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Acquisition of Maltese citizenship by Descent2022-09-02T15:07:54+02:00

The acquisition of Maltese citizenship is based on the provisions found in the Maltese Citizenship Act, Chapter 188 of the Laws of Malta and the Maltese Constitution.

In Malta, citizenship can be acquired in several ways, one of which is through one’s bloodline. The acquisition of citizenship by descent is the process by which children, regardless of where they were born, are granted the nationality of their parents by virtue of their blood. Specific qualifying requirements must be met in order to get citizenship through descent.

Maltese Citizenship by Descent can be acquired by any person of a Maltese descent through establishing a line with an ascendant and his/her parents who were born in Malta.

Eligibility for Maltese citizenship by descent

Amendments to the Citizenship Act 2000 came into force on 1st August 2007. By virtue of these amendments, a person born in or outside Malta who proves that he is a descendant in direct line of an ascendant born in Malta to a parent also born in Malta is entitled to apply to be registered as a Maltese citizen by descent. To do so, one must:

  • Provide documentary evidence of citizenship link such as birth, marriage or death certificates;
  • Apply for citizenship by registration;
  • Take an oath of allegiance;
  • Await for the opinion of the Minister who assesses whether the granting of citizenship is not contrary to the public interest.

When applying for citizenship by descent, the Maltese citizenship link must not be broken. In the case where the applicant’s parent is a direct descendant himself and is still alive, he must also be registered as a citizen of Malta.

Ineligibility for Maltese citizenship by descent

Under the provision of Maltese Citizenship Act, if the parent of an applicant was alive on 1st August 2007 and dies after 1st August 2010 without applying for Maltese citizenship, the link would be considered broken, and the applicant loses the right to apply unless the parent had applied for and would have been entitled to be granted Maltese citizenship under the relevant provisions of the act. If any of the ascendants died before 1st August 2007 or if the parent of the applicant dies within three years from this date without applying for citizenship, he or she would still be deemed to have acquired citizenship, safeguarding the right to Maltese Citizenship by Descent.

Other conditions

  • A person born abroad between 21 September 1964 and before 1 August 1989 is entitled to be registered as a citizen of Malta if his mother or father was a Maltese citizen by birth or by registration at the time of that person’s birth.
  • A person born abroad on or after 1 August 1989, whose father or mother has been recognised as a citizen of Malta by birth, naturalisation or registration at the time of his birth, is entitled to be registered as a citizen of Malta.
  • If a person born outside of Malta after the 21st of September 1964 proves that he’s a descendant in the direct line of an ascendant born in Malta of a parent who was also born in Malta, that person may apply to be registered as a citizen of Malta

Dual Nationality

Dual citizenship is the possession of two passports and citizenship certificates from two different countries. Dual citizens are the nationals of two nations and benefit from the same privileges as the citizens of each of those nations.

Maltese nationals are permitted to have dual citizenship without having to relinquish their Maltese nationality. This right is guaranteed in Article 22 of the Maltese Constitution.

Therefore, in view of the above, citizens of most countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, The United States and Canada can obtain a powerful second passport via Malta.

What conditions apply to stateless persons?

Statelessness is the state in which a person is deprived of any citizenship. Two situations must be distinguished:

  • In the case of a person of full age who is a citizen of a third country to which access is restricted and who resides in Malta: he can under the same conditions claim Maltese citizenship by proving that he is a descendant of an ascendant born in Malta.
  • Where a person is and has always been stateless and was born in Malta, he may also be granted Maltese citizenship if he or she has been ordinarily resident in Malta for a period of five years at the time of the application.

On the other hand, a person who becomes stateless cannot claim Maltese citizenship by descent as per the regulations above.

SMM Advocates – Immigration Department

If you are a person of Maltese descent, SMM Immigration Consultants team will be glad to provide further information and confirmation of your eligibility, as well as step-by-step guidance through the whole application process. You can get in touch with us via email on [email protected] or call +356 2123 7167 or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.

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