Living as an Expat in Malta

1. What are the visa requirements for expats moving to Malta?

1. The visa requirements for expats moving to Malta depend on their nationality and the purpose of their stay. Generally, citizens of EU/EEA countries can enter Malta and stay for up to 90 days without a visa. If they plan to stay longer or work in Malta, they need to apply for a residence permit. Non-EU/EEA citizens, on the other hand, typically need a visa to enter Malta for any purpose. There are different types of visas, such as a short-stay visa (for stays up to 90 days) and a long-stay visa or residence permit (for stays longer than 90 days). It’s important for expats to check the specific visa requirements based on their nationality and reason for moving to Malta, and to apply for the appropriate visa well in advance of their planned move.

2. How easy is it to find accommodation in Malta as an expat?

1. Finding accommodation in Malta as an expat can vary in difficulty depending on various factors such as location, budget, and timing. Generally, rental markets in popular areas like Sliema, St. Julian’s, and Valletta can be competitive and have higher prices compared to other regions on the island. It’s recommended for expats to start their search early, especially during the summer months when tourism is at its peak and demand for housing is high.

2. Online platforms such as Facebook groups, websites like Malta Park, and real estate agencies can provide a good starting point for expats looking for accommodation. Networking and word of mouth can also be beneficial in finding hidden gems or better deals. Additionally, flexibility in terms of the type of accommodation and willingness to explore different neighborhoods can enhance the chances of finding a suitable place to live in Malta as an expat.

3. It’s important for expats to be aware of rental regulations and their rights as tenants in Malta, as the rental market can sometimes be challenging due to high demand. Working with a reputable real estate agent or seeking advice from other expats who have gone through the process can also make the search for accommodation smoother and more successful.

3. What is the cost of living like in Malta for expats?

The cost of living in Malta for expats can vary depending on lifestyle choices and specific locations within the country. Generally speaking, Malta is considered to be an affordable place to live compared to many other European countries.

1. Housing: Rental prices can vary significantly depending on the size and location of the property. In popular areas such as Sliema or St. Julian’s, expats can expect to pay higher rent prices compared to other areas on the island. It is advisable to budget between 800-1200 euros per month for a one-bedroom apartment in these areas.

2. Food and groceries: The cost of groceries in Malta is relatively affordable, especially if you shop at local markets and supermarkets. Eating out at restaurants can be reasonable as well, with plenty of options for different budgets.

3. Transportation: Public transportation in Malta is relatively inexpensive, with a single bus fare costing around 1.50 euros. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also available but can be more costly for regular use.

Overall, while Malta is considered to be affordable for expats, it is essential to budget for housing, transportation, food, and other expenses to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable living experience on the island.

4. How is the healthcare system in Malta for expats?

The healthcare system in Malta for expats is generally considered to be of a high standard. Expats in Malta have access to both public and private healthcare services. The public healthcare system is funded through taxation and provides free or low-cost services to residents, including expats who are legally residing in the country. The public healthcare system in Malta is well-regulated and healthcare professionals are generally highly trained.

1. Expats in Malta can also opt for private healthcare services, which typically offer faster appointments and a wider range of treatment options. Private health insurance is also available for expats who wish to access private healthcare facilities.

2. It is important for expats living in Malta to familiarize themselves with how the healthcare system works in the country, including the procedures for accessing both public and private healthcare services, as well as any costs that may be involved.

3. Overall, expats in Malta can expect to receive quality healthcare services, whether they choose to access the public healthcare system or opt for private healthcare options. It is advisable for expats to research and understand the healthcare system in Malta before moving to the country, in order to ensure they have access to the care they may need during their stay.

5. What are the best areas for expats to live in Malta?

As an expert in living as an expat in Malta, I can confidently say that there are several great areas for expats to consider when choosing where to live on the island.

1. Sliema and St. Julian’s: These areas are popular among expats due to their vibrant nightlife, numerous restaurants, and proximity to beaches and entertainment options. They also offer a diverse range of accommodation options, from modern apartments to traditional townhouses.

2. Valletta: Malta’s capital city, Valletta, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its historic charm, cultural attractions, and beautiful architecture. Expats living in Valletta can enjoy a bustling city lifestyle while being surrounded by history and stunning views of the Grand Harbour.

