Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta, Immovable Property (Acquisition by Non-Residents) Act, imposes the obligation of obtaining a permit in specified situations, depending on whether the individual classifies as being a resident person or non-resident person.
Resident and Non-Resident Classification
An individual will be regarded as being a Malta resident if he is a citizen of Malta or another EU Member State, who has been resident in Malta for a minimum continuous period of five years at any time preceding the date of acquisition of the immovable property. This definition also includes the spouse of such citizen, regardless of his/her nationality and wherever resident. However, the spouses must be acquiring the property together on the same deed in order for this definition to be applicable.
On the other hand, a non-resident person includes any individual who is not a citizen of Malta or another EU Member State and a citizen of Malta or another EU Member state, even if in possession of a valid residence permit, who has been resident in Malta for a minimum continuous period of five years at any time preceding the date of acquisition.
If the conditions set out below apply, a body or association of persons, authority, institution, organisation, fund, firm and any entity whatsoever, whether corporate or not, will be regarded as a non-resident person:
- The entity is constituted, formed, established, incorporated or registered in or under the laws of a state other than Malta or an EU Member State; or
- The entity has its registered address, principal place of business or residence in a state other than Malta or an EU Member State
- The entity has 25% or more of its share or other capital owned by a non-resident person or registered in the name of a trustee for the benefit of a non- resident person or
- The entity is in any manner whether directly or indirectly, controlled by one or more non-resident person
Who may acquire?
All Malta Residents, may acquire property, whether for primary or secondary purposes, in Malta without the necessity of acquiring any permit. On the other hand, citizens of Malta or of MS who are non-residents, are not required to obtain a permit to acquire property to be used as their primary residence. However, such non-residents require authorisation in case of acquisition of immovable property for secondary residence purposes.
An entity which is not a non-resident may acquire immovable property in Malta without the necessity of obtaining a permit, provided such immovable property is required for the purpose of carrying out the activity for which it has been set up.
Non-resident persons or entities who are not Maltese or EU citizens may not acquire immovable property under any title and in any manner, without obtaining the necessary AIP permit. This provision provides for several exceptions including where the property to be acquired is situated in one of the Special Designated Areas (SDAs) listed below:
- Fort Chambray
- Portomaso Development
- Cottonera Development
- Manoel Island/Tigne Point
- Tas-Sellum Residence (Mellieha Project)
- Madliena Village Complex
- Smart City
- Fort Cambridge Zone, Tigne
- Ta’ Monita Residence Marsaskala
- Pender Place and Mercury House site including Extensions I, II, III, IV and V, St. Julians
- Kempinski Residences, San Lawrenz, Gozo
- Metropolis Plaza, Gzira
- Portomaso Extension I, St Julains
- Vista Point, Marsalforn Gozo
AIP Permit Application
The minimum purchase value of the property to be acquired is currently set at €107,670 for the purchase of a flat or maisonette and €179,400 for the purchase of other immovable property.
The application takes between 1month and 3 months to be processed. Together with the application two passport sized photos, a copy of the Promise of Sale Agreement and a copy of the passport of the buyer need to be attached. A fee of €233 is payable on the issue of the permit.
Certain conditions are imposed on the issuing of the permit namely that:
- the immovable property is to be used for residential purposes,
- a copy of the notarial deed of the sale contract is to be submitted to the AIP section after its publication,
- the immovable property cannot be sold in part or in more than one dwelling house,
- the immovable property cannot be rented out
- a non-resident can only buy one property unless:
- such property is situated in an SDA or
- the immovable property is a garage situated within 500 metres from the applicant’s previously acquired residence or
- the immovable property is an adjoining parcel of land or building intended to serve as an extension to and to be integrated with the applicant’s previously acquired residence.
- the applicant is only to make use of the property acquired by virtue of the permit in the manner indicated in the application of such permit
The Minister may also grant a permit to a non-resident person to acquire an immovable property specifically indicated if the granting of such permit is in the public interest or if it is appropriate to issue such permit. An AIP can also be granted in case the immovable property is required for an industrial or touristic project approved by the Government or for any other project or purposes similarly approved in view of its contribution to the development of the economy of Malta.