Maltese Citizenship

Acquiring citizenship in Malta.Malta’s Independence Constitution was established on the 21st September 1964 and this established that a citizen of Malta is created automatically by birth in the same islands. A new Citizenship Act was established in 2000 and here some new restrictions were created but some new categories of persons who can apply for citizenship were also introduced. Amendments to the Citizenship Act came into force on the 1st of August 2007 where it now became possible for second generation Maltese as well as future generations who were born abroad to acquire citizenship.

A short checklist will be useful to get to know what the conditions are when one is applying for citizenship.

You are entitled to apply for citizenship of the Maltese islands if you have been married to a Maltese man/woman and you have been living permanently on the island for at least five years. Upon applying, you still have to be married. However, if you have lived with the person for five years, you can still apply for citizenship even if you are undergoing separation proceedings or have been separated after the five year period.

If you are a widow/widower and have lived for at least five years after being married to a Maltese citizen and was living with him/her upon the time of death, you may also apply for citizenship. The same criteria apply if you had been legally separated from the citizen who died provided you had been married to that person for at least five years.

If you were born abroad of Maltese grandparents, you will also automatically become a citizen of Malta provided that your grandparents had been living together and had been married for at least five years, even if one of them had passed away before the 21st September 1964.

If you are a child who was born before 21st September 1964 and who was born in Malta automatically becomes a citizen of Malta. If you are a child that was born between 21st September 1964 and before 1st August 1989 outside of Malta to Maltese parents, then you automatically become a Maltese citizen in a dual capacity. A direct descendant or subsequent generation person can also apply for dual citizenship, in the case of a minor, the person who is the legal guardian will have to submit the application for citizenship.

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69 Responses

  1. Mario says:

    I was born in Malta 1952 my parents both Maltese born my grandparents both Maltese born and so on going back century’s my mother and father took me to UK in 1954. I have British passport. I have in the last 2 years bought a house on Malta. I applied for an ID card, but got turned down and got a residence card instead. They say I am not Maltese as I have a British passport. I am classed as an alien. I am upset by that. Don’t know what to make of it. Any suggestions!

    • Jonathan Azzopardi Paul says:

      Hi Mario, I believe your issue comes from you having naturalised in Britain at some point where you became a British citizen and were given a British Passport. For quite some time after Maltese Independence dual citizenship was not allowed, and anyone who took up another citizenship was considered to have automatically lost there Maltese Citizenship.

      Over the years however, multiple changes to the law have been made and now there appears to be no problems whatsoever with dual citizenship where Maltese citizenship is concerned. I myself am an Australian Citizen and am currently waiting for a Maltese Citizenship application to be approved.

      I’d recommend having a read through the below link from Identity Malta to better understand where you stand given your situation. My suggestion is that what you want to be doing at the moment is looking to either confirm or regain your Maltese Citizenship (which, amongst things will allow you to apply for a Maltese Passport), before going through the process of trying to get an Identity Card. I think this may be why you were given a residence card rather than an identity card (I imagine non-citizens likely don’t qualify for an identity card).

  2. Carollyn Furner says:

    Hello my father, and grandparents born in Malta my father 1930. Family migrated to Australia in 1957-1959. I was born in Australia in 1960. I would like to apply for my dual citizenship for Malta. Kindly advise what form I need to fill in please.

  3. Donna Apap says:

    Good morning. I was born in Australia in 1963 to an Australian mother and Maltese father. Both my paternal grandparents were Maltese, married and living on the island of Gozo until their deaths. Can I please clarify that this makes me eligible for Maltese citizenship? With Maltese citizenship would it be possible as Dual Citizenship, as I would not want to renounce my Australian citizenship? If it is possible where would I apply and what would be the charges please? Thanks so much.

    • Jonathan Azzopardi Paul says:

      I think you actually might already be a Maltese citizen, since your situation seems pretty similar to my Mum’s. When I asked the consulate a couple of years ago about claiming Maltese citizenship for both my self and my Mother (my Maternal Grandfather was a Maltese Citizen who was born and grew up in Gozo) I was told that my Mother was already a Maltese citizen, as the law had changed back in the year 2000 so that anyone born to a Maltese father who was born in Malta was themselves a Maltese citizen by birth. I however was a different case, and had to apply for my Maltese citizenship by descent (since I’m second generation born outside of Malta) which takes a couple of years or so. So the main difference between my Mum and I being that she got her Maltese citizenship automatically when the law changed 17 odd years ago, whereas I had to apply which takes at least a couple of years for them to process (I applied back in August 2015 and I still don’t have my citizenship yet).

