Malta is one of the most prosperous and promising places in Europe. With its economic and political stability topped with beautiful beaches, delectable cuisine, and world heritage sites, you will be hard-pressed to find a better new home than what Malta has provided!
Malta’s economic growth has been one of the highest in the European Union. It has been greatly successful in attracting big-time investors, entrepreneurs, and wealthy individuals from all over the world. To enjoy the island nation for a lifetime, there is one solution: citizenship.
How can one acquire Maltese citizenship? Here are the seven main ways.
Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment
Investing in Malta’s economy is the fastest way to citizenship for high-net-worth individuals. From 2014 to 2020, Malta had the Individual Investor Programme, which the European Commission had recognised as a “golden standard” among other citizenship by investment programmes.
The Maltese Citizenship Act launched the Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment in 2021. Compared to the previous programme, it follows stricter conditions and procedures. Still, investors can acquire citizenship without living permanently in Malta.
The programme offers the following investment options to applicants:
|Maltese citizenship after 1 year of residency||Maltese citizenship after 3 years of residency|
|National Development Fund||
€750,000 + €50,000 per family member
€600,000 + €50,000 per family member
€700,000 or rent for €16,000 annually for five years
€700,000 or rent for €16,000 annually for five years
Applicants go through due diligence with additional fees, such as €15,000 for the main applicant’s Eligibility Test. Contact our team for more details about the Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment.
Citizenship by Marriage
Another way of becoming a Maltese citizen is to marry a Maltese citizen. Foreign nationals married to a Maltese citizen has the right to live in Malta visa-free and work even without a work permit. However, you may only apply for citizenship after five years of legal marriage. Sham marriages are considered a crime in Malta. Applicants who only marry for citizenship may be fined or imprisoned for two years.
You may still apply for and retain Maltese citizenship even after a divorce or the spouse’s death as long as the marriage lasted for at least five years. Moreover, a child’s birth does not affect the citizenship timeline. You may process their citizenship after another year.
Citizenship by Naturalisation
Obtaining citizenship by naturalisation is the longest route, taking at least seven years. Foreign nationals without family ties in Malta can become citizens if they have lived in the country for four cumulative years in the last six years with a permanent residence and residence permit. They must not have stayed outside Malta for more than six consecutive months or ten during the said period. They also live in Malta continuously for 12 years after the application.
Applicants must also meet the following conditions:
- Have several Maltese nationals vouch for them in writing
- Confirm a legal, regular, and sufficient income
- Have a Maltese health insurance
- Pass language proficiency, law, and history exams
Applications for citizenship by naturalisation needs two guarantors who are not the applicant’s family members. The first guarantor could be a lawyer, a doctor, or a civil servant with a certain rank. They could also be the following:
- A judge
- A parish priest
- A police officer not lower than an inspector
- A prosecutor
- A captain or above
- A magistrate
- A notary
The second guarantor must be a Maltese citizen not younger than 18 years old and not a citizen by naturalisation.
Citizenship by Birth or Descent
Although this is not a process that you can opt-in or out of, it is still worth mentioning. Maltese Citizenship by birth came into the Maltese constitution on September 21, 1964. The Independence Constitution established those who should become a citizen of Malta automatically by birth.
Previously, the constitution stated that any person born on Maltese soil is a citizen of Malta from birth. Anyone born on or after August 1, 1989 shall only be entitled to Maltese citizenship if either of their parents were citizens of Malta.
This is a human right granted to all born in Malta, including newborns found abandoned in any location of Malta and deemed to be stateless.
Citizenship by Family Reunification
Suitable for children of current or former Maltese citizens and those with close family ties in the country, citizenship by family reunification is only granted in several cases. If you were born in Malta with at least one Maltese parent in 1989, it is possible to apply for citizenship. This also applies to those born outside Malta with a Maltese father between September 21, 1964, and July 31, 1989.
You may also apply for Maltese citizenship by family reunification if:
- Born in Malta or to Maltese parents on September 21, 1964, on Malta’s independence from the United Kingdom.
- Born in Malta to at least one parent before September 21, 1964.
- Subject of the United Kingdom or its colonies before September 21, 1964.
- Born outside Malta to a Maltese father who was also born outside Malta, if your grandfather or great-grandfather was born in Malta.
- Former Maltese citizen.
- Adopted or fostered by Maltese nationals from outside Malta.
- A grandchild of a Maltese citizen.
- A sibling of a Maltese citizen.
- A child of foreign nationals who obtained Maltese citizenship.
- A guardian of a minor Maltese citizen.
You may obtain citizenship by family reunification through an embassy or consulate.
Citizenship for Distinguished Service to Malta
The President of Malta awards a passport to outstanding scientists, cultural figures, business persons, politicians, and athletes for exceptional merit. However, this is no clear criteria for “exceptional” merits. Generally, this way of obtaining Maltese citizenship is impossible to plan.
Citizenship for Refugees and Political Asylum
8,000 to 9,000 refugees arrive in Malta annually, making citizenship for refugees and political asylum more of a forced option. Refugees do not need to take any tests or pay state fees. However, they have to prove that their life has been threatened or that they have been discriminated against in their country.
Refugees deciding to stay in Malta may acquire citizenship after six years.
How can Endevio help?
Acquiring Maltese Citizenship is the pathway to working and living in the world’s largest economic zone and the luxury of visa-free travel to 186 countries.
We mentioned all the possible ways to obtain Maltese Citizenship, and most of them are linked to the family legacy. If you have no ties to the Maltese Islands, the only way to acquire citizenship is through investment.
Endevio’s team of professionals can guide you in your Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment. Moreover, our knowledge of Maltese citizenship can help you identify how you can apply and acquire yours. Ready to make the call? Get in touch with us today!