Maltese Citizenship is nowadays regulated by the Maltese Citizenship Act, Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta. This was not always the case, as previously, most of the legal provisions relating to citizenship were found in the Constitution of Malta. Malta’s legal regime regulating citizenship was established when Malta acquired its independence in 1964. Subsequently various amendments were introduced by the legislator and various ways of acquiring Maltese citizenship were promulgated. With Malta’s entry into the European Union, Maltese citizens automatically became citizens of the EU and acquired all the rights enjoyed by European citizenship, such as the right to live, work, and study freely in all the European Union countries.
The acquisition of a Maltese citizenship and a Maltese passport brings with it numerous benefits:
- Ability to travel without a visa to 186 countries including all the countries within the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Australia and the United States of America (USA).
- Maltese citizenship gives you the right to live, work and study in all the countries of the European Union (EU)
- Malta grants all its citizens free healthcare and education
- Malta allows dual and multiple citizenship
- Malta boasts of a high standard of living, and a safe and stable political system
- English is one of Malta’s official languages
- Malta is a member of the European Union (EU) and the Commonwealth.
Malta Citizenship by Birth & Descent
Malta does not grant citizenship to individuals born in Malta if neither of the parents is Maltese. On the other hand, individuals who are born either in Malta or outside of Malta, to a Maltese mother or father, acquire Maltese citizenship.
The Maltese Citizenship Act also provides for the granting of a certificate of naturalisation to a person of full age and capacity who proves descent from a person born in Malta to a parent born in Malta. Hence an individual needs to provide evidence of two generations of ancestors born in Malta.
Malta Citizenship by Marriage
The Maltese Citizenship Act states that a non-Maltese person who marries a Maltese national, may apply for Maltese citizenship after 5 years of marriage, provided that the married couple still lives together. The law holds that the spouses must have been living together, and therefore it is not essential that such spouses are living in Malta.
Any person who marries with the sole intention of obtaining Maltese citizenship or any rights attached to it, such as freedom of movement or free healthcare, shall be guilty of an offence.
Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation
Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation is the process whereby an individual applies for citizenship on the basis of physical residence in Malta. This is suitable for people who have lived and worked in Malta for a number of years.
At present, the acquisition of Maltese citizenship by naturalisation is regulated by means of Article 10(1) of the Maltese Citizenship Act. An application can be made by a non-Maltese person of full age and capacity if certain criteria are satisfied. These criteria include that the person has resided in Malta throughout the period of twelve months prior to the date of application and that during the six years preceding these twelve months, the applicant has been resident in Malta for an aggregate period of at least four years.
Moreover, the applicant must also have an adequate knowledge of the Maltese or English language, is of good character and the Minister responsible for citizenship must be satisfied that such person would be a suitable citizen of Malta. The application can be supported by reference letters and must also be sponsored by two Maltese nationals, one of which should be a lawyer, notary public or a doctor.
In relation to minors, the Maltese Citizenship Act in Article 11 gives the authority to the Minister to grant naturalisation to the minor child of any citizen of Malta, when an application is made by a person having legal authority over such minor.
The granting of citizenship by naturalisation in Malta is dependent on the Minister’s discretion who has the right to accept or refuse an application without giving any reasons. Moreover, this decision shall not be subject to any appeal or review in any court
Malta Citizenship by Direct Investment
Legal Notice 437 of 2020 prescribes the requirements for the acquisition of Maltese citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services to Malta on the basis of exceptional interest in accordance with Article 10(9) of the Maltese Citizenship Act, Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta. The Government of Malta has established a new governmental agency, Community Malta to be responsible for the administration of Maltese citizenship applications under various routes including investment.
Malta Citizenship Application Procedure
Investors who plan to obtain Maltese citizenship through the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment are to be represented by a licenced agent who prepares and submits the application. Our firm holds licence number AKM-ACCA-22.