Nikolay with his wife and two student children received a residence permit in Germany and moved to the European Union. But the life of the family was overshadowed by the bureaucracy during extension of resident permits and the difficulty in obtaining a German passport.
The businessman decided not to wait for the problems to solve themselves, and received Maltese citizenship by investment.
Using the example of Nikolay’s story, we will tell you:
- how investors obtain Maltese citizenship in practice;
- how to confirm the legality of income and assets in case of owning a large holding company;
- how to get to Malta to submit biometrics and obtain a passport during a pandemic.
Why Nikolay wanted to obtain citizenship in Malta, not in Germany
Lifetime status in the European Union. A permanent residence permit or citizenship would save the family from bureaucracy and the need to regularly renew the residence permit in Germany.
Nikolay and his wife received a residence permit for financially independent persons, which must be renewed every two years. Children extend their student residence permit every year.
To renew the residence permit, the family had to re-collect the documents each time. Nikolay confirmed that he had enough money to live in Germany with his wife. The children confirmed that they continue to study full-time at a university.
Terms of obtaining citizenship. The family could apply for permanent residence only after five years of permanent residence in Germany, and for citizenship after eight years.
The spouses were not sure if they wanted to stay in Germany long enough to obtain permanent residence or a passport.
Nikolay was thinking of moving to a country with a warmer climate. In the fall of 2020, his son Vadim was going to move to France to start his postgraduate studies. At the same time, the son was deprived of the opportunity to obtain permanent residence or German citizenship. If he returned to Germany after the postgraduate program, the countdown of the period of residence for him would begin anew.
Second citizenship without renouncing the Russian one. Nikolay wanted to stay and live in the European Union, but did not consider the option of giving up his Russian passport. He had a business in Russia: once a month Nikolai came to Moscow for board meetings and meetings with partners.
Germany does not allow its citizens to hold multiple passports. Therefore, in order to obtain German citizenship, the family would have to abandon the Russian one and obtain visas to travel home.
Employment of children in the EU. Nikolay was worried that without the citizenship of an EU country, his children would face difficulties in finding a job.
A foreign graduate has several months to find a job in the EU. However, employers are reluctant to accept candidates without a residence permit or citizenship of an EU country.
To hire a foreigner, the company needs to confirm that there are no worthy candidates for the position among EU residents and citizens. The employer is also obliged to take on the preparation of documents and obtaining a work visa for a foreign employee. Such rules apply in all states of the region.
Nikolay began to look for an opportunity to solve the assigned tasks in a faster and more reliable way. He found out that in Malta it is possible to obtain citizenship for a period of one year and without renouncing a Russian passport.
How an investor can obtain citizenship of Malta
Nikolay turned to Immigrant Invest for advice in May 2020. He wanted to obtain Maltese citizenship with his wife and two children of 18 and 20 years old.
At the time of Nikolay’s appeal, there was the Malta Individual Investor Program, MIIP.
MIIP has been closed since July 2020
On July 31st, 2020, the Government of Malta stopped accepting applications for citizenship by investment. Moreover, in November, amendments to the Maltese Citizenship Act (Cap. 188) came into force, which established new rules for issuing passports to investors for naturalization for exceptional services by direct investment.rnrnLearn more about the new conditions for obtaining Maltese citizenship →
The procedure for obtaining citizenship under the MIIP program took place in several stages:
In 2021, applicants for citizenship by naturalization for special services by direct investment follow pretty much the same procedure as the MIIP program prescribed.rnrnUnder the terms of the program, an investor applied for citizenship no earlier than 12 months after receiving a residence permit. During this time, he had to pass Due Diligence at the Identity Malta Agency.rnrnAccording to the new rules, you can apply for citizenship 12 or 36 months after receiving a residence permit. The term is chosen by an investor. Due Diligence also needs to be passed before applying for citizenship.
head of the Maltese office of Immigrant Invest
Immigrant Invest has been and remains a licensed agent who helps to obtain citizenship of Malta. On May 12th, 2020, Nikolay signed an agreement to participate in the MIIP program.
Preliminary Due Diligence and preparation of documents for residence permit
Preliminary Due Diligence is carried out by the Maltese police. They verify information about all applicants over 12 years old with the databases of Europol and Interpol.
