From the 1960s onwards the Maltese Islands have seen a steady influx of foreigners looking to make a new home there. This is usually down to its enticing combination of a typical Mediterranean climate, high standards of health care and education, fascinating culture and entertainment, close proximity to other countries in Europe, and its widespread use of English. This trend has accelerated in recent years as Malta has developed an outstanding reputation as a financial centre and more recently an iGaming hub. This is mainly due to the Islands stable economic environment, robust legal system, beneficial tax incentives, and relatively low corporate and service fees.
So maybe now you are one of those individuals looking to make your home in the middle of the Mediterranean. The question is, what do you need to think about ahead of the move?
I am almost certain that you have heard all this and much more about the fabulous Island in the Mediterranean Sea, but let’s face it, no matter what endless beauty and benefits Malta may offer, moving your home is always as stressful as it is exciting. Moving to Malta is no different, whether you are planning this move for education, work/business, your retirement, or simply a better quality of life. We have put together this guide as a starting point for your move.
Where to start
There are countless matters and technicalities to take into consideration when relocating. Those which need to be addressed first, however, come under four categories:
- Property: Where am I to live? Shall I buy or rent? If you are ready to settle down in Malta, your first instinct may be to buy property. Certainly there are plenty of estate agents who will be able to help you find something to match your needs and preferences, but can you be sure you are asking the right questions? In fact, many successful relocations start with renting a property to get used to the Island and thereby get a better feeling for what your needs may be in your new environment.
- Residence cards and work permits: Obtaining a residence card for an EU national could prove to be challenging should you not be equipped with the necessary knowledge. This would normally involve you calling into the relevant department several times in order to collate all of the necessary paperwork. Once the necessary documents have been submitted and biometrics taken, a residence card for an EU national would take an average of 3 weeks to be issued. Work permits on the other hand are not required for EU individuals. Applications for residence and work permits for non EU nationals would be more complex to obtain and would require an authorised representative to act on behalf of your family and yourself in most instances. It is therefore suggested that any Non EU individuals seek immediate guidance regarding residence and work permits applications, to obtain a clear picture of their options.
- Bank accounts: Shall I open a new bank account? You may of course utilise your current overseas bank accounts, however if you are intending to reside permanently (or for an extended period) in Malta, opening a bank account would be a wise step to take. Eliminating difficulties with deposits and withdrawals as well as potentially costly credit card charges, which we all know can add up to quite a hefty sum, would be convenient to say the least. Having a representative complete the necessary grunt work when opening a bank account here in Malta can prove to be quite beneficial, as we all know what banking institutions are like in today’s day and age!
- Taxes: The million dollar question, sometimes literally. All Maltese residents would need to register for tax purposes with the Maltese tax authority. A tax return would then need to be filed yearly, whether there would be any items to report or not. It would be wise to obtain tax advice regarding your international assets and income earned when relocating.
Most individuals and families would normally also stress about sorting out several smaller issues. These include:
- Driving License: Do I need to apply for a new driving licence? Could you imagine the horror of being required to retake you driving test? Luckily EU driving licences can be exchanged for a Maltese licence quite easily once you start living in Malta.
- Insurance: Car, health, and property. As with property agents, Malta also has numerous insurance agencies and Malta has a relatively competitive market, so some shopping around with brokers is advised.
- Passport: Would I be required to obtain a passport? EU nationals are entitled to the freedom of movement within the Eurozone; therefore obtaining a passport is not necessary. On the other hand, although a non-EU national may obtain Maltese residence in Malta, this would not allow much freedom of movement, as it would solely allow the individual to reside within Maltese territories, without being able to travel anywhere within the EU should they not be in possession of a valid visa. If you are a non-EU national, you would therefore normally look into obtaining an EU passport in order to do away with any Visa requirements, and also obtain the right to freedom of movement within the EU. Needless to say, this is not a simple application and you would require an authorised agent to act on your behalf.
As you may gather relocation to Malta is not just sun and cocktails as some people would make it out to be, and the usual mundane affairs must be addressed upon your arrival. Procrastinating and placing these issues on the back burner will only complicate an already cumbersome process.
At Boston Multi Family Office we handle residence and citizenship applications as an authorised agent for those looking to undertake relocations. If you want to make your move easier, call us to see if we can help.
For those looking to move for business, recruitment agency Boston Link also has a handy guide to relocations and can help with finding skilled employment.
If you would like to know more about the Malta Individual Investor Programme, take a look at our free sixteen page report, The Complete Guide to Gaining EU Citizenship Through Malta.