3. Mellieha: Located in the northern part of the island, Mellieha is a tranquil and picturesque area that is popular among families and expats looking for a more laid-back lifestyle. The town boasts beautiful beaches, countryside views, and a strong sense of community.

4. Msida and Gzira: These neighboring towns are popular among expats due to their central location and affordable housing options. They are also close to the University of Malta and offer easy access to amenities such as supermarkets, restaurants, and public transportation.

5. Gozo: While not technically part of Malta, the neighboring island of Gozo is a popular choice for expats looking for a quieter and more rural lifestyle. With its picturesque villages, stunning landscapes, and slower pace of life, Gozo offers a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of mainland Malta.

Overall, expats in Malta have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing where to live, depending on their preferences for lifestyle, amenities, and proximity to work or other activities. Each area of the island offers its own unique charm and benefits, making it important for expats to carefully consider their priorities and do thorough research before making a decision.

6. How is the job market in Malta for expats?

The job market in Malta for expats can be quite competitive, as the country has a relatively small economy and a high demand for jobs from both locals and foreign workers. However, there are still opportunities available for expats in certain sectors such as iGaming, finance, IT, and tourism. It’s important for expats to have a strong skill set and relevant experience to stand out in the job market in Malta. Networking and being proactive in job searching can also be beneficial for expats looking for employment opportunities in the country. Additionally, having a good understanding of the local job market, work culture, and language requirements can also increase expats’ chances of finding a job in Malta.

7. Is it easy for expats to integrate into Maltese society?

Integrating into Maltese society as an expat can be relatively easy due to the country’s small size, friendly locals, and high proficiency in English among the Maltese population. Here are some key factors that contribute to the ease of integration for expats in Malta:

1. Language: The fact that English is one of Malta’s official languages makes it easier for expats to communicate and interact with the local population. This facilitates social interactions and helps expats navigate their new environment more comfortably.

2. Expatriate Community: Malta has a sizable expatriate community, making it easier for newcomers to connect with like-minded individuals who may share similar experiences, backgrounds, and interests. These expat networks often organize social events, networking opportunities, and mutual support systems, aiding in the integration process.

3. Cultural Similarities: Malta’s history of being a melting pot of Mediterranean cultures has made it relatively open and tolerant to foreigners. The Maltese people are known for their warmth and hospitality, which can make expats feel welcome and more easily integrated into society.

4. Accessibility: Malta’s small size means that everything is relatively close and easily accessible, allowing expats to explore different parts of the country, engage in local customs and traditions, and participate in cultural events and activities.

While integration experiences may vary depending on individual circumstances and personal efforts, overall, Malta’s welcoming attitude, language accessibility, and expatriate support networks contribute to making it relatively easy for expats to integrate into Maltese society.

8. What are the transportation options like for expats in Malta?

Transportation options for expats in Malta are relatively convenient and accessible. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Public transport: Malta has a well-connected bus network operated by the Malta Public Transport (MPT) company. Buses cover most areas of the island and are a popular choice for getting around. The buses are affordable, and the routes are comprehensive, making them a reliable option for expats who don’t have their own vehicle.

2. Taxis: Taxis are widely available in Malta, especially in popular tourist areas. While they are more expensive than buses, they offer a more flexible and convenient way to travel, especially for shorter distances or when traveling late at night.

3. Rental cars: For expats who prefer the freedom of having their own vehicle, renting a car in Malta is a popular choice. There are several car rental companies available, and driving in Malta is relatively straightforward, although parking can be challenging in some areas.

4. Cycling: Malta’s small size and relatively flat terrain make it a great place for cycling. Expats who enjoy cycling can take advantage of the country’s growing network of cycling lanes and paths, as well as the bike-sharing schemes available in some areas.

Overall, expats in Malta have a variety of transportation options to choose from, depending on their preferences and needs. It’s important to consider factors such as cost, convenience, and personal preferences when deciding on the best way to get around the island.

9. How is the quality of education in Malta for expat families?

The quality of education in Malta for expat families is generally considered to be good, with a range of schooling options available to meet the needs of different families. Here are a few key points to consider:

1. Public Schools: Malta’s public school system provides free education for children aged 5 to 16. While these schools may not always have the same level of resources or facilities as private schools, they still offer a solid education with a focus on both academic and personal development.

