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Moving to a foreign country is never going to be easy, especially when all that you previously took for granted suddenly becomes new and unfamiliar. In order to get a job, a bank account, a home or healthcare you need to complete various forms and take with you original copies of many documents to prove who you are. The process can be complicated but you can give yourself a good head start by knowing what you need, where to get it, how to get it and when to get it.
Given the recent confusion in Malta about the new ID cards, this is your ultimate guide to becoming fully integrated (or re-integrated) into the Maltese system. So get ready to print it out.
Do I Need a Maltese ID Card?
The Malta ID card, simply put, made the transition to Malta a whole lot easier and was often the first thing on your to-do list.
All of the other essential tasks you needed to do once you'd moved to Malta, such as getting a job and opening a bank account become so much easier with this card. In fact everyday living became a breeze, as you could use your ID card for a mobile phone subscription, Internet contract, hiring a car, cheaper bus fares, renting DVDs, supermarket loyalty cards, registering with a doctor, etc.
Every resident of Malta has an ID card and the process of getting one was either very simple and straightforward or complicated and almost impossible depending on which website or forum you happened to be reading. You took your passport (and marriage/divorce certificate for women) down to the Electoral Commission office in Valetta, filled out an application form, had your picture taken, then waited for the confirmation letter in the post and picked up your card.
Yet all this has now changed with the arrival of the new e-Residence cards for non-Maltese nationals.
How to Get an e-Residence Card
Old Malta ID cards for both nationals and non-nationals were officially discontinued after 31st December 2012 and non-Maltese nationals had until March 31st to apply for the new e-Residence card. Old residence permits will also be invalid after June 30.
The e-Residence Permit system was introduced from January 10th 2013 and can be obtained from the Department of Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs by both EU and non-EU residents who wish to live in Malta.
You have to submit your application at the DCEA office located at Evans Building, St. Elmo Place, Valletta (the building that houses the Passport Office, the Electoral Office, and the Identity Cards Office).
The relevant department is open:
· on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays (for EU Citizens only),
· on Fridays (for Third Country Nationals)
between 0830 and 1130.
Any correspondence requesting information about the applications submitted must be made via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, although many emails were bouncing due to an overloaded system. If your email doesn't bounce then chances are that it was delivered. One can also attend at the CEAD in person.
Once your application has been processed then your card can be collected from the CEAD, Evans Building, St. Elmo Place, Valletta.
E-Residence cards will need updating every five years.
Differences Between Old Malta ID Cards and E-Residence Cards
The main difference between the ID cards and these new e-Residence permits seem to be biometric. This means that your e-Residence card will be evidence of your permission to reside in Malta, any conditions relating to that and your right to access certain public services.
It replaces both the Malta ID cards and the paper residence permits.
All the benefits previously enjoyed by holders of the ID Card have been transferred to the e-Residence card.
Documents Needed for Application of e-Residence Permit
Application forms for e-Residence cards can either be collected directly from the Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs or they can be downloaded from the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security website.
If you are an EU citizen and already have a valid registration certificate that was issued by the DCEA, you only need to produce this along with your passport and application form.
If you are applying for an e-Residence card and you do not have either a residence form or a Maltese ID card, or you are a non-EU national, then producing the following documents will considerably speed up the process.
Documentation for e-Residence Card for EU Nationals
If you want to work in Malta and have just arrived, then you will need the following original documents:
- Original and copy of passport
- Original and copy offer of employment
If you are applying for permanent residency (for which you will have been resident in Malta for 5 years) then you need:
- Letter addressed to the Director which indicates when you arrived in Malta and any periods of absence from Malta in the last 5 years.
- Proof of employment/self employment
- Rental agreement/utility bills/tax payments/bank statements (for past 5 years)
If you are in Malta to study then bring with you both original and copies of:
- Letter of acceptance from the educational institution you will be attending
- Health insurance
- Proof of sufficient financial means for the duration of your stay
E-Residence forms for family members will simply need passports and birth/marriage certificates.
Documentation for e-Residence Permits for Non-EU Members
Originals and copies of the documents needed by Non-EU members are the same as the EU members listed, the only difference being that you will need your employment licence as issued by the ETC.
Do remember that every application is different and so the staff may ask you for additional documentation. Our advice, no matter which category you fall under, is to take one original and two copies of:
- Birth/marriage certificate
- Visa (if applicable)
- Bank statements for at least a year (5 years if applying for permanent residency)
- Job or college offer letter
- Utility bills from old address and new Malta address if applicable
- Proof of where you are staying
- Health insurance if applicable
- 2 passport sized photographs
- Proof of income such as pension, payslips, etc
Please do note that IF you are not an EU resident and your country is listed as a third-country on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website then you will also need to apply for a visa to enter Malta. Here is a list of third countries whose nationals are subject to visa requirements.