- If an EU passport holder applies for Ordinary Residence, is the spouse (non-EU passport holder) entitled to this Ordinary Residence too?
Yes, when an EU passport holder applies for Ordinary Residence, his/her spouse and children can obtain Ordinary Residence as dependents.
- Does one need an EU or Maltese drivers licence or can one use a non-EU licence? What if the applicant is in Malta permanently?
A person holding a valid E.U. driving licence who is over the age of 18 may drive in Malta until the expiry date of that licence. A person holding a valid NON-E.U. driving licence who is over the age of 18 can drive in Malta for a period of twelve months from his/her last arrival in Malta.
- As an EU passport holder i.e. (Ordinary Resident applicant), can the applicant be a beneficiary of a Guernsey company?
A PR or OR may be a beneficiary of a Guernsey company. A PR or OR registered as such with the Maltese tax authorities will be required to declare all income received in Malta during the basis year in which he was resident for tax purposes in Malta.
- What is the process for applying for a Maltese drivers license?
If a holder of a NON-EU driving license would like to have a Maltese driving license, s/he would be required to attend a theory and practise examination in Malta. If, on the other hand, the person holds an EU driving license, s/he would be able to exchange the same to a Maltese driving license without having to do the examination.
- Does a US passport holder need a visa to visit Malta?
A US passport holder does not need a visa in order to enter Malta. However, upon their arrival into any Schengen country, they will have their passport stamped at the airport and the stamp would be valid for 3 months.
- Can elderly applicants easily get medical insurance for PR in Malta.
When EU and NON-EU clients apply for a Residence Permit in Malta, they would be required to provide proof that they have a medical health insurance in Malta. However, for clients over 70 years of age, the CEA department will accept a declaration signed by the applicant whereby they confirm that they will be liable for any Health Issues that occur in Malta, since they cannot be covered by a private health policy due to their age. Please note that it is very rare that people over 70 years of age get a new private medical insurance in Malta if they have'nt had it for a long time.
- Will my travel insurance suffice for medical insurance needed in order to satisfy Residency requirements?
The Health Policy is required to cover you for a whole year and not just for 90 days when you are travelling. This means that it should be a Health Insurance rather than a Travel Insurance cover.
- What is the judicial structure in Malta?
In 1972 Malta gained independence from the British Empire and it now has its own separate legal and juridical system. The courts of Malta consist of the Court of Magistrates (Gozo), the Court of Magistrates (Malta), the Civil Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Constitutional Court. Henceforth, Malta does not have any access to the Privy Council, but citizens of Malta will have to go through the law courts in Malta for any claim which arises.
- Can anyone open a bank account in Malta or does one have to have Residence status?
Any foreigner can open a bank account in Malta even though they might not be residents there. This therefore means that, if clients open their bank account before they become Residents, they would be given a non-resident account with a foreign residential address. They can then change the same to a resident account with a Maltese residential address after their Residence is approved and they have obtained a Maltese identity card.
- Are EU nationals allowed free Health Care in Malta?
All EU nationals are issued with an EHIC card which entitles them to Free Health Care in all European Union countries. This card is obtained from the Health Department of their country of nationality.
- What is a tumolo?
A tumolo is the equivalent of 1,124 metres squared.
- As a UK passport holder, would a client be entitled to free health care?
EU citizens permanently residing in Malta are entitled to free health care from public hospitals and clinics. However one must apply for Form E121 from the overseas authority (in this case the UK). Once this is issued it will be registered with the Malta Health Department Entitlement Unit and a Certificate of Entitlement will be issued.
- Should the primary OR applicant pass away (the EU passport holder) and the rest of the dependents on the application are non-EU passport holders, would the dependents be able to remain in Malta?
Dependents may remain living in Malta provided that they would have been living in Malta together with EU national for at least 1 year prior to his/her death.
- Can dependents on an OR application work in Malta (let's say they don't have EU passports)?
No, immigration rules and employment rules are different. The Non-EU national would have to be included in a work permit application which will be considered on the basis of labour market considerations just like any other non-EU national.
- If parents acquire citizenship in Malta, are the children also able to apply on this ground?
Yes, that would be the case. Children growing up and being educated in Malta would also serve as a very good motivation for citizenship.
- I'd like to take my pets over with me when I actually move to Malta. What are the conditions for this?
You are absolutely allowed to take you pets with you to Malta, however, they would be subject to a 6 month quarantine period. Most of our clients prefer to allow their pets to serve their 6 months EU quarantine in France where these laws are a lot more relaxed. In fact they spend their 6 months, not in public kennels, but in rather beautiful private kennels where their days are spent, often in more luxury than their owners. Their owners are able to visit them as often as they like. Once the 6 months has been concluded you would then be able to move them over to Malta.
- What is the crime like in Malta?
