The Maltese Citizenship Act, Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta provides two different modes for the loss of Maltese citizenship. These are the renunciation of Maltese citizenship and the deprivation of Maltese citizenship. The main difference between these two modes is that the former is a voluntary act brought by an application submitted by a Maltese citizen whilst the latter is an action brought by the state against a Maltese national.
Renunciation of Maltese Citizenship
Article 13 (1) and (2) of the Maltese Citizenship Act are the legal provisions that regulate the renunciation of Maltese Citizenship. These provisions state that a citizen of Malta can make a request to renounce Maltese citizenship if such person satisfies these two requirements:
- The Maltese national must be of full age and capacity.
- The Maltese national must also be a national of a foreign country.
The second requirement is intended to prevent a situation whereby on renunciation, the individual becomes stateless.
An application to renounce Maltese citizenship can be refused by the Minister responsible for citizenship if such a request is made during any war in which Malta may be engaged in, or if in his opinion it is otherwise contrary to public policy.
The applicant must submit the following documents:
- Government Renunciation Form
- Original certificate of acquisition of Maltese Citizenship
- Documentary evidence showing that the person holds another citizenship
- Affidavit stating the reason why such individual is renouncing Maltese citizenship
- Certified true copy of the passport of the individual renouncing Maltese citizenship
Revocation of Maltese Citizenship
Article 14 of the Maltese Citizenship Act also provides for the deprivation of Maltese citizenship. The article states that the Minister responsible for citizenship may deprive of his/her Maltese citizenship, any citizen of Malta who acquired citizenship by registration or naturalisation, if he is satisfied that the Maltese citizenship was acquired by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact.
Deprivation of Maltese citizenship can also take place if the Maltese citizen:
- Has shown himself by act or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards the President or the Government of Malta, or
- Has, during any war in which Malta was engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in or associated with any business that was to his knowledge carried on in such a manner as to assist an enemy in that war, or
- Has, within 7 years after becoming naturalised, or registered as a citizen of Malta, been sentenced in any country to a punishment restrictive of personal liberty for a term of not less than 12 months, or
- Has been ordinarily resident in foreign countries for a continuous period of 7 years and during that period has neither been at any time in the service of the Republic or of an international organisation of which the Government of Malta was a member, or given notice in writing to the Minister of his intention to retain citizenship of Malta.
The Minister responsible for citizenship shall not deprive a person of citizenship unless he is satisfied that it is not contrary to the public interest that, such person continues to be a citizen of Malta.
Before making a deprivation order, the Minister responsible for Maltese citizenship shall give the person against whom the order is proposed a notice in writing informing him on the ground on which such action is being proposed and notify him of his right to an inquiry. A citizen of Malta who is deprived of his citizenship by an order of the Minister shall, upon the making of the order, cease to be a citizen of Malta.
Effect of Renunciation or Deprivation of Maltese Citizenship
The renunciation by any person of his Maltese citizenship or the deprivation of any person’s Maltese citizenship under the provisions of the Malta Citizenship Act shall not affect the liability of that person for any offence committed by him before the renunciation or deprivation of his citizenship.