By Kenneth Camilleri
The recently launched Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP), offers third country nationals the opportunity to reside, settle or stay indefinitely in Malta by investing in the country.
The process of applying for and meeting the requirements of the MPRP can be broken into seven main steps. These key steps are required for the issuance of the permanent residence certificate for the investor and includes their financially dependent family members.
1. Power of Attorney
Applications for the MPRP must be submitted by a Licensed Agent duly registered with the responsible governing authority – the Malta Residency Agency. Licensed Agents must be empowered to act on behalf of the investor. Therefore, the first step in the process is for the applicant to grant Power of Attorney (POA) to the Licensed Agent by signing the POA document.
2. Submission of Application and Issuance of Receipt
Once all the required documentation is compiled, the Licensed Agent is required to submit the application pack on behalf of the applicant. A receipt will be issued by the Malta Residency Agency acknowledging the submission.
3. Due Diligence
Both the Licensed Agents and the Residency Malta Agency are required to undertake due diligence on the investors and their dependent family members, who are over 14 years of age at the time of application.
All applicants over 14 years of age, must provide a Police Conduct Certificate issued within the last six months by the Federal Authority in their country of origin and also in the countries where they have resided for more than six months in the last 10 years.
There are four tiers of due diligence that are conducted.
1 – Know Your Client (KYC), the Licensed Agent conducts preliminary due diligence during the client onboarding.
2 – The application is rigorously verified by the Agency, assessing the completeness and correctness of the application. Any anomalies that pose a risk are identified at this stage.
3 – International checks are carried out, including checks against Interpol and Europol data.
4 – Further analysis and verification, including online investigations are carried out by the agency to check for any sanctioned individuals, significant one-time transactions, donations, inheritance, and significant business partners and affiliates. Such investigation and screening are to ensure that the applicants are of good standing and ultimately the right applicants for the Malta Permanent Residence Programme.
4. Issuance of a Letter of Approval in Principle (or Rejection)
A decision is taken on the final applicant files by the Approvals Board. In successful cases, the Residency Malta Agency will issue a Letter of Approval in Principle (LAP). As a guide, the timeline for processing the application file by the Agency is four to six months.
5. Make Investments
There are three investments required to satisfy the Malta Permanent Residence Programme application. These include: purchasing or renting a residential property, settle the Government Contribution and make a charitable donation of 2,000 euros to a registered non-government organisation (NGO). In the case of purchasing property, the minimum purchase price required is 300,000 euros and the corresponding Government Contribution is 28,000 euros. For rental property, the minimum outlay per year is 10,000 euros, and the corresponding Government Contribution is 58,000 euros. This contribution amount includes spouse and children. Dependent parents or grandparents of the applicant or spouse need to make an additional 7,500 euro contribution. In addition, investors are required to pay a non-refundable government fee of 40,000 euros.
6. Biometric Data Capture & The Issuance of the Residency Card
Once the Letter of Approval is in hand, the investors and their dependent family members may travel to Malta to have their biometric data taken by the Agency. Such biometric data capture includes a fingerprint, photo and a signature. The residency card is issued once all the investment criteria is met. The card is valid for five years and renewable thereafter.
7. Annual Compliance
On a yearly basis, for the first five years, the applicant is required to show on-going proof of the property rental and health insurance. Such compliance will be submitted by the Licensed Agent on behalf of the applicant.
Once permanent residence in Malta is granted, holders may benefit from visa-free movement in the Schengen zone for 90 days out of 180 days. Members of the Schengen include 26 countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Malta became a full member of the European Union in 2004. English is one of the two official languages in Malta, widely spoken within education. In addition, Malta residents benefit from a high quality of life, state-of-the-art healthcare, a low crime rate and a mild European climate.
The issuance of a permanent residence certificate is set out in S.L. 217.26 and falls under the Immigration Act. The new laws for the Malta Permanent Residence Programme came into effect at the beginning of April 2021.
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