The Golden Visa, which offers access to Europe for investors and their families, has cropped up in a number of EU states over the years, and since the EU-Africa Business Forum solidified the socioeconomic ties between Africa and Europe, it only makes sense that savvy African investors would be interested in this opportunity. In this article, we’re going to focus on one particular example of this ‘citizenship through investment’ arrangement just to give you an idea of how it works.
The Malta Individual Investor Program (MIIP)
The MIIP was established in the year 2014, and grants Maltese citizenship through a certificate of naturalization to individuals who contribute to the economic and social development of Malta. It’s an exclusive program capped at 1800 applicants, and it aims to attract only the cream of the crop of investors to Malta.
Malta is the perfect country to become a citizen through investment because it is one of the safest and most stable states in the European Union. On top of that, Malta has a well-developed legal system, a strong democracy, a high quality education system, and the country provides all of its citizens with first-class healthcare services.
Malta also has one of the lowest crime and unemployment rates in Europe and very well-developed tourism, industry and financial sectors. Plus, it’s easy to conduct international business from Malta, thanks to the fact that the country has an established national airline, and you get to enjoy an agreeable Mediterranean climate all year round.
In addition, English is an official language in Malta so communication won’t be a problem, and as a citizen in Malta, you get to benefit from visa-free travel to more than 160 countries as well as the right to work and reside in any of the 20 EU states.
The investment process
To apply, candidates must be at least 18 years of age, acquire immovable property in Malta, and establish a residence in Malta. The property you purchase should at the minimum, cost 350, 000 Euro or rented at a minimum annual rent of 16, 000 Euro per annum, keeping in mind that you’re going to have to hold on to the same property for a minimum of 5 years.
As the main applicant, you’ll also be required to invest in Maltese government bonds to the tune of 150, 000 Euro minimum, and must hold on to that investment for a minimum of 5 years as well. But that’s not all, because you’ll also be required to contribute to the country’s National Development and Social fund an amount which will depend on the number of people included in your application.
The good news is that the primary applicant can add quite a few dependents to the application, such as a spouse, children, parents and grandparents. However, apart from the 650, 000 Euro contribution that you make as the main applicant, you’ll have to contribute 25, 000 Euro per person for spouse and children, and dependents over the age of 55 years can be added at 50, 000 Euro per person.
The entire application process takes as little as 12 months from start to finish, and once you’ve been successfully granted citizenship in Malta, you will be issued with a certificate of naturalization, which you can then use to apply for a Maltese passport.