Updated: September 09, 2021 | 21 minute read
    The Malta Individual Investor Programme, a.k.a. The Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme, has been terminated permanently.
    The government of Malta launched the Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment, a.k.a. Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations in 2020. 

    Introduction - Top 13 Differences between Malta Citizenship and Malta Residency

    If your country’s political climate has you stressed, you may find yourself imagining moving to Malta. It's a land rich in cultural heritage with top-class healthcare and education system.
    Malta also enjoys political stability and steady economic growth. The small island country is not only the European Union (EU) member state but also part of the Schengen area.
    If you are looking to acquire Permanent Residency or Citizenship through real estate, stock-market or business investment, then Malta is the place for you.
    The Maltese government has formed various programs by which you can immigrate to the multiple countries in the European Union, or freely travel visa-free to 184 countries. You can achieve this through either Permanent Residency or Citizenship by Investment.
    But the question is, which one would suit you the best?
    Whether to go with Permanent Residency or Citizenship is one of the most critical things to analyse. Before you take any decision, it is essential for you to understand the difference between both. Understanding it in depth can help you make the right choice.
    To make it easier for you, we have listed out the Top 13 differences between Malta Citizenship and Permanent Residency.
    We will also highlight out how the Malta Residency & Visa Program bridges the gaps between Citizenship and Residency, allowing you to gain increased rights even if only under residency status.
    Top 13 Differences between Malta Citizenship and Malta Residency


    What's the difference between Citizenship and Permanent Residency?

    Malta Citizenship
    Malta Residency

    You will be granted with a full set of rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities equivalent to those of Maltese Citizens.

    You will have the legal right to live in Malta and ancillary rights thereto.

    You have the automatic right to work in Malta.

    Once you are offered a job, a work permit must be obtained.

    Maltese Citizenship never expires unless given up.

    Residency cards have to be renewed from time to time before expiry.

    Maltese Citizenship is hereditary - once obtained it is passed onto future generations.

    Maltese Residency has to be obtained on an individual basis and cannot be transferred. This is not the case under the MRVP where it is possible to pass on residency rights to future generations in certain instances.

    Maltese Citizenship cannot be revoked easily.

    Maltese residency can be revoked.

    In terms of the Malta Citizenship by Investment, you have to fulfil and satisfy the investment requirements for a minimum of 5 years.

    Certain requirements must continue to subsist to retain the residency status.

    You can vote as a citizen.

    You can not vote as a resident.

    You can travel visa-free e/TA to an ever-increasing list of countries, currently 183 countries.

    You can travel visa-free to 26 Schengen states.

    You can work in all 27 EU member states.

    You need a permit to work in other EU countries.

    You can stay in all 27 EU member states for as long as you like subject to certain registration requirements that may be applicable in the respective country.

    You can stay up to 90 days per every 180 days within the Schengen Zone.

    Your children born in Malta or outside of Malta will automatically be Maltese citizens.

    Your children, even if born in Malta, will not be Maltese citizens but may be entitled to Maltese residence as a family member.

    Eligible dependents may apply together with the main applicant under Malta Citizenship by Investment.

    The primary applicant and eligible family members must apply for residence separately (MRVP covers eligible dependents at one go).

    You can acquire Citizenship through various routes, like:

    • Malta Citizenship by Registration including registration after marriage;
    • Malta Citizenship by Birth or Descent; and
    • Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation including through the citizenship by investment.

    You can obtain residency through a resident permit on different basis including under various schemes, like:

    • Residence on the basis of inter alia employment/self-employment, study purposes, economic self-sufficiency, long-term residence and as a family member;
    • Malta Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP); and
    • Malta Global Residence Programme.

    What's the difference between Citizenship and Permanent Residency?

    Citizenship and Residency further explained

    There are some factors which we thought should be discussed in detail for better understanding.

    Permanent Residency and Citizenship by Investment Options

    The Government of Malta offers third-country nationals to relocate by various investment programs.

    You can take up Maltese Citizenship by a unique investment program called:

    Likewise, you can become a Resident of Malta through two special programs, namely:

    MRVP grants you permanent residency in Malta whereas GRP gives you a special tax status. You can couple MRVP with GRP to achieve enhanced benefits.


    When you take up citizenship by investment, you automatically get the right to set up your business in Malta. Alongside you are also granted the right to work or do business in any of the 27 European Union countries.

