Today, foreign nationals can choose between Malta’s three investor programs and ultimately obtain a temporary or permanent residence permit, or citizenship. Which program suits your particular situation, what purposes does each of them serve, and what are the differences between them? In this blog entry, we’ll spill all the secrets, plus throw in some thorough visuals that will help you better comprehend the nuances.
What makes one become interested in obtaining another country’s residency status? Higher quality of life, medical and social services, better developed economy, more comfortable business management conditions are just a few of the reasons that capture the attention of high-net-worth individuals, and the desire to relocate to a more stable polity is completely understandable. We would advise you to consider one of the options put forward by Malta and exchange certain amount of investment for a residence permit, permanent residency, or a second passport.
What is a residence permit? It is a status that allows its holder to reside in the country that issued the permit. There are two types of this status in the world, and in Malta specifically:
The main feature of both programs mentioned above is allowing the investor to reside in Malta all year round and travel to Schengen Area visa-free. As for the differences, MRVP costs slightly more and has to be extended every 5 years, while GRP has to be renewed once a year.
Also, by applying for the MRVP, the investor has the opportunity to obtain residence permit in other European countries via a lighter procedure.
Now, on to Malta’s citizenship. What are the benefits of the Individual Investor Program (IIP)? A holder of the Maltese passport can reside and work both in Malta, or anywhere in the European Union, with over 160 countries easily accessible via the visa-free regime. Such liberty does come at a rather substantial starting point of €800k, but opportunities for global mobility, tax planning and handling multi-national business are virtually endless.
It is not by luck or coincidence that Malta’s IIP ranked first in the Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2017-2018 report. The country’s citizenship by investment program scored top points for ease and speed of application processing, Malta’s good name in the worldwide community, financial requirements, candidate screening, etc. This isn’t the first time Malta has ended up at the top of world’s best CBI program ranking, either, having proved its high standards in 2015 as well.
Since the government has imposed a quota of maximum 1.8k approved IIP applications (that is, a maximum of 1800 issued Maltese passports), over 1.5k applications have been approved as at October 2017. It is yet to be seen if the limitation would be lifted, or the quota increased; nevertheless, Malta’s MRVP popularity grows as the more reasonable and more simple alternative.
Out of the three Malta’s programs that each offer a certain level of convenience for a non-EU resident, the GRP (a one-year extendable residence permit) is the more affordable one. To qualify, the applicant is expected to:
The permit is issued for a year. To renew it, the applicant must continuously retain the real estate for personal use only (no renting out or sub-letting), provide proof that all the previous requirements were met and will be met within the upcoming year.
Malta’s permanent residence requires a larger amount of investment, but the good news is that it is possible to get the most part of funds back:
The investor is obliged to retain the real estate objects for at least 5 years, after which they can choose to sell them or break the contract without losing the status.
Though Malta’s citizenship is not the priciest among Europe’s citizenships, the amount of investment is quite substantial:
NOTE: As mentioned above, the applicant is to purchase a residential real estate object only, and it cannot be rented or sublet. Only the investor’s family is to use the property for personal purposes. Maltese government bonds can be considered profitable, providing up to 3% annually.
Last year, Malta’s economy has shown growth close to 5%, which is a solid significative for a European country. According to Knight Frank global consultancy firm, Malta ranks third out of the 10 countries with the fastest-growing real estate market prices (14.6% annual price increase). As for real estate rent prices, WorldFirst reports a 7% increase and places Malta second it its rating of countries where leasing property pays best. Malta’s real estate agencies report that a 30% increase in rent rates has happened within the last 4 years.
European real estate experts say the growth will continue. What is the reason for the indexes going upwards?
Malta’s GRP usually takes 3-4 months, when applicants for Portugal’s Golden Visa program, also essentially a residence permit, have to wait for 6-8 months.
In contrast, Malta’s citizenship application processing is one of the longest among available competing offers, taking up to 14 months, with a thorough due diligence check and stricter residence requirements.
Once again, the MRVP emerges as the most sensibly-priced, least time-consuming option with less complicated conditions, though, truth to be said, one can get Cyprus residence permit within 2 months.
As a member state, Malta enjoys the full spectrum of privileges available to the Schengen Area and the European Union countries. With Malta’s residency or passport, you will forget about travelling documents for most strategically important countries on the world map. Unlocked world borders gain you additional status points, talkless of personal and business liberties. And Malta’s passport is the ultimate signifier of global freedom, since it would allow you to reside in any EU country of your choice.
Why choose Malta out of other available offers? Our answer is: There are several reasons, and aspiring foreign investors should study the impressive list of opportunities opening before them.