Malta Yacht Registration
Over the past decades Malta has developed a very strong legal and regulatory platform that has enabled the Malta Flag to become a reputable international ship register which is now established as one of the largest in the world. More recently, Malta has developed specific legislation that takes into account the distinctive requirements of the yacht and superyacht industry.
Maritime & Yachting in Malta
Over the last 30 years, Malta has developed a very strong shipping specific legal and regulatory platform. In terms of registered tonnage, the Maltese flag ranks as first in Europe and sixth in the world.
This has made registering Private and Commercial Yachts under the Malta Flag an increasingly more attractive proposition which has already been chosen by a large number of yacht and superyacht Owners and Managers.
FRANCO FALZON CPA
Tel: +356 9989 5679
The Malta Flag
The Malta flag allows the registration of a wide array of yachts, ranging from historical yachts to yachts over 24 meters in length.
Over the past years, Malta has become an increasingly attractive jurisdiction for yachts, and in 2020 it became the largest superyacht register in the world. A total 1,030 superyachts around the world now sport the Maltese flag.
Malta has also developed a very strong maritime legal and regulatory platform that has enabled the Malta flag to become a reputable international ship register, which is now established as one of the largest in the world. Malta’s strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean with one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbours, accessible to all over Europe through scheduled flights, makes it a natural choice for yachtsmen from near and far away countries.
Malta Yacht Registration Advantages
What are the advantages of Malta yacht registration?
- Yachts may be registered on behalf of legally constituted corporate bodies or entities irrespective of nationality.
- Malta yacht registrations allows a foreign / non-resident company to be the owner of the yacht (in which case a resident agent has to be appointed). In general, there are no restrictions on the jurisdiction of the non-resident company
- 24 hour, 7 days a week service in response to urgent matters.
- Low company formation, ship registration and tonnage tax costs
- Maltese law provides for registration of yachts that are being built or equipped.
- Attractive tax incentives to yachts and superyachts owners encouraging commercial operation.
- No restrictions on the sale or mortgaging of Maltese registered yachts and superyachts.
- A dynamic registration with one of the largest ship registers in the world and very active in EU for and international organisation such as the IMO.
- A sovereign state, member of the European Union with political, fiscal and social stability.
Learn more on Maritime & Yachting
Malta Yacht Registration Procedure
Malta yacht registration allows both private and commercial yacht registrations. Initially the yacht is registered provisionally.
The Maltese regulator considers a private registered yacht to be any pleasure yacht of 6 metres in length or more, which does not carry passengers for reward and is not engaged in trade but is used for the sole purpose of the owner. Malta yacht registration is administered by Transport Malta.
Yachts in commercial use that do not carry cargo and do not carry more than 12 passengers can be registered as commercial yachts under the Commercial Yacht Code. Maltese law is very advantageous for the operation of commercial yachts.
The following classes of yachts will be considered for commercial registration:
- Yachts in commercial use of not less than 15 metres in length and not more than 24 metres.
- Superyachts in commercial use of more than 24 metres in length and less than 500 gross tonnes.
- Superyachts in commercial use of more than 24 metres in length and 500 gross tonnes and over.
A company registered under the Merchant Shipping Act is exempt from income tax tonnage tax has to be paid based on the gross tonnage of the commercial yacht.
The requirements for provisional yacht registration are:
- Filing of application for registration by the owner or an authorised representative, including, if required, application for change of name of yacht.
- Proof of qualification to own a Maltese Yacht; in the case of a body corporate, the document of incorporation.
- Appointment of a resident agent (only in the case of non-resident owners).
- Copy of the current yacht’s International Tonnage Certificate (only where applicable)
- Declaration of ownership made in front of the Registrar by the owner or an authorised representative.
- Application for Minimum Safe Manning Certificate (only for commercial yachts over 24m)
- Application for Ship Radio Station License.
- Compliance with Commercial Yacht Code for operational certificate (only for commercial yacht)
- Payment of initial registration fees and annual tonnage tax.
Provisional Malta yacht registration is for a period of 6 months (which can be extended further). In order to proceed with permanent registration, the following documents should be submitted:
- A bill of sale or any other document by which the vessel was transferred to the applicant for registry
- Cancellation of registry certificate
- Copy of the last updated Continuous Synopsis Record issued by the Administration where the yacht was last documented (only in cases of commercial yachts over 500 gross tonnes)
- Certificate of Survey and a copy of the International Tonnage Certificate issued by an Appointed Surveyor or Recognised Organisation.
- Carving and Marking note.
- Copy CE Marking Certificate.
Malta Yacht Registration Service
Our maritime practice provides comprehensive assistance to yacht owners for the registration of their vessel under the Maltese flag. Our professionals have a deep knowledge and an extensive network.
For yacht owners who prefer other flags we can also assist them to register in the UK, BVI, Cayman Islands and San Marino. We provide registered agent services to international yacht owners.
Our team assists clients on:
- Temporary and permanent yacht importations in the EU
- Charter advisory services and preparation of charter agreements
- Crew payroll and employment services
- Relocation services to crew
- Set-up and administration of ship ownership, management and yachting companies
- Yacht administration & financial management
- Bank account opening assistance for yachting and shipping companies
- Representation with customs officials
- Specialist VAT and tax advisory services relating to yachting and shipping
- VAT leasing structures (Malta & Cyprus)
- Certification and apostille of corporate documentation
FF International has also assisted buyers to conduct in-depth tax due diligence services during the acquisition of yachts.
Our team bridges the gap between the Malta regulator at Transport Malta and the industry stakeholders.
Through our SFAI network we can assist yacht owners and charterers navigate throughout any VAT and tax issues in most EU jurisdictions as well as popular non-EU yachting destinations. very