5 reasons to chose Malta PR vs Portugal Golden Visa

Malta's golden visa, the Malta Permanent Residence Program started earlier in 2021 concurrently with announcements of the restriction of the Portugal Golden Visa and rumours of possible closure of this popular golden visa option.  As a European Union member state and part of Schengen, Malta residence has long been a discrete yet popular residence destination for mass affluent expatriates seeking a safe and centrally located European country for increased mobility or outright relocation.  Malta's residence programme owes its origins to a retirement scheme going back to the 1960s that was very popular with British expatriates and retirees who took up with their families.
In this article, our Malta resident editor tells us why the Malta Permanent Residence Programme is a compelling alternative to the Portuguese golden visa: so here you are: the Malta and Portugal Golden Visa Compared:

1. Malta grants PR status at the outset compared to Portugal renewable temporary residence permit

Maltese Permanent Residence offers immediate permanent residence in Malta upon successful completion of the due diligence process. That means Malta PR gives families the right to reside and stay permanently in Malta: a Certificate of Malta Permanent Residence for life issued immediately upon approval upon complying with the investment requirements.
By comparison, Portugal Golden Visa applicants get temporary residence renewable every year.  Malta residence cards are issued for 5 years and are renewable indefinitely provided the investor maintains a Maltese address. By comparison, Portugal requires applicants to spend at least 7 days in-country every year - cards need to be renewed every year and applicants wait some weeks for the issue of their cards. 

2. Portugal requires buying property in advance: Malta only upon approval

Portugal requires a property purchase prior to starting the immigration process and therefore before the Golden Visa is issued.  On the other hand, Malta requires the property rental or purchase to be completed only after the immigration approval has been issued.  

3. Malta doesn't require buying a property: rentals are allowed.

Moreover, besides a property investment option, the Maltese permanent residence programme allows the rental of property. This means applicants are not required to buy property at all to qualify for Maltese permanent residence. This is particularly useful during times of travel restrictions as Malta allows applicants to start their applications before even setting foot on Malta to research the property market in person.

Malta is part of the Schengen Area and investors enjoy visa-free movement within the Schengen Area, with no visa applications required prior to travel and freedom of movement within the 26 countries that form the Schengen Zone for 90 days out of a 180-day period.
The Malta Permanent Residence Programme allows its beneficiaries the right to reside, settle and stay in Malta indefinitely.

4. Self sufficient Malta residents don't require renewal: Portugal takes away residence if property is sold

Permanent residence is indefinite as long as all residence programme obligations are maintained.  In Malta, eligibility requires the applicant must show possession of €500,000 in capital, of which €150,000 must be in financial form, like bank deposits or stocks. There is no obligation to tie up such assets in any investment.  In Portugal, a €500,000 property must be kept at all times. Portuguese residence is lost on selling the property in Portugal.

Family applications are allowed by the Malta Permanent Residence Programme. The following family members may be included in a family application for Maltese permanent residence::
spouses or unmarried long term partners;
dependent unmarried children with no age limit, as well as
parents and grand parents on either side.

5. Both residence schemes eligible for citizenship application after 5 years: no language test in Malta

English is an official language and is widely spoken in Malta. However, the Malta Permanent Residence Programme does not apply a language test at any stage.  On paper, both programmes grant the right to apply for citizenship after 5 years.  We have seen cases of Maltese citizenship issued after 5 years of residence and integration. Malta has a three to one year residenec route to Maltese citizenship for investors.  Long term residence and citizenship in Portugal requires a fair level of Portuguese language proficiency.