New 2020 Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (MEIN) Policy
On the 20th of November 2020, the new and improved Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN) policy was officially announced, after the Malta CBI IIP was terminated due to reaching its maximum quota. Under this new policy, high-net-worth individuals and their family dependents are granted citizenship in Malta by a certificate of naturalization through a direct investment into Malta’s economic development.
The world saw various news publications in October this year concerning the European Commission’s initiation of infringement proceedings against Malta and Cyprus regarding each of their CBI programs, the Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP) and the now-suspended Cypriot CIP.
Malta defended its program stating that the arguments were largely political-based, without significant legal substance. Malta asserted that its program was successful and had substantial economic and social benefits, supporting the development of the country. Over and above, the country affirmed that nationality and citizenship rights are exclusively a matter of each member state in the EU.
The Maltese Government has directly addressed the European Commission’s concerns and stakeholder recommendations by improving Maltese law on citizenship and naturalization through a new policy’s rules and regulations. Once the IIP was terminated when it reached its quota, the new and improved MEIN (Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization) policy was officially announced on the 20th of November 2020.
It is no longer being called a ‘programme’, but a ‘policy’. Admittedly, while published reports by the European Parliament contained criticism about structured programs promoting EU naturalization, there was no similar criticism seen in more traditional avenues. Hence, acquiring the term ‘policy’ allows for less denunciation.
About the MEIN Policy
Malta features a strong and thriving economy, friendly and inviting locals, and multiple advantages for foreign individuals and their families seeking residency and citizenship in a Mediterranean gem that is strategically-positioned in Europe.
The new Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment policy allows high-net-worth individuals and their dependent family members to acquire residency, followed by Maltese Citizenship by naturalization, through making a direct investment into the country.
The quota per annum is set to a maximum of 400 citizenship applications, of which applicants would be approved and issued with a citizenship certificate. The total maximum number of applicants (successful main applicants and their dependent families) has been set to 1,500 over the full duration of the MEIN policy.
The Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment is regulated by the Maltese Citizenship Act Legislation S.L. 188.05 which was published in the Legal Notice 437 of 2020.
How to get Malta Citizenship through the Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN) procedures?
Under the new Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN) procedures, high-net-worth applicants and their family dependents are granted citizenship in Malta by a certificate of naturalization through a direct investment into Malta’s economic development.
The investments that are required under the new policy can be seen below:
Government Contribution: A contribution to the Government of Malta pre-citizenship is required, which can be made in one of two ways:
Expedited procedure: The applicant may apply for citizenship in Malta after 12 months (one year) of being a Maltese resident and contribute €750,000 to the Government in the form of a non-refundable donation (an extra €50,000 for each additional dependent family member)
Standard procedure: The applicant may apply for Maltese citizenship after 36 months (three years) of being a resident in Malta and contribute €600,000 to the Government in the form of a non-refundable donation (an additional €50,000 for each added family dependant);
Real Estate Investment: Applicants are required to invest in real estate - purchase or rent of property in Malta. If purchasing a property, the minimum value must be €700,000. If leasing a property in Malta, the rent must be of at least €16,000 per year and must be held for at least five years from the date of the certificate of Citizenship;
Donation: A compulsory philanthropic donation of €10,000 to a registered non-governmental organization or society (culture, science, sport, artistic, environmental or other)
MEIN Processing Fees
Besides the above investment requirements, every application is subjected to background checks and due diligence. These checks are applicable to both the main applicant and his/her dependent family members included in the Malta Citizenship through the Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN) procedures application. Due diligence fees apply (€15,000 for the main applicant and €10,000 for dependents). Other processing fees include residence application fees, administrative fees, and citizenship application fees.
Eligibility Criteria for Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment
To be eligible for the Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization policy, there are certain criteria that individuals must meet:
Applicants must be at least 18 years old
Applicants and all dependents must have a global insurance policy
Applicants must provide proof of their direct investment in the development of Malta
Applicants must provide proof of being a resident in Malta for one or three years before acquiring the certificate of naturalization, depending on the government contribution they are willing to make (standard or expedited route)
Applicants must provide proof of purchase or lease of property in Malta
Applicants must meet all application requirements
Applicants must comply with and pass all due diligence requirements and background checks which include having a clean criminal record, able to provide proof of source of funds and wealth, not being a potential security risk to Malta, and not having previously been denied entrance or visa to a country that has visa-free travel with Maltese residency and citizenship
Applicants will need to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of Malta
Dependents need to qualify to be included on the principal applicant’s application. The applicable categories eligible include:
The spouse (in a monogamous marriage) or partner with the same or similar status - gender-neutral
A child (under the age of 18) of the main applicant or their spouse
A child (under the age of 29) of the main applicant or their spouse that are economically and financially dependent on the main applicant and is unmarried at the time of the application acceptance
A child (over the age of 18) of the main applicant or their spouse with a disability
A parent or grandparent over the age of 55 who is financially and economically-dependent on the principal applicant.
Adopted children are included in every child category above.
The Maltese Government undertakes dedicated and scrutinous checks for their new Citizenship by Investment policy. If any false or omitted information is established, the applicant will be deemed ineligible and have their application suspended.
Benefits of Acquiring Malta Citizenship
Obtaining Malta Citizenship offers various benefits from visa-free travel in the Schengen area to great healthcare and education. Below are some of the main advantages:
Malta Passport - be in possession of one of the most powerful passports in the world
Freedom to live, work, study and set up business in any of the EU member states
Visa-free travel to more than 180 countries, including the USA, Australia, and Canada
Accessibility to all the major cities in Europe via direct flights within a short distance
Recognition and acceptance of dual-nationality (check other country’s requirements)
Excellent healthcare and education system
Freedom of income and capital movements
Investment in real estate in Europe
With the increasing amount of wealthy individuals exploring their investment opportunities through immigration, Malta can provide various possibilities for business growth and travel benefits in the EU.
Through our dedicated experience in the field and building our dependable network-base over the years, we are confident in our abilities to successfully guide and offer services to apply for Maltese Citizenship under the Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment Policy. If you are interested in getting more information about the MEIN Policy and living in Malta, let us know and we will gladly assist.
Citizen Lane respects every client’s unique situation and needs and will be able to discuss details discreetly in confidence. Citizen Lane will provide you with comprehensive advice and find the appropriate solution for you or your family. Visit us at our offices based in Malta, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, or contact us online via our contact form. Additionally, our team is ready to arrange a WhatsApp, Skype, or Zoom call with you.