How to Retire in Malta: Residency, Cost of Living and More

Couple On Beach Enjoying Retirement In Malta

Imagine retiring where you can bask in the sun all year round, and the standard of living is nothing short of exceptional. Welcome to Malta – a Mediterranean gem where luxury meets tranquility. Malta offers a world-class retirement program that many expats are joining. We will explain the Malta Retirement Program (MRP) in depth, from eligibility and requirements to tax benefits.

We will also cover the cost of living, healthcare, and social services, and the many reasons this vibrant island nation has become a retirement haven. So, read on to learn how and why you should retire in Malta!

The Malta Retirement Program (MRP)

The Malta Retirement Program (MRP) is an excellent choice for retirees looking to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle in the Mediterranean while benefiting from attractive tax rates. This program offers you a special tax status, with a generous 15% tax rate on any foreign pension income that you remit to Malta. This program is designed for pension recipients who wish to gain a residence permit to make Malta their primary residence.


To be eligible for the Malta Retirement Program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must receive a pension documented and remitted to Malta, comprising at least 75% of your chargeable income.
  • You must not be benefiting from other specified Maltese residence programs.
  • You should not hold Maltese nationality.
  • You must own or rent a property in Malta that will serve as your primary residence.
  • You need adequate financial resources to support yourself and your dependents without relying on Maltese social assistance.
  • You must have valid travel documentation and comprehensive health insurance that covers all risks across the EU.
  • You should be proficient in one of Malta’s official languages and be considered a fit and proper person by local standards.

Tax Benefits

As a participant in the MRP:

  • You enjoy a flat tax rate of 15% on foreign pension income that you bring into Malta, subject to a minimum tax payment of €7,500 annually. An additional €500 tax is applicable for each dependent and household staff member.
  • Any other income that does not qualify under this program is taxed at 35%.

Property Ownership and Rental Guidelines

To qualify for the MRP, your property investments must meet the following criteria, depending on when you purchase:

  • If you bought your property between January 1, 2011, and June 30, 2013: You must have invested at least €275,000 in Malta (excluding southern regions) or €250,000 in Gozo or southern Malta.
  • If your purchase was made after July 1, 2013: The minimum investment is €275,000 in Malta (excluding southern regions) or €220,000 in Gozo or southern Malta.

If you prefer to rent:

  • The annual rent should be at least €9,600 for properties in central and northern Malta or €8,750 in Gozo or the southern regions of Malta.

Employment and Activity Conditions

Under the MRP, you are generally restricted from being employed in Malta. However, you are permitted to hold non-executive posts on the boards of Maltese companies and participate in activities related to philanthropic, educational, or research and development organizations.

Application Process and Compliance

You must apply through an Authorized Registered Mandatary (ARM) and pay a non-refundable fee of €2,500. The application process requires you to submit detailed documentation and demonstrate your understanding of and compliance with the MRP’s rules.

Annually, you are required to declare any significant changes that might affect your tax status and comply with the minimum stay requirements. Failing to meet these obligations can lead to the cessation of your special tax status. This status may be transferred to a dependent upon your death in certain circumstances.

Additional Considerations

The program also includes specific requirements for your household staff and dependents, ensuring they meet certain employment and residency standards in Malta. We advise you to keep thorough records and stay informed about any legal or program changes.

To read the terms and conditions of the program, click here.

For retirees considering a move to Malta, the Malta Retirement Program offers a structured and beneficial way to enjoy everything the island offers. To streamline your application and ensure that all your legal and financial arrangements are in order, contact us at Next Generation Equity. We can provide expert guidance and support throughout your transition to a new life in Malta.

An infographic highlighting the key features of the Malta Retirement Program.

Why You Should Choose to Retire in Malta

1. You can join the Malta Retirement Program

First off, the island nation offers a range of immigrant visa programs, with the Malta Retirement Program standing out for pensioners. This program offers you a special tax status, where you will only be taxed 15% on any foreign pension income you remit to Malta. These programs allow pensioners from abroad to reside indefinitely in Malta. There is also an option to apply for the Residency by Investment Program, allowing your friends and family to also make the move to Malta.

