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Real Estate in Malta

Malta citizenship by registration

According to the Maltese Citizenship Act, Malta citizenship can be obtained by persons with close ties to the country. That includes a spouse, a widow or widower, or a descendant of a Maltese citizen. If a person is a former Maltese citizen, they can also apply for citizenship.

Who can apply for obtaining citizenship by registration in Malta

Registration is a path to citizenship for Maltese nationals’ family members: spouses or descendants. Also, former citizens of the country may apply. This route usually doesn’t include an obligation to live in Malta continuously before submitting documents.

The complete list of categories of people who can apply for Malta citizenship by registration includes the following:

  1. A spouse of a Maltese citizen who has been married for five years and is married and living with the spouse at the time of applying.
  2. A widow or widower of a person who was a citizen of Malta at the time of the death, provided that the spouses have been married for at least five years.
  3. A widow or a widower of a Maltese citizen who would have been married to them for five years if not the death of the person.
  4. A widow or widower of a person who died before 21.09.1964, and if not for this death, the person would automatically become a Maltese citizen. In this case, the spouses are also required to live together for at least five years.
  5. A person born before 21.09.1964 to a female native of Malta who became or would have become, but for her death, a citizen of Malta on a specific date.
  6. A person born abroad between 21.09.1964 and 31.07.1989 to a Maltese mother.
  7. A former Maltese citizen who is unable to acquire dual citizenship due to not having lived abroad for six years or who was a Maltese citizen by registration or by naturalisation;
  8. A Maltese descendant who was born abroad if either parent is a citizen of Malta. The legal guardian files the application on their behalf if the descendant is a minor.

How to apply for registration as a Malta citizen

To apply for registration, you need to go through several stages. Generally speaking, application processing takes 4—6 months. However, in complicated cases, the procedure can take up to 2 years — the law establishes this period.

The stages of getting Malta citizenship by registration:

  1. Provide the required documents and forms to the Community Malta Agency.
  2. If the applicant is a foreign spouse of a Maltese citizen, they need to make a joint statement (an affidavit) to prove they’ve been living together for five years since the day of their marriage.
  3. The applicant also needs to take an oath of allegiance to Malta. If the applicant applies through one of the representations of Malta abroad, only an authorised official can take their oath.
  4. After the application is completed, the candidate is registered as a citizen and receives a certificate proving their status.

If the applicant was born abroad, the Community Malta Agency writes a letter to the head of the public registry requesting them to register the candidate’s birth certificate. The applicant sends it to the state registry along with the original birth certificate and the translation into English or Maltese or a notarised photocopy of the certificate.

Required documents and terms

An applicant must submit some documents alongside their citizenship application. The list depends on the applicant’s category.

ApplicantsRequired documents
A spouse of a Maltese citizen
  • A joint affidavit confirming that the applicant and their Maltese spouse have been married for at least five years and still living together;
  • a marriage certificate registered in Malta;
  • a birth certificate of the applicant indicating the parents’ names;
  • passports of both an applicant and their spouse;
  • a passport-size photo;
  • a birth certificate of a spouse;
  • a birth certificate of the spouse’s Maltese parents;
  • a marriage certificate of the spouse’s Maltese parents (if applicable).
A widow or widower of a Maltese citizen
  • An affidavit confirming that the applicant and their Maltese spouse lived together till the latter’s death;
  • a marriage certificate (registered in Malta);
  • a birth certificate of the applicant indicating the parents’ names;
  • a passport;
  • a passport-size photo;
  • a birth certificate of a former spouse;
  • a certificate of death of a former spouse;
  • a spouse’s passport if the document is still in the applicant’s possession;
  • a birth certificate of the spouse’s Maltese parents;
  • a marriage certificate of the spouse’s Maltese parents (if applicable).
A former citizen of Malta
  • A passport;
  • a birth certificate indicating parents’ names;
  • a marriage certificate (if any);
  • a birth certificate of the applicant’s parents;
  • a letter stating why the applicant is unable to provide 6 years of documented proof of residence abroad or a copy of the letter of renunciation of Maltese citizenship;
  • a passport-size photo;
  • a copy of the applicant’s certificate of acquisition of citizenship.
A son or a daughter of a female Maltese citizen
  • A birth certificate indicating parents’ names;
  • an applicant’s marriage certificate (if any);
  • a passport;
  • a passport-size photo;
  • a birth certificate of the applicant’s mother;
  • a marriage certificate of the applicant’s mother;
  • a mother’s passport;
  • birth certificates of maternal grandparents;
  • a maternal grandparents' marriage certificate.
If the applicant was born after 21.09.1964, the Agency may also require documentary evidence that the mother was a citizen of Malta at the time of the applicant's birth.
A descendent of Maltese citizens
  • A birth certificate of the applicant indicating the parent’s names;
  • a marriage certificate (if any);
  • birth and marriage certificates of ascendants to show a direct relationship with ascendants born on the island;
  • a passport-size photo;
  • a passport.
In the case of the third and subsequent generations:
  • a death certificate of the applicant’s ascendant born in Malta (if dead);
  • a copy of the registration certificate of the applicant’s ascendant born in Malta.
If the application is filed on behalf of a minor, their legal guardian will need to provide the necessary documents on behalf of that child.

When applying for citizenship by registration, an applicant must pay several fees. The fee of €150 is paid for applying. However, it is not charged if the application is submitted by an adult but not a fully capable person. In addition, another €50 is paid upon obtaining a certificate of citizenship.

Peculiarities of obtaining Malta citizenship by registration

The Malta Government Gazette annually publishes a list of all people registered or naturalised as Maltese citizens during the previous year.

The Maltese legislation allows dual or multiple citizenships. However, applicants must check whether their country of origin allows it as well. If not, they will lose their first citizenship upon receiving a second one.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get a Malta passport by registration?

A person can obtain Malta citizenship by registration if they are:

  • a spouse of a Maltese citizen;
  • a widow or a widower of a Maltese citizen;
  • a descendant of a parent born in Malta if their parent likewise was born in Malta;
  • a son or a daughter of a Maltese woman;
  • a former Maltese citizen.

Depending on the case, a person must provide a particular package of documents and fill in an application form. The officials check them and then decide whether to grant citizenship or not. If the application is approved, the applicant must take an oath of allegiance to Malta.

What tax benefits exist for citizens of Malta?

The status of a Maltese citizen doesn’t offer any specific benefits — everything depends on your situation. 

However, taxation in Malta may seem advantageous. For example, there are no taxes on wealth or annual property taxes. Maltese authorities signed double taxation avoidance treaties with more than 70 countries.

Is there a way to become a Maltese tax resident without obtaining citizenship?

It is required to live in Malta for at least 183 days a year to become its tax resident. However, getting the tax resident status is possible faster if you participate in the Malta Global Residence Programme.

It usually takes 3—4 months to get a residence permit and a special tax status under the programme.

In what language can I apply for Malta citizenship?

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 translation.

What countries can I visit with a Maltese passport?

Maltese passport allows its holders to visit 185 countries visa-free, including the UK and the USA. Moreover, the EU legislation gives Maltese citizens the right to visit and stay in any of the 27 EU countries.

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Zlata Erlach
Caribbean Investment Program Expert
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