Revocation of Maltese Citizenship

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chetcuti | 27 Mar 2014

Ccmalta Default

Revocation of Maltese Citizenship, also known as Deprivation of Citizenship, is one of the two modes through which Maltese citizenship may be lost. Its legal effect is that a person ceases to be a Maltese citizen once the Minister responsible makes an order to such effect.  Essentially, deprivation may only ensue in respect of persons who acquired Maltese citizenship by registration or naturalisation.

The Maltese Citizenship Act stipulates five exhaustive grounds through which the Minister may decide to deprive a citizen from his or her Maltese citizenship. This means that deprivation is subject to the Minister’s discretion who shall give a notice in writing to the person concerned prior to the issuance of an order so as to inform him or her of the ground on which deprivation is proposed to be made. Such notice shall also inform such person of the right to an inquiry.

However, there is a legal obligation on the Minister not to issue orders for the deprivation of any person who, having been sentenced to a punishment restrictive of personal liberty for a term of not less than twelve months, may become a stateless person. A committee, known as the Committee of Inquiry, is the body that inquires into cases to it by Minister of aggrieved persons referred. Decisions by the Committee of Inquiry are generally taken by a majority vote and the decision shall be reduced in writing.

Grounds for Revocation of Maltese Citizenship

Deprivation may be because:

  1. citizenship was acquired by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or
  2. such citizen has shown himself or herself by act or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards the President or the Government of Malta; or
  3. such citizen had engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in or associated with any business that was motivated by willingness to assist an enemy in that war; or
  4. such citizen has, within seven years after becoming naturalised or registered as a Maltese citizen, been sentenced in any country to a punishment restrictive of personal liberty for a term of not less than twelve months; or
  5. such citizen has been ordinarily resident in foreign countries for a continuous period of seven years and during such time, he or she has neither been in the service of the Republic or of an international organisation of which the Government of Malta was a member nor given a notice in writing to the Minister of his or her intention to retain citizenship of Malta.

The five grounds on which a deprivation may take place may be divided into two main categories.

  • The first category comprises the first ground whereby the person who is the subject of deprivation was, in fact, never entitled to the acquisition of Maltese citizenship but for his or her mala fede.
  • On the other hand, the second category incorporates the other four grounds whereby deprivation is the result of conduct that is not conducive to the public interest. This means that such person would have been eligible at the time of the acquisition of Maltese citizenship but later becomes disqualified.

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