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Register a Yacht in Malta

Register a Yacht in Malta

Malta is a small island state where foreigners can enjoy a multitude of opportunities, including in the maritime sector, due to its strategic geographical position. Recognized as a port of entry for European Union countries, yacht owners in Malta must consider registering them before using them. We present in this article some essential information about Maltese yacht registration, with the mention that the formalities can be managed by our team of lawyers in Malta.

 Quick Facts  
Provisional yacht registration Temporary registration is valid for 6 months, during which the process for permanent registration is initiated.

Permanent yacht registration

After all documentation is verified and fees are paid, and the yacht meets all the necessary requirements, you will receive the permanent registration certificate.

Changing yacht name allowed (YES/NO)

Yes

Global validity of registration The registration of a yacht in Malta is valid worldwide, regardless of its physical location.
Mandatory Maltese residency for yacht's owner (YES/NO)

No

Tax incentives

There are plenty of tax incetives for yachts and superyachts in Malta introduced in Malta Yacht VAT scheme. Our lawyers in Malta can explain this scheme and benefits to you.

Reduced VAT for yacht leasing

Reduction in VAT depends on factors such as the length of the yacht and its means of propulsion.

Required documents for pleasure yacht registration in Malta

– builder certificate of the yacht,

– invoice received upon purchase,

– survey certificate from a recognized surveyor,

– verification of marking notes and signed carving,

– abandonment of the original provisional certificate, etc.

Required document of commercial vessels

– certificate of survey,

– certificates of tonnage and previous registration,

– inspection report and title deed,

– radio application and reports,

– International Antifouling Certificate, etc.

Safe manning application Yacht owners need to complete a safe manning application form, a standard document provided by authorities.
Reduced VAT on fuel

If a yacht registered in Malta is used outside the EU for around 90 days per year, the owner can benefit from a reduced VAT on fuel.

Crew employment

You can hire crew on your yacht. Contact our lawyers in Malta if you are interested in this service.

Is Malta an European Union port of entry?(YES/NO)

Yes 

Why register a yacht in Malta

– internationally recognized maritime flag,

– tax incentives,

– crew employment option,

– global validity,

– respected maritime jurisdiction, etc.

Assistance  Our law firm in Malta can help you register a yacht in the country, as well as help you with other legal services.
Inspection of vessels for pleasure registration

For vessels over 15 years

Identification markings of vessel

Numbers, letters, or symbols

Procedure of registering commercial vessels in Malta

– provide required documents,

– wait for inspection report,

– complete the safe manning application form,

– pay registration fee

International antifouling certificate (YES/NO)

YES, for commercial yachts

International tonnage certificate

Required if the yacht exceeds 24 meters in length.

Legal framework for yacht registration in Malta

– Maltese Commercial Yacht Code,

– Merchant Shipping Act

Restrictions for registration

Vessels over 25 years are not eligible for commercial registration in Malta.

Registering ships under construction (YES/NO)

YES

Definition of a pleasure yacht

Must be 6 meters or longer, without carrying passengers or engaging in trade.

Definition of a commercial yacht Must be 15 meters or longer, carry no cargo and up to 12 passengers, be operated commercially.
VAT exemptions for commercial yachts

For:

– maintenance,

– chartering,

– fueling,

– provisioning,

– crew assistance, etc.

Income tax rate for commercial yachts

5%

Appointing resident agent for registration (YES/NO)

YES, non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens must contact our lawyers in Malta in this matter.

Tonnage tax regime – characteristics

It calculates taxes based on the tonnage of a ship;

Yachts need registration under the shipping organization and a minimum 1,000 gross tonnage.

Additional services provided by our law firm in Malta

We offer various legal services, which include buying a property in Malta and company formation.

Yacht registration in Malta – what you need to do

Yacht marinas can be found anywhere in Malta, and yacht owners can benefit from a range of maintenance, repair services, and other facilities, including luxury ones. However, according to the legislation in Malta in line with the International Maritime Organization, yachts must be registered in this country. Let’s go through the yacht registration in Malta review, with the mention that our lawyers in Malta can handle all the formalities, even if you are outside Malta:

  • Authorities inspect vessels that are older than 15 years. This is available for the pleasure registration of a vessel in Malta.
  • The builder certificate of the respective yacht is required, as well as the invoice received upon purchase.
  • A recognized surveyor will issue a survey certificate.
  • Marking notes and duly signed carving will be checked.
  • The original provisional certificate will be replaced.

Regarding the provisional registration of commercial vessels in Malta, the following formalities must be observed:

  • In addition to the current Certificate of Survey and the old one, if applicable, certificates of tonnage and the previous registration certificate will be required.
  • An inspection report will be made, and the title deed will be requested, one of the most important documents.
  • Radio application and reports are other checks made by the authorities before registration.
  • The International Antifouling Certificate is also required for yacht registration in Malta.
  • Yacht owners must complete the safe manning application form, a standard document provided by the authorities.
  • We mention that the payment of boat registration fees in Malta must be proven.

It is important to note that for permanent yacht registration in Malta, applicants must present an International Tonnage Certificate, original Deletion Certificate, and original Builders Certificate, among others. We remind you that these are some of the formalities to consider when you want to register a yacht in Malta, but for all the details you can consult our Maltese lawyers. In addition, our specialists are the ones who can offer you legal advice for yacht finance lease transactions, clearing customs of vessels, and reviewing loan agreements and mortgages among others. Talk to us about boat registration fees in Malta.

