Anomaly preventing Malta-born Maltese descendants from becoming citizens addressed

Passport hands

A legal anomaly which only allowed people of Maltese descent to obtaining Maltese citizenship if they were not born in Malta is being addressed through proposed amendments to the Maltese Citizenship Act presented in Parliament today.

The proposed amendments, which were approved without a vote, address a number of anomalies and inconsistencies on the manner in which people may obtain Maltese citizenship.

At present, people of Maltese descent born before Malta’s independence can only obtain citizenship if they had been born outside Malta; the amendments allow those who had been born in Malta to do so.

Until the end of July 1989, people born in Malta were automatically entitled to Maltese citizenship, but since then, citizenship is only granted automatically to the children of Maltese citizens. Consequently, a similar anomaly affected people of Maltese descent born in Malta after that date, but the proposed amendments would put them on the same footing as those born overseas.

The bill also amends the law relating to the foreign spouses of Maltese citizens, who can apply for citizenship after 5 years’ marriage – but who may lose this opportunity should they end up widowed. The proposed changes would ensure that widows and widowers can still become citizens if they had lived with their spouse for at least five years, and were still living with them on the time of their death.

Another anomaly concerned those born out of wedlock to a Maltese and a foreign parent: the present law only allows a path to citizenship to those with Maltese mothers, but such distinction is to be eliminated.