Amendments To The Maltese Citizenship Act (Cap. 188)

Dual Or Multiple Citizenship

Act No IV of 2000 has introduced amendments to the Maltese Citizenship Act to give effect to new provisions governing dual or multiple citizenship:

Section 7 introduces the new cardinal principle:

It shall be lawful for any person to be a citizen of Malta, and at the same time a citizen of another country.

This means that if a citizen of Malta acquires another citizenship on or after the 10th February 2000 - the date when all provisions of the new law came into effect - that person may hold such other citizenship together with his Maltese citizenship.

It means also that a minor who is a citizen of Malta and possesses a foreign citizenship as well as persons who on the 10th February 000 were over 18 years of age but had not yet attained their 19th birthday and were in possession of two citizenships, for example Maltese which they acquired by descent and another citizenship which they acquired by birth in a foreign country, may hold both citizenships indefinitely.

Section 9 of the Act stipulates that a person, born in Malta or abroad, who was a citizen of Malta by birth or by descent and who resided outside Malta for an aggregate period of at least six years and who acquired or retained the citizenship of another country shall be deemed not to have ever ceased to be a citizen of Malta.

This means, for example, that the children born abroad to Maltese emigrants, who on the lolh February 2000 were over 19 years of age and who have always resided in their country of birth, shall automatically re-acquire Maltese citizenship (that is, they do not have to do anything for such re-acquisition but shall re-acquire Maltese citizenship by an involuntary act).

N.B.: Persons wishing to make an enquiry as to whether they qualify to hold dual citizenship may make use of the enquiry forms to be found in Appendices 1 and 2 of this booklet.

Section 8 of the Act stipulates that a person who, before the 10th February 2000, had ceased to be a citizen of Malta because he lost Maltese citizenship on acquiring a foreign citizenship or because he failed to enounce a foreign citizenship within the time prescribed by law, shall e entitled to re-acquire Maltese citizenship by registration.

This means, in effect, that those former citizens of Malta who had acquired Maltese citizenship on the 21 September 1964 or at birth but o have not resided abroad for at least six years and those persons o were citizens of Malta by registration or naturalisation and lost their citizenship, are now entitled to be registered as citizens of Malta. That is, these persons, without having to satisfy any residence conditions and irrespective of where they are now residing (whether in Malta or abroad), ay submit an application to be registered as citizens of Malta.

It should be noted, however, that in the case of former citizens of Malta who had acquired Maltese citizenship by registration or naturalisation, Maltese citizenship shall be granted only if the Minister responsible for citizenship matters is satisfied that such grant is not contrary to the public interest.

In all those cases where a foreign national has to apply to acquire Maltese citizenship (that is, where citizenship is being acquired by a voluntary act) it is important that the person concerned verifies whether under his/her country's citizenship legislation, he/she might lose the citizenship of that country because of the said voluntary act.

The set of questions and answers that follow illustrate the above mentioned principles:

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