As a result of the check, the investor receives a supporting document — a Police Clearance. It is included in the mandatory list of documents for obtaining a Maltese residence permit before citizenship.
To pass the check and receive the Police Clearance, Nikolay provided certified copies of the passports of all family members.
A response from the police came after a week and a half: the investor successfully passed the check and could apply for a residence permit.
Preparation of documents for obtaining a residence permit took place remotely. Nikolay provided the lawyers with:
- copies of the family members’ passports;
- copies of German residence permit cards;
- a marriage certificate;
- birth certificates of children;
- a bank statement for the last six months;
- a medical insurance.
Lawyers completed government forms, translated documents into English and apostilled them.
The documents were ready in a week. After that, the investor had to buy or rent housing in Malta and submit biometrics to Identity Malta Agency.
Arrival to Malta in 2020
In March 2020, Malta closed the border for foreigners and stopped accepting international passenger flights. It was possible to get into the country only by a business jet with a valid Schengen visa, passport or residence permit card of an EU country.
On June 10th, 2020, Nikolay and his family flew to Malta on a business jet using German residence permit cards. Germany has not yet begun a mass vaccination against coronavirus, so the family members received negative PCR test results. They did not need to pass a quarantine in Malta.
A residence permit in Malta for Nikolay's family
Renting of housing. The investor needs to have a registration address in Malta, which will be indicated on the residence permit card. The property is allowed to be bought or rented.
Nikolay decided to rent real estate first. He planned to come to the country again in the summer and calmly choose an object for purchase.
Real estate experts of Immigrant Invest had selected several apartments for rent. The couple loved the three-bedroom apartment in the capital city of Valletta.
The lawyers contacted the landlord and checked the terms of the contract. Nikolay entered into a deal for a year of lease and transferred €20,000 which was the full value of the contract to the lessor.
Submitting fingerprints for residence permit cards is necessary to do within six months from the date of Police Clearance receipt. The lawyers pre-signed Nikolay and his family to submit biometrics at the Identity Malta Agency on June 11th, 2020.
Applying for a residence permit. On the day of submitting biometrics lawyers had also submitted an investor’s application for a residence permit in Malta. Government forms, copies of passports and certificates, bank statements and health insurance, the Police Clearance and a lease agreement with the investor's registration address in Malta were submitted along with the application.
Payment of fees. A day later, Nikolay received the details of the Maltese agency to pay the fees for the issuance of residence permit cards. The amount of fees for a family of four was €8,000: €5,000 cost an investor’s card and €1,000 was the price for a card for each family member.
Obtaining residence permit cards. Nikolay and his family returned to Germany immediately after submitting biometrics. Residence permit cards for them were received by a lawyer of the Maltese office of Immigrant Invest by power of attorney four working days after contacting Identity Malta Agency.
The investor and his family members received residence permit cards valid for 18 months. This time is sufficient to pass the Due Diligence, fulfill the investment conditions and obtain a passport of Malta.
How Nikolay confirmed the legality of the business in order to pass Due Diligence in Malta
After receiving the Maltese residence permit, investors undergo a thorough Due Diligence at the Identity Malta Agency. The Due Diligence in Malta is one of the most strict in the world, with about 25% of investor applications being rejected every year.
The investor's welfare history is the main document for passing the Due Diligence. It is needed to confirm the legality of income for investment in the economy of Malta.
In a welfare history, it is important to indicate all jobs and sources of income throughout the investor’s life. Assets owned by the investor and his family members such as real estate or a business are also taken into consideration.
Nikolay owned a large business producing dairy products. The holding included farms, manufacturing plants and companies selling finished products.
To confirm the legality of the business and income, lawyers added to Nikolay's welfare history:
- a detailed description of the business structure with schemes of the relationship of all legal entities that are part of the holding;
- a brief characteristics of the holding companies;
- a tax reporting for the companies of the holding;
- forms indicating the amount of annual income and dividends that Nikolay received as the owner and chairman of the board of directors at the holding;
- a business plan for the year ahead with a forecast of production and financial indicators, taking into account possible force majeure.
Together with financial documents for Due Diligence, lawyers prepared copies of standard documents: Russian passports and German ID-cards of family members, marriage and birth certificates of Nikolay's children. Nikolay and Vadim’s military cards as well as police clearance certificates from Russia and Germany were also required.
