The History of Dual nationality in Malta goes back to Malta’s independence in 1964. Dual citizenship in Malta was first proposed in 1989 in limited form and legalized by year 2000
Let us take a quick look on the timeline of events.
When Malta became an Independent State on 21st September 1964, Maltese citizenship legislation did not allow dual citizenship except for minors who, in order to retain Maltese citizenship, were required to renounce their foreign citizenship between their 18th and 19th birthday. Failure to do so meant that they would lose their Maltese citizenship on their 19th birthday. Those adults who retained any other foreign citizenship on Malta’s Independence had to renounce it before 21 st September 1967. Citizens of Malta who acquired another citizenship by a voluntary act lost their Maltese citizenship automatically on acquiring such foreign citizenship.
On 1st August 1989, the dual citizenship concept was introduced to the Maltese citizenship legislation, however, this was limited to Maltese emigrants who were (i) born in Malta, (ii) emigrated to another country of which they became citizens of and (iii) had spent at least six (6) years emigrated in that country.
Important changes to the said legislation were later made in the year 2000. Dual or multiple citizenship has now become the rule rather than the exception and as of 10th February 2000, a citizen of Malta could acquire and retain a foreign citizenship/s along with his/her Maltese citizenship.
Section 7 of the Maltese Citizenship Act (Cap. 188) stipulates that “it shall be lawful for any person to be a citizen of Malta, and at the same time a citizen of another country.” Hence, following the amendments enacted on 10th February 2000, Maltese citizens who acquire a foreign citizenship/s may retain their Maltese citizenship, whilst foreigners who acquire Maltese citizenship by registration or naturalization may also retain such citizenship together with their foreign citizenship (provided that this does not prejudice foreign legislation which prohibits dual citizenship for its own nationals).
Furthermore, Maltese citizens who had previously lost their citizenship prior to the enactment of the said amendments have automatically reacquired their Maltese citizenship if they satisfy the conditions hereunder. If not, they need to apply to be registered as citizens of Malta.
Automatic Reacquisition of Maltese citizenship by former citizens In view of the said amendments, which came into effect on 10th February 2000, all those who:
- became citizens of Malta automatically on or after 21st September 1964 by birth or by
- subsequently lost Maltese citizenship; &
- have resided outside Malta for an aggregate period of at least six (6) years,
- have automatically re-acquired Maltese citizenship and deemed to have never lost their Maltese citizenship.
Persons who had not attained their 19th birthday on 10 February 2000.
Those persons who on 10th February 2000 had not yet attained their 19th birthday and held another citizenship, apart from that of Malta, retained such citizenship as they were no longer required to renounce their foreign citizenship in order not to lose their Maltese citizenship.
Former citizens of Malta who do not qualify for automatic reacquisition of Maltese citizenship
Those persons who do not qualify for the automatic re-acquisition of Maltese citizenship (because prior to the year 2000 amendments they either (i) did not spend six (6) years abroad or (ii) they were citizens of Malta by registration or naturalization when they acquired their foreign citizenship) would need to apply to be registered as citizens of Malta (refer to Maltese Citizenship by Registration).
By means of such legislation, those who ceased to be citizens of Malta prior these amendments, automatically reacquired Maltese citizenship (provided that they satisfy certain criteria). If not, then the reacquisition of Maltese citizenship would be facilitated if the person applies to be registered as citizen of Malta.
Read more information in identity malta website.