Yacht Registration in Malta

Malta is a flag of choice in the Superyacht sector for yacht owners looking to register a yacht in the EU. The jurisdiction holds a prestigious global reputation in yachting, which is borne out its rich maritime history. Malta offers a strategic location in the centre of Europe, which has become a known entrée-port for many yachts seeking to sail in the Mediterranean.

Malta has set global standards for excellent ship management, listed on both the Paris MOU White List and Tokyo MOU, which acts as a spectrum for exceptional flag quality. A yacht granted Maltese status receives preferred treatment, granting a smooth sailing through various port charges and taxes due the bilateral agreements Malta holds with multiple foreign governments.

In addition to the country’s naturally idyllic coastline and protected harbours, Malta has heavily invested into its marine infrastructure with several luxury marinas that offer world class birthing facilities. It has also developed its superyacht sector with an extensive amount of quality maritime services, including shipbuilding, refit, bunkering and towage services. As a sovereign state and member of the European Union, Malta also provides yacht owners with political and economic stability in the protection of their assets.

Since the 1970’s Malta has held one of the largest ship registers in Europe, which in the last five years doubled in the number of super yachts that measure over 24 metres. In addition to its geographic location, a key factor that attracts new yacht registration is the reputable environment. Maltese yachts are protected by the jurisdictions robust maritime regulation and legislation and its maritime services are supported by a professional corporate sector that provide exceptional expertise in the relevant structures and regimes available. A recognised financial centre, yacht owners will receive an exceptional standard of service in all aspects of registering a yacht, including bespoke structuring in the implementation of an ownership structure, VAT registration, compliance and on-going administration.

In addition to the low registration costs and tonnage tax costs, Malta’s competitive fiscal landscape is another competitive advantage that places it as an efficient jurisdiction for yacht owners registering in the EU. Commercial vessels registered in Malta will receive VAT exemption on supplies, fuelling and general maintenance costs.

Maltese Yacht Registration Regimes

There are two different types of regimes available to register under, they each hold different requirements and opportunities.

Commercial Yacht Registration

A yacht that measures over 15 meters in length intended for commercial use can register under the commercial regime. The yacht must not carry more than 12 passengers or cargo, and it has to be operated by the owner / owning entity.

If the client wishes to register the boat commercially, there are no restrictions on the nationality of the captain or the crew when they charter the boat.

Pleasure Yacht Registration

A yacht intended for private use, which is identified as not engaged in trade and for the sole purpose of the owner, can be imported through Malta under a pleasure yacht registration. This regime is only available to yachts that measure 6 meters or more in length.

Who can register a yacht in Malta?

Depending on the client’s goals, whether it be for personal use or commercial use, we have been assisting clients with ownership structures and yacht registration since 2004.

There are no restrictions on nationality to sail under a Maltese flag. Maltese yacht registration is available to Maltese residents, EU citizens, Maltese or EU Entities and Non-EU entities (that appoint a registered agent in Malta). Malta’s flexible entry requirements make it a favourable option for many yacht owners.

There are no restrictions on nationality when registering a yacht through a Maltese entity; this structure can be set up by the Affinity team in Malta. We assist yacht owners with the complete process of registering a yacht, with a dedicated member of our yachting team who will initially provide the client bespoke consultancy to create the most suitable strategy to meet the client’s goals.

When on-boarding the client, we request for identification and other KYC documents to ensure that the individual meets our compliance measures, this is to verify that they are who they say they are and their source of wealth is legitimate.

Depending on the individual client circumstances, we work closely with the client to create an efficient solution.  Whether it be

From here, we will begin collating the relevant documents to begin the provisional registration stage.

The Registration Process

Malta provides a very efficient yacht registration process which is handled by a dedicated corporate service provider and responsive regulator.

A provisional registration of six months is placed on the yacht, whereby all documentation must be collected and verified by the Authority of Transport Malta to approve permanent registration. The documentation required to begin the provisional registration includes a completed application of registration, the bill of sale, proof of ownership, a survey certificate and compliance with commercial yacht code for operational procedure. Yachts that measure over 24 meters will need to complete an application for Minimum Safe Manning Certificate.

Once the documents are approved and the initial registration fees, plus annual tonnage tax is paid, the yacht will receive a provisional registration certificate whilst it undergoes the permanent registration process.

Malta’s Culture

Malta holds a unique culture which has been formed over thousands of years through a mix of various rulers, including the Phoenicians, the Romans, the French and the English. With this, Malta has developed a rich and diverse history which shows in its many traditions and beliefs, whilst it has retained much of its own.

A key part of Malta’s modern-day culture is the Catholic religion, the Island boasts 359 churches, including four beautiful grand cathedrals, with some dating back to Roman times and others considered some of the greatest in the world. These historic buildings have been carefully preserved which pays homage to the various religions that have lived there throughout the centuries.

Malta’s Environment

Along the natural rugged Maltese coastline, which the Islands limestone rock has carved out unique caves, wide sandy bays and steep cliff faces that look out to the vast turquoise Mediterranean ocean, you will discover medieval fortifications, traditional fishing ports and developed luxury marinas.

The Maltese coastline truly is spectacular, the Island’s mix of geology has formed various beautiful destinations to explore. There are stretches of long sandy beaches at the north of the Island where you can spend the day relaxing at Mellieha Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha or Golden Bay.

There is also Comino’s Blue Lagoon, situated between the island of Comino and the islet of Cominotto, this houses crystal clear azure water surrounded by rocks creating the perfect spot for snorkeling or swimming. Lastly, a must-visit is the second-largest Island in Malta called Gozo, where you can discover the beach called Ramla l-Hamra with the unsual reddish-coloured sand.

We have been operating in Malta since 2011 and hold exceptional expertise in the yachting sector. Our dedicated yachting team will provide a personal service which involves bespoke services that underpin individual goals. Our comprehensive services involves assistance in every step of owning and registering a yacht, this includes a VAT efficient importation into the EU, implementation of a tax-efficient ownership structure, compliance and administration. We also provide on-going services such as, management and administration of crew payroll and payment of supplier invoices and management of crew expenditure and limits.

If you are interested in registering a yacht in Malta or if you would like to know more on the yachting services, you can contact one of yachting team members in the Malta below.

Joanne Fenech

Managing Director (Malta)

Emma Hill

Senior Client Administrator (Malta)