We invite you to discover an infographic we have prepared on this subject:

Private yacht registration in Malta

To permanently register your private yacht under the Maltese flag, you need to follow these steps within six months of provisional registration. First, obtain a yacht survey certificate from an authorized surveyor at the port where your yacht is located to confirm its seaworthiness. If the surveyor faces challenges in acquiring the official Malta Maritime Authority form, an alternative survey certificate form can be provided. For yachts exceeding 24 meters in length, an International Tonnage Certificate is required. Additionally, provide a bill of sale indicating the purchase by your Maltese company or a builder’s certificate if the yacht is new. Complete a radio installation form and a license application, with the assistance of an authorized surveyor at the yacht’s port. Obtain a Carving and Marking note from an authorized surveyor at the yacht’s port, provided after provisional registration. If the yacht was previously registered outside Malta, submit a certificate confirming the cancellation of its registry in the last country of registration.

If you need any assistance regarding private yacht registration in Malta, we can help you. Please get in touch with our lawyers in Malta for legal advice.  Also, check our video presentation below:

Commercial yacht registration in Malta

To qualify as a Maltese commercial yacht, adherence to the Maltese Commercial Yacht Code is essential. Yachts below 500 gross tons are exempt from Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) certification. MLC compliance is mandatory for all Maltese commercial yachts, regardless of size. Certificates of Insurance, aligning with the MLC, must be secured for all such yachts. Initiated in 2015, the 3rd edition of the Commercial Yacht Code by the Maltese Registry of Shipping governs the registration of commercial yachts exceeding 15 meters in length, accommodating up to twelve passengers without cargo. All yachts under this code must undergo surveys, obtain certifications, and adhere to category-specific requirements. An Initial Survey is conducted upon joining the flag, resulting in a five-year valid Certificate of Compliance (COC).

For Maltese commercial yachts under 24 meters, intermediate surveys are required between the 2nd and 3rd year and upon flag accession. Renewal surveys are obligatory three months before COC expiration. Yachts exceeding 24 meters undergo annual surveys and renewal within 5 years, all conducted by recognized Classification Societies or approved Maltese Government surveyors.

Provisional Registration can be under a Maltese or non-Maltese entity, subject to International Owner registration for the latter. The application requires essential documentation, including the Declaration of Ownership, radio equipment list, insurance certificate, MLC compliance, and Builder’s Certificate or Certificate of Conformity.

If you are interested in acquiring information for vessels more than 24 meters, please consult our Maltese lawyers. With the practical legal assistance of our attorneys in Malta, you can register your commercial yacht.

What are the advantages of yacht registration in Malta?

Yacht registration in Malta comes with a number of benefits, including no customs duties and no VAT if you import a yacht into EU waters and want to export and use it for private matters. Goods imported from outside the EU, but which stop for the first time in one of the Maltese ports before the final destination are exempt from VAT and have the status of free movement.

If you have a yacht registered in Malta that you use outside the EU for about 90 days a year you can benefit from a reduced VAT on fuel. Here are some other benefits to keep in mind:

  • The yacht does not need to be physically located in Malta if it is registered.
  • Yacht registration in Malta is valid all over the world.
  • Owners of yachts for pleasure purposes can hire both local and foreign workers.
  • You can easily change the name of the yacht.

Moreover, the advantages of registering yachts in Malta include the ability to register on behalf of any company or entity, regardless of nationality. Additionally, there are low costs associated with company formation, ship registration, and tonnage tax. Yacht and superyacht owners benefit from attractive tax incentives, and there are no restrictions on the sale or mortgaging of Maltese-registered vessels. The Authority for Transport in Malta provides a 24/7 service for urgent matters.

Malta enjoys a positive international reputation as a preferred flag, offering confidence to yacht owners. The maritime sector in Malta provides a comprehensive range of services, including reputable legal and corporate support for registration, management, and administration. Malta boasts one of the world’s largest ship registers, with a dynamic administration actively engaged in European Union and international forums. The strategic vision of Malta supports both business and the marine industry, and its geographical location further enhances its appeal.

You can find out more about boat registration fees in Malta from our Maltese lawyers, who can support you with the necessary formalities. Do not hesitate to discover our legal services and details about the formalities imposed.

Malta, an excellent choice for investment

The insular state of Malta is appreciated for its vast business opportunities, advantageous tax system, confidentiality, and protection for offshore companies, among others. The gaming sector, but also the pharmaceutical sector is among the most important, which brings huge sums to the state budget. English-speaking and highly skilled labor force and the possibility to benefit from a series of pro-investment policies are other important attributes of Malta. Here are some statistics about the Maltese economy:

  • According to the most recent economic projection from the European Commission, Malta achieved a notable 6.9% economic growth in 2022, securing the country’s position as the second-highest performer among all EU member states. 
  • The EU anticipates continued economic expansion for Malta in the coming years, with a projected growth of 3.9% in 2023 and a further increase to 4.1% in 2024.

The lawyers at our law firm in Malta can also help you with other matters that require legal attention. For instance, if you are planning to buy a house in Malta, the services of our lawyers are at your disposal. 

Want to know more about yacht registration in Malta? We invite you to contact our law firm in Malta and find out all the information on legal formalities. We can tell you more about boat registration fees in Malta.