Thinking of moving to Malta?
Are you thinking of moving to Malta? Numerous residents are attracted to the tiny island state every year. These include freelance professionals who can work remotely as well as retirees from Northern Europe, with a good number of them from the UK. The attraction lies in the relatively relaxed way of living, affordable cost of living, as well as the country’s historical links to Britain.
All those who move to Malta, the smallest EU state, fall in love with its natural beauty, architectural gems and the Mediterranean joie de vivre that permeates life on the island. Many are also attracted by the various successful industries that are flourishing in Malta such as the gaming industry and the financial services.
Other star attractions include the plethora of leisure activities namely diving, cultural events and night life.
Within this section you will find all you need to know about moving to this island steeped in history, surrounded by the deep, blue Mediterranean Sea and where the sun shines for the majority of days throughout the year.
It is relatively straightforward to obtain the necessary paperwork to be able to move to Malta.
This allows you to legally live in Malta for 90 days. You can stay longer by either getting an extension from the police or by leaving and coming back again for 90 days. If you’re planning on living on the island long term, then you should look into becoming a permanent resident.
So if you’re planning on moving to Malta, you don’t need to apply for residency before moving. You can use your tourist visa while you sort things out and settle in and, in the meantime, apply for residency while you are in Malta.
Moving around in Europe
Malta is in the Schengen area which is group of countries that have got rid of passport and immigration controls at their common borders. So people travelling to and from Schengen areas will not need to have their passports checked at the borders.
Malta also has a visa waiver agreement with a number of countries. Maltese citizens are eligible to travel to the US without a visa
If you become a permanent resident in Malta you will need to pay 15 per cent tax on the income you bring into the country. Thanks to double tax treaties with various countries, you will probably not need to pay any tax to your country of origin.
You can find a list of countries that have a double tax arrangement with Malta here.
Once you’ve become a permanent resident, of course you don’t need to necessarily live on the island all the time and can come and go as you wish. Do be aware that you are not becoming a Maltese citizen by becoming a resident and will not be able to vote.
Two Types of Residency
Depending on where you are emigrating from you can apply for one of two types of residency: the Ordinary Residence or the Permanent Residence. The difference between the two ultimately boils down to how much you are taxed.
Ordinary Residence applies to people coming to Malta from the EU. The tax you pay is worked out by taking from 0 to 35 per cent of your income, minus a tax-credit, depending on how much you earn and marital status.
Permanent Residence is open to everyone, no matter what your country of origin is. If you’re not from the EU then this is what you need to apply for. You can also apply for this scheme if you are from the EU, but we recommend always consulting a lawyer to see which scheme is more suited to you.
You will need to renew you ordinary residence permit every five years, while permanent residence permits are renewable every year.
The Malta Global Residency Programme
In July 2013, the Maltese Government introduced a new residency programme. This offers special tax status to third country nationals (except for EEA and Swiss nationals) in Malta. To apply for this programme you need to satisfy certain criteria such as buying or renting property in Malta or Gozo and paying a minimum annual tax liability on foreign income received in Malta.
Where Do I Apply for My Residency Permit?
To apply for your residency permit you need to go to the:
Department for Citizenship and Expatriates Affairs
St Elmo Place
Valletta VLT 2000
Tel: 2590 4000, 2590 4800, 2590 4821
Fax: 2590 1830
Residency permit applications can only be submitted in Valletta. The application may be presented by someone else (on your behalf) but when the document is issued you need to pick it up yourself. You can also apply by post. When you apply by post, you need to send photocopies of passports or ID cards that have been authenticated by the police. You’ll need to present your passport or ID card when collecting your registration certificate or residence card.
Where Can I Get The Residency Application From?
The residency application form can be found here.
Is There An Application Fee?
There is no application fee if you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national or a family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss national. However, if you have lost your residence document, had it stolen, destroyed or defaced then you will need to pay a fee as follows:
Defaced document: €15
Non-EU nationals must pay a fee of €25 which will entitle the applicant to a document covering the period of one year or part thereof.
If you are married to a Maltese national and who enjoys Exempt Person Status then you are exempt from the payment of the fee.
Long term residents are required to pay the fee for a five year permit, amounting to €125 upon application.
If you enjoy International Protection and have just been released from detention then you are exempt from paying a fee.
Do I Need Professional Assistance To Apply For Residency?
Most people do not need professional assistance to apply for residency, as the application process is fairly straightforward and easy now that Malta is a member of the EU.
However, the process can be time consuming so if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands it might be worth considering professional assistance.
Also, an accountant can advise you what you are entitled to as well as help you to time your move tax-wise. The time of applying for residency may be dictated equally by the timing of ending your residency elsewhere and getting it in Malta.