2020 marks Identity Malta’s digital leap forward in popular services. Although 2020 was primarily characterised by the COVID-19 pandemic, Identity Malta Agency resumed operations by shifting online and taking the appropriate health measures in order to protect the wellbeing of its staff and general public. This was outlined in the 2020 Annual Report which the Agency launched earlier today.

In a period where social distancing characterised the new norm, Identity Malta Agency adopted a digital approach, delivering popular services in the comfort and safety of one’s home. As a matter of fact, Identity Malta Agency reported a surge in online government e-Services with the Identity Cards Unit activating 76,754 new virtual eID accounts, an increase of over 31,000 when compared to 2019. Similarly, requests to change one’s virtual eID password shot from 91,390 in 2019 to 139,464 in 2020. Therefore, one can safely deduce that online government services are becoming more popular.

As expected, demand for ePassports drastically fell in 2020 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Indeed, the Passport Unit issued 18,834 new passports in 2020 as opposed to 51,210 passports in 2019. In the meantime, the Central Visa Unit assisted hunders of foreigners stranded in Malta due to travel restictions. Although COVID-19 had a huge operational impact, not all Units experienced this drastic fall in demand with the Searches Unit reporting almost the same level of activity of 2019.

The newly launched single permit platform has proved to be a success, with 6,954 new applications submitted online in its initial months and 3,990 employers registered as active users. The digitialisation of the application phase and the newly introduced online appointment system has accelerated the whole process, doing away with repeat visitors, double handling of work and long queues.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and the Communities Alex Muscat praised Identity Malta’s response in offering a continued public service throughout the pandemic. The Parliamentary Secretary noted that Identity Malta offers an essential service since it touches on people’s lives, from birth to marriage and death. Muscat concluded that a clearly defined strategy is the way forward in meeting customer expectations better, both local as well as expats.

On his part, Identity Malta’s CEO Mr. Anton Sevasta highlighted the results achieved in such a challenging year, making particular reference to the introduction of the online single permit platform and online birth and death registration, the launch of Malta’s new eID card, and the legal amendments that allow a wider choice of surnames after marriage and the use of Maltese diacritic letters when registering a new-born’s name. Sevasta concluded that Malta’s new technologically advanced eID card and the fact that the Maltese ePassport was awarded best regional ID document for 2020, are a testimony to Identity Malta’s commitment towards protecting citizens’ identity.

You can read the report here.