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Malta PR vs Portugal Golden Visa Programme

If you are considering obtaining a second residence, then most likely, Malta and Portugal have crossed your mind as viable options.   

For a good reason, the Portuguese Golden Visa Programme (PGVP) and the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) are two of the most popular in Europe and the world. Both programs have their specific characteristics and depend on your individual needs. One may be more suitable for you than the other.  

This article will list all the benefits and requirements of each program to help you make an informed decision.

What is the Portugal Golden Visa Programme?

Since 2012, Portugal has offered non-EU/EEA citizens the opportunity to acquire a special residence permit. The Golden Residence Permit Program (PGVP) grants the investor several benefits in exchange for a 5-year investment in Portugal.    

According to SEF, Portugal’s border agency, the programme has granted over 10,000 Investor Visas, translating into a €5.3 billion investment in the economy.    

The PGVP allows you to maintain an excellent and affordable quality of life in a safe and stable country. As a resident of Portugal, you gain access to proper healthcare and education prospects, well-connected airports and a great climate.

What is the Malta Permanent Residence Programme?

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme is a unique opportunity offered by the Government of Malta to relocate to the island. The program provides you with the right to reside indefinitely in Malta.   

As a European Union and Schengen Area member, this right extends to all 27 EU and 4 EEA countries. Maltese residency allows you to enjoy unrestricted entry into all Schengen countries under the Schengen agreement rules.    

Several applicants are attracted to Malta yearly, seeking a better quality of living in a beautiful and culturally-rich country. The excellent climate and relaxed lifestyle are the other factors that make people relocate to the Mediterranean’s heart.

Malta residence by investment programme

What are the benefits?

Portual Golden Visa Benefits   

Obtaining a Golden Visa from Portugal comes with several advantages. Some of these include:  

  • Entering Portugal without a special visa;
  • Living and working in Portugal;
  • Relocating with your family;
  • Applying for permanent residency and/or Portuguese citizenship after five (5) years;
  • Gaining access to the Portuguese healthcare and education system; and
  • Travelling freely within the Schengen Area.   

Malta Permanent Residency Benefits   

Residing in Malta can offer various business, travel, and family benefits. Some of these benefits allow you to:  

  • Build your business in the EU’s fastest-growing economy;
  • Investment options in a stable and booming real estate market;
  • Access to leading healthcare and educational institutions;
  • Apply for a Long-Term European Residency after five (5) years in Malta; and
  • Relocate with your family, with the additional benefit of being eligible to apply for naturalisation as a Maltese citizen. 

What are the requirements?

Portugal Golden Visa Requirements   

The applicant must fulfil the following requirements for eligibility:   

  • Must be Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals   
  • Must be 18 years or older    
  • Must not have any criminal record    
  • Must clear the Portuguese language test for citizenship    
  • Must have a domicile in Portugal for citizenship    
  • Must have no debts in Portugal    
  • Must own the necessary money for investment    
  • Must hold the investment for a minimum of 5 years   

From a financial perspective, the following are the investment options:   

1. Real estate or property acquisition*  
  • €500,000 in (limited) designated interior areas   
  • €400,000 in low population density areas   
  • €280,000 for pre-owned properties (over 30 years old) scheduled for rehabilitation or in low-density areas   

*As of January 2022, as to which territories are still eligible.   

2. Investment Fund of €500,000 in a private equity fund in Portugal  
3. Capital Transfer of €1.5 million into a Portuguese bank account  
4. Donation   
  • €500,000 for research activities of approved public or private entities    
  • €250,000 for the preservation of national heritage    
5. Business or Job Creation   
  • Creation of at least ten jobs    
  • Investing a minimum of €500,000 in an existing Portuguese business, provided that a minimum of five new full-time jobs are created within three years   

To meet the requirements, you must retain the investment for a minimum period of five years. You are also expected to spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal during the first year and not less than fourteen days in each subsequent 2-year period.   

