A Guide on How to Become a Citizen in Europe by Investment

Updated: July 30, 2020 | 10 minute read

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Become a Citizen in Europe by Investment

Being a citizen of Europe comes with a plethora of advantages. By investing in one of the European citizenship programs, you are granted several rights and freedoms such as the Right to Settlement and Freedom of Movement within Europe. 

European citizenship programs act as a gateway to the whole continent as well as beyond Europe’s borders. Whether your reasons to obtain citizenship in Europe is to increase your travel opportunities or broaden your business’s horizons, to become a citizen of Europe is a step towards increased liberty. 

In some cases, investing in residency can fast track you on the path to becoming a European citizen.

Citizenship by Investment offers a direct and expeditious  solution for investors seeking opportunities to acquire citizenship or a second passport. 

If you possess a European Union (EU) passport, this grants you added perks. These include residing anywhere in the EU, enjoying high standards of living, as well as benefiting from the safe environments, excellent healthcare and top-rated education, the EU has to offer.

EU nations such as Malta have emerged as the hub for investment possibilities due to its favourable tax regime, lucrative real estate market and abundant investment possibilities, making Europe a top destination for relocation. 

 

List of Countries that offer Citizenship by Investment Programs

In recent years, Citizenship by Investment programs has become increasingly popular, which led several countries to jump on the bandwagon and offer the possibility to obtain a second passport. 

Acquiring a second passport can open doors to more opportunities to invest, travel, live and do business in jurisdictions that would have otherwise proved to be inaccessible. 

Eligibility and requirements for becoming a citizen of Europe differ from one country to another. The countries that do offer economic citizenship include:


  • Bulgaria; 

  • Cyprus; and

  • Malta;

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Why choose Malta as your Second Home?

According to the New World Review, Malta ranks as the safest country in Europe. This is due to its stable political and economic environment, as well as the minimum risk of a natural disaster. 

Besides security, Malta offers an appealing tax-efficient base for financial services, IT and gaming companies who are searching for an EU- compliant yet amenable domicile. 

Related: Discover Malta

 

#1 Malta’s Location

Malta’s location in the heart of the Mediterranean has been coveted for centuries. Found at the intersection between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Malta is ideally located in terms of business and trade.

Since the island is part of the EU, Malta is compliant with the EU policy regarding Visa requirements. Malta also forms part of the Schengen Area, which means Maltese citizens can travel to 26 countries as if there are no borders.

 

#2 No Language Barrier

Malta is home to two official languages; Maltese and English. Both languages are given equal status and recognized in court and government. Moreover, most business is usually carried out in English, which encourages a lot of foreign trade to make Malta their base. 

Other languages, such as Italian and French, are also widely spoken.

 

#3  Second Safest Country in the World

For the second time, Malta has been voted as the second safest nation in the World. In Europe, it ranks first, according to the World Risk Report.

Malta comes in second due to its low exposure to natural disasters and its ability to handle them. Overall, the island has a 0.57% chance of suffering a natural disaster. As stated in the report, Malta has a very low risk of earthquakes, floods or rising sea levels. In the event, the society and infrastructure are well-equipped to manage the situation.

Malta also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

 

#4 Economy of Malta

In 2020, Malta’s population stands at around 500,000 with a GDP of €13,208.5 million in 2019, when compared to the previous year, an increase of 8.9%. 

The economic activities which contribute to GDP in Malta are:

  • Agriculture and Fishing;

  • Manufacturing;

  • Wholesale and Retail Trade;

  • Transportation and Storage;

  • Accommodation and Food Service;

  • Information and Communication;

  • Real Estate;

  • Professional, Scientific and Technical;

  • Public Administration;

  • Education;

  • Human Health and Social Work; and

  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation.

As a result of a rapidly growing economy, Malta retains a low rate of unemployment. The three main areas which contribute to the economy are Tourism, Foreign Trade and Manufacturing (especially Electronics and Pharmaceuticals). The major markets include the Eurozone, USA and Singapore.

Aviation, iGaming and Blockchain are new sectors which are swiftly expanding in recent years.

 

#5 Quality of Life

With over 300 days of sunshine, Malta boasts one of the best climates in the world. Besides the desirable weather, Malta is a hub for culture, history and entertainment. 

The archipelago, although small in size, is home to a health care system which is consistently ranked in the top five in the world by the World Health Organisation.

A unique blend of busy city life intermixed with the slow pace of island life, Malta offers something for everyone.

 

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The Malta Individual Investor Program (Malta Citizenship by Investment)

The Malta Citizenship by Investment Program (MIIP) was designed by the Maltese government to attract High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and Ultra-High-Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs).

