Status and rights of family members


Country Report: Status and rights of family members Last updated: 23/05/22


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As soon as the application for family reunification has been accepted, family members will be authorised to enter Malta once they are granted a visa.

In practice, problems in issuing documentation may arise in countries with no Maltese embassies. This leads to scenarios where applicants must travel to another country in order to apply for the visa at the Maltese representation. Family members must then stay in this country until the visa is issued, inducing further costs for the family.

The very strict COVID-19 quarantine rules implemented by Malta in 2021 were also a major obstacle to reunification since most of the countries where applicants were from were listed as “dark red” and a mandatory quarantine of 14 days had to be done, most of the time in a hotel for a 100€ per day.

However, applicants could apply to quarantine at their sponsor’s place of residence, the acceptance of such request being at the discretion of the health authorities. A few applicants indicated being able to do so.

The Family Reunification Regulations provide that family members shall be granted a first residence permit of at last one year’s duration and shall be renewable.[1]

Since 2016, reunited family members are, in practice, granted a residence permit of three years, indicating “Dependant family member”.[2]

The family members of the sponsor have access, in the same way as the sponsor, to education, employment, and self-employed activity. While a refugee has access to employment and self-employment without the need for an assessment of the situation of the labour market, said family members are subject to such assessment for the first 12 months following their arrival. They also have access to vocational guidance, initial and further training, and retraining.[3]

Family members coming to Malta are barred from applying for international protection in their own name.




[1] Regulation 14(2) Family Reunification Regulations.

[2] Information provided by Mr Ryan Spagnol, Director of Identity Malta, 29 September 2016.

[3] Regulation 15 Family Reunification Regulations.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation