Introduction - Malta vs Portugal Program
If you are considering obtaining a second residence, then most likely Malta and Portugal have crossed your mind as viable options.
Both the Portuguese Golden Visa program (PGVP) and the Malta Residence and Visa Program (MRVP) are two of the most popular of their kind in Europe and the world and for a good reason.
In this article, we are going to list all the benefits and requirements of each program, hoping to make your decision easier. Both programs have their specific characteristics, and depending on your individual needs; one may be more suitable than the other.
What is the Portugal Golden Visa Program?
Since 2012, Portugal has offered the opportunity to non-EU/EEA citizens to acquire a special residence permit. The Golden Residence Permit Program (PGVP) grants the investor several benefits which we will explore in the next section, in exchange for a 5-year investment in Portugal.
Since the Portuguese government launched the program, it has granted over 7738 Investor Visas, which translate into a €4.72 billion investment in the economy.
The PGVP allows you to maintain an excellent and affordable quality of life in a safe and stable country. As a resident of Portugal, you gain access to proper healthcare and education prospects, well-connected airports and a great climate.
What is the Malta Permanent Residency Program?
The Malta Permanent Residency Program is a unique opportunity offered by the Government of Malta to relocate to the island. The program provides you with the right to reside indefinitely in Malta.
As a European Union and Schengen Area member, this right also extends to all 27 EU countries and 4 EEA countries. Maltese residency allows you to enjoy unrestricted entry into all Schengen countries under the Schengen agreement rules.
Several applicants are attracted to Malta each year, seeking a better quality of living, in a beautiful and culturally-rich country. The excellent climate and relaxed lifestyle are the other two factors which draw people into relocating to the heart of the Mediterranean.
What are the benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa Program?
Obtaining a Golden Visa from Portugal comes with a number of advantages. Some of these include:
Entering Portugal without a special visa;
Living and working in Portugal;
Relocating with your family;
Applying for permanent residency and/or Portuguese citizenship after five (5) years;
Gaining access to the Portuguese healthcare and education system; and
Travelling freely within the Schengen Area.
What are the benefits of the Malta Permanent Residency Program?
Residing in Malta can offer you various benefits with regards to business, travel and your family. Some of these benefits allow you to:
Build your business in the EU’s fastest-growing economy;
Profit from a tax-efficient system;
Investment options in a stable and booming real estate market;
Access to leading healthcare institutions;
Apply for a European Long-Term Residency after five (5) years in Malta; and
Relocate together with your family, with the additional benefit of being eligible to apply for naturalisation as a Maltese citizen.
What are the Requirements of the Portugal Golden Visa?
You may be wondering if you are eligible for the Golden Visa program. If you are a third-country national, meaning not a Portuguese, EU or EEA citizen, you are eligible to apply for the program once you have made the necessary investment contribution into Portugal.
In order to meet the requirements, you are obligated to retain the investment for a minimum period of five years. You are also expected to spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal during the first year, and not less than fourteen days in each subsequent 2-year period.
With regards to the qualifying investment, there are several options to choose from. Your investment needs to satisfy at least one of the following:
Transfer of capital of at least €1,000,000;
Creation of at least 10 jobs;
Acquisition of real estate with a value of at least €500,000;
Acquisition of real estate with construction completed at least 30 years ago or located in an urban rehabilitation area, with the execution of rehabilitation works. The investment, in this case, is reduced to €350,000;
Transfer of capital of at least €350,000, invested in research carried out by public or private, scientific research institutions that are part of the national scientific and technological system;
Transfer capital of at least €250,000 as investment or support for artistic production, or recovery or maintenance of national cultural heritage;
Transfer capital of at least €350,000, destined to acquire units in investment or venture capital funds aimed at providing capital to companies that meet specific requirements;
Transfer capital of at least €350,000, to incorporate or increase the share capital of a company with registered office in Portugal, together with the creation of five permanent jobs, for a period of three years.
What are the Requirements of the Malta PR?
Similar to Portugal, as a third-country national through the Malta Visa and Residence Program, you can relocate to Malta. If you can satisfy the following criteria, you are considered to be an eligible candidate for the Malta PR.
