I’m asked all the time which second passports allow you visa free travel to the United States, Canada, and the UK. The answer is easy and the list is short: Only a second passport from Malta or Austria will get you visa free into the US of A.
First, let me define what I mean by second passport. I am referring to making an investment in a country or paying a fee in exchange for citizenship and a passport. These programs typically take 2 to 18 months to complete.
I am not considering residency or passports by family heritage or descent. If you need to live in a country for 5 years before you can apply for citizenship, such as with Panama and Belgium, that’s a residency program and not a second passport offer. What you get for sure is residency. You hope to be able to turn that into citizenship some day, but there are no guarantees.
It is also possible to get a second passport by family heritage. If your grandparents were born in Brazil, Ireland, Israel, Italy, and many other countries, you can claim citizenship by descent. You will need to prove the family history, but the process is relatively easy and inexpensive.
But second citizenship by birthright is not what I am talking about here. If you can’t claim citizenship from Grandpops, and you don’t want to spend years hoping for a passport, then you need to buy citizenship or make a sizable investment.
And the two most powerful second passports are Malta and Austria. While Austria can require an investment of $10 million, and you must keep the business going (and employees paid) for years, Malta is a fraction of the cost and much simpler to complete.
To get a passport from Malta, you must live on the islands for a year, spending at least 183 days there over a 12 month period. Once your residency is complete, you may apply for citizenship.
The requirements for a second passport from Malta are as follows:
- You, the main applicant, is required to donate €650,000 to Malta. Your dependents, including your spouse, must each contribute €25,000; unmarried children between 18 and 25 and dependent parents must contribute €50,000 each.
- Buy a home for at least €350,000 or enter a rental contract for at least €16,000 per year. You must maintain the home or keep the rental for a minimum of 5 years.
- You are to invest at least €150,000 in government bonds and hold those bonds for at least 5 years.
All told, a family of 4 will have paid €725,000 and invested €500,000 in real estate and bonds to get a passport from Malta - one of the most valuable travel documents available. If you want a passport from Malta, you need to be ready to pay for it and work for it.
Note that the above does not include legal fees, due diligence, compliance, filing fees, or any other costs. I have listed only the basics… what it costs to put them all together is another matter for another day.
Here’s why a passport from Malta is so valuable.
We measure second passports by the number of countries they give you visa free access to and where they allow you to live.
On both of these counts, Mata is one of the best second passports available.
A passport from Malta gives you visa free access to to 168 countries and territories, ranking it 9th in the world among all countries. Of countries that offer economic citizenship and sell second passports, only Austria is higher with 173 countries. Our top low cost option, St. Lucia, includes 125 countries.
For a complete list of second passports and their rankings, see my Top 10 Second Passport Programs.
So a passport from Malta get’s you into a bunch of countries. Maybe more importantly, a passport from Malta will allow you to live just about anywhere in the European Union.
That’s because Malta has been a member of the EU since 2004 and is part of the Schengen region since 2007. A passport from a Schengen country allows you to live and work in ANY member country.
This means you can live in:
- Czech Republic
Note that citizenship obtained under this programme grants you the rights of full citizenship for life and can be passed to future generations. It’s also possible to give citizenship to your dependent parents.
Taxation of New Maltese Citizens
Malta will usually only tax it’s citizens on their Malta sourced income. This means you will pay tax in Malta on interest and dividends from Malta banks and investments. If you hold your investments outside of Malta, you will not be taxed on capital gains.
A word of caution to US citizens: Malta taxes its citizens on Malta sourced income but the US taxes its citizens on their worldwide income. So long as you hold a US passport, even if you have a second passport from Malta, you will pay US tax on your income. A passport from Malta will allow you to give up your US citizenship and then get out from under the IRS… if you choose to go that route.
Another benefit of a passport from Malta is that you won’t be taxed on the gains if and when you sell your property in Malta after the 5 year holding period.
Other tax benefits of a second passport from Malta
- No inheritance or death taxes
- No estate duty
- No net worth or wealth taxes
- No municipal taxes, rates or real estate taxes
I hope you have found this article on obtaining a second passport from Malta to be helpful. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 550-2743 for a free and confidential consultation on negotiating a second passport from Malta.