Expertise> Practice areas> Malta Individual Investor Programme

UPDATE: Following a highly successful run of several years, the Malta Individual Investor Programme (as regulated by Legal Notice 47 of 2014) is being terminated as of September 30, 2020 after reaching its cap of 1,800 applicants. It is not possible any longer for new applicants to apply under this particular Programme at this time. After consultations with various quarters, the Government of Malta (“GoM”) is currently in process of holistically re-examining its citizenship laws, motivated not only by the Programme’s success but also the contribution given to Malta’s economy by a large expatriate workforce. Accordingly, naturalisation by significant investment will become another avenue leading to citizenship, together with birth, descent, marriage and exceptional services. The changes will contemplate a process and period of residency that may lead to citizenship, while in-depth due diligence remains pivotal. As with the outgoing Programme, the projected limited number of available places signals clearly the GoM’s intent to again elevate quality over quantity. This time, there will be a maximum cap of 400 main applicants annually and a total capped at 1,500 places.

While no definitive information has been made available, it is anticipated on the basis of GoM announcements that the new route of naturalisation by residency and significant investment will have the following features:

  • the new law will come into force some time in October, 2020;
  • the new application process will involve a rigorous and extensive due diligence “Eligibility Assessment”; only when cleared may applicants be allowed to formally submit a citizenship application, but the citizenship application may not be filed until a 12 month residency period has been completed;
  • the price of purchase of a qualifying residential property has been raised from €350,000 to €700,000;
  • the option to rent instead of purchasing remains, but the rental value per annum will rise from €16,000 to €18,000 (though it’s not clear this is the last word);
  • an obligatory contribution of at least €10,000 to a registered and regulated philanthropic organisation;
  • the requirement of investing €150,000 in GoM stocks and bonds and certain securities listed on the Malta Stock Exchange will be done away with, but it is not clear whether this will be replaced by a requirement to invest in other instruments;
  • a €600,000 contribution by the main applicant (and €50,000 by each dependent) where citizenship is applied for after a residency of 3 years;
  • a €750,000 contribution by the main applicant (and €50,000 by each dependent) where citizenship is applied for after a residency of 1 year.

The GoM has been quick to reiterate that the acquisition of citizenship through this route will continue to be subject (as with the earlier Programme) to rigorous and extensive due diligence checks with several sources, including international agencies. The message is clear: only applicants having impeccable due diligence credentials and no hesitancy about documenting and disclosing their assets and source of wealth for due diligence purposes need apply.

The Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency will be re-organised from the ground up and replaced by a new agency responsible for administering all avenues to citizenship and meeting the challenges posed by Malta’s updating of its citizenship laws. Agents will be regulated by special subsidiary legislation aimed at enhancing the quality of their services, ensuring that service delivery is done in compliance with AML legislation and improving their interaction with the administrators.

The Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) is the first of its kind to have had its validity officially recognised by the European Commission.

The MIIP is designed to facilitate (after a rigorous due diligence exercise) the grant of Maltese citizenship to foreign high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and their families who are of a reputable standing (including, unlike some other programmes, the parents and grandparents of the main applicant and the spouse, as well as the children of either spouse). The principal investment required under the programme – now well tried and tested – takes the form of a monetary contribution to the National Development and Social Fund established by the Government of Malta for the purpose of bringing about qualitative improvements in Malta through public interest, social and capital projects.

Since Malta is a member of the EU and part of the Schengen Area, non-EU applicants who successfully acquire citizenship under the programme benefit from significantly-improved mobility within the member states of the EU and the European Free Trade Association. They are also able to avail themselves of visa-free travel to more than 160 countries, including the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom. Besides giving successful applicants an unrestricted right to live and work within all the member states of the EU, the acquisition of Maltese citizenship has no tax implications.

Ganado Advocates provides HNWIs and their families with all suitable legal and tax advice with respect to their applications under the MIIP, including:

  • assistance with the collation and preparation of applications and documents and vetting thereof prior to submission;
  • advice on the lease/property acquisition documentation/process as well as on estate and succession planning (and use of trusts and foundations, if required);
  • assessment of prospects of applications’ success based on information provided;
  • personalised attention throughout the application process and during applicants’ visits to Malta;
  • detailed guidance and advice on the residence requirement in the context of busy schedules, work commitments and other pressures on personal and family time; and
  • liaison with the MIIP Agency (the official agency of the Government of Malta for citizenship, passports and acts of civil status) on applicants’ behalf during the application process and providing applicants with regular progress updates.

Click here to download a copy of our Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) brochure.

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Anthony Cremona

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Adrian M. Gabarretta

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Adrian Camilleri

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