Malta, even if it is a small country, attracts many foreign investors due to its pro-business facilities and the tax-friendly environment for those wanting to make long-term investments. However, Malta has limitations or requires special permits or licenses for some types of businesses or for foreigners wanting to buy properties in the country. Among the businesses requiring licenses, there are the tourism accommodation facilities or companies involved in handling foodstuff.
Our lawyers in Malta explain below the requirements related to obtaining special licenses and permits when opening companies in certain industries. Foreign investors who want to open companies in Malta can rely on our law firm for assistance through the business registration procedure. You can also rely on our lawyers for assistance in applying for business licenses and permits.
What are the main types of licenses and permits for Maltese companies?
Those who want to start a business in Malta must pay attention to the licensing requirements before they start the incorporation procedure of the company, as there are many industries which require specific licenses, permits or authorizations with designated governmental bodies.
Among the industries which require special permits and licenses in Malta are:
- the trading sector which implies various types of activities which can be completed by a company;
- tourism-related licenses which must be obtained by HORECA companies, such as hotels and restaurants;
- the AIP permit which must be obtained by those purchasing real estate property in Malta;
- the construction license which is available for companies in the construction industry;
- the financial services license required for those who want to operate in the financial sector;
- the gaming license which has recently suffered several modifications and provides for more advantages;
- the cryptocurrency license which is makes Malta one of the first EU countries to have such a law.
If there is any industry you are interested in and no license has been covered above, you can ask our Maltese lawyers for guidance.
The trade license in Malta
According to the Department of Commerce, there are some requirements for Maltese companies involved in manufacturing or engineering activities. These types of companies must obtain a special permit from the Trade Licensing Directorate. Before receiving the license, companies must abide by regulations regarding environmental and waste control. Before applying for the trade license, companies must obtain all necessary permits from the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA).
Trading licenses are required for companies operating with food and drinks, but also for beauty salons, spa and fitness facilities. Before applying for the trade license, these types of companies must obtain a No Objection Declaration from the Environmental Health Directorate.
The documents that must be submitted with the Trade Licensing Directorate are:
- – copies of identification papers;
- – foreign citizens must submit the ETC (Employment and Training Corporation) permit;
- – the No Objection Declaration;
- – a development class number and a building permit number issued by the MEPA (if required).
The application is submitted online and it takes about 10 days for the trading license to be released.
Special licenses and permits issued by the Malta Tourism Authority
For catering businesses, a special license, called catering establishment license from the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), must be issued and it takes around 20 days to be released.
The first step for obtaining the catering establishment permit is to submit an application form with the MTA. The following documents must also be submitted with the MTA:
- a criminal record issued by the police;
- copies after the identification papers;
- receipt after the payment of the application fee;
- blueprints drafted by an architect;
- land department permit and photos of the property (where applicable);
- copy after the articles of association of the company;
- lease contract proving the value of the bar area to be rented.
Upon submitting these documents, the MTA will issue the Tourism Compliance Certificate.
The final step for receiving the catering establishment license will be to submit all the relevant documents with the Licensing Administration department in the MTA:
- development permit issued by the MEPA;
- authorization from the Public Health Department;
- the public sewer discharge permit issued by the Water Services Corporation;
- a CV of the chef;
- copy after the menu;
- a fire safety certificate.
Catering venues must also file an application with the Department of Environmental Health for a food safety certificate.
The tourism permit is part of the category of special licenses issued by the Malta Tourism Authority. The following types of businesses in Malta require tourism licenses: outgoing and incoming tourism agents, excursion organizers and destination management companies.
The following documents must be submitted in order to receive a tourism permit in Malta:
- a receipt after paying the registration fee;
- identification papers copies and criminal record of the applicant;
- the CV of the operator;
- blueprints of the business area;
- companies must submit copies after the articles of association;
- a development permit issued by the MEPA;
- third party accountability insurance;
Other documents providing the specific or the company or operator may be requested also. After all the documents have been filed, the MTA must inspect the location before allowing the company to start operating.
Would you like to buy a property in Malta? Our advice is to collaborate with our lawyers to benefit from a fast and uncomplicated process. Thus, after checking the documents of the chosen property, the pre-sale agreement is drawn up, after which the parties involved must go to the notary to sign the sale-purchase contract. We mention that we can represent clients with a power of attorney if they do not want to travel to Malta for this purpose. Contact us today to benefit from our offers and specialized legal advice.
The acquisition of immovable property – AIP permits in Malta
According to the Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, foreign citizens who want to buy a property in Malta must file a request for an AIP permit. Issuing an AIP permit in Malta takes up to 35 days and it is conditioned by the following:
- the minimum value of the property is approximately 102,000 EUR for an apartment and approximately 170,000 EUR for other properties;
- the property is bought for living purposes and rental is not allowed;
- the property cannot be divided and sold.
In order to receive the Maltese AIP permit, the buyer must submit two passport-sized photographs, a copy of the passport, a copy of the pre-sale contract and a receipt proving the fee payment.
Special licenses in the construction sector in Malta
Those who want to set up construction companies in Malta are required to obtain certain licenses before starting the operations. It must be noted that one must first register the company with the Trade Register and then apply for the construction license for every project the business will complete.
The construction license is issued by the municipality in which the company will operate. Apart from the construction license, the Maltese company must also consider applying for one or more of the following special permits:
- the planning permit which is issued by the Planning Authority in Malta and covers various aspects on a construction site, such as safety measures;
- the parking permit issued by the same authority, if the company will engage in building such facilities;
- the industrial permit if the company engages in building industrial facilities in Malta;
- the environmental license which is needed no matter the type of construction to be built.
The construction industry legislation is very extensive, and if you plan on opening a company in this sector, we recommend you ask for the support of our Maltese lawyers.
The financial services license in Malta
Malta is known for having one of the most developed financial industries in Europe, which is why starting a business in this industry here is very attractive for foreign entrepreneurs.
There are several special licenses available for those interested in operating in this industry, among which:
- the financial services license which is issued by banks and various types of financial institutions;
- the insurance services license which is available for companies in the insurance sector in Malta;
- companies offering management services to investment funds must also apply for a specific license;
- one of the latest types of licenses introduced in the financial industry is the cryptocurrency permit.
Those who want to open companies in the cryptocurrency sector in Malta can now do that under very strict, yet advantageous regulations. They can open cryptocurrency exchanges by applying for a license with a special authority created for this purpose – the Malta Digital Innovation Authority.
If you are interested in opening a cryptocurrency business, our Maltese law firm can guide you through the entire procedure.
The gambling license in Malta
Malta is one of the most appealing gambling destinations in the European Union and those who want to open companies here must apply for a gaming license which can be granted for carrying various types of casino, betting and lottery activities. Those who apply for a gambling license in Malta will benefit from a special taxation system.
The casino license can be obtained for completing online (virtual reality) gaming activities, remote gaming activities and for the establishment of traditional casinos.
If you want to set up a business or buy a property and need details about the special licenses requested by the authorities, you can contact our law firm in Malta. You can rely on our attorneys in Malta for information related to various laws when it comes to applying for special licenses and permits. Our lawyers can also help you register a company in any of the industries mentioned above, or other sectors of activity.