2. Private Schools: There are several private schools in Malta that cater to the international community, offering a more diverse and global curriculum. These schools often have smaller class sizes, better resources, and a more personalized approach to education.

3. International Schools: Malta is home to a number of international schools that follow foreign curricula such as the British, American, or IB systems. These schools are popular among expat families looking for continuity in their children’s education and a smoother transition between countries.

4. Language of Instruction: In Malta, the language of instruction is primarily English, making it easier for expat children to adapt to the local education system. However, Maltese is also taught in schools as it is one of the official languages of the country.

5. Special Education: Malta provides support for students with special educational needs through its Resource Centers and inclusive education policies, ensuring that all children have access to quality education regardless of their abilities.

Overall, expat families in Malta have a variety of educational options to choose from, ensuring that their children receive a high-quality education that meets their academic and cultural needs.

10. What is the social life like for expats in Malta?

The social life for expats in Malta is vibrant and diverse, offering a wide range of opportunities to connect with fellow expatriates as well as locals.

1. Expats in Malta often find community through various expat groups and clubs, which regularly organize social events, networking opportunities, and cultural activities. These gatherings provide a great way for expats to meet new people, make friends, and feel more at home in their new environment.

2. Additionally, Malta boasts a thriving social scene with numerous bars, restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues where expats can socialize and mingle with both locals and other expats. The island’s small size makes it easy to navigate and meet new people, creating a sense of closeness and camaraderie among the expat community.

3. Many expats in Malta also enjoy taking part in local festivals, events, and traditions, which offer unique insights into Maltese culture and provide opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and integration. Whether attending traditional feasts, music festivals, or sporting events, expats in Malta have plenty of social activities to choose from.

Overall, the social life for expats in Malta is dynamic, inclusive, and welcoming, making it easy for expatriates to build a fulfilling social network and enjoy a rich and diverse social experience while living on the island.

11. How easy is it to open a bank account in Malta as an expat?

As an expat in Malta, opening a bank account can be relatively straightforward. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Documentation: You will typically need to provide valid identification documents, proof of address in Malta, and proof of income or employment.

2. Residency Status: Some banks may require proof of your residency status in Malta, such as a residence permit or visa.

3. Choosing a Bank: There are several local and international banks in Malta, so it’s important to research and choose a bank that best suits your needs as an expat.

4. Meeting Requirements: Once you have gathered the necessary documentation, you can book an appointment with the chosen bank to open your account. Some banks may allow you to start the process online as well.

5. Language: English is widely spoken in Malta, including in the banking sector, so language should not be a barrier when opening an account.

Overall, the process of opening a bank account in Malta as an expat is generally straightforward, provided you have the required documentation and meet the necessary requirements set by the bank of your choice. It is recommended to contact the bank directly to inquire about their specific requirements for expatriates.

12. Are there any cultural differences expats should be aware of in Malta?

Yes, there are several cultural differences expats should be aware of when living in Malta:

1. Language: English and Maltese are the official languages in Malta, but Maltese is the most widely spoken. Although English is commonly used in business and daily interactions, learning a few basic phrases in Maltese can be beneficial and show respect for the local culture.

2. Religion: Malta is predominantly Catholic, and religion plays a significant role in society. Expats should be mindful of religious holidays and customs, and it is important to be respectful of religious practices and traditions.

3. Social Etiquette: Maltese people are known for their warm and friendly nature, but there are certain social customs to be aware of. For example, greetings are important, and a firm handshake is typically exchanged when meeting someone for the first time. It is also customary to address people by their title (Mr., Mrs., or Miss) followed by their last name.

4. Time Management: Maltese culture tends to be more relaxed when it comes to time management. Meetings and social gatherings may not always start promptly, so it is advisable to be patient and flexible.

By being mindful of these cultural differences and showing respect for Maltese customs and traditions, expats can integrate more smoothly into Maltese society and enjoy their experience living in this Mediterranean island nation.

13. How is the weather in Malta for expats?

The weather in Malta is typically quite favorable for expats, with hot summers and mild winters. Here are a few key points to consider regarding the weather in Malta for expats:

1. Summers in Malta are usually hot and dry, with temperatures often exceeding 30°C (86°F). This warm weather can be highly enjoyable for expats, especially if they come from colder or wetter climates.

