The importance of rigorous due diligence for applicants seeking to acquire a Maltese passport

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In a statement issued by Identity Malta last week, Jonathan Cardona, CEO, Malta Individual Investor programme stresses on the importance on a global approach to due diligence in the citizenship by investment industry and how all efforts are made to keep this process as a thorough and insightful one. The comment was released just a couple of weeks following the outstanding results of the Malta Individual Investor Programme at the Global Residence and Citizenship Conference where the programme held tight to the first place for the third consecutive year surpassing countries like Cyprus, Austria and Grenada.

Cardona explained how Identity Malta have invested heavily in human resources and technology to ensure the programme retains its mark of excellence in this regard, a criterion which has guaranteed the programme to receive constant acclamation since its launch in 2014. He claims that in addition to having the right expertise to use the tools at hand, it is important for officials to diversify between the different jurisdictions, legal structure and money laundering to enable them to make a well-informed decision on the individual’s background.

The good practice being adopted is also being taken on by other institutions within the financial sector such as banks and other private institutions, another strong confirmation that all measures are being taken into account. Cardona concluded by stressing the importance of data sharing and sustaining open and transparent discussions between all stakeholders which will result in cost reduction, becoming more efficient, risk reduction and expanding business opportunities.

‘In this light, we feel that there is a big opportunity for Malta to play a leading role in shaping and forming a more standardised approach to due diligence, and risk assessment in the future’’ he said. ‘We should also seek to exploit blockchain technology, inviting stakeholders, authorities and regulators to come together and set industry standards in this field in order to provide the necessary peace of mind for the institutions and service providers.’

The Malta Individual Investor Programme offers the right for the Main Applicant and his/her dependants, the right to reside, study and work in Malta or in the EU. For more information, please contact Karl Cini by sending an email to info@wahaat.com.

A Powerful Maltese Passport

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Coming in 9th in the world, Malta has been given a visa-free score of 150 on this year’s Passport Index. Germany has recorded the highest score on the Index, making the German passport the most powerful one globally. With a Maltese passport, one would be provided with visa-free travelling to 166 countries.

Almost 700 Maltese passports have been issued over the last two years against a payment of €650,000 to a national development fund and a further €150,000 in bonds or stocks. To qualify for a Maltese passport, one must also own property in Malta worth €350,000 or more for at least 12 months. Passports for a child or significant other will cost €50,000.

The lowest scoring countries according to the Passport Index were Afghanistan in 95th place, Pakistan in 94th and Iraq in 93rd with a score of 24, 27 and 29 respectively. The Passport Index is calculated on the ratio of visa-on-arrival along with the visa-free travel ranking and the country’s score according to the UN Development Programme Human Development Index.

For more information about the Maltese citizenship by investment programme, check out the Individual Investor Programme or send an email to info@wahaat.com.

Visa-free access to 168 countries through the Maltese Passport

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According to Henley & Partners’ Visa Restrictions Index, released in February 2016, the Maltese passport gives, to its holders, visa-free access to 168 countries all around the world.

The Index ranked 199 countries according to the travel freedom that they offer to their citizens out of a possible 218 countries. Data used by the Index were provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In order to evaluate the countries and their passports, the various nationalities were awarded points based on the number of other countries their citizens could travel to without a visa, as of January 1. 2016.

If you would like to see the list of visa-free jurisdictions, click here.

Maltese Passport: 54 main applicants have been awarded Malta citizenship in 2015

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In 2015, out of 578 applications, 54 applicants met all the requirements of the Malta Individual Investor Programme
Regulations and have received the Malta citizenship.

Owen Bonnici, Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government, explained that a total of 476 applicants provided all the necessary documentation and passed to the second phase of scrutiny. In the meantime, 147 of them were approved and 54 had been through the whole process and were granted Maltese citizenship in 2015.

If you would like to learn more about the Malta Citizenship by Investment programme, click here.