Located south of Italy and north of Libya, the tiny Mediterranean country of Malta is considered to be of major importance as a strategic naval base. Because of this the island has been conquered numerous times by various world powers wishing to control shipping from Africa to Europe and beyond.
Malta is not just one island but is actually an archipelago. Only three of the islands are inhabited, these being the three largest islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino and visitors to Malta often incorporate a visit to all three.
From 1813, Malta was under British control and was a base of operations for the British Mediterranean Fleet until the 1930’s. It was not until 1964 that Malta was granted its independence although the British influence is still very evident with English widely spoken, English-style bars and restaurants to be found in abundance and cars driving on the left side of the road.
Little wonder that Malta is a popular holiday destination for British tourists but the tiny island also attracts many visitors from further afield.
Schengen Visa Required for Malta?
Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and became a Schengen member at the end of 2007 and, as such, enforces all the Schengen rules and regulations. This means that a Schengen Visa is required to enter or transit through Malta for all but those visitors who enjoy visa-exempt status.
All nationals of any of the Schengen or European Union member states do not require a visa to visit Malta. This is also the case for nationals of countries on the Schengen visa-exemption list which currently contains around sixty countries across the world. Included on the visa-exemption list are such notable countries as the United States, Canada, Japan, China and Australia. The United Kingdom is also listed despite that country’s exit from the European Union following Brexit.
Citizens of countries that do not qualify for visa-exempt entry are deemed “world travellers” and will require the appropriate type of Schengen Visa to enter or pass through Malta.
Reason for Visit
Malta is a popular tourist destination and most world travellers visiting the country will require a Tourist Visa. This is , however, not the only type of visa and it is important to apply for the form of visa that best describes the reason for the visit.
The main types of Schengen Visa to choose from include:
Word travellers using a Maltese airport to join a connecting flight are not permitted to leave the airport and require an Airport Transit Visa. Travellers may also be required to possess a visa for the final destination country (where applicable) and to show the relevant airline booking.
Generally applicable to seamen, a Transit Visa is for the use of seaports in order to make an onward connection. The same requirements apply as for the Airport Transit Visa but a copy of the Seaman’s Book and letter of employment are also necessary.
World travellers visiting Malta on a short vacation require a Tourist Visa. The application process includes providing proof of adequate funding, accommodation booked, itinerary while in Malta and sufficient health insurance coverage.
Similar to the Tourist Visa but reserved for world travellers visiting family or friends residing in Malta. The same documentation as for a Tourist Visa are required as well as a letter of invitation from the host and copies of the host’s passport and a Maltese Declaration of Proof form.
World travellers visiting Malta for business purposes should possess a Business Visa which is easier to acquire than most other forms of visa. Documentation required includes a letter of invitation from, and details of, the Maltese company being visited and proof of adequate finances for the visit.
Students on short courses or training programmes in Malta require a Study Visa. The student needs to provide various documents including an acceptance letter from the educational institute concerned, a no objection letter stating the student will leave Malta at the end of the course and also show adequate funds to cover the entire stay.
World travellers requiring medical attention or treatment in Malta are required to possess a Medical Visa for this purpose. The application process includes the supply of the applicant’s medical records, confirmation of treatment by a Maltese medical professional or institute and proof of payment made in full or agreed payment plan.
These are the most commonly sought types of Schengen Visa for Malta but there are others available to cover a number of situations. These include visas for cultural, sporting or religious events, spouses of Maltese nationals and members of visiting foreign delegations invited to Malta in an official capacity.
Because there are so many to choose from, it is extremely important to select the form of visa that best matches the main purpose of the visit to Malta. Choosing the wrong type of visa can result in confusion and delay or even a refusal of the visa application.
Submitting the Visa Application
Having selected the type of visa that best describes the purpose of the visit, the process of submitting the application can be broken down as follows:
- Fill out the Schengen Visa application form and sign and date where required.
- Collect and collate all the supporting documentation requested.
- Make an appointment at the nearest Maltese consulate, embassy or designated visa processing centre.
- Attend the personal interview bringing all necessary documentation.
The personal interview is an opportunity for the embassy official to meet an applicant in person and go through the documentation supplied. Basic questions regarding the purpose of the visit and the applicant’s plans while in Malta can be expected but the meeting is largely a formality.
An applicant’s fingerprints will be taken as part of the security protocol and payment in full for the visa taken. Once the meeting is over and payment made, the visa should be granted within three to five days although a wait of up to two weeks is not unusual. For this reason it is advisable to submit an application approximately six weeks before the intended date of travel but no sooner as applications lodged three months before a visit to Malta will not be accepted.