Top 13 Differences between Malta Citizenship and Malta Residency

November 5, 2018
Read: 6 minutes
Malta Citizenship and Malta Residency

Interested in our services? Our team is here to help.

Contact us
If your country’s political climate has you stressed, you may find yourself imagining moving to Malta. It's a land rich in cultural heritage with top class healthcare and education system.
Malta also enjoys political stability and steady economic growth. The small island country is not only the European Union (EU) member state but also part of Schengen area.
If you are looking to acquire Permanent Residency or Citizenship through real estate, stock-market or business investment, then Malta is the place for you.
The Maltese government has formed various programs by which you can immigrate to the multiple countries in European Union, or freely travel visa-free to 183 countries. You can achieve this through either Permanent Residency or Citizenship by Investment.
But the question is, which one would suit you the best?
Whether to go with Permanent Residency or Citizenship is one of the most critical things to analyse. Before you take any decision, it is essential for you to understand the difference between both. Understanding it in depth can help you make the right choice.
To make it easier for you, we have listed out the Top 13 differences between Malta Citizenship and Permanent Residency.
We will also highlight out how the Malta Residency & Visa Program bridges the gaps between Citizenship and Residency, allowing you to gain increased rights even if only under residency status.
Differences between Malta Citizenship and Malta Residency

Malta Citizenship
Malta Residency

You will be granted with a full set of rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities.

You will have the legal right to live, travel to or study in Malta.

You have the automatic right to work in Malta.

Once you are offered a job your employer needs to obtain a work permit for you.

Maltese Citizenship never expires unless given up.

Residency cards have to be renewed from time to time before expiry. (Permit is Permanent under MRVP)

Maltese citizenship is hereditary. Once obtained, it is passed onto future generations.

Maltese residency has to be obtained on an individual basis and can not be transferred. (optional under MRVP)

Maltese citizenship cannot be revoked easily.

Maltese residency can be revoked.

You have to fulfill and satisfy all the requirements for a minimum of 5 years after issuance of citizenship.

You have to meet some of the requirements for a lifetime.

You can vote as a citizen.

You can not vote as a resident.

You can travel visa-free/eTA to an ever-increasing list of countries, currently 183 countries.

You can travel visa-free to 26 Schengen states.

You can work in all 28 EU member states.

You need a permit to work in other EU countries.

You can stay in all 28 EU countries for as long as you like.

You can stay for up to 90 days in every 180 days with the 26 Schengen states.

Your children born in Malta or outside of Malta will automatically be Maltese citizens.

Your children, even if born in Malta, will not be Maltese citizens.

The main applicant and eligible dependents are covered under the scheme.

Only the main applicant is covered and separate applications have to be made for spouse and children.

(MRVP covers the entire family at one go)

You can acquire Citizenship through various routes, like:

  • Malta Citizenship by Birth;
  • Malta Citizenship by Descent;
  • Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation;
  • Malta Individual Investor Program (IIP);
  • Malta Citizenship by Marriage;
  • Malta Citizenship by Adoption and
  • Malta Citizenship by Independence.

You can obtain residency through a resident permit under various schemes, like:

  • Malta Ordinary Residence Scheme;
  • Malta Residence Program;
  • Malta Global Residence Program; and
  • Malta Residence and Visa Program (MRVP).




moving to malta in 2019

Citizenship and Residency further explained

There are some factors which we thought should be discussed in detail for better understanding.

Permanent Residency and Citizenship by Investment Options

The Government of Malta offers third-country nationals to relocate by various Investment programs.

You can take up Maltese Citizenship by a unique investment program called:

Likewise, you can become a Resident of Malta through two special programs, namely

MRVP grants you permanent residency in Malta whereas GRP gives you a special tax status. You can couple MRVP with GRP to achieve enhanced benefits.


When you take up citizenship by investment (IIP), you automatically get the right to set up your business in Malta. Alongside you are also granted the right to work or do business in any of the 28 European Union countries.

Other than that, you can also;

  • Enjoy and benefit from Malta’s tax-efficient system on both personal and corporate; and
  • Freely move your capital and income;
  • Invest in property in Malta and make the most of the stable and booming real estate market.

