Taking an Insight into the Benefits offered by the Maltese Residency and Citizenship Programmes

Kristine Attard and Dr John Caruana  -  10/September/2019

Malta, an island which is renowned for its pro-business mentality, offers a fully-fledged citizenship and residency body of programmes to foreign investors seeking to become Maltese residents or citizens. This article seeks to aid foreign investors to reach a decision on which programme is more applicable for them, from the point of view of the current benefits which exist for individuals obtaining residency or citizenship, with a focus being made mainly on the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) and the Malta Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP).

Section 1 – Maltese Citizenship and Maltese Residency Programmes

1.1 Main Distinctions and Commonalities between Maltese Citizenship and Maltese Residency (including benefits and other characteristics)

Maltese Citizenship

Maltese Residency

Benefits Differences

Travel visa-free to a continuously increasing list of countries (currently standing at 182 countries), including the Schengen States, USA, Canada and Australia.

Travel visa-free to Schengen States (currently consisting of 26 European States) without border checks

Right to work in Malta and in all 28 EU Member States.

Right to work in Malta and in EU Member States only upon successful application for a work permit.

Right to stay in all 28 EU countries for as long as one wishes.

Right for a uniform Schengen short-stay visa, which gives the right to stay/travel within the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in a six-month period.


The acquisition of Maltese Citizenship status will also lead to the acquisition of Commonwealth Citizenship status



Right to apply for a European Long-Term Residence Permit after 5 years in Malta


Right to apply for Citizenship by Naturalisation after residing continuously in Malta for 5 years.


Right to avail from the tax status under the Global Residence Programme

Common Benefits

Access to leading health care institutions.

Access to a world-class education system for children.

Stay in an island which is deemed to be one of the safest countries in the world.

Stay in an island where the English Language is considered as an official language.

Stay in an island which is reputed for its climate and for having a rich cultural and historical heritage.

The privilege of living in a country which has a promising economy, currently boasting a positive A-/A-2 rating from Standard AND Poor's.

The privilege of living in a country which benefits from political stability.

Access to possible tax planning benefits (Malta also has favourable double-taxation agreements with numerous countries).

Other Differences (Qualify as Benefits under Maltese Citizenship)[1]

Maltese Citizenship does not have an expiry date.

Residency Cards have to be renewed.

Maltese Citizenship is hereditary, and thus, once obtained, it may be passed onto future generations.

Maltese Residency has to be obtained on an individual basis and cannot be extended to future generations. However, under the MRVP, residency can be extended; this is allowed through a notional €5,000 contribution

Both the Main Applicant and eligible Dependants are covered under Malta’s present Citizenship Scheme – IIP Scheme

For most Residency Schemes, only the Main Applicant is covered, and separate applications have to be made for the eligible Dependants. An exception exists for the MRVP which covers an entire family at one go.

Maltese Citizenship cannot be revoked easily.

Maltese Residency can be revoked.

All the necessary requisites must be satisfied for a minimum of 5 years after the issuance of citizenship.

Certain requisites for residency must be respected for a lifetime; otherwise, residency would be relinquished.

One can vote as a citizen.

One cannot vote as a resident.


The benefits of the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) are the same as those listed under the above table’s column titled ‘Maltese Citizenship’

The benefits of the MRVP are also listed under the above table’s column titled Maltese Residency’, which specifies what benefits the MRVP has which is different from other Residency Schemes. Notably, the MRVP is however restricted to third country nationals, excluding nationals from Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, EEA and Switzerland.


KSi Malta – here to help

In the case that any of these schemes apply for you, or you require further details about these schemes in order to make an informed decision, KSi Malta, as accredited agents of all Maltese citizenship and residency schemes can help you. Our legal and tax team is constituted of fully experienced individuals in this regard, who shall take care of the compilation all the requisite documentation, and correspondence with the relevant authorities.

[1] As highlighted in the table, some of the characteristics mentioned also qualify as benefits under Maltese Residency Schemes if the Malta Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP) is the Residency Scheme applied for.

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