Malta’s MPRP (Malta Permanent Residence Program) is considered to be the most affordable golden visa program in Europe. It offers direct permanent residency in the Schengen area in exchange for a one-time government contribution of 100,000 euros, along with additional fees.
To qualify for the program, applicants are required to either rent a property or purchase real estate in Malta. The program also allows for the inclusion of family members.
While Portugal and Greece’s golden visa programs are more well-known, Malta’s program is not as widely promoted, resulting in its benefits being less known among foreign investors. It’s important to note that golden visa programs are different from investor visas, which are typically issued for business or entrepreneurial purposes. In golden visa programs, the majority of investors choose to invest in property as a passive investment.
Malta has introduced a new residency program called the Malta Permanent Residency Program (MPRP), also known as the “Maltese Golden Visa.” This program, launched on March 29, 2021, offers a cheaper option for obtaining permanent residency in Malta and the Schengen area.
Under the MPRP, applicants have two options. The first option involves paying a one-time government fee of 100,000 euros as a donation and choosing to rent a property. The total cost for families, including agency and lawyer fees and one year’s rent (approximately 10,000 euros per year), would amount to around 125,000 euros. It is important to note that this fee is non-recoverable and serves as a one-time donation to Malta.
The second option is to directly purchase real estate in Malta or Gozo for a minimum of 300,000 euros, along with government fees and additional costs. This option allows for either renting a place for five years or buying a property outright.
To be eligible for the MPRP, applicants must have no criminal record and prove a minimum net asset worth of 500,000 euros, which can include property, savings, investments, and other assets. Financing options or investing in Malta bonds are no longer available for this program.
Some of the benefits of the Maltese Golden Visa scheme include permanent residence in the Schengen area, no living requirements, free movement within the Schengen area, permanent residence certificates, full permanent residency for family members, no age limit for children, and the ability to live, work, study, and settle indefinitely.
Additionally, grandparents or parents (third generation) can be included for an additional fee, and citizenship can be obtained after five years. The program also offers tax advantages and allows for a switch from residency to citizenship.
The processing time for the MPRP is approximately eight months, and applicants are required to visit Malta in person for biometrics after approval to receive the e-residence permit. It is recommended to apply well in advance. It is important to note that with the MPRP, applicants will be renting a home rather than buying real estate, making it a more cost-effective option.
While Maltese permanent residents can apply for citizenship through naturalization after five years, the waiting period for citizenship can be significant, making the MPRP more suitable for those seeking residency rather than citizenship.
It is worth noting that Malta does not require a citizenship or language test, unlike some other EU countries. For those who can afford close to one million euros, there is an option to apply for the Malta Residency to Citizenship program, which has a faster citizenship acquisition time of 14 months.
The Residency Malta Agency oversees both the Malta Permanent Residency Program and the Malta Residency to Citizenship program.
The Portugal Golden Visa (GV) program is highly regarded as one of the most affordable and popular schemes available. It stands out as the best program for those seeking EU citizenship, albeit with some patience. This program has gained significant popularity due to its advantages, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as real estate investments tend to be more secure.
It’s important to note that the Portugal GV scheme will be closing soon, and last-minute applications can be submitted until the end of June. We offer a unique fast-track application service that can be completed within two weeks. Through this program, investors can make a fully refundable hotel investment of 280,000 euros, which can yield returns of 3-4%. Additionally, Portuguese citizenship becomes a possibility after five years.
The Portugal GV program may require a slightly higher investment of 280,000 euros if you choose to invest in residential properties, buyback hotel shares, or invest in 350,000 euro investment funds. However, it’s crucial to understand that if you invest in investment funds or 5-star hotels, the investment is fully recoverable after five years, along with any yields paid by the developer. This makes it an excellent program with minimal financial risk.
If you decide to purchase a residential property, either through a full deed or shares in a development, you have the option to sell it after five years and generate rental income. In this case, you won’t lose your investment. Additionally, Portuguese property can be transferred to future generations without incurring inheritance tax, adding further advantages.
