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Family Members and Marriage for Expats in Malta

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: November 2013

Family Members

Ideally, when you immigrate to another country, you are able to bring your partner and children with you at the same time. If this is not financially or otherwise possible, you may need to spend some time working in Malta, and possibly sending money to your home country to help support your family. Once you have started to familiarise yourself with Malta, and found some suitable family accommodation, and perhaps looked into schools and such things, you may find it easier to move the rest of your family into the country.

If you are a citizen of the European Economic Area or Switzerland and have gained ordinary residence, your close relatives (children, parents and grandparents) are also allowed to take up residence in Malta. However, your partner and extended family members are not granted residence.

If you are a non-EEA citizens, you must reside in Malta for at least a year before you can apply for other family members to take up residence. You also need to have suitable accommodation and a steady income or sufficient savings. In this case, other family members include your minor children and your spouse’s. After two years of residence, family members are usually allowed to reside with you in Malta, though they may require visas and will need to obtain their own residence permits.

The four options for Maltese education are state, private, church and international schools. There are two international secondary schools in Malta, both in the Harbour area: St Edward’s College in Vittoriosa is a boys-only Catholic school based on the British model, and the Verdala International School in Pembroke, which is for both boys and girls and is based on US education. Private and Church schools are much sought-after and it may be hard to obtain a place.

State education in Malta is also based on the British model. Thanks to generous government investment, the education provided is of a very high standard and is free for both locals and expats. Some of the classes in state schools are taught in Maltese, whereas English is the main teaching medium in private schools. This could potentially put you off state schools if your stay in Malta is short-term, as you may think that Maltese is a ‘useless language.’ However, there really is no such thing. More than half the world’s people are at least bilingual, and besides, learning Maltese helps you to learn both Arabic and Italian.

The Maltese health care service is modelled on the UK’s National Health Service but is more efficient; it was ranked 5th in the world in a recent WHO Report. The service is funded by means of taxation and is free to locals and all EU members on provision of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you are from a non-EU country and are not working in Malta, you will have to take out private health insurance. If you start working, you will be contributing to the Maltese health service and will therefore be covered.

Marriage

As there are no residency requirements, getting married in Malta is a quite a simple procedure. Registration is a little more expensive if both you and your partner are resident outside Malta. The minimum age you can marry without any restrictions in Malta is 18. To get married between 16 and 18 requires parental consent. 

The next step is to fill in a Request for the Publication of Banns. You must submit this form, together with the registration fee, which ranges from €23.29 to €93.17, more than six weeks but less than three months before the ceremony takes place. Other documents you will need to send are as follows:

Both parties must fill in Declarations of Oath, then sign them in the presence of a qualified official. Said official must be a Commissioner of Oaths, either from your country’s Maltese embassy or consulate, or a legal personage such as a solicitor, judge or notary. The official must date and stamp the forms.

Otherwise, you must produce documentation that proves that you are fit to marry. This will simply be a Free Status Certificate for unmarried couples. Those who have been previously married need to supply evidence that the marriage has now officially ended, e.g. divorce certificates, death certificates. Documents not in Maltese or English must have legally certified translations attached. You will then be issued with permission to marry and are free to continue to the last step, the marriage ceremony.

 

 



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