Malta has always been an attractive destination for investors for a number of reasons, mainly the possibility to be able to obtain Maltese citizenship through investment. The Individual Investor Program (‘IIP’) which was introduced in 2013 ceased to exist since the 30th of September 2020 and since then a new improved version of it has been introduced – Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment.
Even though Malta’s IIP era is coming to an end, foreign investors will still have a possibility to obtain Maltese citizenship through investment under a newly introduced program. Since the IIP program has proved to be a great success over these years, a Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services programme has been designed to be able to provide foreign investors with the same opportunities, but under improved and revised regulations based on years of experience.
The new regulations have been announced in the Government Gazette on 20th November 2020 and will remain in force until the program reaches its full capacity. The limit of the new program has been set to 1500 applications for main investors which also includes their family members in the same application. Additionally, this program is also capped at 400 applications per calendar year.
What has changed?
The primary thing that has changed is that this will no longer be a citizenship by investment program. Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment is designed to be a residency program, which after 12 or 36 months, can lead interested and qualifying investors towards Maltese Citizenship based on a strict eligibility assessment and exceptional direct investments into the Maltese Islands.
Furthermore, a new responsible for the program organisation has been created – Community Malta Agency. The new agency from now on will be processing all citizenship-related matters.
The eligibility criteria remain as it has been initially outlined with the IIP program, however, the new program will consist of a stricter due diligence process on the main applicant and that is to be carried out against the main applicant. Furthermore, more importance is to be given to the source of wealth of the applicant than ever before, according to all latest AML/CFT policies and any implementing guidelines published by FIAU.
As was present in the previous IIP regulations, The Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment will still require a non-refundable contribution to the National Development and Social Fund of the Government of Malta, however, the fees will vary depending on the path the applicant will choose:
- €600,000 to be invested after 36 months (3 years) of effective residency in Malta.
- €750,000 to be invested after 12 months (1 year) of effective residency in Malta.
The investment per each dependent is to remain the same as under the present IIP regulations (€50,000).
The applicant is also required to commit to investing in real estate in Malta, having the option of either renting or purchasing the property depending on his preference.
- The applicant must commit to acquire and hold a residential immovable property for a minimum of 5 years having a minimum value of €700,000 (against €350,00 as was under IIP).
- Or commit to rent/lease a property for a minimum of 5 years with a minimum annual rent of €16,000 (as was under IIP).
Finally, the main applicant is required to offer a donation to local duly registered NGOs of a minimum value of €10,000.
One of the former requirements of IIP, which was an investment of €150,000 in government stocks and bonds, is most likely to be removed and no longer be applicable.
While regulations of Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment seem to be quite similar to IIP as it currently is, the applicants will be subject to much stricter due diligence in each step of the application.
For more information about the programme continue reading on Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services page.