COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Malta is a small, developed, democratic Mediterranean island nation, positioned as a cultural stepping-stone between Europe and North Africa. Malta became a member of the European Union in 2004, and became a full member of the Schengen Area in 2008. Tourist facilities of all categories are widely available. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet for additional information on U.S.-Malta relations.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you aregoing to live in or visit Malta, please take the time to tell our U.S. Embassy about your trip. If you enroll with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency. Here is the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.
The Consular Section is open for American Citizen Services Mondays and Fridays from 8:00-11:00 a.m. and Wednesdays from 1:00-4:00 p.m. All non-emergency services are by appointment only.
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: Malta is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Malta for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. The passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. For further details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen Fact sheet.
For further information concerning entry requirements for Malta, travelers should contact the Embassy of Malta at 2017 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20008, tel.: (202) 462-3611, or the Maltese Consulate in New York City, tel.: (212) 725-2345.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Malta.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: While no indigenous or transnational terrorist groups are known to be active in Malta, due to it’s geographic location and status as an EU-member country, Malta is used as a logistical transit point for terrorists desiring to enter EU countries illegally or a refuge for terrorists attempting to evade detection.While no terrorist organization has carried out an attack against U.S. interests in Malta in recent years, U.S. Citizens are reminded to be vigilant of their immediate surroundings and exercise caution while in the country.
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CRIME: Malta has a low rate of violent crime, but petty crime has risen in recent years. Most reported incidents of crime involve crimes of opportunity, pick-pocketing, petty theft, and minor assault cases. Recent reporting indicates an increase in more violent crimes, including armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides. Criminals are generally averse to using violence in order to achieve their objective, especially when they encounter any type of resistance from a would-be victim. You should remain aware of your surroundings and heed personal security precautions that are part of everyday life in urban areas within the U.S., particularly when spending time in areas frequented by tourists. Secure your valuables and be aware of pickpockets and purse snatchers; such criminals focus on areas and establishments frequented by foreign tourists. You should be careful in the Paceville nightclub area, where excessive drinking and poor crowd control can lead to violence, including some that appears to be racially motivated. Theft of unattended personal property and car stereos from vehicles is also a common problem. Panhandling is almost non-existent in Malta.
Don’t buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
Malta’s crime victim assistance agency, APPOGG, can be reached by calling their support line (Tel: 179) or visiting their website.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Malta is 112.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Malta, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. For example, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.
You should try to remain aware of local laws and their implications. If you break local laws in Malta, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Malta are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Judicial proceedings in Malta typically last five to seven years and are characterized by lengthy and sometimes unpredictable delays between hearings. Foreign nationals can expect to be denied bail while a court case is ongoing, which can result in lengthy periods of pre-trial detention ranging from several months to several years. Obtaining no-fee legal aid can be a slow and difficult process, delaying already lengthy judicial proceedings.
If you are arrested in Malta, authorities of Malta are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Malta customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning currency restrictions and temporary importation into or export from Malta of items such as firearms, antiquities, or any item that might be deemed to have resale value. It isadvisable to contact the Embassy of Malta in Washington or the Consulate of Malta in New York City for specific information regarding customs requirements. Malta’s customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. The U.S. Council for International Business issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States.
Accessibility: While in Malta, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. The law prohibits both the public and private sectors from discriminating against persons with disabilities in employment, education, health care, access to goods and services, housing, and insurance, and the government effectively enforced these provisions. However, very few public or private spaces in Malta are wheelchair accessible. Many apartments lack elevators. Public transportation and most sidewalks or footpaths, including road crossings, are not accessible for those with mobility challenges. Taxis are readily available, but the cost is substantially higher than public buses.
LGBT RIGHTS: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals enjoy full rights in Malta. LGBT individuals are protected by anti-discrimination laws, and there are no legal or governmental impediments to the organization of LGBT events. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical care is available through public and private hospitals. The quality of medical care in Malta is excellent. Private hospitals generally offer a higher standard of service than the public hospitals.
Good information on vaccinations and other health precautions can be found via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Malta, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Traffic in Malta flows on the left, requiring attentiveness and caution from U.S. visitors accustomed to driving on the right. Additionally, Maltese drivers may drive more aggressively and with less caution than U.S. visitors are used to. Roads flood easily and are often narrow, winding and congested, with poor visibility around curves. Traffic arteries are prone to bottlenecks and accidents. Buses are the primary means of public transportation. Taxis are safe but expensive and are not metered; it is a good practice to agree with the driver in advance on the charge.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Malta’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Malta’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Malta dated April 5, 2012 to update all sections.