Maltese Citizenship by Registration & Naturalization

Acquisition of Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization

The Maltese Citizenship Act establishes who may become a citizen of Malta by naturalization, provided that the applicant satisfies the relative provisions.

Article 10(1) of Cap. 188 regulates the acquisition of citizenship on the basis of residence in Malta, whilst Article 11 refers to the acquisition of Maltese citizenship by minors. Ultimately, the Minister responsible
for citizenship matters has the discretion to grant or refuse the application under such provisions.

Provided that the applicant is over eighteen (18) years of age, an individual may submit an application if he/she is a:

  • Foreigner or stateless person;
  • Has resided in Malta throughout the twelve (12) months immediately preceding the date of application;
  • Has resided in Malta for an aggregate period of a minimum of four (4) years, during the six (6) years preceding the above period of twelve (12) months;
  • Person of good character;
  • Has adequate knowledge of Maltese or English language*;
  • Would be a suitable citizen of Malta.

* This requirement shall not apply to any person of full age but not of full capacity on behalf of whom an application is submitted with the authorisation of the Civil Court (Voluntary Jurisdiction).

Acquisition of Maltese Citizenship by Registration

When Malta became an Independent State, the Independence Constitution established who could register as a citizen of Malta under the provisions of the same Constitution. Following amendments to Maltese Citizenship legislation in 2000, the provisions concerning the registration of persons as citizens of Malta were removed from the Constitution and included in the Maltese Citizenship Act (Cap 188).

On 1 st  August 2007, there were further amendments to the said Act which made it possible for second as well as subsequent Maltese generations born abroad to acquire Maltese citizenship by registration.

A person who is the:

  • Spouse of a Maltese citizen married for at least five (5) years and on the date of application is still married and living with that citizen of Malta (Form B);
  • Spouse of a citizen of Malta, who on the date of application is still married and who is, however, separated de jure or de facto, provided that the couple had lived together for at least five years after the celebration of the marriage (Form B);
  • Widow/widower of a person who was a citizen of Malta at the time of his/her death and the widow/widower had been married and living with the now deceased person for at least five (5) years (Form B);
  • The widow/widower of a person who was a citizen of Malta at the time of his/her death, and if not for the death of the person, the widower/widower would have been married to that person for five (5) years on the date of application (Form B);
  • Widow/widower of a person who passed away before 21 st September 1964 and if it were not for his/her death he/she would have automatically become a citizen of Malta (due to the fact that he/she was born in Malta of a parent born in Malta too or was born abroad of a father and a paternal grandparent who were both born in Malta) and the widow/widower was still living with the deceased person at the time of his/her death or separated de jure or de facto after living with the person for at least five (5) years after their marriage celebration (Form B);
  • Son/daughter born prior to 21 st September 1964 of a female born in Malta and who became or would have become, but for her death, a citizen of Malta on the said date (Form I);
  • Son/daughter of a female citizen of Malta (who acquired Maltese citizenship by birth in Malta, and who was a citizen of Malta at the time of the son’s/daughter’s birth) and was born outside Malta on or after 21 st  September 1964 and before 1 st August 1989 (Form I);
  • Former citizen of Malta who does not  automatically qualify for dual citizenship because he/she had not resided for a minimum of six (6) years abroad or was formerly a citizen of Malta by Registration or by Naturalization (Form D);
  • Descendant, second or subsequent generation, born abroad of an ascendant born in Malta whereby one of the parents of the said ascendant was also born in Malta. If the descendant is a minor, then the person who has authority over the said minor shall submit the relative application on his behalf (Form K \ Form M).