Malta Government introduces new citizenship regulations

Dr Giannella Barbieri, Legal Advisory Services Manager |

23 November 2020

By virtue of legal notice 437 of 2020, published on the 20th of November 2020, Malta has introduced new citizenship regulations entitled the “Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations, 2020” (hereinafter referred to as the “Regulations”).  


These Regulations provide that Maltese Citizenship may be granted to individuals who have either rendered an exceptional contribution to the republic of Malta, have rendered an exceptional contribution to humanity, are of exceptional interest to the Republic of Malta or are willing to contribute  through  an  exceptional direct investment in the economic and social development of the Republic of Malta.


The Regulations confirm that prospective applicants shall be required to take up residence in Malta and once the applicant is issued with a residence permit, he or she shall be able to proceed to apply for an eligibility test by which the authorities shall determine whether the applicant would be eligible to apply for citizenship by naturalisation for any of the contributions listed above.


Thus, the new Regulations allow for the granting of Maltese citizenship by way of a certificate of naturalisation to foreign individuals, and their families/dependants, who contribute to the economic development of Malta through an ‘exceptional direct investment’ (In effect replacing the previous successful Individual Investor Programme). The number of  certificates issued by way of ‘Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment’, excluding dependants, shall not exceed 400 per annum, and in any case the total accumulated amount of successful applicants, excluding dependants, shall  not exceed 1,500.

In accordance with the Regulations, every individual must also fulfil the following requirements to be considered an eligible applicant:

1. Contribute the following minimum exceptional direct investment in the Maltese economy:


a. € 590,000 investment where the individual is already resident in Malta for a minimum of 36 months or

b. € 740,000 investment where the individual has been resident in Malta for less than 36 months but at least 12 months.


2. Either purchase property in Malta provided that the minimum value of such is of €700,000 (to be retained for a period of five (5) years) , or else rent property for a minimum annual rent of €16,000 which property must be considered as adequate and suitable for the applicant and his/her dependants, and must have been leased for a minimum period of five (5) years prior to the date of issuance of the certificate of citizenship.


3. Pay certain administrative fees to the Agency including a €10,000 non-refundable deposit, donate €10,000 to a Maltese Philanthropic organization, and pay the necessary due diligence fees amounting to around €15,000.


4. Undergo a stringent due diligence process conducted by the Agency;

The Regulations also provide that the applicant’s dependants can also benefit from the naturalisation process with an additional contribution of €50,000 per dependant. The term dependant refers to family members, and includes:

  • The applicant’s monogamous spouse, or partner in another relationship having the same or similar status of a monogamous marriage.
  • The child of the applicant or of his spouse who is below 18 years of age;
  • The unmarried child of the applicant who is above 18 but below 29 years of age and who is proven to be maintained by the applicant;
  • The parent or grandparent of the applicant or of his spouse who is at least 55 years of age and who is proven to be maintained by the applicant.
  • The child of the applicant or of his spouse who has attained the age of 18 but is a qualified person with a disability as per Equal Opportunities Act;


Once the above requirements are fulfilled, and all investments and fees are settled, the Agency would them inform the Minister responsible for matters relating to Maltese citizenship that all such requisites for the issuance of a certificate of citizenship by naturalisation are satisfied. The applicant would then be required to complete the process and take the oath of allegiance to Malta within 6 months from the approval being granted by the Minister.


For further information regarding the new Citizenship regulations, or for any additional information or any assistance with respect to acquiring Maltese Citizenship through Exceptional Services by Direct Investment, contact us via [email protected] or get in touch here:


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