Country Report: Naturalisation Last updated: 23/05/22


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The Citizenship Act foresees that foreigners or stateless persons 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 four years, during the six 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 languages.[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 a birth certificate, passport, and police conduct.

There is no time limit foreseen for a decision and the law does not require the authorities to provide 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.

Identity Malta indicated that in 2021, Komunita Malta (the agency responsible for citizenship) successfully processed the applications of 16 refugee status holders who managed to obtain Maltese citizenship and that no beneficiaries of subsidiary protection who obtained Maltese citizenship.[3]




[1] Citizenship Act, Chapter 188, September 1964, available at:     

[2] Article 10(1) Citizenship Act.

[3] Information provide by Identity Malta, April 2022.

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