Malta Permanent Residency Requirements   

Similar to Portugal, a third-country national can relocate to Malta through the Malta Permanent Residence Programme. If you satisfy the following criteria, you are considered an eligible candidate for the Malta PR.   

You must:   

  • Be at least 18 years of age   
  • Be from a third country and a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national   
  • Be from non-sanctioned countries   
  • Not benefit under other regulations and schemes   
  • Have financial resources sufficient to support yourself (and your dependents) while staying in Malta   
  • Possess capital assets of not less than €500,000 (part of which is a minimum of €150,000 as financial assets)   
  • Have a clean criminal record   
  • Not considered a potential national security risk   
  • Have a valid travel document   
  • Have a sickness insurance policy covering all risks across Malta   
  • Have travel insurance when travelling the Schengen area   

From a fiscal perspective, the following are the main requirements of the program:   

For full contribution:   

  • €98,000 as a contribution to the Government   
  • €2,000 as a donation to a local and government-registered philanthropic, cultural, scientific, artistic, sport or animal welfare NGO   
  • €10,000 as a rental for a residential unit in the South of Malta or Gozo, €12,000 in other areas of Malta*   

For reduced contribution:   

  • €68,000 as a contribution to the Government   
  • €2,000 as a donation to a local and government-registered philanthropic, cultural, scientific, artistic, sport or animal welfare NGO   
  • €300,000 as the purchase of a residential unit in the South of Malta or Gozo, €350,000 in other areas of Malta*   

*The qualifying properties must be held for a minimum of five years.

malta pr

What is the Application Process?   

Portugal Golden Visa Application Process   

The initial stage of the application involves submitting a form online, including copies of supporting documentation. Once the request is accepted by Serviço de Fronteiras e Estrangeiros (SEF), you will be invited for an interview. This interview will be conducted in the district in which you have made your investment.   

It is highly recommended to seek counsel from a lawyer or immigration advisor since your application will be completed through the lawyer or advisor. The completion of the application may take months.  

A processing fee of €533.90 is due for the main applicant and €83.30 for each remaining family member.    

If you are approved, you will receive your residency card after ten to twenty days, valid for one year. An approval fee of €5,336.40 for each applicant is due upon approval.   

After the first year, you are required to renew your residency permit. This process should take approximately one month to finalise. During this time, you must re-submit Biometrics, criminal records, and a fee of €2,668.20 per applicant. The processing fee is €533.90 for the primary applicant and €83.30 for the consecutive family members.   

The new residency card is valid for two years, and post this period, you will need to go through the process of renewal again.   

Malta Permanent Residency Application Process   

Like the Portugal Golden Visa, a certificate of Maltese residency may take months.   

The initial step involves engaging the services of a government-registered Licensed Agent. The applicant, through the assistance of the Licensed Agent, must compile the necessary documentation. The Licensed Agent may conduct initial due diligence checks and background verification reports.  

Once the required documents and forms are prepared and compiled, these are submitted to the RMA (Residency Malta Agency). The RMA then conducts due diligence reviews and may request further clarification. Submission to the RMA requires a non-refundable administrative fee of €10,000, which is part of the contribution (full or partial).  

Once the RMA issues the letter of approval, the contribution must be paid. Fiscal requirements such as government contribution, donation, and the qualifying property must be fulfilled.   

Biometric data will be collected in Malta. A certificate of residence will be issued, and the Malta residence card will be issued.  

EU Long-term residency is granted if the resident has lived in Malta for five years. The resident must have proof of stable & regular income and has complied with integration measures.

What are the Requirements of the Malta PR?

Conclusion

As outlined in this article, both programs prove to be favourable options if you are seeking to relocate to Europe.    

Both Portugal and Malta offer the chance to live the Mediterranean lifestyle, unrestricted access to the Schengen Area and access to excellent healthcare and education. All in all, despite the significant investment that is required, both programs offer many benefits.    

If you are a foreign investor seeking access to the EU accompanied by a powerful passport, then the fees and application process prove to be worth it.    

All you have left to do is to decide: Malta or Portugal.  

How can you apply for the MRVP