The Crucial Role played by Abacus in the Second Citizenship Process

In this series of articles, we have endeavoured to clarify the reasons why high net worth and entrepreneurial foreign nationals might wish to look beyond their homeland for a better life in another country.

We have explained the benefits of what second citizenship can provide – not just for the individual in question but for his immediate and even extended family.

In particular, we have focused our attention on two specific jurisdictions, the Isle of Man and Malta, which offer compelling opportunities for those seeking second citizenship.

Whilst these two nations are a thousand miles apart – the Isle of Man is positioned in the Irish Sea off the west coast of the United Kingdom and Malta lies in the southern Mediterranean – they separately have much in common for overseas investors seeking a fresh start.

Both are welcoming, business friendly, low crime jurisdictions offering favourable tax rates. They are independent democracies where passport holders can come and go as they please and where citizens can enjoy visa free travel to the vast majority of countries around the world, without fear of arrest, recrimination or deportation.

The Isle of Man and Malta can equally provide a level of personal safety and security from unpredictable threats, such as social-political issues, economic issues, natural disaster, and so on. A second passport represents an insurance policy.


The Abacus Role

For a high net worth investor and his family, the prospect of seeking a new life in a land of opportunity can seem enticing. At the same time, we fully appreciate how daunting it is to put down roots in another country where the climate, culture and language may be quite alien.

In our experience with clients, we frequently encounter these very dilemmas – so rest assured we understand the trauma and upheaval that can result from making such a momentous decision.

We recognise, for many, second citizenship really is a leap into the unknown but we can speak knowledgeably about how to face up to such situations. In short, we are here to help you every step of the way – to ease your journey towards second citizenship.

As a long established and highly respected top tier fiduciary, fund and professional administration services business, Abacus has extensive experience in dealing with high net worth clients globally. It’s what we do on a daily basis.

We specialise in assisting individuals and families across the world with an often complex range of estate planning, wealth management, tax and business structuring issues.

Abacus is privately owned and proudly independent. Above all, we see integrity and a deep appreciation of our clients’ requirements as being at the core of our business operation. For this reason, many of our clients have been with us and come to rely on us, not just for years but for decades.

Of great significance, we are based in both the Isle of Man and Malta – jurisdictions we know intimately.


Our Expertise in Second Citizenship

Against this background, Abacus has a deep understanding and experience of residence and citizenship applications and is well placed to advise and assist wealthy individuals and their families, who wish to apply for citizenship in both the Isle of Man and Malta.

We can help clients in choosing the most appropriate citizenship and residency programme from the following list:

  • Isle of Man – Tier 1 Investor Visa
  • Isle of Man – Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
  • Malta Residence and Visa Programme
  • Malta Individual Investor Programme
  • Malta Global Residence Programme

As far as Malta citizenship programmes are concerned, Abacus is classed as a registered agent. This means that we are approved to handle all citizen or residency applications on behalf of any new applicant. It is important to note that it is not possible to directly submit an application to Identity Malta, the agency responsible for immigration in the Island, without engaging a registered agent.

In respect of the Isle of Man, whilst there is no formal register of approved agents, local service providers can be engaged for those requiring assistance with visa applications or to streamline the application process and to handle any queries arising from it.  So if you are considering an Isle of Man Tier 1 Investor or Entrepreneur Visa, we would strongly recommend that you contact Abacus at the earliest possible opportunity.

We are here to guide clients through the application process, to ensure the preparation of each submission is correct and processed efficiently. And whilst on paper that may sound straightforward and clear cut, it rarely is the case. It isn’t simply a case of filling in a few forms and away you go!

The reality is that the whole process can involve a great degree of soul searching and time. No two cases are the same – something that we never lose sight of at Abacus. For this reason, we see our role not only to help you administratively but also to give you unfettered guidance – to help you shine a light on what’s best for you individually.

In fact, without making too fine a point of it, we make no bones that our close support and input can make the difference between the success and failure of a second citizenship application.

Initial Contact  

Ideally, our assistance would begin right at the outset of the process, from the time you start formulating the idea of a second citizenship.

Following initial contact, a face-to-face appointment is arranged. Whilst some meetings take place at our offices in Malta and the Isle of Man, Abacus staff often travel to pre-arranged off-island locations to meet prospective clients.

These primary consultations with a new client are arguably the most crucial in the entire application process – because they are designed to establish your suitability before starting the citizenship application.

There are some fundamental, pre-assessment points that need addressing:

  • What are the reasons behind applying for alternative residence and citizenship?
  • What residence/citizenship programme(s) best meets these needs?
  • Who is the application for? An individual with/without spouse/dependents?
  • Do I qualify and meet the eligibility requirements?

We would take the time to help you evaluate the realities of long term settlement in either Malta or the Isle of Man. Typically, we would want to cover issues such as; are you comfortable with the level of investment necessary to qualify for second citizenship; would your current business or future commercial plans be compatible with either jurisdiction; would you realistically see a long term future here in either location for you and your family.

From our past experience of dealing with high net worth clients, we know these initial discussions are pivotal in establishing a solid case for proceeding with any application.


Throughout and Beyond the Application Process

Assuming that these initial discussions are successful and it seems clear there is a viable case for proceeding with the application, that’s when our detailed background work begins on your behalf. Abacus will provide all the necessary supporting information for the relevant authority to demonstrate the client’s suitability for citizenship.

Getting to know all about you is paramount. Without this careful screening, it’s fair to say most applications would fail. We understand exactly what is required to get through all the checks and balances presented by either the Maltese or Isle of Man immigration services.

We won’t only help a client through all the form filling and paperwork but also make a thorough assessment of all aspects of their immediate and longer term requirements. This would extend to tax affairs, wealth management, succession planning, types of preferred investment.  This work would often continue well after citizenship is granted.

Often our work can entail a fully integrated “family office” style service – not just relating to the business venture being considered, but also finding a suitable property, helping integration in the local community taking into account their background, assisting with schooling, joining clubs and pursuing hobbies.

So how long does this process usually take? An application in Malta can be successfully concluded in a 12 month period, with the Isle of Man taking a little longer, but every situation is unique. In our experience the procedure may take longer and in any case we will not rush you into making a commitment. This is almost always beneficial to the client, because it provides that valuable commodity of time to properly prepare oneself, one’s business and one’s family for the challenges that lie ahead.


Seeking second citizenship is not something anyone would undertake lightly. Leaving the past behind and starting a new life in an unfamiliar environment can be both testing and inspiring.

But for the process to be rewarding – both from a business and family perspective – it has to be thoroughly planned and given a considerable amount of thought.

At Abacus, we will do everything we can to put ourselves in your shoes – to help you make the right decision on second citizenship. And if that decision is to relocate to Malta or the Isle of Man, it is our firm belief that no organisation on either Island is better placed to assist you in taking that momentous decision – to ensure your application for second citizenship is readily accepted by the relevant authority.

For further information regarding either citizenship or residency, in the first instance, contact either:

For the Isle of Man:

Stephen Colderwood, Business Development Manager

+44 1624 689600

For Malta:

Samantha Snow, Client Services Manager

+356 2065 0500