As a Maltese Resident, you can

  • Through a separate process you can do business in Malta and other European Union member states;
  • You might opt to avail from the tax status under the Global Residence Program.


By taking citizenship through the IIP, you can

  • Gain one of the world’s most powerful passports;
  • Easily travel to 183 countries including the USA, Canada and Australia. (So no more visa application hassles);
  • Travel and cross Schengen borders without checks across 26 Schengen countries.

So with a Maltese passport in your pocket, you will not be required  to apply for a separate Schengen visa and will also gain visiting rights to 183 countries with which Malta has visa-free travel agreements. But by taking up Maltese residency you gain the right to enter the Schengen area without border checks.


malta residency by investment benefits


Once you become a Maltese citizen, you can

  • Protect your family legacy by passing on citizenship to future generations. Even if they are born outside of Malta they will inherit and attain citizenship by descent;
  • Secure your children’s future through a world-class education system;
  • Get access to leading health care institutions; and
  • Relax in what has been voted as one of the safest countries in the world;

As a Resident of Malta, you can;

  • Apply for a European Long-Term Residence permit after 5 years in Malta;
  • With a special permit, you can work or do business.
  • Ensure your children’s future through a top-class education system; and
  • Get access to leading health care institutions.

Unlike citizenship which can be passed onto future generations, Residence CANNOT be transferred.

However, the MRVP extends and allows for this option through a notional €5,000 contribution.


If you are granted citizenship by investment, you can;

  • Gain settlement rights in the following countries;
Austria-Flag(1) Austria Greece-Flag(1) Greece Norway-Flag(1) Norway m_l_europe
Belgium-Flag(1) Belgium Hungary-Flag(1)  Hungary Poland-Flag(1) Poland
Bulgaria-Flag(1) Bulgaria Iceland-Flag(1)   Iceland Portugal-Flag(1) Portugal
Croatia-Flag(1) Croatia Ireland-Flag(1)  Ireland Romania-Flag(1) Romania
Cyprus-Flag(1) Cyprus Italy-Flag(1)  Italy Slovakia-Flag(1) Slovakia
Czech-Republic-Flag(1) Czech Republic Latvia-Flag(1) Latvia Slovenia-Flag(1) Slovenia
Denmark-Flag(1) Denmark Liechtenshein-Flag(1)  Liechtenstein Spain-Flag(1) Spain
Estonia-Flag(1) Estonia Lithuania-Flag(1) Lithuania Sweden-Flag(1) Sweden
Finland-Flag(1) Finland Luxembourg-Flag(1) Luxembourg Switzerland-Flag(1) Switzerland
France-Flag(1) France Malta-Flag(1) Malta United-Kingdom-Flag(1) United Kingdom
Germany-Flag(1) Germany Netherlands-Flag(1) Netherlands


If you take up residence in Malta, you can;

  • Indefinitely reside, settle and stay in Malta; and
  • Once you achieve European Long-Term Residence status you gain increased rights in the following countries;
Austria Italy
Belgium Latvia
Bulgaria Lithuania
Croatia Luxembourg
Cyprus Netherlands
Czechia Poland
Estonia Portugal
Finland Romania
France Slovakia
Germany Slovenia
Greece Spain
Hungary Sweden


malta citizenship by investment


While a citizenship status is evidently much more prestigious and powerful, multiple residencies may gather increased benefits. A residence in Malta is also seen as a doorway to the European Union.

Whereas Maltese citizenship can open the doors to living, studying and working elsewhere in Europe without restrictions a residence can allow you that right in Malta, together with increased mobility for life within the Schengen territory.

Nicely tucked between South of Sicily and North Africa. Malta’s geographical location can also work as a doorway to the European, African and Middle Eastern markets.

Depending on what you are aiming to achieve for yourself and your family,

Our Relocation Services team of highly skilled professionals can offer you the best personalised and holistic solution for your every need.

What you may also like

List of 183 Visa-Free countries with Malta Passport

Read about the updated and ever-growing list of the Malta passport visa-free countries.

what is the European union
What is the European Union? A summary

The EU is made up of 27 countries, the majority of the European continent. Find out more about the EU benefits here. 

What is the Schengen Area?

Schengen Area has abolished passport and all other types of border control at mutual borders, here is the list of countries.