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What is the difference between residency and citizenship in Malta?

Malta citizenship grants permanent rights, privileges, and protections to individuals within the country. Temporary residency, on the other hand, allows the applicant to live in Malta for a certain period of time. Permanent residency affords the right to live in Malta for an indefinite period of time.

Because Malta is a member of the European Union, Malta citizenship also allows applicants to live in all other EU member countries.

In addition, Malta citizens can apply for the Malta passport (the EU passport). Malta residents, on the other hand, do not qualify for a passport.

Malta citizens are not required to live in the country for any specific number of days per year. Malta residents, on the other hand, are encouraged to spend as much time as they can in the country to maintain their residency status - even though the Malta government has not published any official minimum stay requirement for residents.

The time to process an application for Malta citizenship takes between 12 to 18 months, with residency granted in as little as two weeks. Malta residency is the first step towards Malta citizenship.

On the other hand, the time to process an application for Malta permanent residency usually takes between 3 to 6 months. Some residency programs allow the resident to apply for citizenship after 5 to 6 years of living in the country, but there is no guarantee that a citizenship application will be approved at that time.

Malta offers several programs for residency or citizenship, including temporary residency, permanent residence, and Malta citizenship, i.e., the Malta passport (the EU passport).

In addition, Malta allows dual citizenship, which means applicants from most countries can retain the citizenship of their country of origin. This provides applicants with the freedom associated with having dual citizenship and two passports.

Citizenship of Malta, a member country of the European Union, means you receive the right to live, work, or study in any EU member country, not just the country that issued the passport. This is one of the main benefits of the Malta citizenship by investment program.


Is there a difference between Malta residency and citizenship? Indeed, there is a difference. Acquiring residency in Malta grants individuals the right to live specifically within Malta. Citizenship, on the other hand, confers the rights enjoyed by individuals who were born in that country. This includes the ability to apply for a Maltese passport (the EU passport). Malta citizens are not subject to minimum-stay requirements, meaning they are not obligated to reside in the country. While residents do not automatically possess the right to work, vote, or access Malta's social services like free university education or healthcare, these rights are granted to Malta citizens. Transitioning from residency to citizenship through naturalization is a lengthy process in Malta, typically taking 10 to 15 years or longer. In contrast, the Maltese citizenship by investment program offers a much faster route to obtaining citizenship, as it includes a short 12-month residency option. Gaining citizenship of Malta, an EU member country, entitles individuals to live, work, or study in any European Union member nation. Additionally, Malta allows for dual citizenship, enabling individuals to hold two passports simultaneously.

Main Points: Malta citizenship / residency differences

  1. Residency is limited to Malta
  2. Residency provides no passport
  3. Citizenship offers the passport 
  4. Malta is an EU member country
  5. Malta citizenship means EU citizenship
  6. Citizens can live/work/retire in the EU
  7. Malta allows dual citizenship

Because immigration by investment programs can change over time please contact us to speak with an advisor or to receive a preliminary quotation. The information provided in this blog post is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal or financial advice.

Click here for the Malta citizenship by investment program. Click here for the Malta residency programs.

To start the application process online please register here.

For a detailed cost estimate or to schedule a confidential consultation please use our contact form.

Zenturo Ltd.

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