In 2016, the Government of Malta launched its new Residence and Visa Program, offering Maltese residence in only 3 to 4 months.
The program is aimed at non EU foreigners who are looking to obtain a Maltese residence through investing into Malta.
The Residence and Visa Program is attractive to investors and their families who are looking to acquire EU residence but are not looking to physically immigrate and live in Malta.
In comparison to other countries' programs such as Portugal or Spain's Golden Visa programs, Malta offers a much simpler and faster route to residence. While Portugal takes around 8 - 10 months to acquire residence, due the recent delays, Malta only takes 3 - 4 months. Malta has also extensive experience in offering residence due to the past success of its original residence program as well as the ongoing demand and success of its exclusive Individual Investor Program for Citizenship.
The goal is to further attract foreign investment from wealthy business owners and entrepreneurs and bring foreign capital into the country. The legislative framework provides an opportunity for investors looking to obtain a European Union residence with a straight forward application process and minimal requirements.
Benefits of Maltese residence include visa free travel to all the Schengen countries.
Process and Requirements
Foreign investors (and their families) who wish to apply for Maltese residence must meet the following investment requirements:
Property Purchase Or Rental:
In order to qualify for the residence program, applicants are required to purchase immovable property with a minimum value depending on where they purchase. If the property is in Central and Northern Malta the minimum is EUR 320 000 and if in Gozo or the South, then the property value must be at least EUR 270 000.
Applicants can also rent a property provided the minimum rental is EUR 12 000 per annum if the property is in Northern or Central Malta, and EUR 10 000 per annum if in the South or Gozo.
Either way, the property must be held for 5 years and cannot be rented out during this time.
Applicants are required, in addition to the property, to hold a qualifying investment in Government bonds of EUR 250 000 to be held for a 5 year period. After this, the funds are returned to the investor.
Financial Contribution / Government Fees
A contribution of EUR 30 000 is payable by the main applicant.
Non refundable due diligence fees are EUR 5 500, which are deductible from the above financial contribution.
TAX IN MALTA
Acquiring residence in Malta through the Malta Residence and Visa Program does not in itself trigger tax residence. If one is domiciled and a resident in Malta, one would be liable to pay tax on one's worldwide income.
Income tax is taxed progressively from 35%. Investors who are resident, but not domiciled in Malta, pay tax on income derived in Malta, as well as on income that is remitted to Malta arising out of the country. This excludes capital gains tax.
Malta has a double taxation agreement with South Africa.
Due diligence criteria is very strict and a clean criminal record is required.
Applicants and their families who acquire Maltese residence must have made provisions for their own health insurance. They will not be entitled to free state health care.
The applicant must have an annual income of no less than EUR 100 00 arising outside of Malta. Alternatively, they must prove capital of at least EUR 500 000 in their possession.
The property investment requirement is slightly higher than that of the Malta Global Residence Program, however, therefore there is no annual tax payable nor minimum stay requirements.
Maltese Residence Vs Citizenship
The Maltese Residence Visa and Global Residence programs only offer investors the benefits of a Maltese residency permit. This is not the same as holding an EU citizenship or Maltese passport.
BENEFITS AND TRAVEL ACCESS
A Maltese residence offers the investor and his family the right to live, study and work anywhere in Malta. Residence also allows the investor to spend a maximum of 90 out of every 180 days in any of the Schengen zone countries.