Residency Law

Spain Golden Visa Programme

Our International Residency Law practice specialises in assisting families seeking to visit, relocate invest or otherwise do business in the European Union and in key business and financial centres, including London, the US, Switzerland, Monaco, Canada and Dubai.  Our residency law specialists advise on all aspects of immigration, including residency and citizenship.  We also cover connected aspects often affecting successful business families and entrepreneurs who lead an international lifestyle, including international tax planning and compliance, wealth structuring and estate and succession planning.

Chetcuti-Cauchi's award-winning Residency Law team is the oldest specialized immigration law practice in Malta and Cyprus, and has successfully represented over 3,000 immigration cases, including expatriate retirees, entertainment and sports personalities and Forbes List u-/HNW individuals featured as well as executive staff moving with their company to different locations in the world.  

Having global coverage, our Residency Law practice boasts the ability of advising clients objectively on which programme best suit their residency law needs as well as the ability to deliver and project manage any relocation process.

Maltese Residency Law

Residency Law in Malta provides for different types of residency which may be grouped into the following specific schemes or types of residence. 

This Residency Law scheme is currently available to EU & EEA nationals and the nationals of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland who are seeking to transfer their tax residence to a safe, high quality and tax-efficient jurisdiction. There are a few requisites which one needs to satisfy before an application for residence is eligible for acceptance.

  1. Applicants need to demonstrate financial Independence without being subjected to complex means eligibility testing.
  2. Ordinary residents may live and enter into any business or employment in Malta.
  3. Ordinary residents need to evidence their local residential address by purchasing or renting a house or apartment in Malta. This is required prior to the filing of the application.
  4. Non-EU nationals may be granted ordinary residence at the discretion of the authorities and will need to satisfy a number of criteria.

Malta Ordinary residents will benefit from Malta's res-non dom tax regime, which taxes resident non-domiciliaries only on foreign income if it is received/used in Malta and not on foreign capital gains whether remitted or not.

This programme is ideal for non-EU/EEA individuals of impeccable standing and repute who wish to acquire the right to reside, settle and stay indefinitely in Malta and to travel freely within 26 members of the Schengen Area. Upon approval, the applicant must also invest in Malta by way of an initial contribution, must buy or rent property in Malta and must make a qualifying investment in the form determined by Identity Malta holding a minimum value of €250,000.

This programme is designed to attract wealthy individuals and families that do not already enjoy permanent residence status in Malta to take up residence in Malta and is available for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals. Applicants shall have to buy or rent property in Malta but will benefit from a special tax status.

The 2013 Malta Global Residence Programme was designed to attract affluent individuals seeking to take up global residence in Malta. The scheme is especially attractive to non-EU nationals who previously relied on the more costly Malta HNWI Scheme for their alternative residence in Europe. Its aim is to recognise foreign nationals who satisfy the eligibility criteria of the Malta Global Residence as tax residents for Maltese tax purposes. To qualify under this programme, one must buy or rent a property, however there is no minimum presence required and applicants will benefit from long-term residence in an EU country with free movement within the 26 Schengen member states as well as  a low personal tax rate at 15% on remitted income, and a low annual tax liability of a total of  €15,000 per family.

This scheme introduces a special tax status for highly qualified individuals who occupy an eligible office in the financial gaming and aviation sectors. Individuals who register under this scheme benefit from a favourable tax rate at 15% on all income derived from their employment in Malta. Tax benefits under this scheme apply to EEA and Swiss nationals for a maximum consecutive period of 5 years preceding the first year of assessment and to third country nationals for a maximum period of 4 years.

Cypriot Residency Law

One of the programmes offered under Residency law in Cyprus is the Cyprus Permanent Residency Programme that grants residency within Cyprus and is considered the first step towards attaining Cyprus Citizenship. Under Cypriot residency law, a non-EU applicant who is in good standing needs to satisfy a number of eligibility requirements:

  1. Applicant must secure an annual income of €30,000, which is increased by €5,000 for every dependant included in the application.
  2. Applicant must maintains a three year fixed deposit with a Cyprus bank of at least €30,000 which must emanate from outside Cyprus.
  3. An applicant is required to purchase at least one residential property or more. All properties must amount to a combined value of €300,000 (excl. VAT if applicable). Such purchases must be bought for the first time from a property development company.
  4. Applicants are to visit Cyprus at least every 2 years.