2. Winters in Malta are mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below 10°C (50°F). This can be a welcome change for expats looking to escape harsh winter conditions in their home country.

3. Spring and autumn in Malta are pleasant, with mild temperatures and generally sunny weather. This can be a great time for expats to explore the island and participate in outdoor activities.

Overall, the weather in Malta is a key attraction for many expats, offering a Mediterranean climate that provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor living and exploration throughout the year.

14. What are the best ways for expats to meet other expats in Malta?

Meeting other expats in Malta is a great way to build connections, share experiences, and find a sense of community in your new home. Here are some of the best ways for expats to connect with others in Malta:

1. Attend expat events and social gatherings: Keep an eye out for expat meetups, community events, and social gatherings in Malta, often organized through expat groups or online platforms. These events are an excellent way to meet like-minded individuals and make new friends in a relaxed setting.

2. Join expat groups and forums: There are several expat groups and forums in Malta where you can connect with fellow expats, ask questions, and share tips and advice. Platforms like Meetup, InterNations, and Facebook groups dedicated to expats in Malta are valuable resources for networking and meeting new people.

3. Take part in language exchange programs: Language exchange programs are a fantastic way to meet both locals and expats while improving your language skills. Participating in language exchange meetups or classes can help you connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds and forge meaningful relationships.

4. Volunteer in the community: Volunteering is not only a rewarding way to give back to the local community but also a great opportunity to meet other expats who share your interests and values. Consider getting involved in volunteer projects or charity organizations in Malta to connect with like-minded individuals.

5. Join sports clubs or hobby groups: If you have a specific hobby or interest, consider joining a sports club, art class, or hobby group in Malta. Engaging in activities you enjoy is a natural way to meet others who share your passions and form friendships organically.

By actively participating in social events, joining expat groups, volunteering, and pursuing your interests, you can expand your social circle and forge meaningful connections with other expats in Malta. Remember to stay open-minded, be proactive in your approach, and embrace the opportunity to build a diverse network of friends in your new home.

15. How safe is Malta for expats?

Malta is generally considered a safe country for expats. The crime rate in Malta is relatively low compared to other European countries, with violent crimes being rare. The country has a strong police presence and maintains a stable political environment, contributing to overall safety. However, like any other destination, expats should still exercise caution, especially in tourist areas where petty crimes such as pickpocketing can occur. It is advisable for expats to take the usual precautions such as securing their belongings and being aware of their surroundings. Malta’s healthcare system is also of a high standard, providing expats with access to quality medical care in case of any emergencies. Overall, expats can feel safe and secure living in Malta.

16. What are the legal requirements for expats driving in Malta?

Expats driving in Malta are required to have a valid driver’s license from their home country or an international driving permit. Additionally, if you are planning to reside in Malta for an extended period, typically over six months, you may need to exchange your foreign driver’s license for a Maltese one. This can be done through the Maltese Transport Authority by providing documentation such as proof of identity, proof of residence in Malta, your current driver’s license, and possibly a medical certificate. It is also important to ensure that your vehicle is properly registered and insured in Malta according to local regulations. Traffic rules and regulations in Malta may differ from those in your home country, so familiarizing yourself with local driving laws is crucial to ensure a safe and legal driving experience in the country.

17. Is it easy for expats to learn the Maltese language?

Learning the Maltese language as an expat can be quite challenging due to its unique characteristics and influences from various languages like Arabic and Italian. However, it is certainly possible with dedication and effort. Here are some points to consider when trying to learn Maltese as an expat:

1. Language Structure: Maltese has a Semitic language structure with a strong Latin influence, making it quite different from major European languages. This can be challenging for expats to grasp initially.

2. Language Resources: Finding resources for learning Maltese can be limited compared to more widely spoken languages. However, there are language schools, online courses, and language exchange programs available to help expats learn.

3. Daily Interaction: Immersing oneself in the local community and practicing the language on a daily basis can significantly speed up the learning process. Interacting with locals and practicing speaking Maltese whenever possible will enhance language skills.

4. Patience: Learning any new language takes time and consistency. Expats should be patient with themselves and not get discouraged by slow progress.

