9 Things To Know About the New Maltese Citizenship For Exceptional Services by Direct Investment

On 20 November 2020, Malta issued new Regulations about the provision of Maltese citizenship to people based on their exceptional direct investment within the country – but what’s this all about and how can does it affect you? Here, we bring you the answers to your pressing questions.

What are the new Regulations?

The new Regulations are called the ‘Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations’, and they were issued in virtue of Legal Notice 437 of 2020 (L.N. 437).

They encompass the requirements and framework through which Maltese citizenship by naturalisation may be granted to individuals based on their exceptional contributions by direct investment to the country – per Article 10(09) of the Maltese Citizenship Act.

What are the conditions that must be met?

To apply for citizenship under these new Regulations, individuals must meet an array of conditions. The person must:

• Contribute exceptional direct investment to Malta’s economic and social development.

• Take an oath of allegiance to the Republic of Malta and promise to abide by the country’s Constitution.

• Agree to promote Malta’s fundamental and democratic values.

• Undertake to support the Maltese community in the spirit of social justice and equity.

• Declare that he or she and any dependants are fit and proper persons to hold Maltese citizenship.

• Submit a medical examination report showing that he or she and any dependants are in good health and not suffering from any contagious diseases and are not likely to become a burden on Malta’s public healthcare system.

• Submit a police conduct certificate.

What does ‘exceptional direct investment’ mean?

The term ‘exceptional direct investment’ is linked to specific financial contributions that an individual must make within Malta. The minimum amounts that qualify under this definition are:

• A non-refundable €600,000 investment if the applicant has been resident in Malta for a minimum of 36 months, or

• A non-refundable €750,000 investment if the applicant has been resident in Malta for a minimum of 12 months but less than 36 months.

• A non-refundable €50,000 investment for each dependant.

Whichever of the above situations apply, the individual will also need to make a €10,000 donation to a Maltese philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic organisation.

Is there any residence investment requirement?

In a nutshell, yes, to apply for citizenship the applicant must provide a title to a residential property in Malta, in the form of:

• Proof of residency in Malta for a minimum of 12 months or 36 months preceding the date of application.

• A residential property purchased with a minimum value of €700,000 or rented for a minimum annual rent of €16,000 for five years from the date of the issue of the certificate of naturalisation.

How can a person apply for Maltese Citizenship?

Coordinating this process is the newly established Community Malta Agency, which is now responsible for all applications for Maltese citizenship, including those submitted through naturalisation, marriage, descent, adoption and investment.

All applications for citizenship under these new Regulations must be submitted via a licensed and certified agent.

Once the application has been submitted, the Agency will evaluate it and submit a report to the Minister responsible for citizenship. Should the outcome of the application be positive, the Agency will issue a Letter of Approval in Principle to the applicant. Then, the individual will be required to complete the process and take the Oath of Allegiance within six months of approval.

Are there any associated fees?

Yes, there are due diligence fees whenever someone applies for citizenship under the exceptional investment route. They are:

• €50,000 for the main applicant, and

• €10,000 for each dependant.

Who qualifies as a dependant?

When a person applies for Maltese citizenship under these new Regulations, he or she may include the following people as dependants in the application:

• A spouse in a monogamous marriage or a partner with the same or similar status as a spouse. Here, ‘spouse’ is understood to be a gender-neutral term.

• A child of the main applicant or of the spouse and under the age of 18.

• A child of the main applicant or of the spouse who is economically dependent on the applicant and below the age of 29 when the application is accepted by the Agency.

• A child of the main applicant or of the spouse, including an adopted child, who has reached the age of 18 at the time of the application and who is a person with a disability.

• A parent or grandparent of the main applicant or of the spouse who is economically dependent on the applicant and over the age of 55.

When would a person be considered ineligible?

Under the new Regulations, an applicant would be considered ineligible for Maltese citizenship under this route if the applicant (or any dependants):

• Is or was arraigned or indicted for an offence before an International Criminal Court, whether the person has been found guilty or otherwise.

• Is listed with EUROPOL or INTERPOL.

• Poses a present or future threat to Malta’s national security, public policy or public health.

• Has been charged with or found guilty of terrorism, money laundering, funding of terrorism, crimes against humanity, war crimes, defilement of minors, indecent assault and other serious crimes.

• Has been found guilty, has been suspected of or has been criminally charged for any offence punishable with more than one year of imprisonment, other than an involuntary offence.

• Is likely to be involved in any activity that could cause disrepute to Malta.

• Has previously been denied a visa to a country with whom Malta has visa-free travel arrangements and has not obtained a visa from that country.

• Is named or listed in international sanctions.

• Makes a false statement or omits information.

Is there a limit to the number of citizenship certificates that may be granted under the new Regulations?

Yes. Certificates granted for Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (excluding dependants) will not exceed 400 each year and 1,500 for the duration of these new Regulations.

For more information on Maltese citizenship by investment and how RE/MAX Malta can help you find the perfect property in Malta and Gozo, head to www.remax-malta.com.