U.S. and Canadian citizens are allowed to visit Malta for up to 90 days during each 180-day period with a valid passport. Upon arrival, you will receive a Schengen short-stay C-Visa. If you want to extend your visit, you can apply (before the initial 90-day expiry) at the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an additional three months on a long stay D-Visa. Whether you receive this extra time, however, is entirely at the discretion of the Maltese authorities.
If you want to stay in Malta even longer, you’ll have to apply for a temporary or permanent resident visa under one of Malta’s many residence “schemes” or programs. Below is a basic outline of the most common schemes. Note that the details of each program are subject to change. For more information, see: identitymalta.com.
Ordinary Residence Scheme/Economic Self-Sufficiency
This program is for EU citizens. There was a time when non-EU or TCN’s (Third Country Nationals) could qualify for this annual, renewable residence in Malta. But recently, the Maltese government has made changes, and now it is not possible for TNC’s, even though the application form can still be found on the Identity Malta website.
However, if you have residency in a different EU country or an EU passport the process is fairly straightforward and can be filed yourself. You must prove you are able to support your lifestyle without the need to work in Malta. You must have significant savings or can supply receipts of ongoing income, such as a pension, trust fund or annuity, PLUS you must substantiate your ties to Malta.
You’ll also have to provide proof of health insurance that covers you in Malta, a rental agreement or mortgage contract, and that you have no criminal record. You must also file a Maltese tax return and comply with minimum tax requirements.
If you meet these requirements, you’ll be issued an e-Residence card. Note that it is entirely within the Maltese authorities’ discretion to grant residence and you may be requested to provide additional information and documents as the reviewing official sees fit.
Nomad Residence Permit
Malta has hosted literally thousands of digital nomads before the term was even coined, due in part, to the large digital workforce in iGaming and cryptocurrencies.
This particular program offers Third Country Nationals a 12-month visa and is renewable annually, if you continue to be in good standing.
You will need to prove a minimum of €32,400 ($34,730) annual income from a registered entity abroad, have approved healthcare insurance, and a long-term lease covering the period of the visa or a purchase agreement. The nonrefundable application fee is $350.
You will not be required to pay Maltese taxes on your income if you can prove you pay income taxes to your home country.
If you’re married to an EU national, you have the right to live in Malta with your spouse. If you’re American or Canadian, you do not need a visa to enter the country, but must apply for your e-Residence card upon arrival. If your citizenship requires to you to get a visa before entering Malta, you may either enter with your spouse or, if arriving separately, can apply for a short-stay Schengen visa (C-Visa) to enter.
Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP)
If you’re affluent, this program may be of greater interest. Under this scheme, non-EU citizens may receive Maltese residence indefinitely, which can be renewed every five years. You will need to have official statements proving your capital assets are no less than €500,000 ($536,000) and proof that you have stable, ongoing financial resources to sufficiently maintain a life in Malta.
A spouse is included in these fees. Plus immediate family members can be covered, including children, grandchildren, and parents for at an extra fee of €7,500 ($8040) per person.
You are eligible under this program if you purchase property at a minimum of €300,000 ($322,000) for real estate situated in Gozo or in the south of Malta, or €350,000 ($375,000) for a property situated elsewhere in Malta. The qualifying property must be held for a minimum of 5 years and cannot be legally leased during that time.
Renters also may apply for Maltese residence under this program if their annual rental payment is no less than €10,000 ($10,720) a year for a property situated in Gozo or in the south of Malta, or at least €12,000 ($12,860) a year for a property situated elsewhere in Malta. No sublets allowed.
In addition to these requirements, you must have official documentation that proves you have no criminal record (anywhere you lived for 6+ months in the last 10 years) and that you’re a person of good moral character. You must submit a non-refundable administrative fee of €40,000 ($42,880).
Other fees include government contribution of €28,000 ($30,016) if purchasing a property or €58,000 ($62,177) if renting, plus a donation to a Maltese NGO registered with the Commission of Voluntary Organisations in the amount of €2,000 ($2144).
Lastly, you will also need to be in possession of a valid passport and have a healthcare insurance policy to cover you for any health issues in Malta or when traveling across Schengen.
Most foreign applicants use an Advocate & Commissioner for Oaths notary with a residency agency to help navigate the application process. Current administration and filing fees average €6,000 ($6,390).
Citizenship by Investment (MEIN)
Extremely high net worth individuals may apply to be naturalized as Maltese citizens and acquire that coveted EU passport. To qualify for this program you must, among other things, be a citizen of excellent standing with a clean Interpol record, and possess the aforementioned health insurance. It is required to make a €600,000 ($708, 013) contribution if you have resided in Malta for 36+ months or €750,000 ($643,210) if living in Malta for 12 months.
Property purchase must be a minimum of €700,000 ($750,330) in value or a lease for €16,000 ($17,150) annually. And you will be required to make an approved donation of €10,000 ($10,720) to a registered NGO or philanthropic entity. You must also prove legitimate ties to Malta.
Dependents can be included for an additional €50,000 per person plus the €650,000 contribution. Only a maximum of 400 applicants are accepted annually until it is eventually capped at 1500.