2. Excellent Healthcare System

Malta is known for its high-quality and affordable healthcare system, especially when compared to the cost of private health insurance in the US. Whether you choose to rely on the public healthcare system or opt for private health insurance, you’ll have access to top-notch medical care. Importantly, you will always have access to English-speaking healthcare professionals.

3. Thriving Property Market

Malta’s residential property market is thriving and remarkably stable, making it an excellent choice to buy your primary residence (as opposed to renting). The market offers many options, from luxury apartments to traditional Maltese houses, catering to diverse tastes and preferences.

Popular areas for retirees include Sliema, St. Julian’s, Mellieha, Gozo, and Valletta, each offering unique local charms and amenities. This stability and variety make purchasing property in Malta a sound investment, particularly for those considering applying for Residency by Investment. Property prices are very fair, with Sliema, one of the most sought-after areas for retirees, costing approximately €500,000 (USD 540). However, there are many cheaper options, with the average property price in Malta being only €227,000 (USD 246).

4. Travel Rights in the Schengen Region

As a member of the European Union, Malta allows its residents to travel visa-free across the Schengen Area. This privilege significantly eases travel throughout Europe, offering endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

However, if you are not an EU national, your stay in other Schengen countries will be limited to 90 days within any 180-day period. This setup is perfect for retirees who desire to discover Europe’s diverse cultures, landscapes, and historical sites.

5. Favorable Tax Regime for Expats and Citizens

Malta’s favorable tax regime is another significant draw for retirees. The country has no inheritance tax, no wealth tax, and a flat rate of 15% on personal income. Malta also has double tax agreements with 77 countries. This, combined with the country’s high standard of living and safe environment, makes Malta an attractive option for retirees. To read all about Tax in Malta, read our full guide.

6. Warm Climate

Malta boasts one of the most favorable climates in Europe, with mild winters and warm summers. The median yearly temperature is around 23°C during the day and 16°C at night. Even in January, which is the coldest month, temperatures range from 12 to 20°C during the daytime, cooling down to between 6 to 12°C at night. In the warmest month of August, temperatures range from 28 to 34°C during the day and 20 to 24°C at night.

The country enjoys around 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, with an average of above 5 hours per day in December and above 12 hours per day in July. This is about twice the amount of sunshine compared to cities in the northern half of Europe. The average sea temperature is 20°C, reaching up to 27°C in the middle of August. This great weather allows for year-round outdoor activities, allowing you to stay active in your retirement.

7. Affordable Cost of Living

While Malta offers a high standard of living, its cost of living is relatively affordable compared to other Western European countries, especially in terms of housing, utilities, and daily expenses. A single person can expect to spend around €911 (966 USD) to €1,591 (1687 USD) monthly on living expenses. However, this figure includes rent, so if you own your property, this figure will be reduced to €396 (USD431)-€846 (USD921) covering groceries, utilities, transportation, entertainment, and healthcare.

8. Leisure Activities

Malta offers a wide range of leisure activities that promise a fulfilling retirement. from historical excursions and sun-drenched beaches to vibrant nightlife and engaging community events. You can immerse yourself in a variety of pursuits, such as golfing, sailing, or exploring the island’s stunning natural landscapes.

9. Central Location

Situated in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta is strategically located with easy access to mainland Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, offering you the opportunity to explore different cultures and destinations. The flight to Sicily is only 40 minutes, or a 1 hour 45 minute ferry.

10. Safety and Stability

Malta consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in the world. According to the Global Peace Index, Malta is celebrated for its low crime rates and high levels of safety. It also boasts considerable political stability, which is reflected in its steady government and sound economic policies.

Furthermore, Malta’s legal system is robust and based on the British model, ensuring comprehensive enforcement of the law and protection of citizens’ rights. This combination of factors provides a secure and stable environment for retirees, making it an ideal destination for those seeking peace of mind in their retirement years.

