Moving to Malta
Malta, officially the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta’ Malta), is a Southern European island country comprising an archipelago, Gozo and Comino, in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. The country covers just over 316 km2 (122 sq mi), with a population of just under 450,000 making it one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta, which at 0.8 km2, is the smallest national capital in the European Union.
All those who move to Malta, fall in love with its natural beauty, the history, the deep blue Mediterranean Sea, the sun shines for the majority of days throughout the year.
The attraction lies in the relatively relaxed way of living, affordable cost of living, as well as the country’s historical links to Britain, the architectural gems and the Mediterranean joie de vivre that permeates life on the island.
Many are also attracted by the various successful industries that are flourishing in Malta such as the gaming industry and the financial services. Other star attractions include the plethora of leisure activities namely diving, cultural events and night life.
Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English.
Climate & Sea
Malta gets about 300 days of sunshine a year generating an average year round temperature of 19 degrees. Long hot summers and mild winters are standard. Malta also has an average sea temperature of 22 degrees and has just been voted the ‘Best Diving in the Mediterranean’ and ‘3rd Best Diving in the World’ in a recent poll by International Diver Magazine!! There are also some fantastic sandy beaches scattered all over the Island.
Ever since the Maltese archipelago was first colonized thousands of years ago, they have never been far from the centre of events and have often played a crucial role in the making of history. Their strategic situation in the centre of the Mediterranean sea makes up for all the lack of resources that nature endowed the rest of the globe. Malta, the largest island, and her sister islands of Gozo, Comino, are strategically placed in the narrow channel joining the eastern and the western basins of the Mediterranean, or if you like, a bridge between Southern Europe and North Africa, or between Western Europe and the Middle East. This had landed the Maltese Islands right in the middle of the most important historic events: the wars between Rome and Carthage, the rise of Islam, the Crusades, the wars between Christians and Moslems, the rise and fall of Napoleon, the rise and fall of the British Empire, the fight for democracy against Fascism and Nazism, the Cold War, the rise of a United Europe and the challenges of the Third Millennium.
On 9 April 2003, the European Parliament approved by an overwhelming majority the accession to the EU of 10 new Member States. This opened the door for Malta to become a full member of the Union on the 1st May 2004. From that day on, Malta has officially taken its seat in European institutions and has five fully fledged members in the European Parliament.
The majority of the population in Malta are Roman Catholics but there are other religions represented including Islam, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints, Jewish and Jehovah Witness.
Malta has very low levels of crime which make it one of the safest places to live in Europe.
Malta has an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables due to its fertile soils. Sea food is also very common but it is the fusion of Italian and North African influences that really make Malta an interesting gastronomic destination.
Much like the British the Maltese drive on the left hand side of the road. Indeed many of the roadsigns and markings are very similar or the same as the British system. EU citizens can drive in Malta using their existing licenses or apply for a Maltese license after residing in the country for 6 months or more.
If you are moving to Malta permanently you can import your car and bring it with you without paying Registration Tax as long as you have owned the car for 2 years or more (download the VEH07 from from Malta Transport Authority website and check the mentioned website.
Malta has just invested in a large fleet of new air-conditioned buses with operate good networks throughout the Islands. There are also frequent ferry services connecting Malta to Gozo and Sicily.
There are 2 main mobile phone service providers on the Island (Go and Vodafone) both providing good coverage. These companies also supply Internet packages. TV subscriptions are also available including all the top sports channels from SKY. The national television station of Malta is called TVM and is state owned. Most of its programs are in Maltese but there are some English broadcasts. There are many radio stations on the Island many of which speak in English. There are also 2 English speaking daily newspapers, The Times and The Malta Independent.
The standard electricity supply in Malta is 240 volts with a 3 pin British style plug and is supplied by Enemalta. Bills can be sporadic so it is common when renting to pay the landlord an estimated amount on a monthly basis which is then adjusted when a bill is received. There is no piped gas supply in Malta but bottled gas is quite common and is a good option.