However, in today’s political and economic uncertainty and travel restrictions, more people are looking into obtaining a second citizenship.

Malta pioneered the Citizenship by Investment programs in Europe, and it is still regarded as the most sought-after Citizenship by Investment program. This makes it possible for families wishing to relocate their personal or business affairs to an EU country using second or dual citizenship.

Through the MIIP, the successful applicant acquires the Malta passport, as well as the rights that are gained as a citizen of Malta, the EU and the Schengen Area.

Benefits of Becoming a Citizen of Malta

Programs such as the MIIP, possess both immediate and long-term benefits.

Business

  • Base your business in the EU’s fastest-growing economy;

  • Unrestricted access to the European Union - the world’s largest economic zone;

  • Benefit from the tax-efficient system both on a personal and corporate basis; and

  • Enjoy the freedom of capital and income movement.

 

Family

  • Relax in one of the safest countries in the world that is politically and economically stable;

  • Gain access to outstanding health-care institutions;

  • Secure your children’s future through an excellent education system; and

  • Protect your family legacy by passing on citizenship to future generations.

 

Others 

  • Enjoy the freedom to travel visa-free to 183 countries, including the USA, Canada and Australia;

  • The right to settle in all 27 EU and 4 EEA member states; and

  • Benefit from a well-respected and influential passport.

 

The Cost of Buying Malta Citizenship

The MIIP program has a defined fee structure. The entire amount is not required to be settled at once.

 

Contribution Fees*

Main Applicant €650,000
Spouse and each child below the age of 18 €25,000
Each dependent parent aged 55 or older and
each unmarried child aged between 18 and 26
€50,000
 
(*) - Only € 10,000 of the above fees are payable upon submission of the application, with the rest payable only after receipt of the Letter of Approval.

 

Due Diligence Fees (Payable to authorities)

Main Applicant

€7,500
Spouse, adult Children and Parents €5,000
Children aged between 13 and 17 €3,000

 

Passport Fees and Bank Charges

Passport €500 per person
Bank charges €200 per application

 

Related: Buying a Property in the Special Designated Area in Malta.

 

How to become a Citizen in Europe (Malta Citizenship Application Process)?

As mentioned earlier, Malta forms part of the European Union and Schengen Area. This means that possessing a Maltese passport opens the door to the entire continent. 

To obtain Maltese Citizenship, the process takes about 12 months to complete as it is a very comprehensive process.

The application process commences with the submission of an e-Residency Application and concludes with the issuance of a certificate of naturalisation.

 

Step 1 - Eligibility Criteria and Documentation

Nexia BT ensures the qualification of the applicant and handles the documentation and preparation of all the required documents.

 

Step 2 - Residency Permit

An application for the residency permit is submitted to initiate the 12-month residency requirement for citizenship. The applicant would need to be physically present for Biometrics.

 

Step 3 - Application Submission

Once the Malta Police grant approval, Initial Background checks are followed by Compliance Approval and an extensive Due Diligence Process. The application is presented to the Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency (MIIPA) along with the payments due. The estimated time frame between Step 1 and Step 3 is 21 weeks.

 

Step 4 - Application Process 

After a review period of 120 days, the MIIPA confirms whether the documentation submitted is officially in order, conditional to further investigative due diligence. Once the due diligence is fulfilled, an approval letter is issued by the MIIPA. It takes approximately 18 weeks to reach this stage from Step 3. 

 

Step 5 - Contribution Fees Settlement

An official request is issued from the MIIPA, by which the applicant is obliged to pay the contribution (fees mentioned below) within 20 working days. It takes a further 13 weeks to reach this stage from Step 4.

 

Step 6 - Investment Requirements

During this stage, the applicant must present proof of the qualifying property investment, portfolio investment, health insurance and genuine links. Monetary requirements for these are elaborated below under the investment requirement section. The professional team of experts at Nexia BT can help you in gathering all that is required at this stage.

 

Step 7 - Oath of Allegiance

Once all the IIP obligations are satisfied, the applicant and all the dependents will be formally invited to take an Oath of Allegiance in Malta.

 

Step 8 -  Certificate of Naturalisation and Maltese Passport Application

The Government of Malta issues the Certificate of Naturalisation, and the processing of the Malta Passport Application approaches its final stages. Between Steps 6-8 it takes roughly 3 weeks to conclude.

Now that we have gone into each and every step of the MIIP process, you have a better understanding of the timeline and expectations of the Citizenship by Investment Program.

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