    Other than that, you can also:

    • Enjoy and benefit from Malta’s tax-efficient system on both personal and corporate; and
    • Freely move your capital and income;
    • Invest in property in Malta and make the most of the stable and booming real estate market.

    As a Maltese Resident, you can

    • Through a separate process you can do business in Malta and other European Union member states;
    • You might opt to avail from the tax status under the Global Residence Program.


    By taking citizenship through the IIP, you can:

    • Gain one of the world’s most powerful passports;
    • Easily travel to 184 countries, including the USA, Canada and Australia. (So no more visa application hassles);
    • Travel and cross Schengen borders without checks across 26 Schengen countries.

    So with a Maltese passport in your pocket, you will not be required  to apply for a separate Schengen visa and will also gain visiting rights to 183 countries with which Malta has visa-free travel agreements. But by taking up Maltese residency, you gain the right to enter the Schengen area without border checks.


    Permanent Residency and Citizenship by Investment Options


    Here are the family benefits of Malta citizenship:

    Once you become a Maltese citizen, you can:

    • Protect your family legacy by passing on citizenship to future generations. Even if they are born outside of Malta they will inherit and attain citizenship by descent;

    • Secure your children’s future through a world-class education system;

    • Get access to leading health care institutions; and

    • Relax in what has been voted as one of the safest countries in the world;

    As a resident of Malta, you can:

    • Apply for a European Long-Term Residence permit after five years in Malta;

    • With a special permit, you can work or do business.

    • Ensure your children’s future through a top-class education system; and

    • Get access to leading health care institutions.

    Unlike citizenship which can be passed onto future generations, Residence CANNOT be transferred.

    However, the MRVP extends and allows for this option through a notional €5,000 contribution.


    If you are granted citizenship by investment, you can;

    • Gain settlement rights in the following countries;


    Austria-Flag(1) Austria Greece-Flag(1) Greece Norway-Flag(1) Norway m_l_europe
    Belgium-Flag(1) Belgium Hungary-Flag(1)  Hungary Poland-Flag(1) Poland
    Bulgaria-Flag(1) Bulgaria Iceland-Flag(1)   Iceland Portugal-Flag(1) Portugal
    Croatia-Flag(1) Croatia Ireland-Flag(1)  Ireland Romania-Flag(1) Romania
    Cyprus-Flag(1) Cyprus Italy-Flag(1)  Italy Slovakia-Flag(1) Slovakia
    Czech-Republic-Flag(1) Czech Republic Latvia-Flag(1) Latvia Slovenia-Flag(1) Slovenia
    Denmark-Flag(1) Denmark Liechtenshein-Flag(1)  Liechtenstein Spain-Flag(1) Spain
    Estonia-Flag(1) Estonia Lithuania-Flag(1) Lithuania Sweden-Flag(1) Sweden
    Finland-Flag(1) Finland Luxembourg-Flag(1) Luxembourg Switzerland-Flag(1) Switzerland
    France-Flag(1) France Malta-Flag(1) Malta Germany-Flag(1) Germany
    Netherlands-Flag(1) Netherlands

    If you take up residence in Malta, you can;

    • Indefinitely reside, settle and stay in Malta; and

    • Once you achieve European Long-Term Residence status you gain increased rights in the following countries;

    Austria Italy
    Belgium Latvia
    Bulgaria Lithuania
    Croatia Luxembourg
    Cyprus Netherlands
    Czechia Poland
    Estonia Portugal
    Finland Romania
    France Slovakia
    Germany Slovenia
    Greece Spain
    Hungary Sweden

    What's the difference between Citizenship and Permanent Residency?



    While a citizenship status is evidently much more prestigious and powerful, multiple residencies may gather increased benefits. A residence in Malta is also seen as a doorway to the European Union.

    Whereas, Maltese citizenship can open the doors to living, studying and working elsewhere in Europe without restrictions a residence can allow you that right in Malta, together with increased mobility for life within the Schengen territory.

    Nicely tucked between South of Sicily and North Africa. Malta’s geographical location can also work as a doorway to the European,  African  and Middle Eastern markets.

    Depending on what you are aiming to achieve for yourself and your family,

    Our Relocation Services team of highly skilled professionals can offer you the best personalised and holistic solution for your every need. Reach us at info@endevio.com for a more personalised consultation.