Residence or Citizenship by Investment?

Updated: June 04, 2020 | 7 minute read

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A brief comparative study of Malta Residence and Citizenship by investment programmes

Citizenship or Residence?

Citizenship or residence? This question can be complex and even difficult for an individual considering between the two options. The reasons influencing the choice are different and numerous. For instance, some countries do not allow their citizens to have a second nationality. This is the case of China, certain CIS countries like Ukraine[1] and Kazakhstan[2] and of many other countries.  Among other factors taken into account, one may certainly mention personal and corporate taxation, the ability to travel visa-free and a desire to seek economic or political stability.

In certain cases, an individual might not be sure regarding the obtainment of the second citizenship. In this case, residence schemes can be a perfect solution which gives the said applicant additional time to think and to accustom to local traditions, learn the official language and even start a business.

Maltese legislators kept in mind those different life situations and offered specific programmes, namely: Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP), Malta Residence & Visa Programme (MRVP) and Global Residence Programme (GRP).

This article is devoted to a comparative study of Maltese citizenship (IIP) and residence (MRVP) by investment programmes.

 

[1] See Art.19 The Citizenship Act of Ukraine adopted on the 18th January 2001 № 2235-III (available at the website: http://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/2235-14 ), (accessed on the 12th May 2019).

[2] See Art.21 of the Citizenship Act of the Republic of Kazakhstan, adopted on the 20th December 1991 № 1017-XII (available at: https://online.zakon.kz/ ), (accessed on the 12th May 2019).

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Preliminary Comparisons

In both programmes, the main applicant has to inter alia be at least 18 years of age, have a clean criminal record, present a certificate of good health as well as have valid travel documents

It is important to note that EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are not entitled to participate in the residence by investment programme. No such restriction applies to those nationals should they wish to obtain citizenship under the Individual Investment Programme.

Furthermore, the nationals of the following countries are not allowed to apply for the IIP and MRVP programmes:

Banned Countries List
MRVP Countries Ban List IIP Countries Ban List
  1. Afghanistan
  2. Iran
  3. North Korea

 

 

 

 

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Chad
  3. Iran
  4. Libya
  5. North Korea
  6. Somalia
  7. Syria
  8. Venezuela
  9. Yemen
  10. Nigeria
  11. Eritrea
  12. Tanzania
  13. Sudan
  14. Kyrgyzstan
  15. Myanmar
 
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#2 What are the financial contributions and other qualifying investments;

Under MRVP and IIP, the applicant is obliged to make an investment in Maltese residential real estate either in the form of acquisition under the title of ownership or under the title of the lease. Secondly, both programmes oblige the applicant to make relevant investments in instruments approved by the relative authorities.  

Apart from the investments, the main applicant in terms of the applicable legislation is obliged to pay the relevant fees and a one-time contribution.

Despite the aforementioned similarities, the contribution and investment amounts vary from one programme to another. With respect to the IIP, the applicant must purchase a residential property in Malta at a minimum value of  €350,000 or rent residential property at a minimum value of €16,000 per annum.

The MRVP, on the other hand, requires the applicant to purchase residential real estate in Malta for the minimum amount of €320,000 (€270,000 if the property is purchased in the South of Malta or Gozo) or to rent it for the minimum amount of at €12,000 annually  (or €10,000 annually if the property is situated in the South of Malta or Gozo).

As we have outlined earlier, the second difference relates to the amount of investments in instruments approved by the relative authorities. While the minimum value established under the IIP is set at €150,000, the minimum value established under the MRVP is set at €250,000.   

It is important to mention that under both programmes, the applicant is required to hold the investments for 5 years.

Apart from the investment requirements,  a contribution of €650,000 must be made by the main applicant in the case of the MIIP and €30,000 with respect to the MRVP.  The latter contribution is inclusive of certain dependents (in certain instances dependents such as the parents or grandparents must pay an additional contribution of €5,000). While in the case of the MIIP, additional contribution must be made per dependent. 

#3 Procedural Requirements  

While it is the Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency that is in charge of receiving MIIP applications, it is the Malta Residence and Visa Agency that is similarly in charge of receiving MRVP applications. Under both programmes, however, the applicant is required to be represented by an accredited agent.

Nexia BT is accredited to represent applicants with respect to both the MIIP and the MRVP.

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How do Maltese residence and citizenship programmes interact?

Another question that we would like to tackle is whether the beneficiary under the MRVP programme can further file an application under IIP? While there is no direct reference in the respective legislations or regulations, there is also no express prohibition in this regard.  Recipients and holders of a residence certificate under the MRVP can hence subsequently apply under the IIP, provided they follow the process and requirements of the IIP.

There is also no facilitated route through which a holder of an indefinite residence certificate in terms of the MRVP can obtain Maltese citizenship simply by being resident in Malta in terms of the programme. To apply and obtain citizenship in Malta, one must be eligible to apply for Citizenship by naturalisation in terms of the Maltese Citizenship Act.  

Should an MRVP residence card holder wish to subsequently apply under the IIP, there are some overlaps in the qualifying investment and property that need to be taken into consideration.

Investments required under Maltese residence and citizenship programmes

  Investments under MRVP Investments under IIP
Residential Real Estate Minimum value of the purchase of €320,000 if the property is in Malta or €270,000 if the property is located in Gozo or the South of Malta. Minimum value of the purchase of €350,000.

Minimum value of €12,000 annual rent if the property is in Malta or minimum value of €10,000 annual rent if the property is situated Gozo or in the South of Malta.

Minimum value of rent of €16,000 annually.
Investments approved by the relative authorities €250,000  €150,000 
 

The applicant in question would need to ensure that the relative qualifying investment and property are matching the minimum requirements under each programme.

Which Maltese Programme is the best?

To sum up, our conclusions on the topic are as follows:

  • The MRVP programme allows a hesitating individual to ponder further and to accustom to local life and traditions before going for the fully-fledged option of Maltese citizenship while being granted the right to indefinitely reside in Malta. While this may come at a cost in relation to the added contribution payments, other qualifying requirements are very similar and hence, with proper planning, can also be overlapping.
  • A full citizenship application grants a clear, transparent and direct route to the obtainment of Maltese Citizenship by which an individual not only obtains rights at par with those of Maltese citizens but also acquired immediate EU and worldwide rights post finalisation of the process.
  • The decision by the potential applicant will hence mainly depend on the urgency, mobility needs as well as available funds for such an application. It is important to approach an accredited agent who can guide you to make the optimal decision for you and your family.
 

Why choose Nexia BT?

Nexia BT is a leading firm providing a wide range of services in the financial sector to corporate and private clients.

We pride ourselves on having worked closely with large international companies and high-net-worth individuals. This experience allows us to help our clients achieve their maximum financial results in business.

Nexia BT specialises in the development and maintenance of various business structures for corporate entities as well as private HNWI and UHNWI clients together with residence and immigration planning. The government of Malta accredits Nexia BT for various residency and citizenship programmes.

Through our highly qualified professionals within our legal, audit, tax and advisory departments, we offer a personalised, holistic solution for every client. The International Client Services unit, includes Russian, Mandarin and French-speaking executives who are familiar with the characteristics and requirements of foreign markets.

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