The lawyers additionally drew up an affidavit, in which they confirmed the financial dependence of Nikolay's adult children. As a confirmation to the affidavit, they attached statements of family members' bank accounts and receipts of Vadim and Olga's studies at their universities.
It took two weeks to prepare the documents. On July 1st, 2020, lawyers submitted them for verification to the Identity Malta Agency, and Nikolay paid a Due Diligence fee of €22,500 for a family of four.
On January 11th, 2021, lawyers received a response from the Identity Malta Agency. Nikolay successfully passed the Due Diligence check without additional inquiries from the agency.
How to get to Malta during a pandemic in 2021
Nikolay could apply for citizenship of Malta no earlier than 12 months after obtaining a residence permit — in July 2021. Therefore, in the summer of 2021, the family had to visit Malta for two reasons.
First, Nikolay decided to buy rather than rent property in Malta. Before buying, he wanted to personally look at the property and select an object on the spot.
Secondly, applicants for citizenship once again submit biometrics at the Identity Malta Agency, and then personally take the oath and receive passports.
At the time Malta received foreigners and resumed flights with most countries. But there were entry restrictions.
From July 14th, 2021, entry to Malta without quarantine is possible with a coronavirus vaccination certificate. Vaccination must be made with an EU approved vaccine: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Jassen.rnrnIf a person has not been vaccinated or received another vaccine not approved in the European Union, upon arrival in Malta, the individual will have to spend 14 days in a paid quarantine in a special hotel.rnrnApplicants for Maltese citizenship by naturalization on a direct investment are exempt from quarantine regardless of their vaccination status. They can come to Malta with a negative PCR test result or a certificate of a previous illness.
head of the Maltese office of Immigrant Invest
In the spring of 2021, Nikolay, his wife and daughter were vaccinated against coronavirus in Germany, and their son got the vaccine in France. All of them were vaccinated with the EU-approved Pfizer vaccine.
On July 20th, 2021, the family flew to Malta. When checking in for the flight and passing through passport control, they presented:
- residence permit cards of Germany and France, which gave the right to visa-free entry to other EU countries;
- vaccination certificates with an approved vaccine.
Buying real estate in Malta
In order to obtain citizenship, an investor must have a registered address in Malta. Under the terms of the MIIP program, it was allowed to rent housing or buy property, but taking into account the cost of the object: from €16,000 per year when renting and from €350,000 when buying.
Nikolay chose to buy real estate: he planned to regularly go on vacation with his family on the island, and possibly move to Malta in the future.
The couple flew to Malta before submitting the biometrics to see the facilities. The family loved the apartment with a private pool and views of the Mediterranean Sea in St. Julian's, a major resort town in Malta.
The lawyers checked the transaction and arranged a meeting between the investor and the seller to sign the purchase and sale agreement.
The apartment is located on the second floor of a new residential complex. The apartment includes three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The living room, kitchen and dining room form a single open-plan space. The living room opens onto a spacious terrace with a pool and sea views.rnrnThe apartments are furnished and fully equipped with household appliances and high-speed internet. The apartment is sold together with a garage for two parking spaces.
Fulfillment of investment conditions
In addition to buying or renting real estate, MIIP participants fulfilled two more investment conditions:
- Making a non-refundable contribution to the Malta National Development Fund.
- Buying government bonds from the list of the Central Bank of Malta.
The contribution to the National Development Fund. Nikolay made the contribution after he received approval from the Identity Malta Agency following a Due Diligence check. Nikolay made the payment from his account in a German bank, by transferring to the details of the agency.
€777,000 was the contribution to the state fund for Nikolay's family
|Contribution for an investor||€650,000|
|Contribution for a spouse||€25,000|
|Contribution for two children aged 18 to 26 years||€100,000|
|Passport fee for four applicants||€2,000|
Purchase of government bonds. Nikolay acquired €150,000 worth of government bonds through a broker, a Maltese partner of Immigrant Invest. Nikolay will have to keep the bonds for at least five years, after which he will be able to redeem them and return the money invested.
€1,719,500 were Nikolay’s expenses for obtaining Maltese citizenship for a family of four
|Renting a home in Malta for a residence permit||€20,000|
|Fee for issuing residence permit cards||€8,000|
|Purchase of an apartment||€740,000|
|Contribution to the state fund||€777,000|
|Purchase of government bonds||€150,000|
Fulfillment of investment conditions took a month. Nikolay with his wife and children spent time in Malta, in Valletta.
