Ordinary residence in Malta requires individuals to physically live on the island for a period of six months or more. The transfer of one’s residence from another jurisdiction to Malta is available to both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA nationals. There is no minimum value property requirement for non-residents seeking to obtain ordinary residence in Malta, unless there is the need for an Acquisition of Immovable Property (AIP) permit, which applies in specific circumstances.
There are several qualifying criteria, which vary according to whether the individual seeking to obtain ordinary residence in Malta is an EU/EEA national or a third country national.
EU/EEA National qualifying criteria:
- Economic Self-Sufficiency
This criterion requires that applicants show that they are able to provide for themselves and for their accompanying dependents by being financially stable and not being in need of any financial support from the Maltese government. The current thresholds for EU/EEA nationals are set at a minimum capital of € 14,000 or a weekly income of € 92.32 for single persons and at a capital of at least € 23,300 or a weekly income of € 108.63 for married couples. Moreover, an extra € 8.15 is required per any added dependent.
A second ground on which EU/EEA nationals may obtain ordinary residence in Malta is employment. Hence, an individual must accept offers of employment or seek employment in Malta, work in Malta as an employee or be self-employed. Alternatively, an individual may opt to set up a business in Malta and work for his / her own business.
Third Country National qualifying criteria:
The qualifying criteria for Maltese ordinary residence in respect of third country nationals vary from those applicable to EU/EEA nationals. An employment licence is required in order for non-EU/EEA nationals to work in Malta. This is granted upon satisfying certain criteria.
- Key Employee Initiative
The Key Employee Initiative (KEI) provides a fast-tracked service to highly specialized Third Country nationals who are employed in Malta. The scheme will facilitate the issuing of work/residence permits to prospective key employees within 5 working days from the date of submission.
The scheme is applicable to managerial or highly-technical posts which require the relevant qualifications and adequate experience related to the job being offered. The following are the eligibility conditions:
- Annual gross salary of at least €30,000 per annum;
- Certified copies of qualifications, warrants and other experience;
- Declaration by the employer stating that the applicant has the necessary credentials to perform the duties being assigned;
- All other documents as per the checklist for Third Country Nationals.
Approved applicants will be issued with a residence permit valid for one year. The said permit may be renewed for a maximum period of three years, subject to the presentation of (i) a valid definite or indefinite contract, and (ii) the original annual tax declaration form stamped by the Inland Revenue Department.
In order to qualify to apply for self-employed status and work for one’s business, a third country national must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- An investment of at least € 500,000 within 6 months from the date on which the ETC licence is issued. In relation to such investment, expenditure ought to comprise solely capital expenditure, which must consist of fixed assets (such as immovable property, plant and machinery) used for business purposes and this must be reflected in the business plan submitted with the application. Rental contracts do not qualify. Likewise, expenses such as salaries and legal fees cannot be paid from the €500,000 invested by way of minimum investment;
- Status of a highly skilled innovator with a sound business plan, committed to recruiting at least three EU/EEA nationals within eighteen months of establishment of business; or
- The holding of a directorship in a company forming part of a project that has been formally approved by Malta Enterprise, and which has been formally notified by the latter to the Employment and Training Corporation
Long-term residence status may be granted to individuals who have been legally residing in Malta for five continuous years. The term “continuous” means that such individuals must not have absented themselves from Malta for more than six consecutive months in any given year of the said five-year period and further must not have been absent from Malta for more than a total of ten months throughout this five year period.
Furthermore, a third country national who has been granted long-term residence status by another Member State other than Malta, may reside in Malta, for a period exceeding three months, for the exercise of an economic activity in an employed or self-employed capacity, provided that such person is in possession of an employment licence; is pursuing studies or vocational training; or is engaged in other such activities.
Individuals who are ordinarily resident, but not domiciled in Malta, are subject to income tax on income arising in Malta, on income arising in Malta, on income arising outside Malta but received in Malta and on capital gains arising in Malta. No tax is chargeable on capital gains which arise overseas but which are remitted to Malta. Personal income tax is charged at progressive rates up to a maximum of 35%, as illustrated by the following tables
|Income, Euros||Tax rate||Income, Euros||Tax rate|
|0 – 11,900||0%||0 – 9,100||0%|
|11,901 – 21,200||15%||9,101 – 14,500||15%|
|21,201 – 28,700||25%||14,501 – 19,500||25%|
|28,701 – 60,000||25%||19,501 – 60,000||25%|
|60,001 – and over||35%||60,001 – and over||35%|