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Malta - Visas

Malta is one of the countries which has signed up to the Schengen Agreement. Residents from one Schengen area country can travel to another without having to produce passport or immigration documents at the common border. Citizens of 26 countries can freely travel into and out of Malta. Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are also members of the Schengen Agreement even though they are not members of the European Union. The Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands are not located within the European continent but have also joined the Schengen Agreement. Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus are seeking to join the Schengen area soon.

The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are not members of the Schengen Agreement.

Malta has arranged visa waivers with a number of countries, including the United States.

Citizens of the above countries can all stay in Malta for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 day period. Citizens from countries which are not part of the Schengen area and where no mutual visa waiver scheme exists must apply for a Tourist Visa. Once you have obtained the Tourist Visa you may stay for a maximum of 90 days.

If you want to stay longer than the 90 days, you may ask to receive an extension from the Maltese police.

If you are planning to stay in Malta for a long period, then you should apply to become a permanent resident. You can do this in advance of moving to Malta, or you can move to Malta under the Schengen Agreement / Tourist Visa terms and apply for permanent residency before the 90-day period expires. The application process is straightforward so you should be able to navigate it without professional help.

If you become a permanent resident in Malta it does not give you Maltese citizenship and you cannot register to vote there. However, you are free to leave and return to the country at any time.

Permanent residents living in Malta become liable for taxation there. If you bring income into the country, you must pay tax at 15%. Malta has a taxation agreement with a number of countries which means you will pay tax in Malta and not in your country of citizenship. The list of countries with which Malta has made arrangements can be found on the Malta Financial Services Authority website.

You may find it useful to discuss your tax affairs with an accountant who has the appropriate expertise, before you make the decision to move to Malta.

There are three different categories of Permanent Residence and you must apply for the correct one.

If you are a citizen of a European Union country, you may apply for the Ordinary Residence permit. Depending on your marital status and your annual income, your tax rate will be anywhere from 0% to 35%, with higher earners paying more tax.

Once you have been granted an Ordinary Residence permit, you will need to renew it every five years.

If you are not a citizen of a European Union country, you will have to apply for the Permanent Residence permit, which is renewed annually.

The Malta Global Residence Programme was introduced in July 2013. You can apply for this programme if you can satisfy strict criteria, which includes buying or renting property in Malta or Gozo for your own place of residence, and paying a minimum annual tax liability on foreign income received while you live in Malta. It is not available to citizens of EEA countries, or to Swiss nationals.

The Application Form for a Registration Certificate for EU citizens and the Residence Card for their non-EU dependants can be found here.

To obtain a Residency Permit your application must be submitted to the following location in Valletta:

Department for Citizenship and Expatriates Affairs
Evans Building
St Elmo Place
Valletta VLT 2000
Tel: 2590 4000, 2590 4800, 2590 4821
Fax: 2590 1830

You can submit the application yourself, have it submitted by someone on your behalf, or apply by post. Passports and ID cards must be shown, or if you are applying by post your photocopies of the documents must be certified by the police.

However, once the permit is ready for collection, you must attend in person. You will need to bring your passport and ID cards. You will be issued with an eResidence card. The eResidence card can be used as legal identification, and shows the immigration status of any foreigner living in Malta. It allows EU citizens to work in Malta without further official permission.

There is no charge made to EU/EEA/Swiss National applicants who wish to obtain a permanent residence status, or for the family members of an EU/EEA/Swiss National citizen. Be aware that some unofficial websites will try to charge you a fee for this free service.

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss National or the dependant of one, and your Residency documents have been lost, stolen or destroyed, you will be charged a fee of €20 for new ones. €15 will be charged in respect of defaced documents.

Applicants who are not citizens of the EU must pay a fee of €25 when applying for Permanent Residency documents. The documents will be valid for one year. However, If you are married to a Maltese national and you hold the Exempt Person Status then a fee will not be charged.

Long term residents will be charged €125 for a five year permit.

If you have International Protection status and have just been released from detention, a fee will not be levied.

All EU citizens are permitted to work in Malta once they have received the eRegistration Card. However, most employers will require you to provide them with a Certificate Of Good Conduct issued by the police. You can obtain this easily and quickly by visiting the Police GHQ in Floriana and paying a small fee.

Citizens from outside the EU must obtain an Employment License before taking up employment in Malta. The Employment License is normally valid for a maximum of one year, and is for one job with one employer only. You cannot change employment without permission, or get a second part time job. You will only be issued with an Employment License if you have made a successful application for a residence permit.

There will be an examination of the role offered and the ability of the local labour market to meet the specific vacancy before the Employment License is issued.

There are four exceptions to the rule that non-EU citizens must obtain an Employment License in order to work in Malta:

• Family members of Union citizens, EEA/Swiss citizens;
• Overseas employees who are posted to Malta to work for the same company for a specific duration;
• Seasonal workers or au pairs who will not normally work in Malta for more than six months of any twelve months;
• Foreign national non-resident and non-executive directors who are not employees.

Remember to notify the Tax Office and Social Security Office in the country you are leaving about your plans for relocation, and provide a forwarding address.

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