11. Strong Expat Community

Malta boasts a well-established expat community that offers a supportive network, easing the transition for newcomers to this beautiful island. Numerous community groups and social clubs actively welcome expats, ranging from cultural and social clubs to sports leagues and volunteer organizations. These groups provide valuable opportunities for socializing, networking, and learning about Maltese culture.

For instance, the Malta Expats Club and International Women’s Club are popular among newcomers looking to forge connections. Additionally, with English being one of the official languages of Malta, communication is straightforward, further simplifying the integration process for English-speaking expats.

12. Cultural Richness

Malta’s cultural heritage makes it a popular retirement destination, weaving a history shaped by various civilizations and influences, from prehistoric temples to medieval fortresses and Baroque architecture. This cultural richness is vividly alive today and is showcased in the island’s vibrant cultural scene, which includes numerous museums, art galleries, theaters, and music festivals.

Notable annual events epitomizing Malta’s cultural vibrancy include the Malta International Arts Festival, the Valletta Baroque Festival, and the Malta Jazz Festival.

Malta Cityscape And Waterfront

The Cost of Living in Malta

For those contemplating retirement in Malta, understanding the financial implications is crucial. The cost of living in Malta is one of the benefits of retiring in this paradise. The island’s appeal among foreign retirees is growing, largely due to its relative affordability, compared to the rising living expenses in regions like North America.

Accommodation Costs in Malta

Malta’s housing market provides a wide range of options suitable for various preferences and budgets, particularly in bustling cities like Valletta, Sliema, St. Julian’s, and St. Paul’s Bay where apartment buildings are highly favored. Rental costs in these areas can differ significantly based on the location and type of property.

For instance, renting a furnished two-bedroom apartment in Mellieħa, northern Malta, costs approximately €660 (USD 700) monthly. In contrast, a penthouse with sea views in Sliema can exceed €1890 (USD 2000) monthly.

For those interested in purchasing, the market continuously introduces new listings. It is possible to find brand-new apartments starting at around €188,000 (USD 199,000). However, these properties might require further kitchen fittings, appliances, and furniture investments.

According to the latest statistics from Numbeo as of March 2023, the average rental costs monthly are as follows:

  • An unfurnished one-bedroom apartment outside city centers typically ranges from €515 (USD 544) to €745 (USD 788), while within city centers, the rent is about €660 (USD 698) to €975 (USD 1031).
  • A two-bedroom apartment outside the city center varies from €775 (USD 819) to €1100 (USD 1163), and inside the city center, it ranges from €900 (USD 952) to €1550 (USD 1639).
  • The most expensive rentals are for three-bedroom apartments, where outside the city center, prices range from €1000 (USD 1057) to €1550 (USD 1639), and inside the city center, they range from €1300 (USD 1375) to €2200 (USD 2327).

Food and Daily Living Expenses

Grocery prices in Malta are comparable to those in other Mediterranean nations. Locally produced EU goods are economical, with reasonably priced essentials like eggs, milk, and bread. Imported non-EU goods might be more expensive due to import duties. Shopping at local markets and fish markets can help save on grocery bills.

See the average price of groceries below:

Food Item Average Cost
1 litre of whole-fat milk €0.91 (USD 1)
12 large eggs €3.09 (USD 3.37)
1 kg of tomatoes €1.73 (USD 1.88)
500 g of local cheese €6.00 (USD 6.5)
1 kg of apples €2.02 (USD 2.20)
1 kg of potatoes €1.32 (USD 1.44)
0.5 l domestic beer in the supermarket €1.23 (USD 1.34)
1 bottle of good red table wine €7.00 (USD 7.60)
2 litres of Coca-Cola €1.76 (USD 1.92)
Bread for 2 people  €0.86 (USD 0.94)

Dining out is also more affordable than in North America, with typical Maltese meals costing around €15.00 per person.

