If you’re an investor looking to diversify your portfolio (and your residency options) overseas, the small island of Malta might be your best bet. With a residency through investment program, colloquially known as a Golden Visa, similar to countries like Portugal and Greece, expats can invest overseas in Malta and receive some pretty great perks.
Malta’s Golden Visa
Introduced in 2015, the MRVP (Malta Residence and Visa Program) allows for expats from outside of the EU and EEA to receive quick and streamlined residence in Europe through overseas investment. This permit allows you and your family (spouse and child dependents) to live in Malta and travel freely throughout the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland with a single investment. You will no longer need to apply for a Schengen Visa if you come from a country that requires one, and you will be able to stay in Europe beyond the standard 90 days within a 180-day period that a normal tourist visa limits. Similarly, if you are a citizen of a country that does not allow a second passport, obtaining this form of legal residency is a great alternative to broaden your global options.
The visa itself takes only around 3 months to process (one of the fastest of its kind) and has more affordable investment minimums than many other countries with investment visa programs. To apply, contact your nearest Maltese consulate or embassy to set up a meeting.
Requirements for the MRVP
To qualify for the Malta investment visa, potential expats will need to make a monetary contribution to the government of €30,000 (plus €5,500 for processing). You will need to be at least 18 years old, be able to prove an annual income of €100,000 from outside of Malta (or €500,000 in capital), and must have a clean criminal record.
To qualify for the MRVP through real estate investment overseas, applicants will need to purchase a property of at least €320,000 (€270,000 if in Gozo or the south of Malta). If not purchasing a property outright, another option is leasing a property of at least €12,000 per year (€12,000 if in Gozo or the south of Malta). You will need to commit to maintaining these conditions for a minimum of five years in Malta.
Other Investment Visa Options
This idea of residency through investment is not new, as many countries are well known for offering such advantageous options for overseas investment. Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece offer some of the most popular and beneficial residency through investment programs for expats. While all of these “Golden Visa” programs offer similar perks for spouses and dependents of the investor, Malta’s is perhaps the most affordable (most other minimum investments hover around €500,000) and quickest (3-4 months).
Citizenship Through Investment in Malta
For those who want a faster path to receiving Maltese citizenship, there is also an investment scenario to achieve this after only around 12 months of residency. The Malta Individual Investor Program (IIP) allows investors and their families to quickly obtain an EU passport through Malta. The Maltese passport allows free travel for all 28 European Union countries, the ability to start a business in the country, and achieve visa-free travel to 160 countries. In order to qualify for the Maltese passport through investment, applicants will need to show a clean criminal record, proof of international health insurance, and proof of having no contagious diseases.
Note: As of 2016, the program was still accepting applicants, but there is a cap on how many Maltese passports can be issued through this investment option at 1,800.
The primary applicant will need to make an investment into the country at a minimum of €650,000. An additional €25,000 is required for any spouse and each dependent child under 18 years of age. For children aged 18-26 to receive the Maltese passport through their parent’s investment, an additional €50,000 is required.
Applicants will receive Maltese citizenship after 12 months of established residency in Malta. If you have received a residency card in Malta through overseas investment into real estate, you will not be required to spend any time in Europe during your wait for citizenship. Malta also allows for the holding of multiple passports, so you will not need to renounce your primary citizenship to obtain a passport through overseas investment in Malta. Once the Maltese passport is received, all children born to the passport-holding citizen will be Maltese citizens as well.
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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.
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