Malta might seem like a small and often forgotten country when it comes to tourism, but for expats in the know, it offers some of the best opportunities for those looking to live abroad.
If you’d like to stay in Malta for under 90 days, you will not need to apply for a visa if you are a national from one of the countries on Malta’s visa-waiver program. These countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. Similarly, if you’re a citizen of any state within the European Union or European Economic Area, you will not need a visa to stay long-term in Malta.
If you are from a country outside of this reach and need to apply for a Schengen Visa for Malta, you will need to provide:
- A valid passport, with extra passport-sized photos
- Medical insurance, valid in Malta for duration of your stay
- Letter of intent outlining your reasons for traveling abroad to Malta, plus proof of a return ticket
- Funds to pay the visa processing fee
Types of Residency
If you do not hold a passport from an EU or EEA (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) member state, or Switzerland, and want to spend longer than three months in Malta, you will have to apply for one of two main forms of residency: Ordinary Residency or Permanent Residency.
Ordinary Residency in Malta
The ordinary form of residency abroad in Malta is meant for those who wish to work while residing in the country and register a tax residence in Malta to capitalize on the country’s low tax jurisdiction. Once you have found a job and applied (and been approved) for a Maltese work permit, you are immediately given residency in the country. This is valid for you and your spouse to legally live abroad in Malta long-term, though your spouse will have to apply separately for a work permit to hold a job.
Permanent Residency in Malta
Permanent residency is similar to ordinary residency in Malta in that it lets you live indefinitely in the country. It does not, however, allow you to work abroad in Malta. This option may be best for those looking to retire abroad in Europe. Requirements include an interview process, having a net worth of €349,000 or an annual income of €23,000, and providing a clean criminal record.
This type of residency is great because you do not need to physically reside for any regulated period of time on the island, with the right to come and go freely. Once the permit is issued, however, expats living abroad in Malta will need to purchase an apartment (€70,000 minimum), a house (€117,000 minimum), or pay at least €4,150 in annual rent within one year of receiving the permit. You will also need to open a bank account in the country.
This form of permanent residency is given to foreigners that have at least a 40% share of a company in the manufacturing or financial services sectors. To qualify, in addition to the business requirements, you’ll need:
- To be at least 18 years of age
- To have a clean criminal record
- To prove title to one of the following types of property:
- To hold a minimum investment in Malta for at least 5 years at €250,000
- To have the application approved as not being against public interest
To maintain this type of residency, holder’s will need to prove that they have a minimum of €100,000 in annual income being generated outside of Malta, or have a minimum capital of €500,000. This license will give the holder, his/her spouse, and any legal dependents the right to live abroad indefinitely in Malta. Visit our page on investing abroad in Malta to learn more about the Maltese “Golden Visa.”
Tyler Sorce is an American writer and digital nomad currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. In a past life he was a chef in Manhattan and Paris, follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.