in length for private use. And for commercial registration, the length of the yacht must be 15 metres or more. In this respect, yachts of less than 6 metres cannot be registered with the Valletta registry, however, might be registered with the Small Ships registry and employed solely in the navigation within the territorial waters of Malta.

Age of the vessel: All types of vessels, from pleasure yachts to oil rigs, including vessels under construction, may be registered under the Malta flag, however additional requirements are applicable to older ships.

  • Yachts of 15 years of age and older must be inspected within a (1) month of the end of provisional registration by an approved surveyor.
  • Vessels between 20 and 25 years of age must be inspected before receiving provisional approval.
  • Ships over 25 years of age can be registered only with the express permission of the Registrar-General.

No, vessels are not required to arrive in Malta to be registered under the Malta flag.

In order to finalise registration, all vessels should undergo a survey. This can whether be done in Malta, or by a Maltese appointed surveyor in the location where the vessel is based.

Yes, a vessel can be inspected by an Appointed Ship Surveyor, registered with Transport Malta. The official list of appointed surveyors can be found here.

A tonnage tax ship is any ship of any net tonnage, which is engaged in shipping activities (ref. Merchant Shipping – Taxation and Other Matters Relating to Shipping Organisations Regulations).

The taxation system in Malta is based on the tonnage specifications of the vessels, meaning that income arising from the operations on eligible vessels would be calculated by means of a tonnage tax system. This tax regime exempts any income derived by a licensed shipping organisation that owns, charters or operates a tonnage tax ship from being liable to pay any income tax in Malta. Click here to learn more.

Once the vessel is registered under the Malta flag, the owners and the crew are bound by certain obligations such as:

  • Abide to all the applicable provisions of the IMO and ILO International Maritime Conventions;
  • Abide with all local maritime regulations (regarding speed limits, sailing areas, etc.);
  • Be up to date in the payment of various taxes (VAT, local taxes, etc.);
  • Timely renew the certificate of Registry and conduct surveys;
  • Hoist the Maltese national flag on board of the vessel;
  • Have the name of the boat and home port clearly marked on the stern of the boat.

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