General consular assistance
The Directorate for Consular Services and Maltese living Abroad may be described as the showcase of the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade (MFET) as it deals directly with services aimed at the general public. With the invaluable assistance of Maltese diplomatic staff serving abroad, the Directorate provides a broad array of services to Maltese individuals, ranging from medical assistance, assistance to victims of crime and loss or theft of travel documents amongst others.
In such situations, the Directorate acts as the point of contact between the individual who is abroad and his/her family at home, facilitates financial transactions when required, and in countries where Malta has a diplomatic presence, ensures that Maltese diplomatic officials, whenever possible, visit and assist the person in distress. The Directorate also helps in searching for Maltese citizens reported missing while abroad or provides information to the family who seeks information in this regard. All requests for information are treated in full confidentiality.
Arrest or detention while abroad
Whenever a Maltese national is arrested or sentenced by a foreign court, MFET acts as the means of communication between the detained individual and his family in Malta, and tries to ensure that the convicted citizen has access to adequate legal representation in a language that he or she may understand.
Emergency or crisis situations
Whenever a country or region is affected by an emergency or crisis situation, such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack, the Directorate serves as the point of contact between Maltese nationals who may get caught in the crisis and their concerned families at home. In such cases, the Ministry sets up an ad hoc Emergency Crisis Centre, equipped with emergency telephone lines to address the public’s queries. The Directorate also maintains constant communication, through its Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates, with the local authorities where the crisis occurred and with other EU member states to ensure that it receives the latest official information on the particular crisis.
Visa applications and travel advice
The Directorate provides general information concerning visa requirements and visa application procedures to Maltese nationals wishing to travel abroad. It also provides regularly updated travel advice to Maltese nationals who may need to travel to countries where the political situation or otherwise may not be conducive for travel.
The Directorate has a legalisation unit which issues Apostilles or Legalisations. Apostilles and legalisations are authorised endorsements of public or commercial documents that are officially recognised by both the country of issue and the country in which they are to be used.
Local and foreign governments offer a number of scholarships for Maltese citizens who may wish to continue with their studies abroad. Following an official notification of an offered scholarship, the Directorate issues a press release, distributes and receives applications from interested parties, and coordinates interviews, where applicable. The Scholarship Unit within the Directorate also offers practical guidance to successful candidates.
Every legal process that involves Maltese and foreign jurisdictions, seeks the Consular Services Directorate’s assistance, which through its network of Embassies and Consulates abroad, serves as the main point of contact between the juridical authorities of the countries concerned.
The main objective of the Consul on the Move (COTM) Programme is to provide a number of consular services, which normally are available at Malta’s Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates General abroad. The initiative started in 2016 following the introduction of the biometric passport, which require the applicant to physically call at the Mission to apply and have his biometric data captured. Besides passport applications, the services offered through the COTM include applications for life events certificates and Maltese citizenship. The Programme conforms with the government’s policy to bring its services closer to the citizens. Currently the service is available in five main countries with the largest number of Maltese residents, namely: Canada, USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
The Directorate for Consular Services and Maltese Living Abroad coordinates the annual visits together with the High Commissions, Embassies involved as well as give advice on any issues related to the programme with a view to ensure that the mobile service offered to Maltese citizens resident abroad is of the highest possible level.
Maltese Living Abroad Unit
The Directorate has a Unit specifically dedicated to the Maltese Living Abroad. The Unit has the purpose of safeguarding the interests of Maltese citizens living abroad.
Amongst other issues, the Unit handles the following:
- Gather information and policies advice related to Diaspora issues;
- Keep regular contact with all stakeholders related to the Maltese living abroad;
- Monitor local legislations and EU regulations potentially affecting Maltese Living Abroad;
- Provide consultation and advice to Government on Diaspora matters;
- Maintain close and effective liaison with Malta’s overseas diplomatic missions;
- Keep close contact and assist the Secretary of the Council of Maltese Living Abroad. The Council is established by Act XX of 2011 (CAP 515);
- Ensure the continuation and implementation of decisions made by the Council for the Maltese Living Abroad (CMLA);
- Assist the Secretary of the CMLA in the organization and convening in Malta of the annual CMLA Meeting as well as other meetings taking place from time to time via video-conferencing;
- Assist in the preparation for the Convention for the Maltese Living Abroad;
- Maintain a register of NGO’s and Associations of the Maltese living abroad;
- Maintain a register of successful Maltese living abroad;
- Promote and encourage the voluntary registration of Maltese citizens living abroad, known as Notification D’
Maltese Living Abroad website: https://malteselivingabroad.gov.mt/