Malta is a Schengen member state, which means that citizens from a number of countries can enter for short stays without having to apply for a visa. Those who require a Schengen visa to enter Malta will need to fill in a visa application from a diplomatic mission or official website. The signed application is accompanied by a valid passport, passport photos, biometric data and an application fee.
The system of visas and residence permits in Malta is administrated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Short- and long-stay visas for Malta
Schengen visas are arranged into categories including tourism, business, visiting family and studying. There are broadly two types of visas: “C” type visas are for shorter stays and “D” type long-stay visas are valid for stays of longer than three months.
Expats from non-Schengen countries who want to work, study or live in Malta will need to enter the country on a long-stay visa and apply for the relevant residence permit after they arrive. The Central Visa Unit at the Ministry of Home Affairs can advise expats on the closest Maltese foreign mission that processes “D” visas.
Short-stay visas are valid for three months during a six-month period, and are valid for one or multiple entries over a maximum of five years, depending on the visa. In addition to a passport, application forms, photos and proof of accommodation, expats will also need proof of travel insurance and onward travel.
In most cases, the decision to accept or reject an application is made within 15 days.
Business visas for Malta
A business visa enables an expat to enter the country for business purposes but a working residence permit enables them to live and work in Malta. An expat wanting to move to Malta for employment will have to enter the country on a business visa and apply for a residence permit soon after they arrive.
Residence permits for Malta
Applications for residence in Malta are submitted in person to the Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs in Valletta. Applicants have to submit a number of documents, including forms, passport copies, proof of insurance, bank statements, a letter of employment, salary slips and proof of residence.
The Maltese residence permit comes in the form of an e-Residence document which functions as a form of identification. The requirements an applicant needs to fulfil depend on whether they are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and what the purpose of their stay is. Expats not from those European countries will have requirements of their own. The different requirements attached to each category are listed on the respective application documents.
Under the Schengen Agreement, EEA and Swiss nationals have the right to stay and work in Malta or retire in the country if they can prove they have the means.
E-Residence documents are available under different categories, including for employment, study, economic self-sufficiency, family members and the EU Blue Card, which is granted to highly skilled non-EU expats.
Expats applying to renew their residence permit have to do so at least 30 days before their current permit expires.
Applications take several weeks to process, although expats can inform the Department of emergency cases.
*Visa requirements can change at short notice and expats are advised to contact their nearest Maltese consulate for the latest information.
►For more on the local work environment, see Doing Business in Malta
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