Malta Residence for EU Citizens: Simple Guide

Malta welcomes some 20,000 newly arrived expats every year, 37% of whom come from other EU states. They are lured by 300 sunny days per year, the Mediterranean Sea, the reasonable cost of living, a booming economy, and an active expat community.

Apart from the pleasant lifestyle, Malta offers favorable taxation for “residents without domicile”, which further convinces wealthy foreigners to come to its shores. Under this regime, foreign-sourced capital gains remain tax-free; income arising outside Malta is not subject to tax if not remitted to Malta.

In addition, the automatic exchange of information reassures that foreign banks notify the Maltese tax authorities of income sourced and kept abroad. In this way, it does not get taxed in Malta.

While there is plenty of information about residence requirements for third-country citizens, it may be difficult to find a proper guide for EU nationals. This article aims to fill in this gap and shed light on the Maltese immigration procedures for EU passport holders.

Treatment of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals in Malta

According to Subsidiary Legislation 460.17, Malta recognizes the right to free movement of EU citizens and treats them equally with its nationals.

If an EU citizen wants to stay in Malta for more than 3 months, he will need to apply for a residence card. There have been cases of EU nationals living in Malta for more than 3 months without it. Since they are members of the same community, they cannot be deported. Instead, they may be subject to a penalty of around 300 euro or a criminal case, should they fail to pay the fine.

It is advised to apply for the Maltese residence card maximum 3 months after the arrival:

  • It serves as a proof of residence for both local and foreign banks
  • It can be presented to the tax authorities of the former residence country
  • It simplifies life: you will need it to acquire a car or apply for a mortgage

How to obtain a Malta residence permit

EU applications for a residence card in Malta are handled electronically.

An applicant will need to define the reason for his stay, fill in the respective form, and submit it along with the supporting documents. The stated date of arrival will later be shown on the residence card.

Currently, there are the following forms and procedures for EU nationals willing to establish residence in Malta:

1. Employment. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals can start working as soon as they sign a work contract, and then apply for the residence permit within the upcoming 3 months.

Prior to applying for the residence card, they will have to arrange a couple of things:

  • Rent a place: although there is no such requirement in the application form, a long-term
    property lease agreement will better justify the claim for residence. Make sure the landlord gives a copy of his ID, registers the contract online, and forwards you the rental approval letter. Also, it is important to have utility bills registered under your name, because most banks will require such documents.
  • Sign an employment contract.
  • Register for a social security number.
  • Get an income tax number – if you have applied for the Maltese social security number, you will receive an income tax number automatically within 2-3 days (call 153 to ask for it).
  • Create a Jobsplus account and submit the employment engagement form from the dashboard.
  • After a few days, you can download the approval form from the same dashboard.
How to apply:
Download and fill in Form A – Employment / Self Employment, prepare the documents from the checklist and send the application to eu.ima@gov.mt.

2. Self-Employment. Before getting started as a private entrepreneur in Malta, EU nationals need to prepare a couple of papers:

  • Rent a place: although there is no such requirement in the application form, a long-term
    property lease agreement will better justify the claim for residence. Make sure the landlord gives a copy of his ID, registers the contract online, and forwards you the rental approval letter. Also, it is important to have utility bills registered under your name, because most banks will require such documents.
  • Provide proof of the business address (e.g. a commercial rental agreement), if it is not possible to operate from your residence address.
  • Register for a social security number or present such details from another EU state (A1 form).
  • Get an income tax number – if you applied for the Maltese social security number, you will receive an income tax number automatically within 2-3 days (call 153 to ask for it); if not, you will need to request it separately.
  • Submit the Jobsplus engagement form as self-employed.
  • Obtain a trading license where applicable.
  • Apply for a Maltese VAT number.
How to apply:
Download and fill in Form A – Employment / Self Employment, prepare the documents from the checklist and send the application to eu.ima@gov.mt.

3. Self-sufficiency. This category covers individuals who can prove sufficient income or savings, as well as pensioners. The basic requirements are:

  • Rent a place: although there is no such requirement in the application form, a long-term
    property lease agreement will better justify the claim for residence. Make sure the landlord gives a copy of his ID, registers the contract online, and forwards you the rental approval letter. Also, it is important to have utility bills registered under your name, because most banks will require such documents.
  • Acquire comprehensive insurance for health-related risks (persons aged over 70 or with prior health issues should consider opting for employment or self-employment).
  • Provide proof of sufficient resources “not to become a burden on the State”: €14,000 in capital or an active income of €92.72 per week (please note that decisions are taken on a case-by-case basis, and it may happen that even applications with a higher income will not qualify).
How to apply: download and fill in Form J – Self-Sufficiency, prepare the documents from the checklist and send the application to eu.ima@gov.mt.

4. Study. This type of residence requires the acceptance letter from a qualified educational institution, health insurance, and the proof of sufficient means to sustain oneself (similar to the Self-Sufficiency scheme).
How to apply: download and fill in Form M – Study, prepare the documents from the checklist and send the application to eu.ima@gov.mt.

5. Family. EU nationals who do not fall under any of the above categories can claim residence based on family ties with another EU national who is already resident in Malta. Applications are accepted from:

  • Spouse
  • Child under 21
  • Dependent family member (children above 21 – e.g. students; parents, grandparents)
  • Partner since at least 2 years
How to apply: download and fill in Form F – Family Members, prepare the documents from the checklist and send the application to eu.ima@gov.mt.

New procedures in place since March 2020

Following the changes in procedures owed to COVID-19, residence applications from EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must be submitted online, via an email to eu.ima@gov.mt from an applicant’s identifiable email (otherwise, a power of attorney is required).

Once an applicant receives a confirmation email, it will be sufficient proof of his registration. Later, he will be invited for submitting the biometric data and e-signature.

That is it! It will take some time to issue the physical card, and you will be notified of the pick-up date.