Boarding passes and return plane tickets came in handy for the family to confirm that they had been in Malta for several weeks. Staying in Malta helps to confirm the connection with the country, which is important for obtaining citizenship.
Along with the confirmation of their stay in Malta, the lawyers submitted documents to the Identity Malta Agency on the fulfillment of the investment conditions. Namely:
- SWIFT receipt of payment of the contribution to the state fund;
- a certificate of purchase of Maltese government bonds;
- a sale and purchase agreement for residential real estate in Malta;
- the architect's conclusion on the value of the acquired property.
Two weeks later, lawyers received from Identity Malta Agency an invitation for Nikolay's family to re-submit the biometrics and take the oath.
Submitting biometrics, taking an oath in and obtaining Maltese passports
Re-submission of biometrics. Lawyers signed up Nikolay to take biometrics on August 25th, 2021. On the appointed day, the Maltese office lawyer of Immigrant Invest escorted the family to the passport office in Valletta, where they submitted their fingerprints for a biometric passport.
The oath took place on the same day at the Identity Malta Agency.
The passports the family received in person at the passport department of Malta four working days after the biometrics and oath were taken. The procedure for obtaining citizenship took 15 months from the date of the first application to Immigrant Invest.
15 months to obtain citizenship of Malta
How to obtain Maltese citizenship under the new conditions
From November 20th, 2020, Maltese citizenship can be obtained only by naturalization for exceptional services by direct investment.
The procedure for obtaining a passport differs from the MIIP program in that an investor can apply for citizenship 12 or 36 months after the residence permit. The purchase of government bonds is no longer included in the list of investment conditions, and the final decision on investor applications is made by the Minister of Citizenship of Malta.
Investment conditions for obtaining citizenship of Malta
|Condition||Under the old rules ⛔️||Under the new rules ✅|
|Renting housing for a residence permit||The rental cost does not matter|
Rent for at least a year
|Rental cost is from €12,000 per year|
Rent for a year or three years
|Rent housing for citizenship||Cost is from €16,000 per year|
For 5 years
|Cost is from €16,000 per year|
For 5 years
|Purchase of housing for a residence permit and citizenship||Cost is from €350,000 |
Term of ownership is from 5 years
|Cost is from €700,000 |
Term of ownership is from 5 years
|Contribution to state fund||From €650,000||From €600,000|
when applying for citizenship 3 years after the residence permit
when applying for citizenship a year after the residence permit
|Purchase of government bonds||From €150,000||Canceled|
|Charitable contribution||Not charged||€10,000|
Residence permit cards are issued for a period of 36 months instead of 18. It is advisable for the investor to confirm the connection with the country, for example, spend several weeks in Malta or visit the History Museum.
If Nikolay received Maltese citizenship by naturalization on the basis of direct investment, the final family expenses would mainly depend on the period of application for citizenship after the residence permit.
If an investor wants to get a passport in a year, he makes a contribution to the state fund of €750,000. If after three years — €600,000. In any case, for each family member you need to pay an additional €50,000.
Nikolay rented an apartment for a year for €20,000, and then bought an apartment for €740,000. Both objects are suitable for the new conditions for obtaining citizenship.
Nikolay’s family received Maltese citizenship a year after the residence permit, investing €1,719,500. To obtain a Maltese passport in a year under the new rules, an investor would have to invest €37,000 more. But if Nikolay had applied for citizenship three years later, he would have saved €73,000.
What would have been Nikolay's expenses under the new rules
|Cost item||When applying for citizenship 1 year after a residence permit||When applying for citizenship 3 years after a residence permit|
|Renting a residence for a residence permit||€20,000||€60,000|
|Fee for issuance of residence permit cards||€35,000||€35,000|
|Purchase of housing||€740,000||€740,000|
|Contribution to the National Development Fund||€900,000||€750,000|
Together with the passport of Malta, the investor receives freedom of movement in more than 180 countries, as well as the right to live, work, do business and study in any EU country.
We talked about all the advantages of citizenship of Malta in the article "Why a passport of Malta is the best investment in the future".