Earlier today, the 20th of November 2020, new Regulations entitled the "Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations" were issued in virtue of Legal Notice 437 of 2020 (L.N. 437).
These new Regulations set out the framework under which Maltese citizenship may be granted to certain individuals on the basis of their exceptional contributions to the Republic of Malta (such as contributions by scientists, researchers, athletes, artists and cultural performers) as well as 'exceptional direct investment in the economic and social development of Malta'.
More specifically, for an individual to apply for a certificate of naturalisation in terms of these Regulations, the following conditions must be satisfied:
- The individual has provided exceptional contribution to Malta; or
- The individual has provided exceptional contribution to humanity; or
- The individual is of exceptional interest to Malta; or
- The individual is willing to contribute through exceptional direct investment in the economic and social development of Malta.
In all instances the individual must also:
- Take oath of allegiance to Malta and abide by its Constitution; and
- Undertake to promote fundamental and democratic values of Malta; and
- Undertake to support the Maltese Community in the spirit of social justice and equity.
The minimum amounts that qualify as 'exceptional direct investment' are:
- ? 590,000 investment where the individual is already resident in Malta for a minimum of 36 months; or
- ? 740,000 investment where the individual has been resident in Malta for less than 36 months but at least 12 months.
In either case, a ? 10,000 donation to a Maltese philanthropic organization must also be made.
In addition, the individual must undertake to either purchase real estate in Malta with a minimum value of ? 750,000 or rent a property for a minimum annual rent of ?16,000 for a period of 5 years from the date of the issue of the certificate of naturalisation.
The individual's dependents can also benefit from the naturalisation process for a fee of ? 50,000 per dependent. 'Dependents' are family members of the individual and include:
- The applicant's monogamous spouse,
- The child (including adopted) of the applicant or of his spouse who is below 18 years of age;
- The child (including adopted) of the applicant or of his spouse who is a qualified person with a disability as per Equal Opportunities Act;
- The unmarried child (including adopted) of the applicant who is above 18 but bellow 29 years of age and who is proven to be maintained by the applicant;
- The parent or grandparent of the applicant or of his spouse who is at least 55 years of age and who is proven to be maintained by the applicant.
During the application for residency and the eventual citizenship, the applicant will also have to pay administrative fees to the Community Malta Agency ("Agency") including a ?10,000 non-refundable deposit with the main investment and ?15,000 due diligence fees. The Agency was introduced by a separate law and will be administering this new citizenship programme.
Any applications that have already been submitted with Identity Malta and/or the Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency prior to the coming into force of this Legal Notice may be completed by and under the authority of the Agency.
Any rights and obligations arising from contracts for service entered into by Identity Malta and the Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency with any agents or advisors which were effective prior to the coming into force of this Legal Notice, may by agreement with the Agency by assigned to the latter. The Agency shall also substitute Identity Malta and/or the Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency in any such legal proceeding to which they are party.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.