Malta has a very, very low crime rate. Most of the crime that does occur is very petty, such as phones being stolen out of beach bags, etc. Gozo, the smaller island, is virtually crime free.
- Am I going to get by in an European country when I only speak English?
Malta has been occupied by the British for the last two hundred years or so until 1964. Most, if not all, Maltese speak English. Maltese and English are the two official languages and all legal and official documents appear in both languages. Maltese also drive on the left hand side of the road - the only country in Europe besides the UK to do so.
- What are the rental returns on property in Malta (different areas of Malta if relevant) and likewise the capital growth of the asset?
The gross rental yield on property in Malta should be around 4% to 5% if the client purchases in the right areas - speak to our property advisors. The capital growth of the asset is around 5% to 7% per annum - again providing the client buys in the right area.
- Would you please confirm that there is no minimum capital or remittal amount that needs to be remitted into Malta for an Ordinary Residence application?
Yes, there is no minimum capital or remittal amount for ordinary residents.
- What are the property conditions when applying for Ordinary Residence?
There are no minimums for the property commitment, however, AIP conditions may apply to non-Maltese purchasing outside of the SDA's (Special Designated Areas); Where the purchase requires an AIP permit, the property must satisfy minimum values which change periodically, and which currently stand as follows: €101,938 for apartments and maisonettes and €169,850 for villas, townhouses and other property. The cost of the AIP permit is of €232.93.
- Would the applicant need to be present for the full 3 weeks that the application process is said to take?
No, his physical presence is not required throughout the entire application process.
- What would the minimum amount of stay on Malta be to constitute a "considerable amount of time" for an Ordinary Residence application?
There are no express guidelines as to what constitutes a considerable period of time, however, such phrase generally equates with making Malta ones habitual place of abode.
- Would the above time needed to be spent before the Ordinary Residence application took place, stated as the intention when applying or reviewed upon renewal each year?
Such period would need to be spent prior to the application thereby proving ones intention to become resident in Malta.
- Would dependents with non-EU passports that have their residency visa stickers renewed in their passports each year only be renewed if a certain amount of time was spent in Malta?
These are renewed upon the basis of them having their residence based in Malta, which again equates with making Malta one's habitual place of abode.
EU/EEA Nationals/Swiss Clients
- Does the High Net-Worth Individuals Residence Scheme affect the purchase of property in Malta or Gozo?
No, nothing has changed as far as the sale of property to foreign nationals (both EU or non EU) is concerned. The changes relate only to residency conditions.
- What changed from the previous Permanent Residence Scheme?
The current residency scheme is called the High Net-Worth Individuals Residence Scheme. The minimum purchase price of property is €400,000 (there is no distinction between apartment or house). The minimum rental is €20,000 per annum. The preferential rate of tax remained at 15% with the possibility to claim double tax relief. Minimum tax went up to €20,000 per annum, plus €2,500 for each dependent. Applicants must physically reside in Malta for a minimum of 90 days per annum, and may not stay in any other country for more than 183 days per annum. Applicants must have a health insurance covering themselves and their dependents throughout the EU territory. There is a non-refundable application fee of €6,000. Residents will now be able to work or operate a business in Malta.
- Must applicants have a minimum capital requirement?
No. The new scheme does not require a minimum capital requirement.
- Must applicants remit to Malta a minimum amount every year?
No. There is no minimum amount to be remitted to Malta. However, for an applicant to effectively benefit from the special rate of 15% tax, s/he has to remit a minimum of €133,300, bearing in mind the minimum tax liability of €20,000 every year.
- Once the applicant decides to apply for residency, when is he/she required to purchase or rent a property?
At the application stage the applicant is not required to submit evidence relating to the acquisition/rental of property. The certificate of Special Tax Status will only be released when the applicant submits evidence of qualifying property holding.
- Can one show a preliminary agreement of purchase (convenium) as proof that he intends purchasing a property?
Yes. However, for the purpose of a confirmation of the special tax status, a copy of the final deed of purchase has to be submitted.
- The value of €400,000 is for a finished and habitable property? What if the property is in shell form or unconverted and is being purchased for less than €400,000?
Improvements are taken into consideration.
- Re the minimum rental of €20,000 per annum, does this include the cost of utilities payable by the applicant, e.g. water and electricity?Yes, as long as these are shown as forming part of the rent.
- Is the special rate of 15% chargeable on all income received by applicant? 15% is limited to foreign sourced income remitted to Malta. Income generated through business activity in Malta, or Local Capital Gains, are charged at the normal rate of 35% (subject to certain exceptions). Overseas Capital Gains received in Malta is not subject to Malta tax.
