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7 Ways to Acquire Maltese Citizenship

Malta is one of the most prosperous and promising places in Europe. With its economic and political stability topped with beautiful beaches, delectable cuisine, and world heritage sites, you will be hard-pressed to find a better new home than what Malta has provided!  

Malta’s economic growth has been among the highest in the European Union. It has dramatically attracted big-time investors, entrepreneurs, and wealthy individuals worldwide. One solution to enjoy the island nation for a lifetime is citizenship.   

Here are the 7 Different Ways to Acquire Maltese citizenship: 

1. Citizenship by Birth or Descent 

Although this is not a process you can opt in or out of, it is still worth mentioning. Maltese Citizenship by birth came into the Maltese constitution on 21 September 1964. The Independence Constitution established those who should automatically become Malta citizens by birth.   

Previously, the constitution stated that any person born on Maltese soil is a citizen of Malta from birth.

Anyone born on or after 1 August 1989 shall only be entitled to Maltese citizenship if either of their parents were citizens of Malta.    

This human right is granted to all born in Malta, including newborns found abandoned in any location of Malta and deemed stateless.

How to Obtain Maltese Citizenship 

2. Citizenship by Marriage

One way to acquire Maltese citizenship is to marry a Maltese citizen. Foreign nationals married to Maltese citizens have the right to live in Malta visa-free and work without a work permit.

However, you may only apply for citizenship after five years of legal marriage. Sham marriages are considered a crime in Malta. Applicants who only marry for citizenship may be fined or imprisoned for two years.   

You may still apply for and retain Maltese citizenship even after a divorce or the spouse’s death as long as the marriage lasted for at least five years.

Moreover, a child’s birth does not affect the citizenship timeline. You may process their citizenship after another year.

3. Citizenship by Naturalisation

Obtaining citizenship by naturalisation is the longest route, taking at least seven years. Foreign nationals without family ties in Malta can become citizens if they have lived in the country for four (4) cumulative years with a permanent residence and residence permit in the last six (6) years.

You must not have stayed outside Malta for more than six (6) months or ten (10) during the said period. You should also live in Malta continuously for twelve (12) years after the application.   

Applicants must also meet the following conditions:   

  • Have several Maltese nationals vouch for them in writing   
  • Confirm a legal, regular, and sufficient income   
  • Have a Maltese health insurance   
  • Pass language proficiency, law, and history exams   

Applications for citizenship by naturalisation need two guarantors who are not the applicant’s family members. The first guarantor could be a lawyer, a doctor, or a civil servant with a certain rank. They could also be the following:   

  • A judge   
  • A parish priest   
  • A police officer not lower than an inspector   
  • A prosecutor
  • A captain or above
  • A magistrate
  • A notary   

The second guarantor must be a Maltese citizen not younger than 18 years old and not a citizen by naturalisation. 

4. Citizenship by Family Reunification

Suitable for children of current or former Maltese citizens and those with close family ties in the country, citizenship by family reunification is only granted in several cases.

If you were born in Malta with at least one Maltese parent in 1989, it is possible to apply for citizenship. This also applies to those born outside Malta with a Maltese father between 21 September 1964 and 31 July 1989.   

You may also apply for Maltese citizenship by family reunification if:   

  • Born in Malta or to Maltese parents on 21 September 1964, Malta’s independence from the United Kingdom.   
  • Born in Malta to at least one parent before 21 September 1964.   
  • Subject of the United Kingdom or its colonies before 21 September 1964.
  • Born outside Malta to a Maltese father who was also born outside Malta, if your grandfather or great-grandfather was born in Malta.
  • Former Maltese citizen.
  • Adopted or fostered by Maltese nationals from outside Malta.
  • A grandchild of a Maltese citizen.
  • A sibling of a Maltese citizen.
  • A child of foreign nationals who obtained Maltese citizenship.
  • A guardian of a minor Maltese citizen.   

You may obtain citizenship by family reunification in Malta through an embassy or consulate.

Maltese Citizenship by Birth

5. Citizenship for Distinguished Service to Malta

The President of Malta awards a passport to outstanding scientists, cultural figures, business persons, politicians, and athletes for exceptional merit.

However, this is no clear criteria for “exceptional” merits. Generally, this way of obtaining Maltese citizenship is impossible to plan.   

Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation

6. Citizenship for Refugees and Political Asylum

Thousands of refugees arrive in Malta annually, making citizenship for refugees and political asylum more of a forced option. Refugees do not need to take any tests or pay state fees.

However, they must prove that their lives have been threatened or that they have been discriminated against in their country.   

7. Citizenship by Direct Investment

The Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment is a programme that offers high-net-worth individuals and their families Maltese citizenship in return for financial investment in the country.  

Read more about: Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment 

Become a Citizen of Malta

Acquiring Maltese citizenship is the pathway to working and living in the world’s largest economic zone and the luxury of visa-free travel to over 180 countries.

We mentioned all the possible ways to obtain Maltese citizenship, most of which are linked to the family legacy. If you have no ties to the Maltese Islands, investing is the only way to acquire citizenship.