      So from the sounds of things, if your Maltese father was born in Malta then you’re probably already a Maltese citizen like my Mum – otherwise you’ll probably need apply like me. If you have to apply like I did, you shouldn’t have any problem as long as you can trace your family back to two consecutive ancestors born in Malta – So you’re Grandfather and your Great Grandfather for example. Best bet is just to contact the local Maltese consulate though. I spoke to the consulate in Sydney.

  4. Georgina says:

    I am English. My Grandfather was born in Victoria from a Maltese mother her maiden name was Dali and English father his name was Fairbrother, my late Mother who spent the early part of her life in Malta loved her Maltese heritage, would I be able to apply? Thanks.

  5. Louise says:

    Hi I was wondering if you could advise me, my father is Maltese and currently lives there he has been back in Malta for 20 years now but lived in England before that for 25 years, would I be eligible for dual nationality? And would my children also be able to get it as it is my understanding that if my children are minors then it’s fine but I have a child that is 20 as well so how would that work.

  6. DL says:

    Hey Mark, my boyfriend’s and his family is Canadian but his maternal grandfather and maternal great-grandfather were both born and married in Malta. He is divorced and through the proceeding was inaccurately convicted of two counts of assault over a decade ago. Would this prevent him from getting his citizenship application approved? Please let me know. Thank you for your time! Regards, DL

  7. Joanna Protz says:

    Hello! Am I understanding correctly that if I was born in Malta I am automatically a Maltese citizen even though I became a naturalized American citizen? Would I need to apply for citizenship? Would I have to renounce my American citizenship? Thank you for your response.

  8. Alexander says:

    My mother and her parents were all Maltese and moved to London when she was a young child in 1939. After she married my English father they adopted me as a baby. They were my legal parents. Would my adoption complicate the process of registering for Maltese citizenship? Many thanks.

  9. Sue says:

    Hi, I’m Irish and so is my partner. We are not married. We are living in Malta and have been for nearly two years. We are expecting in April and we are hoping to travel back to visit family but return to Malta. Can I get a Maltese passport for our child or must I apply for an Irish passport before we can travel? Help and knowledge will be greatly appreciated, thanks.

  10. Jackie says:

    How long does it take to get the Maltese citizenship? I applied in Feb 2016 and up to-date no feedback apart from a very personal interview which took place three months ago. I am Maltese and been married and living together for 26 years. We have two children. My husband is British.

    • Simone says:

      Hi Jackie, I’m not sure whether the length of time varies depending on where you applied or type of application but in Australia it is currently taking 2-3 years to be approved if you apply for citizenship by descent. I recently helped some family members with their applications and this is what we were told. There is a major backlog in the processing of applications, apparently. But this might not apply to your situation.

    • Norm Saliba says:

      My wife’s citizenship took just over two years after applying in Australia. She received it in late Dec 2016.

  11. Rachel Hardwick says:

    Hello! My grand parents were both born and raised in Malta, and were married in Mosta in the late 1094s before emigrating to the US. I have their birth certificates, marriage and death certificates. Am I eligible for Maltese citizenship or do I need my mother to obtain it first? Thank you.

    • Simone says:

      Hi Rachel, your mother needs to apply at the same time as you, but she would fill in a different form as she would automatically be a Maltese citizen (since her parents were born in Malta). If your grandparents and mother became US citizens you would need to get hold of their naturalisation papers (I had to do this for my father who was in the same situation as your mother). I’m not sure how this would affect things, it might depend on the dates they naturalised as US citizens. You also need proof that your mother resided for six years outside Malta. I suggest emailing your local Maltese Embassy or Consulate explaining your situation.

  12. Terence says:

    My Father was a soldier in the British Army in Malta during WW2. He married in Malta to a Maltese woman, my mother Carmela Christina Debattista of Maggazini Street Floriana, Malta. She’s the Sister of the legendary Maltese Footballer Lolly Debattista, my Uncle. All of my cousins still live in Malta, would I qualify for Maltese nationality? Thanks for your help.

    • Simone says:

      Hi Terence, yes you would definitely qualify. I’m not sure whether you need to fill in a Dual Enquiry Form A or Form K, but your local Embassy or Consulate would have further information.

