Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation and Registration

Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation and Registration

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Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation or Registration can be granted to a non-Maltese person, provided that this person satisfies a number of criteria as stated in the Constitution of Malta and the Malta Citizenship Act (Chapter 188 of the laws of Malta). 

Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation

To be able to apply for Maltese citizenship by naturalisation, one of the following conditions must be satisfied:

  • A former citizen of Malta;
  • Born abroad to Maltese parents who are returned migrants;
  • Born in Malta, and hold foreign citizenship, and at least one of the parents is a citizen of Malta;
  • Born to parents who were non-Maltese but one of whom or both subsequently acquired Maltese citizenship;
  • Born abroad and is a Maltese descendant;
  • Maltese citizens or parents, who have authority over a minor may apply for a certificate of naturalisation, on behalf of the said child.

Malta Citizenship by Registration

To be able to apply for Maltese citizenship by registration, one of the following conditions must be satisfied:

  • Wife/husband of a citizen of Malta who have been married for at least 5 years and on the date of application are still married and living with the Maltese spouse;
  • Wife/husband of a citizen of Malta who on the date of application are still married, but separated de jure or de facto, provided that the spouses lived together for at least 5 years after the celebration of the marriage;
  • Widow/widower of a citizen of Malta;
  • A former citizen of Malta;
  • Son/daughter born prior to 21st September 1964 of a female born in Malta and who became or would have become, but for her death, a citizen of Malta on the said date; 
  • Son/Daughter born abroad between 21st September 1964 and 31st July 1989 of a Maltese mother, who at the time of the birth of the child was a citizen of Malta;
  • The direct descendant, second or subsequent generation, born abroad of an ascendant who was born in Malta whereby one  of the  parents of the said ascendant was also born in Malta.

The Difference Between Citizenship by Registration, Naturalisation and Investment

There are several ways to acquire citizenship in Malta. The first is through investment, where the applicant invests in a property (renting or purchasing), invests in the national development fund, and donates to a philanthropic cause. Citizenship by Investment is when a country offers foreign individuals the option of becoming citizens if they make a significant direct investment in the country and economic contribution through donation.

Countries have different requirements for individuals who would like to acquire citizenship by naturalisation. Usually, they have to satisfy the residency requirements and establish a genuine link with the country, language tests, etc.

In Malta, there is an option to acquire citizenship by naturalization. The following individuals would be eligible to apply for this route: the applicant is a son/daughter born prior to 21st September 1964 of a female born in Malta; the applicant has a descendant in the direct line of an ascendant born in Malta, or the applicant is/was married to a Maltese born individual.

Citizenship by registration is where a spouse is Maltese; the deceased spouse was Maltese, or other familial circumstances.

The Requirements of the Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation

Several requirements should be satisfied to acquire citizenship by naturalisation in Malta. Applicants need to:

  • be over 18 years of age;
  • reside in Malta for a minimum of 12 months prior to the application;
  • reside in Malta for an aggregate period of a minimum of 4 years, during six 6 years;
  • have 2 sponsors;
  • have a good knowledge of English and the Maltese language;
  • be of good character to be considered a suitable citizen of Malta;

These requirements are in addition to fulfilling application criteria such as being a former citizen or having familial ties to the country.

The Requirements for Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment

Many countries offer for foreign individuals the option of becoming citizens if they make a direct investment in the country. These investment programmes are substantial benefit to the economies.

In Malta there are two ways to acquire citizenship by direct investment:

1. Standard procedure: If applying after 36 months, a contribution of €650,000 for the Main Applicant and €50,000 is added for each additional dependent;

2. Expedited procedure: If the applicant decides to apply at the 12th month or after only a year, a contribution of €750,000 is due, plus €50,000 for each additional dependent.

Furthermore, the applicant has to make a donation to an NGO with a minimum amount of €10,000, has to have a real estate investment (either leasing or purchasing an apartment in Malta), has to have a clean criminal background, etc.

Benefits of the Citizenship by Naturalisation and Registration

There are many benefits to citizenship by naturalisation in Malta. These include family reunification and being able to pass on citizenship to descendants. Furthermore, the individual holding citizenship can live and work in Malta without any other permissions and benefit from visa-free travel and residence in the EU. A Maltese passport also facilitates visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 185 countries, including the US, Australia, the UK and Canada.  In addition, individuals can benefit from the fact that Malta is centrally located, with excellent air links. It is also an attractive place to live due to excellent lifestyle, climate and safety. Successful applicants are also entitled to first-class free healthcare, high-standard education.

The Benefits of a Malta Citizenship by Investment

The Malta Citizenship by Investment programme brings with it a raft of benefits for the applicant. These include the right to live and work in Malta and the EU, as well as visa-free travel to more than 180 countries. Furthermore, it provides citizenship of an EU country and all the benefits that come with it, including free education to university level and free healthcare in Malta. For international business people, acquiring Maltese citizenship makes life easier and doing business more streamlined and efficient.

In addition, the Maltese citizenship by Investment has one of the world’s strictest due diligence standards and vetting of applicants, which is why Maltese passports are highly respected.