The acquisition of immovable property in Malta by individuals is conditional upon citizenship and the period of residence in Malta. Some individuals may require a permit (the AIP Permit) under the Immovable Property (Acquisition by Non-Residents) Act – Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta (the AIP Act) as explained hereunder:
In relation to citizens of all European Union Member States (thus including Maltese Citizens):
- if they have resided in Malta continuously for a minimum period of 5 years at any time preceding the date of acquisition, they may freely acquire immovable property without the necessity of obtaining an AIP Permit;
- if they have not resided continuously in Malta for a minimum period of 5 years, such individuals may only purchase their primary residence or an immovable property required for their business activities or supply of services without the necessity of obtaining an AIP Permit;
- if they have not resided continuously in Malta for a minimum period of 5 years, such individuals require an AIP Permit to acquire immovable property if they wish to acquire a secondary residence;
Individuals who are not citizens of a European Member State may not acquire any immovable property unless they are granted an AIP Permit.
A non-resident who requires to obtain an AIP Permit cannot acquire an immovable property which is less than €107,670 for the acquisition of a flat or maisonette or €179,400 for the acquisition of any other immovable property. Immovable property for which an AIP Permit is required cannot be rented out.
Notwithstanding the general requirements mentioned above, an AIP Permit is never required if the immovable property to be purchased falls within a special designated area. These are the following:
- Portomaso Development, St. Julian’s, Malta;
- Portomaso Extension I, St Julians, Malta;
- Cottonera Development, Cottonera, Malta;
- Manoel Island / Tigne Point, Tigne / Gzira, Malta;
- Tas-Sellum Residence, Mellieha, Malta;
- Madliena Village Complex, Malta;
- Smartcity, Malta;
- Fort Cambridge Zone, Tignè, Malta;
- Ta’ Monita Residence, Marsascala, Malta;
- Pender Place and Mercury House Site, Malta;
- Metropolis Plaza, Gzira, Malta;
- Fort Chambray, Ghajnsielem, Gozo; or
- Kempinski Residences, San Lawrenz, Gozo.
Furthermore, other exemptions may exist, for example no restrictions exist on acquisitions through inheritance.
A body of persons that is established in and operating from an EU Member State may freely acquire immovable property that is required for the purpose for which it has been established, as long as it is directly controlled by citizens of a European Member State. This does not apply to commercial partnerships, even if they are established in and operating from a European Member State. However, the latter can acquire immovable property without an AIP Permit if it is required for the purpose of which it has been established and at least 75% of its share capital is held by a person/s who is/are a citizen/s of a European Member State.
All other corporate entities require an AIP Permit, which is, however, only granted if the property is required for an industrial or touristic project or as a contributor to the development of the economy of Malta.
An application for an AIP Permit requires submission of the following:
- Completed AIP application form;
- A copy of the promise of sale or preliminary agreement of the immovable property being acquired;
- First-time applicants need to provide (i) two passport-size photographs of non-resident applicants and (ii) a photocopy of the passport showing applicant’s particulars;
- Applicants who already owned Immovable property need to provide a copy of deed of sale of previous immovable property; and
- Limited liability companies who apply for a permit need to provide (i) Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company (ii) Give details of shareholding directors and (iii) Produce evidence showing that the purpose of the company is for the development of the economy of Malta.
Provided that all the above documents have been filed correctly, an AIP should be issued within 35 days from the application date.