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New rules for obtaining Malta residence

The Malta golden visa program is one of the quickest ways to obtain EU citizenship. An investor can apply for a new passport in only one year after making investments. In comparison, in most European countries it takes about 5 years to obtain a passport.

New rules came into force on 29 March 2021 and the program itself is now called The Malta Visa and Residence Programme (MRVP). Though these changes did cause a lot of concern initially, the government have not tightened its requirements, but rather made investments even more profitable both for entrepreneurs and the country.

Benefits of the program

The MRVP scheme is available to those who are not EU, EEA or Swiss nationals and who have a stable income and savings.

As soon as the government agency Identity Malta accepts an application for citizenship, applicants immediately receive a residence card that entitles them to live in Malta and travel freely to all Schengen countries.

Features that set the MRVP apart from other programmes include:

  • There is no language test to obtain permanent residence.
  • Dependent children, regardless of age, can be included in the application, as long as they are unmarried.
  • Parents, grandparents and grandchildren dependent on the main applicant may also be included in the application. Moreover, 4 generations can be included in one application.

Changes to MRVP

New rules were recently accepted regarding the MRVP, and a new agency, Residency Malta, was established to manage the applications.

According to the new rules, the requirement to invest €250,000 in government bonds was abolished and replaced by a small mandatory donation to a Maltese registered non-governmental organisation. Maintenance requirements for the main applicant have also been changed.

An individual must now provide the following information:

  1. Physical address in Malta and a proof that the property is purchased for at least €350,000 or rented for not less than €12,000 per annum.
  2. Information about a one-off contribution. If the main applicant rents a property, a contribution is €98,000. If the main applicant buys a suitable property, a contribution is €68,000. Optionally, an extra €7,500 must be paid per each additional adult dependant. This applies irrespective of the applicant buying or renting a property.
  3. Information about any contribution to a non-governmental organisation with a minimum amount of €2,000.
  4. Proof that the main applicant has at least €500,000 of net assets to qualify for the programme, and €150,000 out of the €500,000 must consist of cash assets. The funds will need to be confirmed during the first five years.

Deadlines for payments

  • Application fee of €10,000 must be paid within 30 days of the application.
  • Letter of approval, which costs €30,000, must be paid within two months of the application submission.
  • The remainder of the €68,000 or €98,000 must be paid within 8 months during the due diligence check.

Other changes

According to the new rules, health insurance will now only need to cover Malta and not the entire EU. This change should result in an annual reduction in the insurance premium.

Previous rules of the MRVP

For the sake of comparison, let’s have a look at the rules that were in force before 29 March 2021.

Information provided by the main applicant:

  1. Physical address in Malta and a proof of purchase of a property valued at least €320,000 (€270,000 if the property is situated in Gozo or the south of Malta) or a rental of a property for a minimum of €12,000 per annum in Malta (€10,000 per annum if the property is situated in Gozo or the south of Malta). Moreover, a property must be owned or rented for at least 5 years.
  2. Proof of €30,000 payment to the Maltese Government.
  3. Investment of a minimum €250,000 in government stocks or bonds, which must be maintained for a minimum of 5 years.
  4. Proof of an annual minimum income of €100,000 arising outside of Malta, or ownership of a minimum €500,000 of capital assets.

The main applicant may include their spouse, parents, grandparents and grandchildren in their application by paying an additional €5,000 per person. Children born or adopted by the main applicant after the initial application approval date can also be included.

If you need more information about the details and nuances of obtaining Malta citizenship by investment, please contact our experts at Imperial & Legal. We monitor all changes in the legislation and will help you choose the best option for obtaining residence permit and citizenship.

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