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Real Estate in Malta

Malta citizenship by birth or descent

Malta citizenship by birth can be obtained by persons with at least one Maltese parent. The place of birth is unimportant: the person can be born both in and outside Malta and still get a Maltese passport.

This rule was stated in the Maltese Citizenship Act (Chapter 188), published in 1965. Since 2000, this act has been the main regulatory framework for obtaining citizenship.

Legal framework for obtaining citizenship by birth and descent

Between 21.09.1964 and 31.07.1989, children born in Malta obtained the country’s citizenship; children of Malta male citizens born abroad became citizens, too. However, later the principle of jus soli — “the right of the land” was entirely replaced by the principle of jus sanguinis — “the right of blood”: obtainment of citizenship is possible if at least one of the parents is Maltese.

In 2007 amendments were made to the Maltese Citizenship Act. Since then, people born outside Malta on 21.09.1964 or later can apply to get Malta citizenship by registration. To obtain it, they must prove they are direct descendants of Maltese relatives.

Conditions for obtaining Malta citizenship by birth

Citizenship by birth is granted if several conditions are fulfilled. Let’s observe the requirements in different periods.

Date of birthPlace of birthConditions
Before 21.09.1964MaltaOne or both parents were born in Malta
Outside MaltaA father and at least of his parents were born in Malta

On 20.09.1964, a person had citizenship of the UK or its colony
21.09.1964—31.07.1989MaltaEither parent didn’t use diplomatic immunity and was not a citizen of Malta
Outside MaltaAt the time of birth, the person’s father was a citizen of Malta by birth, naturalisation or registration
Starting 01.08.1989MaltaEither parent is a Maltese citizen by birth, naturalisation or registration
Outside MaltaEither parent is a Maltese citizen by birth, naturalisation or registration

Conditions for obtaining Malta citizenship by descent

It is possible to apply for citizenship by descent if the applicant fulfils several conditions.

An applicantConditions
Was born before 21.09.1964A mother is Maltese
Is a descendant of the Maltese citizensThe parents of the applicant were born in Malta
A mother is a Maltese citizen by birth, registration or naturalisation
Is a former citizen of MaltaA former citizen that does not qualify automatically for dual citizenship because they have not resided for a minimum of six years abroad
The applicant was a citizens of Malta by registration or naturalisation

Required documents

To apply for Malta citizenship by descent, one should provide the following:

  1. A passport-sized photo.
  2. A birth certificate.
  3. Parents’ birth certificates.
  4. A passport or an ID.
  5. Oath of Allegiance.
  6. A letter stating why the applicant doesn’t have evidence of living abroad for six years or a copy of the Malta citizenship renunciation letter.

Also, a filled-out Form D, Form A or Form B is required to apply, depending on the applicant’s date of birth. Sometimes, a marriage certificate may be applicable.

The procedure of filing an application and the period of obtaining a passport

The citizenship registration forms are available online on the website of the Community Malta Agency. You can apply at the nearest Maltese embassy or consulate. The terms for processing applications are determined individually — the entire procedure can take from five months to two years.

To get a passport for a newborn, the parents need to register the child in Malta public registry. They need to provide the child’s original birth certificate and the parents’ original marriage certificate. Both must be apostilled.

Then parents need to file an application. It can be done either in the consulate in Malta or abroad. If they choose to come to Malta, they both must come. If only one parent can, the second must sign the permission with the consul.

Frequently Asked Questions

What advantages does Malta citizenship offer?

Malta citizenship allows living in Malta, travelling visa-free to 185 countries, and staying in the EU and the Schengen area countries for more than 90 days without getting residency in advance.

Can I move to Malta if I don’t have grounds for receiving citizenship by birth or descent?

Yes, you can get a Malta residence permit or a permanent residence and move to Malta. 

One can get a Malta residence permit if they wish to move there to work, study, reunite with their families or get a special tax status.

Requirements for obtaining Malta permanent residence are the following:

  1. Buy a property for €300,000+ if in the South of Malta or Gozo or for €350,000 in other regions, or rent a property for €10,000—12,000 per annum, respectively.
  2. Pay an administration fee of €40,000.
  3. Pay a contribution fee of €28,000+ or €58,000+, depending on whether you buy or rent real estate.
  4. Make a charitable donation of €2,000.
  5. Confirm having assets of at least €500,000, where €150,000 are liquid financial assets.

Also, one can apply for Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.

In what language should I file documents for obtaining citizenship by birth or descent?

The application form and other required documents must be filled in English or Maltese. If the original documents are in another language, the documents must be accompanied by a certified translator.

If I, as a Maltese citizen, adopt a child, will the child become a Maltese citizen as well?

Yes, that’s possible. A child that was adopted by Maltese citizens gets citizenship. The child must be less than ten years old at the time of adoption.

How to become a Maltese citizen by descent?

To become a Maltese citizen by descent, you need to be a descendant in the direct line of an ancestor born in Malta who has at least one parent born in Malta. The documents required for the application are:

  • a birth certificate of the applicant;
  • a birth certificate of the applicant’s parents;
  • a parents’ marriage certificate, if applicable;
  • an ID or a passport.
Can I get a Maltese passport if my mother is Maltese?

Yes. Every person that was born in Malta to at least one Maltese parent since 01.08.1989 obtains Malta citizenship.

If a person was born abroad before the 31st of July 1989, they couldn’t obtain citizenship by birth if only their mother is Maltese. For now, they can apply for Malta citizenship by descent.

A person born before 21.09.1964 can obtain citizenship by descent if their mother is Maltese. A Maltese passport by descent can also be obtained by a descendant of Maltese citizens if their parents were born in Malta and their mother is a Maltese citizen.

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Zlata Erlach
Caribbean Investment Program Expert
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