Malta’s Individual Investor Programme (IIP) is one of the few European investment immigration programs that offers citizenship directly, rather than through temporary or permanent residency. In order to be granted citizenship, eligible individuals are required to make a financial contribution toward national development projects, maintain real estate ownership or rental in Malta and invest in government bonds. The IIP targets high net worth individuals and requires contributions to be spread across categories, some non-refundable. Maltese citizenship is especially attractive to suitable investors because it not only confers rights and privileges within Malta’s borders, but also grants establishment rights in any and all of the European Union’s member states.
The Individual Investor Programme is touted as having the strictest due diligence requirements in the investment immigration marketplace, to ensure that only the most highly qualified candidates are admitted. Candidates are only granted citizenship through the program after having maintained residence in Malta for the 12 months preceding their application and having made a €650,000 contribution to the National Development and Social Fund, with additional costs per derivative applicant. In addition to the initial contribution, approved applicants must maintain residence in Malta for five years, either through property purchase or rental of a certain monetary value, and must invest at least €150,000 through approved channels. Beyond the financial requirements, applicants must be at least 18 years old, in good health, and possess a clean criminal record.
Maltese citizenship is granted to approved investors and their dependent family members. It is granted for life and is passed on by descent. Applications must be lodged by an approved agent of the program on behalf of investor candidates.
Malta’s IIP was established in 2014 by means of a legal amendment to the country’s citizenship rules and extensive debate. The program received approval from the European Union in early 2014, and is first program of its kind to be recognized by the European Commission. Unlike other investment immigration programs, Malta’s IIP has a total cap of 1800 admissions for the life of the program—approximately 620 applicants had utilized the program as of mid-2015.
Eligibility and Application
Before a prospective investor can apply for citizenship under the IIP, they must have first established a genuine connection to Malta in the form of residence in the country. Once investors have established residency, they can begin the citizenship application process. Along with this eligibility marker, investors must be at least 18 years old, in good health, and produce a clean criminal record and proof of health insurance coverage. There are no language requirements for the program.
Qualifying family members that can be included on the investor’s application include a spouse, dependent minor children, unmarried dependent children between the ages of 18 and 26 and dependents over the age of 55 (e.g. parents).
In order to receive citizenship through the IIP, candidates must: 
- Have a genuine link to Malta, established through residency in the 12 months preceding naturalization
- Contribute €650,000 per principal applicant to the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF)
- Additional €25,000 per spouse and minor child
- Additional €50,000 per dependent 18-26 or 55+
- Lease or purchase property in Malta, to be held for at least five years
- Leased property at an annual rent of at least €16,000
- Purchased property at a minimum value of €350,000
- Invest a minimum of €150,000 in approved holdings to be maintained for at least five years
Once prospective investors are sure they can meet the financial and other requirements of the program, they can seek out an accredited agent through the IIP website or other channels to assist them with the application process. The first step for investors is to apply for residency in Malta and to make a deposit of €5,000 (and €1,000 per dependent) toward the €650,000 NDSF contribution. After receiving residence, investors will finalize their application with their accredited agent and file all necessary paperwork with Identity Malta. At this point, investors must make an additional contribution of €10,000 and remit diligence and passport fees. Subsequent to application approval, investors will be asked to contribute the remaining balance of the NDSF contribution. Before the 12 months of residency has elapsed, investors will be asked to evidence their investment of €150,000 and show property purchase or rental contracts.
All application materials must be submitted in English. Processing time for citizenship applications is approximately four months and total time from initial residency to naturalization is typically around 12 months. According to the official IIP website, the process can take as little as six months or up to 24 months.
In addition to the capital requirements outline above, investors must also pay due diligence fees in the amount of:
- €7,500 for the principal applicant
- €5,000 for the spouse, children 18-26 and dependents over 55
- €3,000 for children aged 13-17
Identity Malta will also request passport fees of €500 per person and bank fees of €200 per person.
Investors can only apply to the IIP with the assistance of an approved agent, contact information for which can be found on the IIP website. These agents will be able to provide further detail on the program, direct investors to proper financial, tax and legal resources and will ultimately be responsible for filing the investor’s application with Identity Malta.
 "Malta Citizenship by Investment." Chetcuti Cauchi Malta. Accessed February 07, 2016. http://www.ccmalta.com/publications/malta-citizenship-investment.
 "Individual Investor Programme of the Republic of Malta." IIP.gov. Accessed February 7, 2016. http://iip.gov.mt/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/IIP-Brochure-v1.2_updated.pdf.