Investors from around the world are applying for second passports in increasing numbers, following the ever-growing trend of the wealthy. Aside from it being a symbol of status for the upper class, people are obtaining second (and even third) passports in order to increase their international travel freedom.
Several Caribbean nations offer citizenship by investment programs whereby a foreign national would invest into the country’s economy in exchange for that country’s passport. European passports
, however, allow for visa-free travel to more countries than Caribbean passports do. In addition, Europe currently offers more potential for businesses due to its central location and developed economy. European passports also have steeper price tags than their Caribbean counterparts, to account for the additional benefits offered.
Many countries in Europe offer “Golden Visa
” programs, whereby an investor can obtain residence to the country of investment, however, very few countries offer direct citizenship for investment. One of these countries is Malta.
Malta, located in the southern Mediterranean between Italy and Tunisia, is a small country offering both the scenic beauty of the islands as well as business opportunities. The prosperous economy, one of the most stable political systems in Europe, and the relaxed lifestyle all make Malta an appealing investment for high net worth individuals all over the world.
The application process is approximately 12 months from the first day of residency to passport issuance, and involves a strict due diligence procedure to ensure that those with criminal backgrounds are not admitted to the country.
Applicants of Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Program must complete an investment in all three of the following categories: Financial contribution to the National Development and Social Fund, real estate, and government securities. Each of the three categories is detailed below:
- Financial Contribution
The financial contribution is non-refundable and must be made to the National Development and Social Fund. The contribution starts at €650,000 for a single applicant, and increases with each additional accompanying family member as follows:
- Spouse: €25,000
- Each dependent child under 18 years old: €5,000
- Each dependent child between the ages of 18 and 26: €50,000
- Each dependent parent over 55 years old: €50,000
- Real estate
The main applicant must purchase a residential property with minimum purchase price of €350,000 in either Malta or Gozo, and must hold title to this property for a minimum of five (5) years.
The applicant may also rent a property for a five-year period with a minimum rental price of €16,000 per annum.
Many applicants prefer to purchase their own property as this allows for a return on their initial investment.
- Government securities
The main applicant must invest €150,000 in government issued stocks, bonds, or other government approved investment. The investment must be held for a minimum of five years without any accumulated interest.
The total minimum investment is thus €650,000 + (€16,000 * 5) + €150,000 = €880,000 for a single applicant who chooses the rental property option.
Benefits of Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Program
Malta has one of the strongest passports in the world, granting visa-free travel to over 160 countries to its citizens. Maltese passport holders are also granted free movement throughout the Schengen Zone. As Malta is a member of the European Union, passport holders have the right to reside, work, or study in any of the 28 member countries. Malta is also a member of the British Commonwealth which allows citizens to reside in any of the Commonwealth countries (including Canada and Australia) for six months at a time without visa.
Although there is a short one-year residence requirement in order to obtain citizenship, there is no physical residency requirement once citizenship is attained. In addition, the one-year residency need not be all 365 days as long as applicants are committed to some physical presence in the year prior to citizenship.
Family eligibility for this program is extended to dependent children up to 28 years of age, as well as dependent parents. Many citizenship programs do not allow the inclusion of parents or children above the age of 18. Citizenship and its benefits can be descended to future generations.
Malta enjoys one of the safest and most stable political and social environments in the world. The friendly and relaxed atmosphere makes it ideal for raising a family. The country also has a thriving economy which makes it an excellent opportunity to start or expand a business. Malta offers both beauty and stability to its citizens and is a sound investment for those seeking a second passport. The benefits of one of the top ranked countries in the world far exceed the associated investment cost.
For more information on Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Program, click here
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