- Who is considered as a dependent? "Dependent" means the beneficiary's spouse; the beneficiary's unmarried minor children; adopted minor children of the beneficiary or spouse; where the beneficiary or spouse has custody, and the minor children are financially dependent on him/her; and children of the beneficiary or spouse who are not minors but who, because of circumstances of illness or disability of a serious gravity, are unable to maintain themselves.
- What if one of the dependents is a non-EU national, does this affect the application? Dependents can be non-EU nationals.
- When does the applicant have to pay the €6,000? Does s/he receive a refund if the application is declined? The €6,000 is paid on application and it is not refundable.
- What other options does an EU/EEA National have to reside permanently in Malta if he does not qualify under the HNWI scheme?
Ordinary residence in Malta requires individuals to physically live on the island for a period of six months or more. The transfer of ones residence from a high-tax jurisdiction to a lower tax overseas country is available to both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA nationals. There is no minimum value property requirement for non-residents seeking to obtain ordinary residence in Malta, unless there is the need for an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit, which applies in specific circumstances.
- If the spouse or one of the dependents is a non-EU citizen can he or she still qualify for ordinary residence and NHWI Scheme? Yes, he/she can.
- On what grounds can EU/EEA nationals qualify for ordinary residency?
The main grounds on which they can apply are economic self-sufficiency, employment and education. Economic Self-Sufficiency: This criterion requires that such individuals show that they are able to provide for themselves, and for their accompanying dependants, by being financially stable and not being in need of any financial support from the Maltese government. The current thresholds for EU/EEA nationals are set at a minimum capital of €14,000, or a weekly income of €84.95 for single persons, and at a capital of at least €23,300, or a weekly income of €93.10 for married couples. Employment: Residence in Malta may also be applied for on grounds of employment. Alternatively, an individual may opt to set up a business in Malta or opt for self-employment status.
- What is the situation with present residents? Do they have to satisfy the new requirements under the new scheme?
No. Current holders of a Permanent Residence Scheme Certificate shall continue to benefit from such rights, i.e. those under the old scheme as long as the conditions of the scheme are adhered to. In addition such residents (1) must be in receipt of stable and regular income; (2) must be in possession of health insurance and (3) the property cannot be occupied by any person other than the Permanent Residence Permit Holder and his/her family.
- What about the qualifying value of the property purchased or rented.
Current residents can continue to occupy their present property and still qualify under the old scheme, however, should the permit holder sell the property or terminate his/her present lease, s/he must acquire a qualifying property holding as defined under the new HNWI rules, i.e. €400,000 for purchase and €20,000 per annum for rental.
- Does one need to import into Malta all the funds to be taxed the minimum charge, or can one import what he requires in Malta and simply pay the minimum tax?
One does not need to import any minimum amount, as long as he/she pays the minimum tax due and has sufficient funds to cover the cost to live there for him/herself and his/her dependants.
Non EU Nationals
- Can Non-EU nationals avail themselves of the High Net-Worth Individuals Residency Scheme and under what conditions?
Yes. Non-EU nationals can benefit from the HNWI Scheme. The conditions are basically the same as EU/EEA nationals with the exception of the annual minimum tax liability which is slightly higher at €25,000 per annum, plus €5,000 per annum for each dependent. In addition, to qualify for the current scheme and to be able to stay in Malta, a non-EU national has two options. Option (1): Obtain and regularly renew his/her visa; Option (2): Qualifying Contract
- What is a qualifying contract?
A qualifying contract is an agreement that is entered into between the Government of Malta and the applicant, wherein the applicant delivers to the Government of Malta a sum of €500,000 and €150,000 for every dependent (The Bond), which the Government of Malta holds by title of gratuitous voluntary deposit. The Bond will be restored to the applicant if such applicant declares and proves to the Government of Malta that he/she has renounced to the special tax status granted under High Net Worth Individuals Rules, prior to the expiration of four years from the date of the qualifying contract.
- If the applicant either: Intends to become a long-term resident prior to the expiration of four years from the date on which he applied for special tax status in terms of High Net Worth Individuals Rules, or becomes a long-term resident prior to the expiration of four years from the date on which he applied for special tax status in terms of the High Net Worth Individuals Rules he/she will forfeit all the rights over the Bond.
- At what stage is the Bond deposited if the Bond Option is taken?
On the date of application the applicant only needs to pay the €6,000 fee. At that stage (if the application is found to be duly completed and contains all the necessary documentation/information) it will be forwarded for the due diligence process. Once the Inland Revenue Department receives the outcome of the due diligence process, they will inform the Authorised Registered Mandatory (ARM) accordingly. At that stage they will issue a letter of intent, subject to a copy of the final deed of purchase/lease, and in the case of the Qualifying Contract, a copy of such contract together with a copy of the residence permit. Therefore it is not necessarily at date of application that the Bond needs to be paid.
- Can the Bond be substituted with a Bank Guarantee? Yes.