  13. Rob says:

    Hi, I am a 59 year old male born 1957 and living in Australia. I have my grandfather who was born in Malta, came to Australia and married an Australian women. His parents were both born and lived in Malta as I have a paternal grandfather and great grand father. Does this allow me an opportunity for dual citizenship for Malta? Thanks.

  14. Maria says:

    Hi, my father was born in Australia in 1958, he changed his citizenship to Maltese already. Can I change my citizenship to a dual one (Maltese/Australian)? My mother also spent 6 years living in Australia, can she apply for a dual citizenship? Thanks for your help.

  15. Jenny says:

    Can my daughter get Maltese citizenship? She was born in the UK, her father is Maltese and his parents and grandparents are Maltese and we currently reside in Malta. If so, how do I go about it? And how long does it take? Thanks for the details.

    • Simone says:

      Hi Jenny, yes your daughter would probably already be considered a Maltese Citizen as her father is Maltese. I suggest contacting the Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs in Malta. (+356) 2590 4800

  16. Valentina says:

    Hi, my mother was born in Australia to English (mother) and Maltese (father) although they are not together and put my mother up for adoption. I do want to move to the EU and even Malta. Am I eligible to apply for a passport or citizenship? Does the adoption factor disable me from applying? Even if by paternity my grandfather is a Maltese citizen.

  17. Persephone says:

    My maternal grandmother was Maltese and I’m looking at getting Maltese citizenship. I was looking into the form for my mum to get citizenship first and it seems that she would automatically be considered a citizen except it want a copy of my grandmother’s Maltese passport. The problem is my grandmother was born when Malta was still a British colony and left Malta before independence and so never acquired a Maltese passport or to the best of my knowledge Maltese citizenship. Will this be a problem in applying for citizenship? Thanks.

    • Simone says:

      Hi Persephone, I don’t think that would be a problem. I suggest contacting your Embassy and explaining the situation. Also, I wouldn’t suggest waiting until your mum gets citizenship before applying yourself, you can put your own forms in at the same time as hers to save time. There is a very long waiting period for those applying by descent (though probably it will be quick for your mother as she would already be considered a citizen) so the earlier you start your own application the better.

  18. Sue Vizard says:

    Good Evening – I was born in Malta in 1961 of Maltese parents but was made a British National in the 1970’s as my Father was in the British Air Force and posted to the UK at the time. Myself and my two sons, born in the UK to a British Father in 1992 and 1995 would like to apply for Dual Nationality – please could you advise – thank you.

    • Simone says:

      Hi Sue, I think you would already be a Maltese citizen automatically having been born in Malta to Maltese parents. To obtain further information about registering your citizenship, and also to apply for citizenship for your sons I suggest contacting the Maltese embassy in London at the following email address: I have also provided other links in the comments below about how to obtain Maltese birth and marriage certificates.

      • Dave says:

        Hi Simone, I am the son of a Maltese born woman and a British born man. My mother moved to the UK in 1944. I was subsequently born in the UK in 1962. My mothers family were all Maltese born. Will I be able to get citizenship? I am not sure if she had a Maltese passport and she was obviously a UK citizen at the time of Malta’s independence. My grandmother (mother’s mother) lived in the UK and I know she had dual citizenship. Many thanks.

      • Simone says:

        Hi Dave, sorry it has taken a while for me to see your comment. Since 2007 all people who are of Maltese descent (and can prove descent from 2 generations born in Malta) are entitled to claim Maltese citizenship. You don’t need to worry about whether your mother had a Maltese passport, it is all based on birth, marriage and death certificates. I’m not sure whether your mother would have lost her Maltese citizenship by marrying your father but if so it’s possible she’d need to apply to get it back at the same time as you apply. Best to talk to your consulate….Are you based in London? I recently had some dealings with the London Embassy on behalf of a family member and they were extremely helpful. Try

  19. Diane Langdon-Chapman says:

    I was born in Malta to a British service family in 1954; can I apply for duel nationality?

  20. Alfred Dalli says:

    I am Maltese and I have come to malta to live. I have 2 boys in England and have 4 grandchildren and I want to get them Maltese Passport, how do I go on about it please? Thanks.

  21. Mia says:

    My father was born in Malta in 1955 to a Maltese mother and English father. Am I eligible for a Maltese passport and, if so, how do I apply please? Is there a link to follow? Thanks.

