FAQs Property and Residency

BUYING PROPERTY IN MALTA

1. Can any foreigner buy immovable property in Malta?

Yes.

2. Do they need a permit to buy immovable property?

All citizens from a non-EU country need a permit to buy immovable property.

Citizens from an EU country including Maltese citizens who have not resided in Malta for at least 5 years who are buying a holiday home (secondary residence) require a permit (AIP – Acquisition of Immovable Property Permit) from the Inland Revenue Department. This permit is granted within 6/7 weeks.

3. Are there any exceptions when a permit is not required?

Yes.

A) If an EU citizen declares on his contract of purchase that he intends to purchase the immovable property as a primary residence i.e. permanent resident.

B) If any foreigner (even non EU) purchase immovable property in a special designated area.

C) If an EU citizen has been a resident of Malta for more than 5 years.

4. Can a foreigner buy more than one immovable property?

EU citizens may only buy one property unless (1) they have been resident for at least 5 years and (2) they buy in a special designated area and (3) the second property is required for the person’s business activity or supplying of services.

Those EU citizens who have already lived in Malta for a continuous period of 5 years may purchase another property, without the necessity of a permit, immediately.

5. Can non-EU citizens buy more than one immovable property?

No, except in special designated areas.

6. Can any foreigner buy 3 immovable properties in a special designated area and one outside special designated areas?

Yes, he can. There are no restrictions on special designated areas.

7. Which are the special designated areas?

Madliena Village, Madliena
Fort Cambridge, Sliema
Pendergardens, St Julians
Portomaso, St Julians
Tigné Point, Sliema
St. Angelo Mansions, Vittoriosa
Ta’ Monita Residence, Marsascala
Tas-Sellum Residences, Mellieha
Kempinski San Lawrenz, Gozo
Fort Chambray – Gozo
Vista Point – Gozo

8. Can an immovable property be purchased in the name of a Company?

Yes, if the property is in a special designated area.

Yes, as long as 75% of the share capital is held by persons who are citizens of the EU and who have resided in Malta continuously for 5 years. The company operates in an EU state and all directors must have 5 years residence qualifier.

In other cases, a permit will only be granted if the property is required for an industrial or tourist project or as a contributor to the development of the economy of Malta.

9. Are there any permits required if a foreigner inherits an immovable property “Causa Mortis”?

No.

10. What are the conditions in the AIP permit?

A) The value of the immovable property has to be not less than €110,500 in case of Apartments/Maisonettes and €184,000 in case of houses.

B) The property has to be used solely as a residence for applicant and his family.

11. Can a foreigner buy below the threshold of €110,500 and €184,000 if the immovable property is shell or unconverted?

Yes, he can as long as he can produce an architect’s certificate showing that the property requires additional costs, which bring it to the level of the threshold to make it habitable.

12. Can these thresholds be revised in the future?

Yes, these are linked to the property price index, which is published in the Government Gazette every year.

13. Can a foreigner rent his immovable property?

Foreigners may rent the property as long as;

A) It is in a special designated area.

B) It is issued with a licence from the Ministry of Tourism Authority under “Superior” and “Comfort” category.

14. How does one go about applying for a permit to rent his immovable property to the Ministry of Tourism Authority and what are their fees?

Submit the relevant application to the Ministry of Tourism Authority.

15. Can two couples buy one immovable property between them?

Yes

16. Can a foreigner not married but having a common law wife buy the same immovable property together?

Yes.

17. Does a Maltese with dual citizenship e.g. Canadian and Maltese citizenship, who has not resided in Malta for 5 years need a permit?

Yes.

18. Does a non-EU husband married to an EU wife require an AIP permit?

No.

19. Does an EU Citizen whose business is to develop immovable property be given permission to do so?

Yes. He will be given permission to do so.

20. What does one need to submit with an AIP application?

A) Two passport sized photos.

B) Copy of convenium (Preliminary Agreement of Sale).

C) Photocopy of passport showing details.

21. Is the process for buying immovable property the same as for Maltese?

Yes.

22. Are the legal expenses and stamp duty the same as Maltese?

Yes, except if applicant requires an AIP permit, this attracts an administrative charge of €233

RESIDENCY

1. Can anyone take up residence in Malta?

Yes.

2. What does one have to do to take up residence?

An individual must declare his intentions within 3 months from arrival by completing and submitting a form (EU or non EU) at the Immigration Division at the Police Headquarters.

3. Is he obliged to bring in a certain amount of income?

The main grounds on which they can apply are economic self-sufficiency, employment and education, unless a particular residence programme is undertaken by the applicant.

Economic Self-Sufficiency
This criterion requires that such individuals show that they are able to provide for themselves and for their accompanying dependants by being financially stable and not being in need of any financial support from the Maltese government. The current thresholds for EU/EEA nationals are set at a minimum capital of €14,000 or a weekly income of €84.95 for single persons, and at a capital of at least €23,300 or a weekly income of €93.10 for married couples.

