U.S. and Canadian citizens are allowed to visit Malta for up to 90 days with a valid passport. If you want to extend your visit, you can apply at the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an additional three months. 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 permanent resident visa under one of Malta’s many residence “schemes” or programs. Below is a basic run-down of the most common scheme. Note that the details of each program are subject to change. For more information, see: identitymalta.com.
Ordinary Residence Scheme/Economic Self-Sufficiency
Under this program, non-EU citizens may qualify for annual, renewable residence in Malta if you can prove that you have at least €23,500 ($25,597) in the bank, or €28,500 ($31,044) as a married person.
You’ll also have to provide proof of health insurance, 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. This card is proof that you’re a Maltese resident and are entitled to travel within the Schengen zone as if you were a member of the European Union.
Once you’ve been a legal resident for five years, you may apply for permanent residence. This gives you all the same rights as before, but you’ll only have to renew your residence card every five years.
Note that it is entirely within the Maltese authorities’ discretion to grant residence to non-EU citizens. You may be requested to provide additional information and documents as the reviewing official sees fit.
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.
Permanent Residence Scheme/Global Residence Program
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. Immediate family members, including dependent children, grandchildren, and parents are also covered.
You are eligible under this program if you own property purchased at €270,000 ($294,098) for a property situated in Gozo or in the south of Malta, or €320,000 ($348,560) for a property situated elsewhere in Malta.
Renters also may apply for Maltese residence under this program if their annual rental payment is no less than €10,000 ($10,893) a year for a property situated in Gozo or in the south of Malta, or at least €12,000 ($13,071) a year for a property situated elsewhere in Malta.
In addition to these requirements, you must show that you have no criminal record and that you’re a person of good moral character. You must submit a one-time administrative fee of €6,000 ($6,536) unless your property is in southern Malta or Gozo, in which case your fee is €5,500 ($5,991). You’re also required to pay a minimum tax of €15,000 ($16,339) annually.
Finally, you must also make a €250,000 ($272,313) investment in Maltese government bonds, which must be retained for a maximum of five years.
Citizenship by Investment
Very high net worth individuals may be naturalized as Maltese citizens. To qualify for this program you must, among other things, be a citizen of excellent standing, make a €650,000 ($708, 013) contribution, invest in €150,000 ($163,388) of government bonds, and demonstrate a genuine connection to Malta.