Transportation in Malta is convenient with public buses, ferries, water taxis, and car rentals. Buses are reliable and cover almost all areas, with fares ranging from €2.00 (USD 2.20) for a one-way ticket, or €26.00 (USD 28.30) for a monthly pass. Car rentals start from as little as €14.5 (USD 16) per day, and ride-sharing services like Bolt and eCabs are also available.

Health Care Costs in Malta

The healthcare system in Malta is recognized globally for its quality and affordability. Healthcare expenses are lower than in countries like France and Germany. Public hospitals and clinics are accessible for EU nationals with the EHIC. Non-EU nationals must secure health insurance as per the Maltese residency rules. The cost of a private insurance policy is significantly lower than in the US, with plans starting from €25 (USD 26.4) monthly, however, the cost of policies will vary based on factors such as age, health, and deductibles.

Monthly Living Expenses

A single person can expect to spend around €911 (966 USD) to €1,591 (1687 USD) monthly on living expenses. However, this figure includes rent, so if you own your property, this figure will be reduced to €396 (USD431)-€846 (USD921) covering groceries, utilities, transportation, entertainment, and healthcare for the month.

Reflective Waterfront And Buildings In Malta

Healthcare and Social Services for Retirees in Malta

Malta’s Healthcare System

The healthcare system in Malta, with its roots dating back to 1372, is globally recognized. In 2023, the World Health Organization ranked it 26th and other indexes placed it in the top 10. The average Maltese citizen enjoys 90% of their lifespan in good health, a higher percentage than any other EU country.

The system is bifurcated into public and private sectors. The public sector provides free medical services to all Maltese citizens and EU residents with an EHIC. The Mater Dei Hospital (MDH) is the primary public hospital, serving as a specialty facility and a training institute.

Private healthcare is also prevalent, with many residents opting for private insurance coverage for a wider range of doctors and services and typically shorter wait times. As previously stated, non-EU citizens residing in Malta are required to secure private healthcare insurance.

Accessibility of Social Services for Retirees

A variety of social services are available for the elderly in Malta. These include the Community Geriatrician Service, Continence Service, Dementia Activity Centers, Dementia Intervention Team, and Domiciliary Dietitian Service. These services aim to provide comprehensive care and support to older persons, whether they’re homebound due to physical or mental health problems or living independently.

The Senior Citizen Grant is a one-time payment given to elderly persons living in their homes or with relatives. This grant and other services ensure that retirees in Malta have the necessary support and care they need.

Retirement Homes and Elderly Care in Malta

Retirement homes and elderly care in Malta are well-established, providing a safe and secure environment for senior citizens who can no longer manage living in their own homes. The Active Aging and Community Care Directorate provides a number of services, including Active Aging Centers, Home Help Services, Respite at Home, Handyman Service, Meals on Wheels, and more.

The Dementia Activity Centers (DACs) are located in different localities in Malta and Gozo and provide day and night care specifically designed to cater to the needs of persons living with dementia. DACs provide respite and support and relieve caregiver burden while providing therapeutic activities to persons with dementia.

Cityscape And Waterfront With Boats In Malta

Lifestyle in Malta as a Retiree

Leisure and Recreational Activities in Malta

Despite its compact size, Malta is bustling with activities for every taste. Whether exploring the ancient Megalithic Temples, strolling through the medieval city of Mdina, or soaking up the sun at Golden Bay, there’s no shortage of adventures. Water enthusiasts can dive into activities from sailing at the well-equipped marinas around Grand Harbour to indulging in various water sports. For a serene retreat, Gozo offers tranquil coastal walks, the expansive Xwejni Bay salt pans, and the historic Calypso Cave.

Food lovers can relish private food and wine tours at local farms or enjoy a round of golf at the Royal Golf Club. In the fashionable districts of Sliema and St. Julian’s, take leisurely waterfront walks, engage in retail therapy, or dine at trendy sea-facing restaurants. For those seeking nightlife, Paceville in St. Julian’s buzzes with energy after dark, offering a lively scene for evening entertainment. Meanwhile, nature enthusiasts can explore scenic trails like Dingli Cliffs, adding a touch of adventure to a rich and diverse leisure palette.

