Yacht Registration in Malta

Located in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, the island nation of Malta offers a rich history, spectacular location and also many advantages for those who want to officially register their yacht. Yacht registration in Malta is a relatively straightforward process that offers owners a simpler way through the registration process. Malta enjoys having the largest number of yachts registered to their country in the EU because of their island nation status as well as offering favorable laws to owners around the world.

Any citizen of the EU has the right to register their yacht in Malta as well as any company that is registered with an EU member state as well. In addition, a Maltese company can also register their yachts within the country and such companies can be owned by a person who is a member of the EU or from outside. This means that someone of any nationality can have yacht registration in Malta with little in the way of effort if they own a company in the country.

How to Register a Yacht in Malta

About the only caveat to registering a yacht is that the owner must be clearly identifiable. Therefore, a non-Maltese citizen must have the proper identification papers in order to get their yacht registered. In addition, a foreigner must also appoint in writing a Maltese resident who is employed to lease with any of the proper authorities.

In summary, what makes Malta attractive to register a yacht is that there are no restrictions based on the citizenship of the owner, the nationality of the person who mans the yacht or where they can sail to any port around the world. Add to this the simplicity of the registration process and it is easy to understand why flying the Maltese flag for your yacht makes perfect sense.

The main advantages of having Maltese registration are as follows;

  • Fast system for registration
  • Simple, clear laws to mortgages of yachts
  • Low registration fees
  • Compliant with EU registration
  • Registration that is recognized around the world

The quick system of approval and low registration fees are certainly a big incentive, but it may be the clear laws on yacht mortgages which may be the main factor in why so many people register in Malta. Naturally, having the registration recognized around the world helps as well since the yachts can be in any port.

The registration process itself is rather straightforward if you have all the applicable documentation and it will only take two working days to complete. This will provide a provisional registration that will last up to six months so that the full documentation which would include items such as the deletion certificate from the register before this one. Provisional application will need the following;

  • Maltese application
  • Declaration of ownership of the yacht
  • Pertinent technical details
  • Radio license application
  • International tonnage certificate for yachts over 24 meters in length

Once the process is completed, a Certificate of Malta Registry will be issued. After six months has passed, a permanent registration will take place with the Maltese Registrar of Ships.

However, there is an exception with regards to larger yachts that are designed to take on more than twelve passengers. While certainly not cruise liners or ships in the conventional sense since they are not large enough, they do have their own category called “Passenger Yachts” and they have their own registration process which is nearly identical to the standard one for yacht registration in Malta, but the difference in size will need to be noted so that the vessel is not subsequently rejected due to its overall size.

In addition, there are bareboat charter registrations as well that provides for both Maltese and flags of other countries to be represented as well. Here, it will be how compatible the registries are when combined for the vessel and which jurisdiction that it will fall under as well while in operation. Such registrations will last until the charter runs out or expiration date of the registry is reached, whichever happens first.

The Financial Incentives for Yacht Registration in Malta

There are a number of reasons why you should consider registering your yacht in Malta besides the ones that have already been stated. These reasons will help explain why such registration is so popular around the world.

Income Tax Exemption: A commercial company operating a yacht will not pay any income taxes on the revenues that are generated as long as the annual tonnage tax and registration fees are paid in full. However, there may be exceptions to this particular rule if the yacht itself is unusual in some way or if the ownership has some complications.

Value Added Tax (VAT) Exemption: Any commercial yacht that carries passengers will not have to pay VAT on maintenance costs, supplies or anything else that is applicable which includes the revenue from chartering. This means that as long as the cost are directly associated with the yacht, then there is no VAT that is paid as per Maltese and EU rules.

Low Tax Rate: If for some reason a yacht does not qualify for the income tax exemption, then the rate will be a paltry 5%. Any foreign income tax that is applied to the commercial operations of the yacht will be available as credit against paying the tax so it is possible to reduce it to zero.

Overall, yacht registration in Malta is a simple process that anyone who owns such a vessel can engage in to reap the benefits. Because the Maltese flag is recognized around the world, this means that anyone can have their yacht registered and operate their vessel from any port with minimal restrictions. For those who are thinking about registering their vessel in Malta, the proper considerations should be made first before making such a commitment. However, there are few places in the world that offer a better environment than Malta when it comes to the registration and operation of a yacht.