When considering the costs, you can expect a total net cost of approximately 12,000 euros per person for the Portugal GV program over five years, including all charges on top of the property investment.
It’s important to note that starting from January 2022, the Golden Visa program will be shifted to inner regions of Portugal, and property investments in Lisbon, Porto, Algarve, and coastal regions will be closed. Therefore, there is a limited window of opportunity to take advantage of this program.
Overall, after five years, you will only spend around 12,000-15,000 euros as residual costs, considering the entire 280,000 euros investment is refunded. This factor makes the Portugal GV scheme one of the most cost-effective options available. If your long-term goal is to become an EU citizen, Portugal is the ideal choice. It is the only country that offers EU citizenship and a passport without the requirement of living in the country.
Portuguese citizenship becomes possible after five years, with a minimum visit requirement of two weeks. Additionally, for children, the process becomes even easier. You will need to visit Portugal for a few days, and after five years, you can apply for citizenship (subject to passing a Portuguese language test). If you come from a Portuguese-speaking country like Brazil, this program becomes even more advantageous.
The Greece Golden Visa scheme is the second most popular and affordable program in Europe. In Greece, you have the opportunity to purchase real estate valued at €250,000, plus additional costs such as property taxes and legal fees of around 10%. Alternatively, you can invest in hotels, resorts, or commercial projects, including shares.
However, starting from August 1, 2023, Greece will be increasing the minimum investment for the golden visa program to €500,000 in the property sector.
In addition to the real estate option, there are also alternative choices available. For instance, you can opt for a €400,000 bank deposit or invest in government bonds, which must be held for a minimum of two years.
Latvia is another country that offers a cheaper golden visa scheme, but it may not be as attractive to clients compared to the above-mentioned countries. In Latvia, you have the option to invest €250,000 in real estate or bonds, similar to Greece. However, unlike Malta, there is no financing option available, making it a more expensive choice. Additionally, Latvia offers a business option requiring an investment of €100,000, which could be the cheapest option available.
However, the drawback is that you would need to pay an additional €50,000, making it less cost-effective. Furthermore, the business option requires active involvement and the creation of jobs, which may not be preferred by most clients who seek passive investments like real estate or financing bonds. It’s important to note that the business option does not grant permanent residency, and the application process for Latvia can be difficult and time-consuming. Additionally, certain countries are blacklisted and cannot apply for Latvia’s golden visa scheme.
It’s worth mentioning that both Malta and Greece offer immediate permanent residency, equivalent to a green card, in the Schengen area. This status holds great importance. Another advantage of all three golden visa schemes is that they do not have any residence requirements. Furthermore, when considering the time it takes to obtain citizenship, Malta has the fastest processing time among the three cheapest schemes.
Bulgaria / Cyprus
Bulgaria and Cyprus have active golden visa programs in place. Both countries offer the opportunity to obtain a golden visa by investing a minimum of EUR 300,000 in property. However, it’s important to note that neither Bulgaria nor Cyprus are currently part of the Schengen Zone. This means that even if you invest hundreds of thousands of euros, you will still need to apply for a visa every time you wish to travel within the Schengen Zone. It is advisable to carefully consider investing in a country that is already part of the Schengen Area to ensure visa-free movement.
Nevertheless, a significant advantage of both Bulgaria and Cyprus is that they are European Union (EU) members. If you are willing to be a non-Schengen resident in either of these countries for a minimum of five years, there is a good possibility of acquiring EU citizenship. This can be an appealing option for those who have the patience and desire to eventually obtain EU citizenship through their investment.
EU Fast Citizenship:
Here’s a table summarizing the residency requirement durations for various golden visa schemes:
|Portugal||5 years (no compulsory living required)|
|Malta||5 years (must live)|
|Greece||7 years (must live)|
|Latvia||10 years (must live)|
|Ireland||5 years (must live)|
|Bulgaria||5 years (must live)|
|Cyprus||5 years (must live)|
|Netherlands||5 years (must live)|