JRS Malta

The Citizenship Act foresees that foreigners or stateless person may apply for citizenship in Malta.1 The law makes no difference between beneficiaries of international protection and other third-country nationals but in practice subsidiary protection beneficiaries’ applications are not usually considered.

The conditions to be able to apply include a residence in Malta throughout the 12 months immediately preceding the date of application and a residence in Malta for periods amounting in the aggregate to a minimum of 4 years, during the 6 years preceding the above period of 12 months. Applicants must also be of good character and have an adequate knowledge of the Maltese or the English language.2

Prior to submitting an application, the person has to present a residence certificate issued by the Principal Immigration Office to the Identity Malta Agency. Once the Office confirms the eligibility of the applicant, additional documents have to be produced, including birth certificate, passport and police conduct.

There is no time limit foreseen for a decision and the law does not require from the authorities to give reasons for rejections of applications.

In practice, it is close to impossible for refugees to access citizenship by naturalisation as the procedure is entirely at the discretion of the Minister. Moreover, while no written policy is available, refugees are in practice only allowed to apply for citizenship after ten years of regular residence in Malta.    

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti