Maltese Citizenship

Dr. Priscilla Mifsud Parker | 05 Apr 2022

The Malta Residence  Citizenship Programmes  A comparison

Maltese Citizenship: Grounds

This article provides an overview of the grounds for the acquisition of citizenship under the Maltese Citizenship Act.

Maltese Citizenship by Birth in Malta

Every person born in Malta is deemed to be a citizen of Malta as from the date of his or her birth. In view of every person’s human right to nationality, the Maltese Citizenship Act also grants Maltese citizenship to any new-born infant who is found abandoned in any place in Malta deemed to be stateless until such person establishes his or her right to any other citizenship, if any.

However, in the case of a person, who is born on or after the 1st August, 1989, shall only be entitled to Maltese citizenship if his or her father or mother was or is either a citizen of Malta or was born in Malta. Such person must have been ordinarily resident in Malta for a period of three years on the date of application. Citizenship will not be granted if he or she has been convicted in any country of an offence against the security of the state.

Maltese Citizenship by Descent

Any person who is of a Maltese descent may obtain Maltese citizenship after making application and taking the oath of allegiance.

Where a person is of full age and capacity and happens to be a citizen of a country other than that in which he or she resides, and whose access to the country of which he or she is a citizen is restricted, may prove descent from a person born in Malta so as to acquire Maltese citizenship. This is subject to the Minister’s opinion that the grant is not contrary to the public interest.

Where a person is and has always been stateless and happens to have been born in Malta may also be granted Maltese citizenship if he or she has been ordinarily resident in Malta for a period of five years at the time of the application. The applicant must not have been convicted in any country of an offence against the security of the state or sentenced in any country to a punishment restrictive of personal liberty for a term of not less than five years.

Maltese Citizenship by Naturalisation

Stateless Persons

Where a person is an alien or a stateless person, being of full age and capacity, may be granted a certificate of naturalisation as a citizen of Malta. This provided that such person has resided in Malta for a period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of application; during the six years immediately preceding the twelve month period, he has resided in Malta for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than four years; has an adequate knowledge of the Maltese or the English language; is of good character and would be a suitable citizen of Malta.

Malta Individual Investor Programme 2014

The Individual Investor Programme is Malta's Citizenship by Investment Programme and requires a significant contribution to the Maltese economy and covers spouse and dependent children up to 25 years and of dependent parents above 55 years.  Due diligence fees cover extensive due diligence on all applicants under this Malta Citizenship Scheme.  The programme reaches its quota of 1,800 applications in 2021. 

Exceptional Services to Malta or to Humanity

Acquisition of Maltese citizenship may be granted to any person who has rendered exceptional services to the Republic of Malta or to humanity. A certificate of naturalisation may be granted even to the spouse thereof.  Exceptional services include significant direct investments in Malta  A person may now acquire Maltese citizenship under the individual investor programme provided that he or she satisfies the necessary requirements. In all cases, an application shall be made and the oath of allegiance taken to this end.

Maltese Citizenship by Marriage

A person may become a Maltese citizen if he or she marries a Maltese citizen. For the purposes of registration, the applicant shall make an application and take the oath of allegiance. The applicant shall have been married for at least five years and living with that citizen. But, where the applicant and his or her spouse are de jure or de facto separated, it is necessary that they had lived together for at least five years after the celebration of the marriage.

In the case that the applicant’s spouse is dead, he or she shall indicate that on the date of the application he or she was the widower or widow of a Maltese citizen. However, they shall had been married for at least five years and would still have been living together but for the demise on the date of the application. Acquisition of citizenship will only be granted if the Minister is of the opinion that it is not contrary to public interest.

Maltese Citizenship by Adoption

As from the 1st January, 1989, a child who is adopted by Maltese citizens acquires Maltese citizenship automatically. This provided that the adopted child was less than ten years of age at the date of the adoption.

Acquisition of Maltese Citizenship at Independence

Acquisition of citizenship was granted to nationals of the United Kingdom and Colonies to become Maltese citizens following independence. The general criteria to acquire citizenship included direct family descent, marriage and permanent residence prior to the appointed day.

Our Maltese Citizenship Services

Our Malta immigration law practice has over 20 years experience and is Malta's only dedicated specialist immigration law practice.  Our Maltese citizenship law specialists provide the full gamut of naturalisation services, including:

  • advising you on your chances of success before starting.
  • providing you with pre-immigration legal and tax advice.
  • guiding you with the preparation and forwarding of the necessary documentation.
  • vetting and preparing all supporting documentation for submission.
  • corresponding and liaising with client's lawyers and advisors in compiling documentation.
  • keeping you informed with the progress of your application.
  • assisting you with the purchase / rental of property in Malta including applications for AIP permits (foreigners need AIP permit to purchase property in Malta), reviews of your contract, liaising with the Maltese Notary.

Why Chetcuti Cauchi?

The law firm is a leader in investment migration law and advises international families on all aspects of taxation, citizenship and residence law.  

  • Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates is a law firm bound by professional secrecy: lawyer-client privilege is fully protected under Maltese law,
  • The law firm covers the full spectrum of private client law services.
  • Personal partner attention on all matters.
  • Holistic personalised services in a friendly and personalised environment.
  • Full-service multi-disciplinary law firm specialising in the use of Malta in international legal and tax planning, company & trust formation & management.


  • Chetcuti Cauchi enjoys a sterling reputation in the areas of citizenship and residence planning and in the handling of legal and tax matters relevant to the structuring and planning of personal wealth and personal interests and business worldwide.
  • Over twenty years’ experience in citizenship and residency applications, specialising exclusively on Malta in an international context.

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