- What is Long Term Residence?
A long term resident is: (a) a person who has long-term resident status in terms of the Status of Long-term Residents (Third Country Nationals) Regulations; (b) a person who applies for long-term resident status under the Status of Long-term Residents (Third Country Nationals) Regulations; or (c) third country nationals who have resided legally and continuously in Malta for five years. Periods of absence from Malta shall not interrupt the aforesaid period, and shall be taken into account for its calculation provided that they are less than six consecutive months, and do not exceed in total ten months within the aforesaid five-year.
- Are there any other conditions governing the Scheme? Yes. Applicants have to be fluent in one of the official languages of Malta, i.e. Maltese or English.
- What other options does a non-EU have to stay in Malta, even if he/she does not take advantage of the preferential tax rate?
A non EU national may apply for a Visa to enter and stay in Malta, which needs to be renewed periodically.
- Would this Visa give applicants access to the Schengen area? This depends on the type of Visa granted
- For how long would the Visas normally be and where does one apply for a Visa?
This depends on the type of Visa granted. Visas may be granted with a validity of one to five years, with each case being considered on its own merits. One applies for a Visa at the relevant embassy in the applicant's country of residence.
- Can a non-EU national work in Malta and does this give him/her the right to reside in Malta?
In the case of non-EU nationals, employment in Malta requires a licence and is only granted in particular circumstances. Once an employment licence is granted, one will be given the right to reside in Malta.
- How about a non-EU national who sets up his/her own business and works as a Self-Employed person in his/her own business? Could he/she apply for residency on these grounds?
Yes, one would be able to apply for residency on the grounds of self-sufficiency once the latter status is granted. This would be possible under the following criteria: An investment of at least €100,000 without an EU/EEA partner, or an investment equivalent to €40,000 with an EU partner. The investment must consist of fixed assets and/or capital used for business purposes. Rental contracts are not eligible; Status of a highly skilled innovator with a sound business plan, committed to recruiting at least three EU/EEA nationals within eighteen months of establishment of business; Status of sole representative of an overseas company (with a sound reputation and established for at least three years abroad) wishing to open a branch in Malta; or, The holding of a directorship in a company forming part of a project that has been formally approved by Malta Enterprise, and which has been formally notified by the latter to the Employment and Training Corporation. A firm commitment regarding the engagement of EU/EEA nationals as part of their staff will assist in the favourable consideration of an application.
- What about a non-EU national who lives in Malta for the purpose of education?
In the case of students in any private school College, or University of Malta, applicants are granted a temporary resident permit to stay in Malta during the prepaid period of his/her education. Moreover, if the student is underage, his/her legal guardian (mother, father, etc.) can apply for the same type of permit. Such person has to confirm that he/she has a stable and regular income plus a suitable place to live.
- Is a non-EU national, who lives with an EU national but is not married, entitled to obtain residency on the basis of his/her partner being an EU national living in Malta?
Since one of the parties is an EU national, the non-EU national can apply for ordinary residence, as long as one can show that both persons are of independent financial means and have been together in a stable and durable relationship even though not married.
- What about same sex couples?
The definition of family members includes the term stable and durable relationship, therefore same sex/co-habiting partners need not necessarily apply separately, but if one of them is the beneficiary under the HNWI scheme, the other may live in the qualifying own property together with the beneficiary.
- Can an EU or non-EU national apply for residence in Malta without taking tax advantage of the favourable 15% rate of tax under the HNWI?
Yes, by taking up ordinary residence.
- How can one apply for the special tax status under the High Net Worth Individuals Scheme?
Applications may be submitted to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue through the services of a person that qualified as an Authorised Registered Mandatory.
- What about taxation? Are ordinary residents subject to tax in Malta? Yes, any national who resides in Malta for more than 183 days (not continuous) every Calendar year, is subject to tax in Malta.
- Do ordinary residents benefit from Double Taxation Relief?
Ordinary residents are afforded protection by double taxation agreements, which ensures that tax is never paid twice on the same income in different countries. Malta has an extensive network of double taxation treaties. Most treaties are based on the OECD Model Convention, and relief is granted under the credit method where a credit is given for any foreign tax paid. Where there is no double taxation treaty, another form of relief from double taxation available under domestic law, namely unilateral relief, largely achieves the same outcome.
- On what is an ordinary resident charged tax and what are the rates of tax?
Income Tax: Individuals who are ordinarily resident, but not domiciled in Malta, are subject to income tax on income arising in Malta, on income arising outside Malta but received in Malta, and on capital gains arising in Malta. No tax is chargeable on capital gains which arise overseas but which are remitted to Malta. Personal income tax is charged at progressive rates up to a maximum of 35%, as illustrated by the following tables:
|Taxable Income €
|19,501 & over
|Taxable Income €
|28,701 & over