How to Obtain a Residence Permit in Malta

How to Obtain a Residence Permit in Malta

Malta, an island nation situated in the Mediterranean Sea, attracts multitudes of tourists and investors with its pleasant climate and thriving economy. Being a member of the Schengen area, residents of Malta enjoy the freedom to travel across Europe without any restrictions.

Today, we will explore the process of obtaining permanent residency (PR) in Malta through one of the available programs. Stay tuned as we discuss the eligibility criteria and the requirements to become a resident of Malta.

Investment Programme

The Malta Global Residence Programme (MGRP) is a highly attractive program for wealthy foreigners seeking residency in Malta. Established in 2015, this program offers numerous benefits and incentives for individuals looking to establish their residence in the country.

The main objective of the Malta Global Residence Programme (MGRP) is to attract foreign investments to the country. This program offers the opportunity for investors, as well as their immediate family members and spouses, to apply for residence cards with no age restrictions. The primary requirement is that the applicant demonstrates financial independence and meets all the necessary Malta residence permit requirements:

  1. Having health insurance coverage, which is mandatory for each relative participating in the MGRP program.
  2. Paying a tax amount of EU 15,000.
  3. Renting or buying property: For rental, the total cost of housing should be at least EU 12,000 per year, or EU 10,000 per year if renting on Gozo island or in the south of Malta. There are specific restrictions for real estate purchases. The minimum cost should be EU 320,000, or EU 270,000 for flats or accommodations in Gozo and southern Malta.
  4. Paying an administrative fee of EU 30,000, which can be made in instalments. The first payment should be at least EU 5,500 upon application submission, with the remaining amount to be paid after the application's approval.

Once a foreigner obtains a Maltese residence card, it is important to maintain the status in a permanent manner. This involves fulfilling certain obligations, such as paying income tax based on the source of income. The specific amount of tax depends on where the income is generated. If the income is earned outside of Maltese territory, the tax rate will be 15% of the total income, with a minimum payment of at least EU 15,000. On the other hand, if an entrepreneur generates profits within Malta, they are required to pay 35% of the revenue as tax.

At the same time, the investor has to report to the tax authorities and file a declaration (or tax return).

Valletta, Malta. Photo: Nick Fewings (Unsplash)

Family Reunion Visas

Reuniting with close relatives can serve as a valid reason to acquire a Malta residence card. For instance, if your sister or mother holds a residence permit or permanent residence permit and is currently residing in Malta, they can apply for a residence card on your behalf. If the application is successfully approved, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship after five years of residence in Malta.

Spouses can also play a crucial role in the visa application process. If one of the spouses is a Maltese citizen, obtaining a permit for their husband or wife is typically straightforward. Additionally, visiting spouses may be eligible to apply for Maltese citizenship after a two-year period of residence in Malta.

In addition to married couples, unmarried couples can also apply for a visa under certain conditions. One of the partners must hold a residence permit, a temporary residence permit in Malta, or local citizenship. However, the foreign partner needs to demonstrate financial dependency on their partner and provide evidence of their registered relationship.

Residency for Educational Purposes

Authorities in Malta also offer long-term residency permits for the duration of schooling and higher education. Students are granted permits that correspond to the length of their contract with the educational institution. If an individual wishes to remain in the country after completing their studies, they will need to apply for a residency permit on a different basis, such as by entering into an employment contract with a local company.

Work Visas

Securing employment in Malta can be challenging for foreigners, as it typically requires a high level of specialisation in fields such as IT, finance, or healthcare. However, many employers handle the necessary bureaucratic formalities on behalf of their employees, including work permits and residence permits. In certain cases, highly qualified individuals may be eligible for a special visa known as the Blue Card, which not only facilitates their work authorization but also justifies a higher salary.

Malta Startup Residence Programme

Malta is home to a diverse range of international companies, with well-developed sectors such as tourism, financial and legal services, education, and healthcare. For foreign entrepreneurs interested in starting a business, there are several residence programmes available in Malta that they can participate in. These programmes provide opportunities and support for individuals to establish and operate their businesses in the country.

In addition, Malta offers a tax system that is considered relatively favourable and flexible according to international standards.

Photo: David Alfons (Unsplash)

Benefits of a Maltese Residence Permit

In addition to the aforementioned reasons, the government of Malta also grants residence permits for other purposes. For instance, individuals can apply for a visa for the duration of medical treatment or training courses. In some cases, foreigners visiting Malta for religious matters are also eligible for a residence permit. The main requirement in such cases is to demonstrate financial solvency during their stay in the country.

Many foreigners aspire to obtain a residence permit in Malta due to the numerous opportunities offered by the local jurisdiction, including:

  • Travelling freely within the Schengen area, which encompasses 26 countries.
  • Living in one of the most environmentally friendly places on Earth with a warm climate.
  • Accessing high-quality education and healthcare services.
  • Investing in properties with the potential for an annual income of more than 5% through rental.
  • Optimising taxation for businesses. 

Additionally, once a residence permit has been granted in Malta, individuals have the opportunity to bring their close relatives, including a spouse and children, to join them in the country. This provision allows families to reunite and enjoy the benefits of living together in Malta.

In a Nutshell

Obtaining a residence permit in Malta is a relatively straightforward process, especially for wealthy foreign citizens. The Malta Global Residence Programme (MGRP) provides special privileges for such individuals, offering an expedited and simplified application process. If you have a close relative or spouse with a residence permit or CPR in Malta, they can facilitate the visa application process for you, significantly increasing the likelihood of your residence application being approved. Additionally, students, employed individuals, and foreigners undergoing medical treatment are also eligible for a residence permit in Malta.

Cover photo: St. Paul Cathedral in medieval city Mdina, Mike Nahlii (Unsplash)

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