The aim of the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) is to develop genuine links between the applicants and Malta. There are various ways on how such links are established, and one of them is residency. In fact, the MIIP, in line with the Legal Notice 47 of 2014, specifically requires the applicant to maintain at least a one-year residency prior to obtaining citizenship. This comprises the first stage of the MIIP process (residence stage), before the due diligence or second stage kicks in. While both processes will run simultaneously at most times, citizenship cannot be granted before 12 months have elapsed from the day when the applicant has acquired residence in Malta. The Legal Notice 47 of 2014 itself makes reference to other ways on how genuine links are developed between the applicant and Malta. The applicant is bound to invest at least €150,000 in government bonds (a qualified investment), as well as retain property in Malta according to the qualifying property rules remarked in the legal notice itself. While no minimum physical presence is stipulated in the guidelines, applicants are nonetheless encouraged to visit Malta regularly and avail themselves of services offered on the island, as well as holding memberships in local clubs, etc. Displaying proof of such ties will be essential when an applicant is approved in principle, which is the third and final stage of the MIIP process. Such ties could include matters such as setting up your business in Malta, registering one's yacht, opening a personal bank account and other similar links that would be expected of a person residing in Malta.
What is considered a genuine link between the applicant and Malta?
It is my understanding that the Maltese citizenship program does not require residency, but does require a genuine link to Malta. What type of activities constitute a genuine link? Is there a list of approved activities?
The links with Malta are formed during the 12-month period following the obtaining of the residency card. It includes five types of links: personal, social, economic, charitable and fulfillment of obligatory requirements under the MIIP. This includes the presence in Malta for 20 to 25 days prior to obtaining the passport (in total, you can visit Malta a few times), obtaining membership in local organizations, sport clubs, renting an apartment, etc. All these activities are discussed between you and the agent. Based on this discussion, the agent will prepare a residency proposal letter. This letter is submitted to IM together with the rest of your documents. IM confirms that the links you mentioned in this letter either will suffice or not suffice in order to establish the links with Malta.
The law does not specify what the connection to Malta must be, in the sense that it leaves it up to the person to prove that he has attained a sufficient link to Malta. There are many ways in which to achieve this, including, but not limited to. periods of residence, investments done in Malta, undertaking courses in Malta, use of Maltese companies within the investors’ business, participation in local activities and other similar connecting factors. We as agents do help the investors to keep track and record such links created to Malta in order to eventually be able to submit a detailed report to Identity Malta.