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). 

Ways to Acquire Citizenship in Malta

Acquiring citizenship in Malta can be achieved through the following pathways:

  • Citizenship by Investment (MEIN)
  • Birth
  • Citizenship by Naturalisation
  • Citizenship by Registration

Below, you may find a detailed overview about the Naturalisation and Registration methods.

Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation Requirements

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;
  • 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.

Malta Citizenship by Registration Requirements

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 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.

Documents Required for Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation

The documents needed to acquire citizenship by naturalisation in Malta will depend on the criteria for the application. It is necessary to fill out an application form, pay an applicable fee, and present documentation supporting the claim. This can include government-issued identification documents, birth certificates, and documents such as parents’ marriage or birth certificates, grandparents’ marriage or birth certificates, or adoption documentation. In addition, they require at least two sponsors, one being a lawyer, member of the judiciary, MP, senior law enforcement officer or priest. The other can be a citizen of Malta who does not fall under the other categories.

Documents Required for Maltese Citizenship by Registration

When applying for Maltese citizenship by registration, an application form must be submitted to the authorities, along with payment of a fee. In addition, it is necessary to submit several documents, including a government-issued Identification Document; Birth certificate; Marriage certificate; Death certificate if the widow(er) of a Maltese citizen; or parent(s) Birth certificate, depending on the reason for application. The applicant may also need a joint affidavit confirming they have been with a Maltese spouse for five years and are still living together. As with all application processes, the authorities may ask for additional documentation depending on the circumstances.

The Documents Required for Malta Citizenship by Investment

When you apply for citizenship by investment in Malta, you will need to provide a wide range of documents. These include a copy of your full passport, residence permit, information on the source of wealth, and evidence of the required investments. For example, purchase documents or a rental contract. You will also need to demonstrate you are in good health by means of a certificate from a medical professional.

The Timeline

The entire process for acquiring citizenship by naturalisation in Malta can take between one and seven years. This is because the applicant should have been resident in Malta for 12 months, plus at least four years within the previous six years. Once that criteria has been satisfied, they can start the application process. In cases of naturalisation due to marriage, the application can be filed after five years. For application due to descent, just one year. The timeline involved can vary significantly depending on the reason for the application and whether the documents submitted are satisfactory. Once the application has been submitted, a decision can be expected within a year.

Annual Compliance for the first 5 Years

Those people whom have obtained citizenship through direct investment in Malta need to comply and complete a declaration stating that the applicant is abiding by the requirement as stipulated by S.L. 188.06. A Compliance Form must be filed on a yearly basis for 5 years from the date of the oath of allegiance.

Yearly Quota for the Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation

The Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation is a process through which foreign nationals can acquire Maltese citizenship. The Maltese government has set a yearly quota for the number of individuals who can be granted Citizenship by Naturalisation.

The policy sets a yearly limit of 400 approved applications. Throughout the entire duration of the policy, the maximum number of individuals who will be granted Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services through Direct Investment has been capped at 1,500.

This quota is put in place to ensure that the number of new citizens does not exceed the country's capacity to absorb and integrate them effectively. The quota is reviewed annually and is subject to change based on the country's needs and resources. Therefore, individuals seeking Maltese citizenship through naturalisation should keep themselves informed about the yearly quota and plan accordingly.

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As foreigners having our business located in Malta, it did not take long until we realised the importance of local know-how and the value of having the presence of a professional partner that could take care of juridical and financial matters. We can honestly say that choosing CSB as our advisor is one of the best decisions we have made. CSB always delivers great results in a timely fashion and we would give them the best recommendations to anyone that considers starting up their business abroad.

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We chose Malta as our new permanent home and CSB Group to help us through the residency process. They went way beyond our expectations treating our application as if it were their own. Their service was nothing short of stellar from understanding our needs preparation of the required documentation, and follow-up phase during a period with the sharpest movement restrictions. Malta deserves a place on every investor’s radar, mostly because of the surprising efficiency permeating the place, efficiency which starts with CSB.

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I have been using CSB Group in Malta to register our company and our ship under the Malta flag, and have always been completely satisfied with their performance. They do an excellent job, are always punctual, and offer the most competitive rates in Europe! A young and Smart team! We have also involved them on occasion for extra legal jobs, and recently I am using their accounting service to fulfil the VAT requirement and to complete our balance sheets. I'm happy to recommend the services of CSB Group.

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Kite Investimenti Limited of Cyclos II

We have had the good fortune of working with Andres and his team at CSB on a variety of citizenship and residency matters for our clients. CSB has given us thoughtful and thorough advice and been an invaluable partner. Despite being many time zones and thousands of miles away, Andres and his team are incredibly responsive and willing to speak at any hour of the day. We would certainly recommend them to anyone seeking best-in-class legal advice related to global citizenship and residency issues.

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