Malta’s Expat Community and Social Network

The island’s allure, from its turquoise waters to its captivating historic cities, has made it a favored retirement destination among expats. The widespread use of English, a remnant of British influence, facilitates easy integration for English-speaking retirees.

The thriving expat community here in Malta is dynamic and friendly, fostering a sense of unity and support. There are ample opportunities to socialize and forge new friendships through local clubs, social gatherings, or casual chats at a neighborhood café.

Essential Maltese Customs and Traditions

Malta is steeped in customs and traditions. Most of the population are devout Roman Catholics, and the calendar is punctuated with significant religious events. Each locality is associated with patron saints whose feasts are celebrated with grandeur, including processions and fireworks.

Maltese cuisine is a delightful amalgamation of various Mediterranean culinary influences. The food is robust and wholesome, made with the freshest seasonal ingredients.

Maltese people appreciate etiquette and polite behavior, and respecting these cultural norms is crucial. For instance, wearing revealing clothing away from the beaches or inside churches is frowned upon.

By embracing the lifestyle in Malta, you’ll be immersing yourself in a rich tapestry of history, culture, and community. Whether you’re exploring the island’s stunning landscapes, sampling its delicious cuisine, or participating in its vibrant social scene, retiring in Malta offers a unique and fulfilling experience.

Are You Ready to Retire in Malta?

Retiring in Malta offers more than just a new home; it promises a lifestyle change where history, culture, and modern conveniences blend seamlessly. From the comprehensive Malta Retirement Program which provides favorable tax rates, to the high-quality healthcare system, stable property market, and vibrant expat community, Malta offers a welcoming and enriching environment for retirees.

If you’re considering a retirement that includes sunny days, rich cultural experiences, and a supportive community, Malta is an excellent choice. Reach out to our experts at Next Generation Equity for a free consultation and tailored advice.


What is a Malta Retirement Visa?

Actually, there is no such thing as a ‘Malta Retirement Visa’. Instead, what exists is the Malta Retirement Program (MRP). This program is not a visa but a residency scheme designed for those who want to retire in Malta. It allows participants to benefit from a favorable tax regime, which includes a flat rate of 15% on foreign income remitted to Malta, with a minimum tax payable.

What is the Malta Retirement Program (MRP)?

The Malta Retirement Program is designed for retirees earning a pension from abroad, looking to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle in Malta, whilst benefiting from special tax status. Successful applicants will only be subject to a 15% flat rate on foreign pension income remitted to Malta, subject to certain conditions.

What is the Global Residence Program?

The Global Residence Program (GRP) is a residency scheme for non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who wish to relocate to Malta. It requires a regular, stable source of income, adequate health insurance, and proof of accommodation in Malta.

How Much Money Do You Need to Retire in Malta?

To retire in Malta, a single person can anticipate monthly living expenses ranging from €911 (USD 966) to €1,591 (USD 1,687), including rent. If you retire as a couple, it will likely save a few hundred euros monthly. Additionally, if you own your property, these costs are reduced significantly, with monthly expenses for groceries, utilities, transportation, entertainment, and healthcare falling between €396 (USD 431) and €846 (USD 921).

Participation in retirement programs like the Malta Retirement Program requires proof of a stable income, typically from a pension, and a minimum tax payment of €7,500 annually. You will also have to budget around €300 for the legal/application fees.

Can I work in Malta if I retire under the Malta Residency Program?

Retirees under the Malta Residency Program are generally restricted from employment. However, you are permitted to hold non-executive posts on the boards of Maltese companies and participate in activities related to philanthropic, educational, or research and development organizations.

Can British Citizens Retire in Malta?

Yes, British citizens can retire in Malta under the Malta Retirement Program. This program is designed for individuals who receive a pension. It provides beneficial tax treatment for income sourced from outside Malta, with a flat rate of 15% tax on foreign income that is remitted to Malta, subject to certain conditions and minimum tax requirements.


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Rihab Saad

Managing Director
Next Generation Equity

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