When it comes to second citizenships, it’s hard to do much better than an EU country. Not only is it one of the most widely-welcomed travel documents in the world, but access to the EU yields a host of benefits, from world-class education and healthcare to a rapidly-growing market replete with investment potential.
Citizenship-by-investment (CBI) remains the most straightforward and surefire way to an EU passport. As of 2019, several EU member states are offering CBI programs with various incentives for potential applicants, including Malta, Moldova, and Montenegro. For the purposes of this guide, we will take Malta as a case study given that it continues to be one of the most desirable destinations for second citizenship that offers a slew of attractive benefits.
Malta is a beautiful island nation strategically located between Sicily and the North African Coast. Over the years, there has been a steady increase in the number of applicants to Malta’s Individual Investor Program (MIIP) due to the fact that it is one of the safest countries in the world, offering a unique combination of premium seaside living, ever-growing urban destinations, and a rich cultural heritage. Moreover, being a growing business hub with tax treaties with over fifty countries, it is one of the most lucrative destinations for potential investors.
Getting your hands on a Maltese passport is an easy, five-step process:
Step 1: Visit a government-licensed consultancy
For any legitimate citizenship-investment application, a government-licensed firm is a must, one that is operated by a high-caliber team capable of providing accurate and relevant information.
Upon your visit, a preliminary check is performed to ensure your eligibility for the program, after which your application manager will make a copy of your current passport to be sent to the legal team in Malta for pre-approval. During this step, you will be advised on the required documents for the process to help streamline the process. Once all your documents are in order, the application process will formally begin.
Step 2: Issuing the residency card
For this crucial step, you will be required to travel to Malta, where you will sign a series of documents before a Maltese Consul. This is the first major step in the actual nationalization process, as upon signing the legal documents required you will be issued a temporary residency card. With this card, you can travel in and out of Malta more easily as you complete the remainder of the application process.
Step 3: Complete the due diligence phase
By now, approximately a month will have passed since the filing of your application. This is where the due diligence phase begins as your application is processed through a series of government entities and security agencies. The process takes a maximum of two months to complete, after which a decision will be issued to grant you citizenship.
Once a final decision has been reached, you will receive an “approval in principal” letter issued by the Maltese government, which states that your citizenship will be granted upon making an investment that meets the criteria of the program.
Step 4: Make your investment
Malta’s MIIP program is a fairly straightforward investment program, requiring a one-time contribution of €650,000 made to the country’s National Development and Social Fund. If you are applying with your spouse and children, you will be required to make a contribution of €25,000 for each additional applicant.
Once an investment is made, you will be issued a property purchase contract — a document that is required to complete the application process.
Step 5: Receive your passport
The last and final step in the application process requires one more trip to Malta. During this trip, you (and any other applicants) will swear the official Oath of Allegiance before a Maltese Consul, upon which the final paperwork will be signed and processed. This is where your biometrics will be scanned and your passport issued.
Overall, the process of obtaining a Maltese citizenship is among the more straightforward and hassle-free in the EU region. More importantly, the return on your investment is considerable, as not only will you have visa-free access to over 160 countries, but you will also be treated to the many benefits afforded to citizens of EU countries. For more information on the Malta CBI program, please refer to this page.