Ways of Relocating to Malta for Good
There are several ways of relocating to this island if you'd love to live here permanently.
If you come from the EU/EEA, consider the Ordinary Residence Programme. Below, we'll share its eligibility criteria:
- Have a stable source of income
- Have family members living on the island
- Get a physical address here by buying or renting a house or apartment
- Study or work here
If you're planning to carry out professional activities on the island, you might be interested in the Single Permit. Here are its primary requirements:
- Get a physical address on the island by buying or renting a house or apartment
- Have an employment license if you want to work here
- Have at least half a million EUR to invest in capital expenditure if you prefer to be self-employed
- Compose a business plan and hire 3 or more locals if you'd love to establish a company here
- Get approval from the authorities to carry out business activities
Employers need to endorse the applications of expats while the latter are still abroad or stay legally on the island with some other type of permit.
Since 2021, remote workers can apply for a Nomad Residence Permit. As long as you get your income from abroad, you can spend up to one year on this island as a digital nomad. Then, you can renew your permit.
Besides, there are a few other ways — such as being adopted by a Maltese citizen or getting married to a local. We won't focus on them in this article.
If you fail to meet the requirements of any of the above-listed options, think of getting permanent residence by investment in Malta. This process is fast and straightforward.
Who Is Eligible
To be allowed to apply, it's necessary to:
- Be aged at least 18
- Come from outside the EU
- Have never violated the law
- Have no diseases that could pose a threat to others
Your sons, daughters, mother, father, grandmothers and grandfathers are allowed to apply together with you if they can't sustain themselves without your financial support.
Malta Residency Programs
To qualify for the programs that we'll list below, you need to buy or rent property on the island. In the text, we'll indicate the ranges of the minimum real estate price requirements. The lower limit of each range refers to properties situated in the lesser-popular areas where the infrastructure isn't too developed and there are not too many tourists. The higher limit refers to the properties located in most other areas. Only with CIP, the location of the property doesn't affect its price requirement.
Please mind that after you invest in a property, you shouldn't resell it for at least five years. Otherwise, you'd lose your residence status.
Malta Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP)
In 2021, the program that was originally known as MRVP underwent a rebranding. Now, it's officially called the Permanent Residence Programme.
To become eligible for it, it's necessary to:
- Buy a property worth at least €300,000-€350,000 and pay a contribution fee of €28,000
- As an alternative to the purchase, rent a property worth at least €10,000-€12,000 for 5 years and pay a contribution fee of €58,000
The authorities will take from 4 to 6 months to review your application. Then, they will issue a residency card for you. The card will require a renewal every 5 years. Your resident status, however, will be permanent and you won't have to complete the qualification requirements each time.
Global Residence Programme (GRP)
To benefit from this program, you should:
- Buy real estate worth at least €220,000-€275,000
- As an alternative to the purchase, rent a property worth at least €8,750-€9,600
- Transfer an administrative fee of €6,000
- Pay €15,000 or more in taxes per annum
In terms of this program, you're supposed to remain a Maltese tax resident. This means you should avoid spending 183 or more days per year in any other state. Plus, it's vital to be fluent in English or Maltese.
You'll become eligible for tax benefits, which will be discussed later.
Malta Retirement Programme (MRP)
To qualify for this program, make sure to:
- Buy real estate worth at least €220,000-€275,000
- As an alternative to the purchase, rent a property worth at least €8,750-€9,600 per annum
- Receive your pension on the island
Health insurance for retirees typically costs more than for younger applicants. The exact price will depend on your individual health condition.
Your nationality doesn't matter if you aren't a Maltese citizen. As long as you remain an MRP member, you should avoid applying for citizenship of this island state or any other third-party country. Besides, you shouldn't resell the property that you invested in.
You won't be allowed to work. Your pension should constitute at least 75% of your chargeable income.
You'll be required to spend at least 90 days over a 5-year period in Malta. You should avoid spending 183 or more days per year in any other state.
Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP)
This option enables you to choose between two alternatives:
- Invest €600,000 in property and apply for citizenship in 3 years
- Invest €750,000 in property and apply for citizenship in 1 year
After you complete your investment, you'll get a residence permit. The authorities will meticulously investigate your background and the background of your dearest and nearest who apply with you.
Plus, be ready to transfer €10,000 to an organization that supports the local culture, society, animal rights, science, sports or philanthropic activities. You'll be able to choose only from the organizations that the authorities approved.
Comparison of the Above-Listed Programs
Name of the program
Minimum investment in buying a property
What's so special about the program
You can live anywhere in the world for as long as you wish and you won't lose your residence. On the flip side, you'll fail to enjoy tax benefits.
In terms of this program, you're supposed to remain a Maltese tax resident. You'll become eligible for tax benefits.
You won't be allowed to work. Your pension should constitute at least 75% of your chargeable income. You should avoid spending 183 or more days per year in any other state.
It's the fastest route to citizenship.
