With 5G coverage nationwide, Malta is one of Europe’s most popular digital nomad destinations with many EU citizens having relocated to base themselves in the tiny Mediterranean island country over the past decade. Working remotely from there has recently become a possibility for non-EU citizens too with the introduction of the Malta digital nomad visa, one of the first of its kind in Europe.
Does Malta have a Digital Nomad Visa?
Malta started offering year-long digital nomad visas in June 2021. This was a period when travel was starting to open up again following the worst of the pandemic and Malta was clearly keen to cater to the growing trend of remote work across the world and further cement itself as a major hub for nomads.
The document you need is called the Malta Nomad Residence Permit. It enables the holder to legally reside in Malta for one year whilst continuing their current, location-independent, employment and lifestyle. If you intend to stay in the country for less than a year, you will be eligible for a Malta national visa rather than a nomad residence permit.
Malta Nomad Residence Permit – Key Points
|Application Fee||300 Euros|
|Application Length||Up to 30 working days, following the completion of all documentation and payment of the application fee.|
|Minimum Earnings||2,700 Euros per month (gross)|
|Renewal?||Possible after the 1st and 2nd year, subject to the continued meeting of the eligibility requirements.|
|Maximum Stay||3 Years. Renewal not possible after the 3rd year.|
|Path to permanent residency or citizenship?||No|
|Healthcare||Not eligible for free public healthcare in Malta. Health insurance policy required to ensure any necessary medical expenses are covered.|
|Malta Digital Nomad Visa Tax||Income tax is not paid in Malta – only in the country of origin.|
Malta Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
The minimum income threshold is set at 2,700 Euros per month, gross of tax. Therefore you need to be able to show that you make at least this much to be eligible for the Malta Nomad Residence Permit and there are additional increases should you be planning on moving with members of your family which are outlined here.
In addition, all applicants must be able to work remotely (i.e. online, using telecommunications) and fall into at least ONE of the following three categories:
- Have a work contract with an employer based in a foreign country.
- Be the partner/shareholder of a company based in a foreign country & conduct business activities for that company.
- Offer freelance services, mostly to clients based in a foreign country. Contracts required as proof.
Essentially the point is, similarly to many other digital nomad schemes, to show that your work does not require you to be physically present in Malta. You need to prove you won’t be working for Maltese companies or clients which is not allowed and would complicate things from a tax perspective.
Finally, you must:
- Hold a valid travel document such as a passport (make sure it’s not nearing expiry!).
- Have health insurance covering risks in Malta.
- Submit a valid rental/purchase agreement for accommodation once your application has been approved.
- Pass a background verification check.
These are all fairly standard points when applying for any kind of work, digital nomad or freelance visas. Points one and four should be straight-forward enough. For the second point, make sure you organise some kind of health or medical travel insurance before heading to Malta. There are lots of options for this from the best travel insurance for backpackers and travellers to those providers that are more specifically geared towards digital nomads with global health insurance needs like SafetyWing.
You do not need to submit your rental/purchase agreement for accommodation until after you have gone through the application process (outlined below) and have been formally accepted. Therefore this isn’t something you need to worry about in advance. However clearly it helps to have a plan in mind for finding somewhere to stay in Malta if you are confident that you meet all the requirements as you will not be able to properly get your hands on the permit until you have something in place.
Who can apply?
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens already have the right to live and work remotely in Malta, therefore have no reason to need this document. As a result, only non-EU citizens can apply for the Malta nomad residence permit.
At the time of writing (June 2022), the only restrictions on applications are against people from (or with close ties to) the following sanctioned countries: Afghanistan, Belarus, North Korea, Iran, DR Congo, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela.
Depending on your nationality, you may also require an entry visa in order to enter Malta to formally complete the residence permit process. If so, you need to apply and pay for this once your residence permit has been granted approval by the Residency Malta Agency. If you are eligible for a Schengen visa-free stay, you can proceed to Malta without any additional documentation.
How can I get a Nomad Visa in Malta?
The application process can take up to 30 working days from the moment you have submitted your application which can be done via email. You can find the relevant forms and a checklist of things to do when completing your application here.
After you have sent it in, you will receive instructions on how to complete the payment of the €300 administrative fee which you should do as soon as possible. Note, that you’ll need to pay an additional €300 for each person if you are adding family members to your application.
The processing time will see the Residency Malta Agency and some other Maltese Authorities conduct background checks. This is not something you need to concern yourself with and you will be notified by email when the process is complete.
If your application has been successful, you can then go to Malta to complete the formalities. Remember that you may need a separate entry visa to do this, if you are not eligible for the free 90 Day Schengen Area entry. The process concludes at the Residency Malta Agency offices with a biometric appointment and only then will you be able to collect your Malta nomad residence permit.
Overall, the Malta nomad residence permit is viewed as one of the best digital nomad visas currently available. With impressive internet speeds, beautiful views and a warm climate, there’s a lot of reason to hang around and providing you meet the eligibility criteria, you can potentially stay for up to 3 years working remotely from Malta without any tax implications. Any further questions about it can be sent in via email to the Malta residency agency.