Many expats consider Malta an ideal place to live due to the agreeable Mediterranean weather, rich cultural life, safe environment and friendly population. For English-speaking expats, there’s also the advantage that English is the most widely spoken language. Other benefits of life in Malta include a comparatively reasonable cost of living and a favorable tax environment.
When it comes to visas and residence permits in Malta, there are different conditions for EU and non-EU nationals. A residence permit is a must for those who intend to stay in the country for a period of more than three months. This process involves filling out an application form and providing the relevant documents. Once an individual obtains a residence permit, the normal progressive income tax rates will apply to any income originating or remitted to Malta.This is the same tax rate that is applicable to all Maltese residents based on their taxable income.
Visas for short-term stays
Those who intend to stay in Malta on a short-term basis (up to three months) for purposes of business, buying property or tourism, do not require a visa. EU and non-EU nationals only need their valid passports to enter and remain in the country for up to 90 days. This also applies to nationals of countries such as Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and others that are included in Malta’s visa waiver program. For other countries, there is a visa requirement condition and citizens of these countries can apply for a Universal Schengen Visa at the Maltese consulate. One can also travel to other countries included in the Schengen Agreement with this type of visa. To apply for a Schengen visa you must provide valid travel documents, recent photographs, insurance (travel or medical) that covers your period of stay, proof of adequate funds, nature of your travel plans such as a return ticket, and the visa fee.
EU nationals residing in Malta
EU nationals don’t need a visa to stay in Malta for longer periods of time. There is also no requirement for a work permit or employment license for those moving to Malta for employment. All that’s needed is a confirmed job offer to move to Malta along with family. Many people spend their retirement years here. The process is simpler for retirees from EU member countries since they can continue to receive pension and health coverage from their home countries. However a certain minimum income and health insurance coverage is required. It is advisable to consult the pension office and health insurance company to make sure that your retirement is provided for in Malta.
Expats from EU member countries are required to obtain an official registration certificate or identity card within 90 days of their arrival in the country. The Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs in Valletta provides details regarding this process.
Work permits for non-EU nationals
There are some conditions for citizens of non-EU/EEA member states who intend to live and work in Malta. There is a specific government policy regarding the issuance of work permits. Maltese employers are required to first try and find a Maltese resident or a EU citizen to fill their job vacancies. Also, the non-EU/EEA citizen must show the specific qualification or skills required for the job position and the applicant must also be in demand in the employment market in Malta. The documents required for obtaining a work permit include a valid passport, recent photograph, qualification certificates, references and CV. The employer must apply for the work permit at the Employment and Training Centre many months before the applicant is required to begin work. The applicant can then show the work permit at the nearest Maltese mission and take the necessary steps for obtaining a visa. Work permits are required to be renewed annually for up to a period of three years.
Other types of visas
The Central Visa Unit in Floriana is in charge of issuing visas to the dependent spouses of individuals who will be employed in Malta. A residence permit is usually necessary for the application. Spouses who intend to seek employment for themselves once in Malta are required to apply for a work permit separately.