Be at least 18 years of age;
Have an annual income of not less than €100,000 arising outside of Malta, or having a global net-worth in excess of €500,000;
Have a stable and regular income for maintaining yourself and your family ;
Have medical insurance that covers you and your family globally;
Have a certificate of good health from a reputable health system;
Not be considered a potential national security risk;
Not have a reputational risk; and
Not be subject to criminal proceedings.
From a fiscal perspective, the following are the main requirements of the program:
Eur30,000 contribution to the Malta National Development and Social Fund
Eur250,000 as a qualifying investment to be kept for a period of 5 years;
Acquisition or rental of qualifying property to be kept for 5 years
A qualifying investment means €250,000 value in debt or equity securities listed on the Official List of the Malta Stock Exchange. Investment in these securities may also be achieved through an investment in collective investment schemes that are licensed and are on the Official List of the Malta Stock Exchange.
Such investment is to be retained for a period of 5 years following the granting of the residency certificate.
- Under the program a qualifying property means the acquisition of real estate with a minimum value of €320,000 (€270,000 if located in Gozo or the South of Malta) ) to be held for at least 5 years; or the lease of residential immovable property in Malta for a period of 5 years, at an annual rent of at least € 12,000. (€10,000 if located in Gozo or the South of Malta).
How can you apply for the Portugal Golden Visa program?
The initial stage of application involves submitting a form online, including copies of supporting documentation. Once the request is accepted by Serviço de Fronteiras e Estrangeiros (SEF), you will be invited for an interview. This interview will be conducted in the district in which you have made your investment.
The following stages can take up to 6 months to conclude, and it is highly recommended to seek counsel from a lawyer or immigration advisor. The completion of your application will be done through the lawyer or advisor.
A processing fee of €532.70 is due for the main applicant and €83.10 for each of the remaining family members.
If you are approved, after ten to twenty days, you will receive your residency card, which is valid for one year. An approval fee of €5,274.40 for each applicant is due upon approval.
After the first year, you are required to renew your residency permit. This process should take approximately one month to finalise. During this time, you are required to re-submit Biometrics, criminal records, and a fee of €2,637.20 per applicant. The processing fee is €532.70 for the primary applicant and €83.10 for the consecutive family members.
The new residency card is valid for 2 years, and post this period; you will need to go through the process of renewal again.
How can you apply for the Malta PR?
The application process for the Malta Residence and Visa Program is similar to that of Portugal’s Golden Visa. It is mandatory to submit your application through an accredited agent. The entire process from start to finish is circa a 55-week period.
The first stage involves settling a deposit against professional fees, conducting background checks and signing a letter of engagement.
The stage that follows requires you to pay the Government Due Diligence Fees and Bank Charges together with the balance of professional fees. You are to submit the complete MRVP Application Pack to the MRVA at this stage. Along with the application, you must settle the nonrefundable administrative fee of €5,500. (This amount includes the primary applicant and dependents).
Once you have submitted your application to the MRVA, the agency will perform independent due diligence. You will be notified on the outcome once this stage has been closed.
If you are successful in your application, you must settle the remaining contribution. The application contribution you are expected to pay at this stage is €24,500 for the main applicant, spouse and each child. Each parent or grandparent is an additional €5,000.
Additionally, you will be required to acquire the qualifying investment of €250,000; purchase property amounting to €270,000 (minimum) or rental of the qualifying property at a minimum of €10,000 per annum and obtaining a qualifying Health Insurance.
The final stage necessitates your and your families physical presence in Malta to take Biometrics. You will be issued with a Lifetime Residency Certificate and Residency Card, which marks the end of the process.
As outlined in this article, both programs prove to be favourable options if you are seeking to relocate to Europe.
Both Portugal and Malta, offer the chance of living the Mediterranean lifestyle, unrestricted access to the Schengen Area and access to excellent healthcare and education. All in all, despite the significant investment that is required, both programs offer many benefits.
If you are a foreign investor seeking access to the EU accompanied by a powerful passport, then the fees and application process prove to be worth it.
All you have left to do is to decide which country?
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