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 on Malta for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Malta, please take the time to tell the 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.
U.S. Embassy – Malta
Ta’Qali National Park Street
Attard ATD 4000
Telephone: (356) 2561-4000
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 http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1468.html.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: No indigenous terrorist or extremist groups are known to be active in Malta and no foreign terrorist organization has carried out an attack against U.S. interests in Malta in recent years. Due to its geographic location and status as an EU-member country, Malta could be used as a possible staging point for terrorists desiring to enter other EU countries or as a refuge for terrorists attempting to evade detection. U.S. citizens are reminded to remain alert and aware of their immediate surroundings and exercise caution when out and about in Malta.
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CRIME: Malta is rated Medium for crime by the Department of State. Most reported incidents are crimes of opportunity for immediate gain, such as simple assault, pick-pocketing, and petty theft. In general, criminals in Malta have avoided using violence in order to achieve their objective. However, while armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides are not as common as in some major U.S. cities, they do occur. . Practice the same good, common-sense personal security precautions that are part of everyday life in urban areas within the United States, 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 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. The bootlegs are illegal to bring back into the United States, and if you purchase them, you are also 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 U.S. Embassy. 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, and criminal penalties vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in Malta, 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 also a crime prosecutable in the United States.
If you break local laws in Malta, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not in any country you visit. 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 ARRESTED: If you are arrested in Malta, authorities of Malta are required to notify the U.S. Embassy 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 U.S. Embassy of your arrest. Malta’s laws on rights of arrestees are different from the United States. For example, once you have contacted a lawyer, you lose your right to remain silent.
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 is advisable to contact the Embassy of Malta in Washington, D.C. 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.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips on the Women Travelers page on Travel.State.gov.
LGBT RIGHTS: There are no known safety and security issues of concern for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Malta. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
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.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical care is available through public and private hospitals. The quality of medical care in Malta ranges from adequate to good. Medical Specialists are few with many choosing to work in other countries. Private hospitals generally offer a higher standard of service than the public hospitals. One public hospital in Malta has adequate emergency room and trauma facilities, but its capacity is limited.
Good information on vaccinations and other health precautions can be found on 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.
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MEDICAL INSURANCE: It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether your medical insurance will cover you while travelling 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 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 visitors are used to seeing in the United States. 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 June 5, 2013 to update the section on Crime, Criminal Penalties, Medical Facilities and Health Information, and Special Circumstances.