Malta is a member of the European Pet Travel Scheme that allows pets to enter the country without quarantine restrictions as long as certain criteria and treatments have been made and paperwork provided. These include anti-worming, anti-rabies and various other hygiene checks which are performed before the animal is sent to Malta by the owners vet. Pets will also have to have a Pet Passport (or a Pet Travel Scheme Certificate) and be microchipped.
The Euro is the official currency of Malta
Malta has a high standard of English speaking schools which are based on the British system including a well-respected University. Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16 years. For Expats there are also 2 International Schools, namely Verdala which is an American based International Baccalaureate Diploma School and St. Edwards which is a Catholic Boys school that follows the British Curriculum.
Malta has a very high standard of healthcare both private and public. Hospitals are well equipped and well-funded and there are many regional health centers located all over the Island. The health service is funded through taxes and is free to residents and members of the EU. Foreign nationals will need to have private health insurance in place.
Malta is a popular tourism destination with 1.2 million visitors a year and is the strongest pillar of the Maltese economy. It is for Malta an economic necessity, the motor that propels the service sector. About half the jobs in the Archipelago are connected directly or indirectly to tourism.
The country boasts of luxury hotels, highly skilled staff, excellent high-tech conference facilities and superb recreational activities as well as many charming villages and unique cultural monuments, from prehistoric temples to the fortifications and rich architecture. The Maltese Islands include many sandy and rocky beaches where one can laze about during the hot summer months.
Malta has a strong artistic heritage which began with the residence Knights of St.John who were strong supporters of the arts and left a legacy of masterpieces from their 250 year rule which can be found in various museums, palazzo’s and churches on the Island. Renowned artist ‘Carravaggio’ also spent 15 months on the Island and painted at least 7 works, the most notable being ‘The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist’ which can be seen at the Conventual Church of St.John in Valletta. The Baroque movement also had a profound influence on Maltese Art and Architecture especially with the Calabrese artist Mattia Preti who spent his last 40 years on the Island creating some of his finest works (now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta). Malta’s various museums have a vast array of treasures that truly reflect the incredible history of this intriguing Island.
This allows you to legally live in Malta for 90 days. You can stay longer by either getting an extension from the police or by leaving and coming back again for 90 days. If you’re planning on living on the island long term, then you should look into becoming a permanent resident.
So if you are planning on moving to Malta, you do not need to apply for residency before moving. You can use your tourist visa while you sort things out and settle in and, in the meantime, apply for residency while you are in Malta.
Moving around in Europe
Malta is in the Schengen area which is group of countries that have got rid of passport and immigration controls at their common borders. So people travelling to and from Schengen areas will not need to have their passports checked at the borders.
Malta also has a visa waiver agreement with a number of countries. Maltese citizens are eligible to travel to the US without a visa
The Malta Global Residency Programme
In July 2013, the Maltese Government introduced a new residency programme. This offers special tax status to third country nationals (except for EEA and Swiss nationals) in Malta. To apply for this programme you need to satisfy certain criteria such as buying or renting property in Malta or Gozo and paying a minimum annual tax liability on foreign income received in Malta.
Two types of Residency
Depending on where you are emigrating from you can apply for one of two types of residency: the Ordinary Residence or the Permanent Residence. The difference between the two ultimately boils down to how much you are taxed.
Ordinary Residence applies to people coming to Malta from the EU. The tax you pay is worked out by taking from 0 to 35 per cent of your income, minus a tax-credit, depending on how much you earn and marital status.
Permanent Residence is open to everyone, no matter what your country of origin is. If you’re not from the EU then this is what you need to apply for. You can also apply for this scheme if you are from the EU, but we recommend always consulting a lawyer to see which scheme is more suited to you.
You will need to renew you ordinary residence permit every five years, while permanent residence permits are renewable every year.
Where Do I Apply for My Residency Permit?
To apply for your residency permit you need to go to the:
Department for Citizenship and Expatriates Affairs
St Elmo Place
Valletta VLT 2000
Tel: 2590 4000, 2590 4800, 2590 4821
Fax: 2590 1830