    • Simone says:

      I think you are eligible, but you need to provide birth and marriage certificates for your father and his mother – you can order the Maltese ones from Your father (if alive) has to apply at the same time as you. There is no link to apply for citizenship, you need to phone or email your nearest Maltese embassy.

  22. Sandra Williams says:

    I was born in Malta of British parents in 1956. Can I apply for a Maltese passport?

  23. Christopher Burnell says:

    I was born in Malta in 1969, but both my parents are English. Can I apply for Maltese citizenship?

  24. Shirley says:

    Both my parents are Maltese, is it possible for me to become a Maltese citizen? Also my 30 year old husband is English can he also get citizenship?

    • Simone says:

      Based on my own experience, if at least one of your parents was born in Malta of Maltese parents then it will be very easy for you to register as you would already be considered a Maltese citizen, you just need to provide the correct paperwork including various birth and marriage certificates. If neither parent was born there you need to prove descent from 2 generations born in Malta and the parent you are claiming citizenship through would need to apply for citizenship at the same time as you if they are still alive (see my extended comment below). Your husband would be eligible after five years of marriage. You should contact your nearest Maltese Embassy for more information. All the best.

  25. Michaela says:

    Hi, i was wondering if it is possible for me to apply for Maltese citizenship. I will be marrying a Maltese man in September this year. I read it has to be 5 years however, I have got a residence card and have had this already since Sept 2013. I am British. Thanks in advance.

  26. Darryl says:

    My grandmother (paternal) was Maltese, but married a UK citizen in the 1940s. Can I apply for Maltese citizenship?

  27. Lesley Hindmarsh says:

    I was born in 1958 in UK. Father was Maltese and paternal grandparents were Maltese. Am I entitled to dual nationality?

  28. Paul says:

    Hi, my father (who is British) was born in Malta, and his late mother was Maltese. Can I (a British Citizen) get Maltese Citizenship and if so, how about my wife and daughter who’s only connection to Malta would be through me? Also, would my father have to apply as well? Thanks.

    • Simone says:

      Hi Paul, based on my own experience (outlined further down in the comments) I think you would be entitled to Maltese citizenship. You would need your father’s, grandmother’s and your own birth certificates and marriage certificates. You can order Maltese certificates easily from the website They have an excellent system and can post them internationally. As I understand it, your wife would be eligible as long as you have been married for at least 5 years. Your daughter would be entitled to it through you, and yes your father would have to apply as well, but he would most likely be deemed ‘already a Maltese citizen’ as my father was. I suggest calling your nearest Maltese embassy who will confirm whether the above is correct in your case. Good luck.

  29. Lloyd says:

    My mother was born in Malta in 1957. I was born in the UK in 1992 to a UK born father. Need to know if I can get a Maltese passport? Thanks.

  30. Anthony says:

    My grandfather was born in Malta and migrated to Egypt. He has passed away now. Am I eligible for Maltese citizenship and if so where do I apply for it?

    • Mark says:

      I am afraid not Anthony, that is not enough.

    • Simone says:

      In some circumstances it might be enough. My grandfather was born in Malta to Maltese parents and migrated to Egypt and passed away many years ago. My father (his son) was born in Egypt, emigrated to Australia with his parents when he was a child and is still alive. Both my father and I applied for Maltese citizenship – my father was told he ‘was already a Maltese citizen’ because his father was born in Malta and after submitting some simple paperwork he was sent a letter confirming his citizenship. I was told I was eligible for citizenship ‘by descent’ and had to submit my father’s, grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s birth certificates AND marriage certificates (and my own birth certificate) and a few other items of paperwork, and after this was I eligible for citizenship. There must be at least 2 generations born in Malta and the parent who was not born in Malta in the direct line of descent from those 2 generations must also apply for citizenship at the same time as you (if they are still alive). The hardest part for me was obtaining the birth and marriage certificates from the Catholic Church in Egypt. I suggest contacting your local Maltese Embassy or Consulate. I am Australian and the Consulate was very helpful.

