Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

MALTA Immigration Updates

The first Malta citizenship-by-investment approvals have been issued.

In November 2014, the first Malta citizenship approvals were issued to applicants for Maltese citizenship who had applied under the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) in February 2014. At that time, the first participating law firms obtained their licenses to handle citizenship applications under this program from Identity Malta, the agency responsible for managing Malta’s Citizenship by Investment program. The first Maltese law firm to be accredited, Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, is reported to have submitted the first applications under what had been announced as the pilot phase of the Malta Citizenship by Investment program and recently announced the first “in principle” approvals.

What is the statutory processing time for Malta citizenship applications?

After 90 days from the submission of the application by the approved agent, Identity Malta issues its first approval confirming that it has verified the source of funds and the information supplied as part of the application. Identity Malta also uses independent due diligence agents in applying a risk weighting exercise. The MIIP Rules stipulate a maximum of four months for issuance of a final approval. 

What is the effect of an approval?

An “In Principle Approval” is a letter issued by the Identity Malta Agency certifying the approval of the citizenship application and confirming the applicant and his or her dependents’ right to a Maltese passport subject only to fulfilling the contribution and investment criteria agreed to by the applicant. The main conditions of these Malta Citizenship approvals are listed below.

What steps are required for Maltese citizenship?

Requirements include:

  • Paying a non-refundable contribution to the Malta Social & Economic Development Fund: €650,000 less the €10,000 already paid on application; i.e., €640,000
  • Purchasing or renting property subject to the minimums established by the rules (€350,000/€16,000 per year)
  • Investing €150,000 in government bonds;
  • Holding Global Health Insurance; and
  • Satisfying the residency requirement (as already confirmed and pre-approved by Identity Malta at the outset of applicant’s residency)

What is the time frame for issuance of a Maltese passport?

Malta citizenship approvals indicate the time frames allowed by law for executing the commitments undertaken by an applicant on submitting his or her application through its approved agent. The contribution must be paid within 20 days. Compliance with the investment and other ancillary conditions must be achieved within 4 months.

Applicants who have received their Malta citizenship approvals are entitled to passports. However, those who have not yet satisfied the “genuine link” requirement (referred to as the residency requirement) for one full year must wait for that amount of time to elapse before claiming their Maltese passports. Applicants who have been residing in Malta for a one-year period can claim their Malta passports after six months from the date of application for Maltese citizenship.

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Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.