Brief Step-by-Step Guide
This is the most general scheme for applying for residence:
- Collect your papers, submit them and pay a fee
- Wait until the authorities scrutinize your documents and send you a letter of approval
- Travel physically to your new homeland to submit your biometrics
- Finalize your investment and pay all the remaining fees
- Wait until the authorities issue your permanent residence permit
The exact sequence of actions might vary depending on the chosen program and your individual circumstances.
The set of documents that you should submit normally includes:
- Signed cover letter
- Filled-in application form
- Power of attorney document
- Proof of having never violated the law
- Proof of having sufficient funds
- Bank statement from your homeland
- Evidence of being a business owner or proof of employment
If your dearest and nearest apply together with you, prepare the documents that prove your relationships and the fact that these people depend on you financially.
In addition to the expenses related to renting or buying properties, you should be ready to pay some extra costs — for example:
- Mandatory health insurance will cost you from €400 per person
- Be ready to pay at least €4,000 for various fees (such as translation and the notary's services)
- Stamp duty and property purchase tax can amount to up to 15% of the transaction value
The financial requirements for Maltese residence are not as affordable as in some other Mediterranean countries. However, this country offers generous tax benefits and tax returns to selected categories of expats — we'll focus on it in a dedicated passage.
On average, the process of applying for Maltese residence and getting it can take you around half a year. Your active participation will boil down to:
- Collecting and signing the documents
- Choosing the property to rent or buy
- Transferring the payments
For the most part of the application process, you'll need to wait until the authorities review your documents.
Benefits of Being a Maltese Resident
A non-EU person applying for Maltese residency usually appreciates the freedom of movement that their new status grants them. You'll be able to travel visa-free to all the Schengen states and spend up to 90 days there.
If you'd like to live, work and study without a visa in other EU countries, you'll need Maltese citizenship. Thanks to the investment, you can obtain it as fast as in one year.
You'll get a chance to perform your business activities in one of the most stable and developed economies in the world. The selection of investment options is always impressive.
After your kids come of age, they won't lose their residencies and will be allowed to remain on the island for good.
For locals, tax rate depends on their marital status:
- Married residents pay 0% for earning less than €12,700 per annum
- Single residents pay 0% for earning less than €9,100 per annum
For earning over €60,000 per annum, both categories pay the maximum tax of 35%.
For non-residents who make over €7,800 per annum, the tax rate is 35%.
Please double-check whether your homeland has signed a dual taxation treaty with Malta to avoid paying double taxes in the country where you come from.
As a non-resident, you'll be required to pay locally only the tax on the income that you generate locally. To hit the maximum 35% level, it's enough to make over €7,800 per annum.
If you opt for GRP, you'll enjoy these flat tax rates:
- 15% for your foreign income that is remitted to the island
- 0% for the income that isn't remitted
- 15% for the income that you generate locally
In exchange for these privileges, you should make a minimum tax contribution of €15,000 per annum.
If you resell your property in 5 years after the purchase, the deal will be exempt from taxation. Owners who get rid of their properties within 3 years after purchasing them pay a 12% tax.
This island lacks a wealth tax, a net worth tax, a death tax or an inheritance tax.
Reasons to Reject Your Application
Most applicants successfully become Maltese residents. However, the authorities might reject your application if something is wrong with your documents. For instance, you might forget to attach some papers or they might contain mistakes.
Besides, the authorities might be not eager to provide residency to individuals who seem suspicious to them. For instance, your source of wealth might be unclear, or you might have a criminal record, or you might pose a threat to national security.
If your application ends up being rejected, consult a legal expert. Probably, they will find ways to fix the situation.
How to Switch from Residency to Citizenship
If your goal is to become a Maltese citizen, you'd better opt for the CIP route. It's the fastest and the easiest one. If you aren't ready to invest that much in one go, wait for 6 years after obtaining your residence permit and apply for citizenship. In this case, it will be crucial to:
- Spend at least 4 years out of these 6 on the island
- Live most of the time on the island during the said period and make only short trips abroad
- Keep living here 12 years after submitting the papers
- Have a stable income
- Buy local health insurance
- Pass tests to prove that you know the local language, history and law
Two guarantors need to vouch for you in writing. The first one should be a Maltese citizen aged at least 18. It's important that they don't get their citizenship through naturalization. The second one should be a civil servant, a doctor or a lawyer of a rather high rank from the island. None of these people can be your relative.
Malta's climate is warm, dry and mild. It's one of the safest countries on the planet and its environmental pollution level is very low. Healthcare services live up to the top European standards. English is one of the two official languages — the second one is Maltese. You'll be surrounded by a cosmopolitan environment and will be indulging in the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. Your kids can get a decent public or private education here, many schools stick to the British curriculum. At any time of the year, it won't be a problem for you to fly from the island to any region of the planet.
€775 per month should be enough to sustain yourself if you live alone. For a family of four, €2,800 per month should be enough to lead a comfortable life.