Malta Residence and Visa Programme or Citizenship by Investment: What is better?

In this article, I want to talk about these programmes and highlight the similarities and differences offered by having either Residence in Malta vs having Citizenship in Malta. Furthermore, the key topics I will cover are:

  • What are these programmes?
  • Who can acquire these programmes?
  • How long does it take to get?
  • What are the similar benefits?
  • Is there any difference?
  • Summary

If you have any questions, you would like answering at any point, reach out to us by contacting us and we can help you.

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Firstly, what are these residence programmes?

The Malta Residency and Visa Programme is a solution provided by the Maltese Government to offer applicants the opportunity to reside, settle and stay in Malta indefinitely.

In comparison, the Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme, also known as the Individual Investor Programme, offers citizenship for life to applicants and their families. But, this citizenship can be passed down to future generations.

Who can apply for the residence programme?

Both these programmes have been made available to third nationals. In other words, Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals.

How long does it take to get a residence programme?

The Malta Residency and Visa Programme (MRVP) takes, if all goes well, approximately four months to receive residency.

On the other hand, the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) takes about 12 months to obtain.

What are the benefits?

Both programmes offer some fantastic perks that I would like to highlight. Firstly, the benefits of residing in Malta indefinitely. This stay opens a lot of doors for investors, such as the ability to study in Malta’s first-class education facilities as well as benefit from world-class healthcare.

Secondly, Malta gives some fantastic tax advantages to their citizens. For instance, the maximum income tax bracket of 35%. The government also offers tax refunds for businesses. Also, people working in Malta enjoy the double taxation agreements put in place with other countries. In short, Malta wants to attract highly qualified persons to the island.

Finally, as Malta is a part of the EU, and it provides several benefits and freedoms to its citizens that may not be given elsewhere in the world.

So both these programmes on the surface may seem relatively similar. However, there are a few crucial parts that differ.

Malta Residence Programme

Is there any difference?

Firstly, Malta Citizenship by Investment programme offers all the benefits of being a Maltese citizen. For instance, the Maltese passport is the 9th strongest passport in the world, giving visa-free access to 182 countries across the globe, including the US and Canada. On the other hand, the Malta Residence and Visa programme only offer residence status. While this still grants you freedom of movement across all Schengen counties (28 European countries), it doesn’t give the same travel advantages as having the passport.

Secondly, the Individual Investor Programme gives citizenship for life to the beneficiaries. This right is also passed down to future generations so they can enjoy the same freedoms. On the other hand, the Malta Residence and Visa Programme only offers a visa. While this visa is indefinite, it cannot be passed down through generations.

However, the Malta Residence and Visa Programme does have a significant advantage over the Malta Individual Investor Programme. In short, it is the cost. The MRVP requires €30,000 contribution to the National Development and Social Fund and €250,000 in investments, whereas the MIIP requires applicants to contribute €650,000 and invest €150,000 in local investments. In the same vein, the cost is in the eye of the beholder. Do the enormous benefits of the MIIP outweigh the investment required?

To Summarise

Residence Benefits

Citizenship Benefits

Malta has a stable economic, political and social environment

Great tax advantages for HNWI and business owners

Rights and Freedoms that come from staying in an EU country such as education and healthcare

Able to travel within the Schengen Area

Visa-free access to 182 countries across the globe

Indefinite visa duration

Citizenship for life and for future generations

€30,000 contribution

€650,000 contribution

Malta Residence Programme


Both of these programmes have their positives, and both offer a fantastic opportunity to live, work and stay on this beautiful island. However, the benefits lay in the eye of the investor. In one hand, the Residence and Visa programme offers the benefits of working and living in an EU country without the substantial initial investment. However, residency does not come with the perks and benefits of holding a Maltese passport. Whereas citizenship offers a fast track to the EU and the rights the passport provides the applicant and their family. The decision comes down to the applicant’s needs and how urgent they are. Moreover, individuals need to consider their financial situation to make a correct and proper decision.

If you need assistance in choosing either one of these programmes or any of the other Maltese residency programmes, we are here to help. Papilio Services Limited are Authorised Registered Mandatories as well as being accredited by Identity Malta to provide residential services. We have years of experience dealing with many clients in several different situations. So, if you need this assistance, contact us below, and we are more than happy to help you make the right choice.

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