How to get Maltese Citizenship

Becoming a Maltese Citizen under Maltese Citizenship Law.

Dr. Antoine Saliba Haig | 18 Nov 2020

How To Get Maltese Citizenship

The acquisition of Maltese citizenship is based on the provisions found in the Maltese Citizenship Act, Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta and the Maltese Constitution. Maltese citizenship law regime is quite young since Malta has been an independent state only since 1964. It is mainly based on the principle of ius sanguinis however prior to 1989, the law was more focused on the ius soli principle. In the year 2000, an important amendment occurred on how to get Maltese citizenship whereby the legislator introduced the acceptance of dual and multiple citizenship in the Maltese Constitution. In fact Article 22(2) of the Constitution, holds that dual or multiple citizenship is permitted in Malta. Other important recent amendments occurred in 2007 and 2013. Apart from the normal routes by naturalisation and registration, a more recent reform in 2013 introduced a new route for the acquisition of Maltese citizenship through an investment programme.

How to get Maltese Citizenship by Birth

Previously,  between 21st September 1964 and the 31st July 2001, all children born in Malta automatically acquired Maltese citizenship at birth. This was however changed to a mark a shift from the ius soli to the ius sanguinis principle and from August 2001, a person born in Malta acquired citizenship at birth only if born to at least one Maltese parent.

Maltese Citizenship by Descent

Following the 2007 amendments the Citizenship Act now provides that those born outside Malta on or after the independence date, are entitled to apply for registration as Maltese citizens if they prove that they are the direct descendants of a Maltese ascendant born in Malta of a parent likewise born in Malta. However, if the applicant has parents, grandparents and other ancestors who are still alive and are also direct descendants themselves in this sense, they would also have to apply for Maltese citizenship under the new provision, as otherwise the Maltese citizenship link would have been broken down the line.

Read more on how to become a Maltese Citizen by Descendent

Maltese Citizenship by Residence 

Any person, including stateless persons, may apply to acquire Maltese citizenship by naturalisation if he/she has resided in Malta throughout the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of application and that during the six years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months, he/she has resided in Malta for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than four years.

Read more on how to become Maltese citizen by Residence

Maltese Citizenship by Marriage

Maltese Citizenship can also be acquired by marriage to a Maltese national. The spouse of a Maltese citizen can acquire Maltese citizenship provided that he/she has been married and living together with the Maltese spouse for at least 5 years. Those individuals who are separated from a Maltese spouse may still apply for Maltese citizenship by marriage provided that they have lived together for at least 5 years after  marriage.

Maltese Citizenship by Adoption

From August 1989, a child adopted by Maltese citizens acquires citizenship automatically provided the child is under the age of ten (10) on the date of the adoption.  However, this was not always the case since prior to January 1977 a person adopted by Maltese citizens normally acquired Maltese citizenship automatically. 

Malta Individual Investor Programme

In 2014, Malta enacted its first Malta citizenship by investment programme through the Individual Investor Programme Regulations.  Amendments have been made to the Maltese Citizenship Act to allow further naturalisation routes, including Maltese Citizenship for Exceptional Services and by Direct Investment.



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