The Malta Residence and Visa Programme is regulated by Legal Notice 288 of 2015, known as the Malta Residence and Visa Programme Regulations, 2015 under the Immigration Act, Chapter 217 of the Laws of Malta. This regulation provides for the application of a residence certificate under this programme which is to be issued by Identity Malta Agency (IMA). Once a residence certificate is issued, it confers residency rights to the holder of the certificate together with his registered dependants to settle or stay indefinitely in Malta. It is important to note that these rights will not apply for non-EU, EEA and Swiss nationals, hence the applicant can only be a third country national.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE APPLICANT:
For a person to be issued a certificate under the Regulation, such person shall be:
a. At least eighteen years of age;
b. Meets the application requirements
c. Has a clean criminal record, together with his dependants and this is confirmed by passing a due diligence test to be considered as a fit and proper person
d. Commits himself to provide proof of title to a qualifying property in Malta in accordance with the regulation
e. Commits himself to invest in a qualifying investment;
f. Commits himself to pay in full the contribution in terms of the regulation
g. Has not had one’s application deemed to be against the public interest
THE APPLICATION PROCESS:
In order to apply for a residence certificate, the applicant has to go through an application process and Identity Malta Agency is the one which examines all applications. Firstly, the applicant who is considered to be the prospective beneficiary has to sign an agreement together with a Registered Accredited Person (RAA), whereby the latter would agree to act on the applicant’s behalf in terms of the Programme. Secondly, the Approved Agent has to submit a pack of application forms together with a covering letter in which the RAA explains why the applicant wishes to obtain a residency in Malta. The RAA may make any amendments but only if there is a Power of Attorney in place signed by the beneficiary and submitted as part of the application. Submission of application comes at an administrative fee of €5,000 and which such fee is non-refundable and has to be paid up front at the time of submission.
When submitting an application, the RAA shall submit any due diligence processes through a ‘know your customer’ basis to confirm that there is no a priori evidence that the applicant is not a fit and proper person. After submission, Identity Malta Agency will provide a formal acknowledgement of the application and any other supporting documentation however; any requests for further documentation by Identity Malta is not excluded. Identity Malta Agency will then have to review and assess the respective application and finally issues a Letter of Notification in which it indicates the confirmation of approval or refusal.
In the case whereby the application is approved as indicated in the Letter of Notification, there has to be the payment of the remaining €24,500 representing a fee of €30,000, less the non-refundable administrative fee paid upon presentation of the application. Moreover, upon the issuing of a Letter of Notification of Approval, the beneficiary has to provide evidence of a title of property which may be:
a. An owned property purchased at a consideration of not less than €270,000 if situated in Gozo or the South of Malta and €320,000 if situated elsewhere in Malta.
b. A rented property taken on lease for a rent not less than €10,000 per annum for a property situated in Gozo or in the South of Malta, or not less than €12,000 per annum for a property situated elsewhere in Malta
In addition, the address of the property should be the place of residence for the beneficiary for at least the first five years from the appointed date and during such period, the beneficiary shall not be allowed to transfer the ownership of property to third parties nor rent it. In any case that the beneficiary opts to purchase or lease a different property, he shall inform his agent accordingly and in return, the agent is obliged to forward both the promise of sale and the contract of purchase to IMA. This shall also apply when leasing new property.
An additional requirement is a qualifying investment in a form which is to be determined by IMA from time to time, having an initial value of €250,000 which must be held for a minimum period of five years from the date of the certificate.
A Certificate of Residence will be issued to the beneficiary and which shall also state the names of dependants included in the programme. Finally, the beneficiary and dependants are to be issued with a residence permit which takes the form of an electronic resident card, and such a resident permit will give forth the right of residence in Malta in accordance with the programme for an initial validity period of five years. Residence permits will be renewed provided that the conditions of the programme continue to be adhered to.
Before submitting an application, it is important to make sure that the application form is completed by the applicant and/or his agent and endorsed and signed by the applicant. Moreover, applications are only processed if they are properly completed, dated and signed and in the case of Form MRVP, the Commissioner of Oaths must be a person who under the law of the country where the oath is taken is empowered to administer oaths. The forms need to be accompanied by all required documents as well as declarations witnessed by the Commissioner for Oaths and to include in a clear manner the date, their full name, capacity and designation in which they are acting, residential or business address, telephone number and email address.
In addition, an original document of the National Police Conduct Certificate has to be presented either before or after submission of the application but prior to the Letter of Notification of Approval. This conduct certificate has to be in English and not older than six months.
As regards the assets/income condition, documents showing a statement of Source of Funds and Wealth form including bank statements covering a minimum of three months from which the above funds will be remitted, evidence of employment and/or business ownership if any; and a declaration that the beneficiary is in receipt of a stable and regular resources which are sufficient to maintain himself and all of his dependants without recourse to the social assistance system in Malta are also required.
Where the applicant has any dependants that are not economically active and principally dependant on the applicant, an affidavit of dependency has to provided by such applicant stating why his adult children/parents/parents-in law are to be considered as being dependant on him in line with the legal notice.
In addition, for Identity Malta to issue the Certificate, the applicant has to provide evidence that s/he is in possession of a Sickness Insurance in respect to all risks across the whole of the European Union normally covered for Maltese nationals for himself/herself and his/her dependants. In the case where one parent has sole custody of a dependent or another person has legal guardianship of a dependent, the relative court documentation in this respect, needs to be provided accordingly.
Any certified true copy documents have to be photocopies of the original document certified by a warranted lawyer or a public notary, a Maltese consular or diplomatic officer, Identity Malta or a senior officer of an Authority appointed by IMA. In case of foreign notaries or lawyers, any certification must be authenticated by an Apostille according to the Hague Convention of 5th October 1961.
Annually, during the first five years and then once every five years, from the appointed date, the beneficiary would be required to submit an OCF signed by him or her RAA in which s/he confirms the title of property in Malta and investment portfolio, detailing periods of absences from Malta during the previous years, stating that one’s dependents are in possession of a valid travel document, advising of any changes in one’s civil status and those of one’s dependants, confirming that one’s dependants hold sickness insurance cover and that in any case, one has qualified for the said certificate on the basis that one has in one’s possession assets amounting to €500,000, and is in possession of an annual income of 100,000 Euro for each person included in the relative certificate.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
The Applicant must be represented by an approved agent such as a warranted advocate under the Laws of Malta and, or accredited agent, in order to file the application for this residence programme. As accredited agents our offices are fully licensed to handle and submit applications on behalf of applicants under this programme. We have extensive experience dealing with residence and immigration issues.