      • Jonathan says:

        Similar situation for me. My Grandfather (mother’s father) was born in Malta and lived there until he emigrated to Australia in his twenties. I contacted the consulate in Sydney a little over a year ago now by email. They sent out an application form with all the required paperwork (birth and marriage certificates for myself, my mother, my grandfather, and my great grandmother). As it turned out, by going through the process I found out that both my mum and my aunt were both already considered Maltese citizens (they were unaware). My understanding from both speaking with the consulate staff and reading through the Maltese Citizenship Act is that following the 2007 amendments to the Citizenship Act, you’re eligible to apply for citizenship as long as you can trace your ancestry back to an ancestor born in Malta to a parent also born in Malta (using birth and marriage certificates). After submitting my application I was told there was a major backlog and that it would take 18 months to process my citizenship (it’s been about 10 months since then). The consulate in Sydney has been very helpful, though I’m thinking with the result of the Brexit referendum there’s going to be a lot of enquiries and applications now so the processing time may become even longer 🙁 Oh and the application cost $240 AUD.

  31. Larissa Bonavia says:

    My father is Maltese and my mother is Austrian. I was born in Austria, but would like to change my citizenship to Maltese. How much will it cost?

  32. Edith Sacco says:

    Hi both my parents are Maltese, I was born in Malta to in 1952. I have a British passport, can I apply for Maltese citizenship? Thanks a lot for your help.

  33. Maria Zurgani says:

    A Libyan person born in Malta on 1st December 1975, is he entitled for Maltese nationality?

  34. Jacob says:

    I have been in a de facto same sex relationship with a Maltese citizen in Australia for 20 years, can I get Maltese citizenship and how long will the process be?

  35. Ali says:

    I was born in Malta on Oct 12th 1995 and my parents are not Maltese. Will I get the passport if I apply?

  36. Rain says:

    I want to ask about my boyfriend who was born in Malta in 1967. Can he apply for Maltese citizenship or is he automatically a Maltese? He is now living in UK since he was 7 years old, both parents are British.

  37. Karl Inglott says:

    Hi there, I’m a British citizen, but my paternal lineage goes back to Malta. I’m not sure whether my Grandfather or great-grandfather had Maltese nationality, as they were both born outside of Malta but my great-great-grandfather was born in Malta in 1850, along with many of his descendants. Can I apply for citizenship through descent? Kind regards, Karl.

  38. Nikita says:

    Hi, my maternal grandfather was Maltese. Is it still possible for me to apply for Maltese Dual Citizenship? as I am Papua New Guinean.

  39. Giuseppe says:

    Hi, my name is Giuseppe Ricotta and I’m married with an Italian woman. My child will be born this coming November 2015. Will he get Maltese citizenship at birth?

    • Mark says:

      Hi Giuseppe, are you Maltese? If positive, you’re married to an Italian woman and your baby is born in Malta, then yes the baby will have Maltese citizenship too.

  40. Mark Grima says:

    How can I check about descendants of the family Grima? Thanks.

  41. Elena says:

    My baby was born in Malta. His father and my partner is Maltese, but I am Romanian (we’re not married). Is the baby Maltese, Romanian or both? Thanks for helping out.

    • Mark says:

      If you’re not married, the baby will be Romanian at birth. Having said this, his Maltese father can apply for a “Maltese citizenship by Naturalization” by providing the Citizenship & Expatriate Affairs department the following:

      1 – His own birth certificate;
      2 – His father’s birth certificate;
      3 – His parents’ marriage certificate;
      4 – His Maltese passport;
      5 – His ID Card;
      6 – Your full birth certificate;
      7 – Your Romanian passport;
      8 – Your residence card;
      9 – The child’s birth certificate;
      10 – One photo passport type in respect of your child;
      11 – An application and registration fee of €120.50.

      As you can see above, you need to have a Maltese residence permit. You will need to get that first, if you don’t have it already. Good luck!

      • Patricia Pace Deidun says:

        I’m born in America of Maltese Parents, Grandparents and Great-Grand parents all born in Malta, all lived in Malta and all were married in Malta. My parents were the first to come to America in 1950 after they were married in Malta, in which are now all deceased, but I’m born before 1964. Please explain to me why is there that specific criteria that you need to be born “between 21st September 1964 and before 1st August 1989”, to qualify for automatic dual citizenship? I need to know, do I as a direct descendant of a lineage of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and so on, all born and lived in Malta automatically qualify me for dual citizenship, as I do not want to renounce my American Citizenship. Someone please help clarify this, I thank you in advance for your assistance, regarding this matter.

  42. Peter says:

    Excellent article. We have noticed an uptick the last couple years in young people with Maltese grandparents expressing an interest in obtaining Malta citizenship, particularly from the Melbourne (Austria) region.

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