Employment
Residence in Malta may also be applied for on grounds of employment. Alternatively, an individual may opt to set up a business in Malta or opt for self-employment status.

4. Does a person taking up employment need to apply for a Work Permit?

A NON-EU foreigner taking up employment would require employment permission, which has to be applied for by his employer. The individual must then regulate himself at Immigration once the work permit (employment licence) has been issued. With effect from the 1st May 2011, EU Nationals no longer require an employment licence (work permit) to work in Malta.

5. Is an EU citizen who takes up residence subject to tax and at what rate?

Yes. An individual is normally regarded as being a resident of Malta if during the year his stay exceeded an aggregate of 183 days in one calendar year. The rate of tax is the same as that for Maltese citizens and is based on any income (not capital), which the individual brings into Malta. Foreign residents in Malta are not taxed on their worldwide income.

6. Is there a special scheme for Permanent Residents?

Yes. Both EU and non-EU citizens may apply for permanent residency. An individual may obtain a certificate from the Inland Revenue Department, which certificate is issued for an indefinite period as long as certain conditions are satisfied on an annual basis.

7. What are the conditions?

Refer to the various options of residency programmes in Malta here

8. Is Malta part of the Schengen Zone?

Malta became part of the Schengen Zone in 2007. Non-EU citizens may obtain the Uniform Residence Permit, issued on the basis of one being a permanent resident. In this case, it grants its holder the possibility to travel throughout the Schengen Zone without the requirements of a visa for at least three months.

In order to apply for the Uniform Residency Permit the applicant must have a place of residence in Malta.

9. Does the rate of 15% also apply if the applicant has to pay capital gains tax?

No.

10. Does one pay tax both in Malta and in the country of origin?

No. Thanks to a number of double taxation agreements with a substantial number of countries or through unilateral provisions, residents do not pay in both countries.

11. Does a foreigner who sells his secondary property (holiday home) pay capital gains tax?

Yes. If the property is sold within 7 years from date of acquisition, the vendor has the option to choose to be taxed (1) a capital gains tax based on gains realised after taking into consideration the cost of purchase and sale, as well as any improvements carried out on the property or (2) a final withholding tax equivalent to 12% of the sale price of the immovable property.

12. The 3-year residency exemption still applies?

Yes to the following:

A) Resident who has the certificate from the Inland Revenue Department in terms of the chosen residency programme.

B) Residents who have declared their intention to stay in Malta, whose stay exceed 183 days every year.

C) To individuals with work permits.

IMP. The exemption is only granted if the property has been owned and used as a main residence for a period of three years and has not been vacated for more than one year. The Inland Revenue Department is actually checking on this before a sale is authorised and merely having one of the above (a or b or c) does not automatically exempt the individual after three years. The department normally checks through utility bills if owner has physically been resident in the property for at least three years.

13. Do EU citizens pay VAT and Import Duties when they import their household effects (excluding car)?

No, as long as these are VAT paid in their country of origin.

14. Do non-EU citizens pay VAT and Import Duties when they import their household effects (excluding car)?

They may initially be required to pay a deposit or lodge a Bank Guarantee for the amount of duty/VAT, which will be refunded upon the expiry of 200 cumulative days in Malta.

15. Can residents import their car?

Yes, but this is always subject to full registration tax for all citizens and VAT for cars originating from outside the EU.

16. Can residents bring in their pets and are they subject to quarantine?

Yes, they can. If pets qualify under the “Pet Travel Scheme”, they do not require quarantine.

Pets from qualifying countries, which have been vaccinated against Rabies e.g. UK, Ireland require 21 days.

Pets coming from countries, which do not qualify under the pet’s scheme, require six calendar months.

17. Can a foreign buyer take out a loan from a local Bank?

Yes.

18. How much can he borrow and at what rate of interest?

He can borrow up to 90% of the value of the property always depending on his income at the present lowest rate starting from 3.75%. The loan may be repaid over a maximum period of 30 years provided age does not exceed 65 years upon last repayment.

19. What security does the Bank require?

A hypothec over the property, as well as building and life insurances.

20. Does a foreigner have to pay any deposits for Water, Electricity and telephone?

If from EU countries there are no deposits. From non-EU € 1,164.69 for telephone and €466 to the Water Services Corporation.

21. Can foreigners make use of our Medical facilities and what are the costs?

EU citizens, resident in Malta are entitled to Free Public Health care. These have to be in possession of the appropriate E form issued from the country of origin. UK pensions may call The Medical Benefit Section in their country (+44 7044 191218 7547) they would be asked for the NI number and E121 would be sent by post. They have to apply to the Entitlement Unit with the Ministry of Health.

The Government is not responsible for costs in a private hospital or clinic.

22. Does a reciprocal health agreement still exist between Malta & the UK, and if yes, do UK citizens still require the E121?

The agreement is currently superseded by EU regulations and UK citizens must also therefore be in possession of the E forms and for residents, the Local Health Entitlement Card issued by the Ministry of Health.