Once the aforementioned requirements have been fulfilled, the applicant will promptly receive a residence card after two months of processing time. Thus, the applicant will be able to travel freely through Europe.  Moreover, he  or she will be a permanent resident for life of a country which can boast of having one of the lowest crime levels in Europe, high quality healthcare and education, and enjoy favourable tax rights and advantageous international taxation agreements.

Monégasque Residency Law

Monaco is considered as one of the most ideal places of residence for anyone wishing to reside in a safe European location with high-class leisure facilities, a pleasant climate and a favourable tax system. Under Monégasque Residency Law, Monaco residents benefit from no personal income tax, making the principality a main choice for high-net worth individuals wishing to relocate to Monaco as their main place of residence. Individuals over the age of 16 wishing to reside in Monaco for a period exceeding three months must apply for a residence permit (carte de séjour) from the local Monégasque authorities. Non-EEA nationals are required to obtain a long stay visa from France before making an application for Monaco residency. Upon registration, every applicant must show either a registered rental agreement, or property title of an apartment in Monaco. 

Under Monegasque residency law, the applicant must also provide alternatively:

  1. A bank reference/certificate issued by a Monaco bank, proving that the applicant has sufficient means for living in Monaco; or
  2. An authorization or a request for authorization to set up a new business activity or a company in Monaco; or
  3. A working permit or contract of employment registered by the Employment Office of the Principality.

Swiss Residency Law

Retirees, business people and health tourists alike are drawn to Switzerland, a country which has become synonymous to peace and prosperity. Although not an EU Member State, Switzerland has close ties with the EU in many areas, including trade and free movement of people. Switzerland is also an associate member in the Schengen agreement. Ranking amongst the top economies in the world, Switzerland boasts of low unemployment and high GDP per capita. This in turn provides political stability and unmatched security in the country, making it an attractive destination for settlement. Under Swiss residency law, Swiss Residency for Non-EU Citizens is granted by virtue of the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals, whilst Residency Permit for EU citizens is granted on the basis of the Free movement Agreement with the European Union. EU citizens benefit from a fast-track route:

  • To obtain a Swiss residency permit with gainful employment, one must show an employment agreement with a Swiss employer or become self-employed in Switzerland.
  • To obtain a Swiss residency permit without gainful employment, one must show he has sufficient financial means and an adequate health and accident insurance.

The eligibility criteria for non-EU citizens is much more contingent, with different requirements depending on the type of residency one needs, be it for retirement, investment or business purposes.

Italian Residency Law

EU citizens who wish to take up residency for the purposes of employment, studying or retiring, do not require a residence permit, however they may be required to register their presence with the local authorities. Non-EU spouses or legal partners of an EU citizen have the same rights as any EU citizen in Europe, and thus do not require a residence permit, unless he comes from a country that has visa requirements. EU nationals who wish to stay in Italy for more than three months must register with their local Anagrafe office. A permanent residence card will be required by EU nationals and their dependants who are staying in Italy for more than three months.

Non-EU nationals will require a permit to stay which is valid for a limited period of time and may be renewed for the first five years of residence in Italy. After the first five years, non-EU residents must apply for a normal residence card which is valid for an indefinite period of time.

Italian residency law offers the Elective Residence Visa for individuals who have a prolific amount of money and savings in their country of origin, and who want to live in Italy without working. Property ownership is not a condition for obtainment of the visa, in fact, a rented property suffices, but improves the chances of obtaining the visa. The applicant’s income must be derived from prolific revenues, not from current employment. Applicants must prove a stable source of income which derives from, for example, owned real estate, saving accounts or a portfolio. There is a €31,159/year minimum threshold set by the law but Consulates have full discretion to request a higher income, which is usually requested. The Elective Residence Visa maybe be applied for without obtaining any clearance or permits in Italy.


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Key Contacts

Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker

Advocate, Tax Consultant, Licenced Agent, Malta

+356 22056422

Dr Antoine Saliba Haig

Advocate, Malta

+356 22056446

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