Retiring from the USA to Malta
Our Guide to Visa Options and Conditions for US Citizens
For many Americans retiring abroad is becoming more and more appealing and Malta with its rich history, fascinating culture, Mediterranean climate and welcoming people has emerged as a firm favourite the last couple of years. For those US citizens that are considering retiring to the island nation of Malta, understanding the visa options, beneficial tax regime and conditions for the buying and selling property is crucial. We explore the various requirements and benefits of retiring in Malta from the USA under some of the most popular programmes.
Retiring in Malta: the most popular visa options
There are a few visa options to consider for US citizens that are looking at retiring in Malta, such as the Malta Retirement Programme, the Global Residence Programme and the Malta Permanent Residence Programme. Several other options are also available and can be found on our Malta Residency Programme Page.
THE MALTA RETIREMENT PROGRAMME
This programme is designed for individuals who are nearing retirement age or for those who are already retired and considering relocating to another country. The Malta Retirement Programme offers an attractive option for those seeking favourable climate, excellent lifestyle, very good healthcare services and most importantly peace of mind. Of course this all comes with very appealing tax benefits! What is more is that participants in this programme are also eligible to hold non-executive positions on the board of a Maltese company and they will be able to engage in activities related to educational, philanthropic or research organisations in Malta.
- Both individuals from the EU and non-EU nationals can apply for this programme.
- Applicants need to own or rent a qualifying property for the duration of their residency: if they are purchasing a property, the property must be valued for a minimum of €220,000 if located in Gozo or the south of Malta, or for a minimum of €275,000 in all other parts of Malta. Renting options require a minimum annual rent of €8,750 for Gozo and the south of Malta or €9,600 in all other areas of Malta.
- Applicants must have proof of a documented pension, an income that constitutes at least 75% of their total chargeable income and this must be received in Malta.
- Anyone under this programme must reside in Malta for a minimum of 90 days per year, averaged over a 5-year period. They should also not spend more than 183 days in any other foreign jurisdiction within any calendar year.
- Applicant must not be domiciled in Malta and must not intend to establish his domicile in Malta within 5 years from the date of the application for the special tax status.
- Valid travel documents and comprehensive EU-wide insurance coverage for the applicant and dependents are required.
The tax benefits:
- Beneficiaries of the Malta Retirement Programme will enjoy a favourable tax rate of 15% on pension and foreign income remitted to Malta from overseas.
- There will be a minimum annual tax payment of €7,500 and an additional €500 per dependent, but double taxation relief may be claimed.
- The pension income of the applicant must be received entirely in Malta and account for at least 75% of the chargeable income.
- Any other income which will include earnings generated in Malta, will be subject to a flat tax rate of 35%.
A non-refundable administrative fee of €2,500 is required for each application under the Malta Retirement Programme.
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GLOBAL RESIDENCE PROGRAMME
This programme is perfect for those non-EU nationals who are interested in establishing residency in Malta while benefiting from a favourable tax rate.
Any participants in this program are also eligible to work or establish a business in Malta, subject to obtaining the necessary permits.
- In order to qualify, all applicants must own or rent a qualifying property that serves as their primary worldwide residence. They can achieve this by either purchasing or renting a property. For property purchases, the minimum value is €220,000 for properties located in Gozo or in the south of Malta and €275,000 for properties located anywhere else in Malta. If you are renting, the rental options require a minimum annual rent of €8,750 for properties in Gozo or in the south of Malta and €9,600 for properties in all other areas of Malta.
- Applicants must demonstrate that they have stable and regular resources that are sufficient to support themselves and their dependents without relying on Malta’s social assistance system.
- Health insurance coverage is mandatory for the main applicant and any dependents and need to cover all risks throughout the entire European Union.
- Valid travel documents are required for both the main applicant and any dependents.
- Adequate communication skills in either Maltese or English are necessary and applicants must be deemed as fit and proper individuals.
- There are no minimum stay requirements for beneficiaries of the Global Residence Programme. However, they must not spend more than 183 days in any particular foreign jurisdiction within a calendar year.
- Under this programme, a flat tax rate of 15% is applied to any foreign income remitted to Malta with a minimum annual tax payment of €15,000. This minimum tax threshold covers both the main applicant and any dependents included in the same application.
- Any other income generated within Malta is subject to a flat tax rate of 35%.
- Beneficiaries are also eligible for double taxation relief.
- The Global Residence Programme application process requires a non-refundable administrative fee of €6,000 if a property is purchased or rented in Malta or €5,500 if the property is located in the south of Malta.
- All applicants can only submit their applications through an authorised and registered agent.
MALTA PERMANENT RESIDENCE PROGRAMME
This programme is an attractive residency-by-investment program that grants beneficiaries the right to settle and reside in Malta on a permanent basis. It is widely regarded as one of the most appealing residence programs available for individuals seeking permanent residency in an EU country within the Schengen Zone.
It is exclusively available to non-EU nationals only and the Malta Permanent Residence Programme offers the following benefits:
- The indefinite right to reside in Malta
- Visa-free travel within the whole Schengen Area
- The ability to work in Malta (with a work permit)
- No minimum physical presence required to maintain immigration status
- There’s the eligibility for a spouse, children, parents, and grandparents
- Access to Malta’s world-renowned healthcare and educational facilities
Participants in the program can look forward to:
- Living in a pleasant Mediterranean climate with great weather year-round
- Convenient daily flights to major European, UK, and North African airports
- No council taxes
- An affordable cost of living and a wide range of properties available in various price ranges
- A stable property market with steady capital growth
- A safe place to live with very low crime rates
- Easy integration into the local communities
- English and Maltese are the official languages, with many other languages commonly spoken
- Rich history and cultural heritage spanning over 7,000 years
- Vibrant social life for all age groups
- Beautiful clear seas and numerous sandy beaches
The Malta Permanent Residence Programme does not impose any minimum stay requirements and personal tax implications only arise if the applicant spends more than 183 days in Malta, which will result in automatically being considered as a tax resident.
Under the Malta Permanent Residence Programme investment requirements are:
- Property investment: The purchase or rent of a property in Malta. The minimum property value is €350,000 in the north of Malta or €300,000 in the south of Malta or on Gozo. For rental options, the annual lease must be at least €12,000 or €10,000 in the south of Malta or on Gozo. Property purchases must be retained for a period of at least 5 years.
- Government contribution: Applicants have to pay a contribution of €68,000 if purchasing a qualifying property or €98,000 if leasing a property. This contribution is directly paid to the Maltese government.
- NGO Contribution: Applicants must pay a €2,000 contribution to a registered Malta philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare, or artistic NGO.
The capital requirement under the Malta Permanent Residence Programme is:
- Applicants must possess at least €500,000 worth of capital with €150,000 in financial assets.
Family enrolment and other eligibility criteria:
- The programme is open to non-EU, non-EEA, and non-Swiss nationals. The main applicant, spouse, financially dependent parents and grandparents, and children of the main applicant and spouse can be included in the application. Children must be unmarried and economically dependent on the main applicant in order to be included.
- An additional fee of €7,500 applies for each additional applicant who is 18 years or older, such as parents, grandparents, and other dependents. No fee is charged for spouses.
The main applicant must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national
- Possess valid travel documents for themselves and all their dependents
- Have adequate health insurance covering the entire EU territory
- Be deemed as a fit and proper person