5. Cultural Understanding: Understanding Maltese culture and history can provide valuable context for learning the language. It can also make the learning process more enjoyable and meaningful.

In conclusion, while learning Maltese as an expat may not be easy, it is certainly achievable with the right mindset, resources, and dedication. Embracing the language and culture of Malta can enrich the expat experience and create opportunities for deeper connections within the local community.

18. What are the options for childcare in Malta for expat families?

Expats in Malta have several options for childcare services to assist them in balancing work and family life. These options include:

1. Nurseries and Daycares: There are several nurseries and daycares in Malta that cater to the needs of expat families. These facilities provide childcare services for infants and young children, often offering structured programs and activities to support early childhood development.

2. Childminders: Some expat families in Malta opt to hire childminders who provide in-home childcare services. This option can provide more personalized care for children and the flexibility of individualized schedules.

3. Preschools and Kindergartens: Many expat families choose to enroll their children in preschools or kindergartens in Malta. These early childhood education centers often offer a structured learning environment where children can socialize and develop essential skills.

4. International Schools: For expat families with school-age children, international schools in Malta offer comprehensive educational programs that cater to diverse cultural backgrounds. These schools often provide a supportive environment for expat children to adjust to their new surroundings.

Overall, expat families in Malta have a variety of childcare options to choose from, allowing them to find a solution that fits their preferences and needs while ensuring the well-being and development of their children.

19. How is the process of buying property in Malta as an expat?

As an expat looking to purchase property in Malta, there are several key steps involved in the process:

1. Research and Planning: Before buying property in Malta, it’s important to conduct thorough research on the real estate market, different areas in Malta, property prices, and legal requirements for expats purchasing property.

2. Engage a Real Estate Agent: It is advisable to work with a reputable real estate agent who can assist you in finding suitable properties that meet your criteria and guide you through the buying process.

3. Property Viewing: Once you have shortlisted potential properties, arrange viewings to inspect the properties in person and consider factors such as location, size, condition, and amenities.

4. Make an Offer: If you find a property that you like, you can make an offer to the seller through your real estate agent. Negotiations on price and terms may follow before reaching an agreement.

5. Engage a Notary: In Malta, property transactions must be finalized through a notary. The notary will conduct searches on the property, ensure all legal requirements are met, and facilitate the signing of the final deed of sale.

6. Pay a Deposit: Once the terms of the sale are agreed upon, you will be required to pay a deposit, usually 10% of the property price, to secure the property.

7. Finalize the Sale: The final steps involve completing all necessary paperwork, obtaining the necessary permits (if applicable), and paying the remaining balance of the property price. The final deed of sale will be signed in the presence of the notary.

8. Transfer of Ownership: Upon completion of the sale, the property ownership will be transferred to your name, and you can take possession of the property.

Overall, buying property in Malta as an expat can be a straightforward process if you engage the right professionals and adhere to the legal requirements. It is recommended to seek legal advice and guidance throughout the process to ensure a smooth and successful property purchase.

20. Are there any specific tips or advice for expats considering moving to Malta?

Absolutely! Here are some specific tips and advice for expats considering moving to Malta:

1. Research thoroughly: Before making the move, it’s essential to research everything about Malta, including the cost of living, healthcare system, job opportunities, and lifestyle. This will help you understand what to expect and make informed decisions.

2. Understand the residency process: Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a residence permit to live in Malta. Familiarize yourself with the requirements and process to ensure a smooth transition.

3. Learn the Maltese culture and language: While English is widely spoken in Malta, learning a few basic Maltese phrases and understanding the local culture can help you integrate better into the community.

4. Connect with other expats: Join expat groups or online forums to connect with fellow expats who have already made the move or are planning to. This can provide valuable insights, support, and a sense of community.

5. Be prepared for the weather: Malta has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Make sure to pack appropriate clothing for all seasons and be prepared for the occasional strong winds.

6. Embrace the laid-back lifestyle: Maltese people are known for their relaxed attitude towards life. Embrace the slower pace, enjoy the beautiful beaches, and take time to savor the Mediterranean way of living.

Overall, moving to Malta can be a rewarding experience, but it’s essential to be prepared and informed to ensure a successful transition.