Third-country nationals who have settled in Malta and have been residing on the Island for a continuous period of 5 years are considered long-term residents and have the right to obtain a relevant residence document in accordance with the “status of long-term residents (third-country nationals) regulations” (S.L. 217.05) falling under the Immigration Act (Cap. 217) of the Laws of Malta.
The legal definition of long-term residence status in Malta as outlined in the Act reads:
“A non-EU national who has been legally residing in Malta for an uninterrupted period of five years shall have the right to apply for long-term resident status.”
Long-term residence (LTR) status in Malta is granted by the Maltese government upon satisfaction of the minimum residency requirements as well as other criteria as established in the Act, which will be further laid out below.
The long-term residence (LTR) status in Malta is permanent and the residence card of a long-term resident is issued for a period of 5 years and can be renewed after the lapse of each 5-year period. Holders of a long-term residence permit will be granted with equal treatment as the citizens of Malta in such areas as employment, education, and access free healthcare in Malta, access to goods and services, housing, as well as free travel within the Schengen Area.
Below you will find a brief guide to long-term residency in Malta, outlining the eligibility requirements, application process and benefits of the long-term residency programme, as well as some tips and considerations for those who are planning to make Malta their permanent home.
Eligibility criteria: obtaining long-term residence status in Malta
To apply for a long-term residence permit (LTR) in Malta, applicants must meet the established eligibility requirements, including:
Legal residence in Malta: the applicant must have been legally residing in Malta for an uninterrupted period of five consecutive years, on the basis of a valid residence permit or any other legal means of stay.
Minimum absence from Malta: a temporary absence from Malta shall be shorter than six consecutive months and shall not exceed a total of ten months within the five-year period.
Extended absences may be considered, at discretion of the Minister, for reasons of work, business travel, medical treatment or further study.
Economic self-sufficiency: the applicant shall demonstrate sufficient means to support himself and his dependants, if any, without relying on social assistance.
Suitable accommodation: the applicant shall have appropriate accommodation that meets the standards set by the Malta Housing Authority and is considered suitable for a comparable family in Malta.
Health insurance: the applicant must have adequate health insurance coverage, either through public or private insurance.
Proof of residence: the applicant shall present a full record of his stay in Malta, detailing dates of arrival and departure, and residence history.
Evidence of integration measures: the applicant shall complete integration requirements and present proof of participation in at least 100 hours of classes and a pass mark of at least 75% in the “I Belong” course, administered by the Directorate of Human Rights and Integration, followed by a Maltese language certificate (MQF Level 2) with a pass mark of at least 65%.
The application for the long-term residence (LTR) in Malta involves the submission of a complete application pack to Identity Malta.
Once all the necessary documents have been submitted, the application is examined by the Maltese authorities, who are carrying out necessary due diligence and checks on the applicant.
If approved, the applicant will be granted with a residence permit for a period of 5 years. The permit is automatically renewable for further periods of 5 years each upon application, however, the applicant shall continue to meet the established eligibility requirements.
Tips and considerations
Before applying for Malta’s long-term residency programme, it is important to do your research and ensure that the country is right for you. Although Malta is known for its warm climate, beautiful scenery and welcoming culture, it may not be suitable for everyone.
It should be noted that the long-term residency programme have certain requirements and applicants should be prepared to comply with all the rules and regulations of the programme. In the opposite case, the residence can be withdrawn or lost.
Withdrawal or loss of long-term residence status
Whilst the long-term residence status is permanent and grants various benefits, the holders of long-term residency in Malta may lose such status for a number of reasons:
- if the status was acquired through fraudulent means;
- if a removal order has been issued by the Principal Immigration Officer;
- if the holder of the long-term residence status has been absent from the territory of the EU for a period of twelve consecutive months;
- if the holder of the long-term residence status has acquired a long-term residence status in another EU Member State;
- if the holder of the long-term residence status has been absent from Malta for 6 years and is residing in another EU Member State;
- if the holder of the long-term residence status constitutes a threat to public policy;
- if the long-term resident obtained the said status on the basis of international protection and has had such protection revoked, ended or refused.
However, in the case of specific and exceptional circumstances of absence of the holder of the long-term residence status relating to paragraphs (3) and (5), the long-term resident shall not lose his status.
SMM Immigration department
If you have been residing in Malta for a period of 4 to 5 years and you are considering settling in Malta permanently, you may be eligible to obtain long-term residency in Malta. Our immigration lawyers at SMM Group will provide necessary guidance through the application and confirm your eligibility for the residency based on your circumstances, as well as help you file your application and monitor its progress.
We are always available for both face-to-face or online consultations, get in touch with our team and speak with one of our experts today.