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Countries Information & Lifestyle
 Malta Malta

Country Information & Lifestyle

 George Cross Island

George Cross Island

Welcome to Malta. George Cross Island. Malta is actually an archipelago of four islands Malta, the commercial and cultural centre, Gozo its more rural sister, Comino which is largely uninhabited and Filfla which is not. There are two other smaller islands, Cominotto and St Paul's, which are also uninhabited.

The Maltese Islands enjoy a healthy climate, three hundred days of sunshine, with mild winters and a hot summer season. Cold winds, snow, frost and fog are unknown. Rain falls between September and April. It seldom rains after April, and nearly never in summertime.

Valletta the capital is brimming with history and is inextricably linked to the history and military and charitable order of St.John of Jerusalem. There is splendid Baroque architecture, squares and alleys, traditional wooden balconies, monuments, museums, palaces, forts, bastions, churches and more than its fair share of restaurants, cafes and shops.

The Grand Harbour is one of the world's largest and deepest natural harbours and has played a central role in Maltese history since the Phoenician times. Valletta Waterfront is where the cruise liners come in and is lined with quality restaurants, cafes and shops. From Upper Barrakka Gardens you can have a panoramic view of the Harbour and the Three Cities.

The main street of Valletta, Republic Street, runs down the whole length of the capital and is the main commercial street on the island. Here you can find shops selling all and sundry from expensive branded products to more mainstream items.

Medina is one of the prettiest ancient walled cities you will find anywhere. Perched upon one of Malta's highest promontories it commands a superb view of Malta which never fails to inspire and amaze. Stroll around its narrow, winding, cobbled streets and you are sure to encounter one or more artists painting a picture.

Let yourself be further enchanted by the mellow light of the wall-hanging lanterns in the evening time, and dine in one of the venues located within the historic buildings which dish out local and international treats.

The older part of Rabat with its winding, narrow streets is characteristic of old villages in Malta. St. Paul's and St. Agatha's catacombs are two interesting sites which were used by the Romans as underground cemeteries but are probably older.

Dingli is a quaint village on the west coast of Malta, perched on a plateau some 200 metres above sea level. The renowned Dingli Cliffs make a perpendicular plunge into the Mediterranean Sea hundreds of meters below sea level. Seek out the medieval hamlet of rural dwellings located on the ledge of a cliff above the fertile valley known as the site of Is-Simblija. Towering above the Buskett Gardens is the Verdala Castle, today it is the summer residence of the President of Malta.

Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea together known as The Three Cities are situated on the other side of the Grand Harbour from Valletta. This historical area has been left rather unexplored by tourists and they have largely retained their past architectural glory.

Most of the South of Malta is out of the standard tourist trail. This is the working-class and less affluent region of the island and no major hotels are to be found here. The villages here are the soul of Malta and each village has its own parish church and adjacent square where the locals meet up to exchange gossip or simply waste away the days watching the world go by.

Situated on the east coast is St.Julians, one of the major tourist resorts of Malta. St Julians is the entertainment capital offering anything you can imagine that is fun and leisure. Paceville, a small district within St Julians, is the definite nightlife hot spot. There are an array of clubs, casinos, bars, restaurants, hotels, health spas, cinemas, bowling, water sports, rocky and sandy beaches, shopping you name it, it's bound to be there!

Sliema is a place to be. Popular with the Maltese, who will often choose one of its many cafes or restaurants for business or social meetings or for shopping for well-known brands. Here is the opportunity to walk out of a massive, old church into a cool shopping complex lying just next door; to sit in the sun under palm-trees admiring a gorgeous view of Valletta and Manoel island lying across Marsamxett Harbour; to take a walk along the long Sliema Promenade all the way to St Julians, admiring open sea-views all the way; to take a swim in the deep, crystal clear waters at one of its rocky beaches...Sliema is simply a place for enjoyment!

Northern Malta is where you can relax on some of the prettiest beaches in the Mediterranean. Alternatively, catch the 30-minute ferry or sea plane to the locals favourite hideaway Gozo and enjoy the slower pace of rural life in this picturesque island. It also offers the most incredible spots for diving and has some renowned fabulous dive sites. It is only a stone throw away from the crystal clear waters of the Blue Lagoon in Comino.

The tranquillity and pleasant environment of Gozo has made this sister island of Malta one of the most sought after holiday destinations amongst both Maltese and foreign visitors. Gozo is steeped in myth and is thought to be the legendary Calypso's isle of Homer's Odyssey. Surrounded by crystal clear sea and you will find quaint and charming villages seemingly untouched for centuries, walled cities dating back to the Knights of the Order of St.John, full of old world charm, megalithic temples of the Ancient World, and tranquil, rural farmhouses dotted all over the picturesque and unspoiled countryside.

Tiny Comino is the ultimate escape, all year round. Car-free and carefree, it makes an excellent choice for those who want seclusion or to make the most of water sports. The Isle's Blue Lagoon, with its safe bathing in turquoise waters, makes an idyllic day out by boat. The is has only one hotel and is otherwise uninhabited and is surrounded by the most scintillating and transparent waters in the Mediterranean.

Malta is steeped in traditions and the traditional Maltese weddings featured the bridal party walking in procession beneath an ornate canopy, from the home of the bride's family to the parish church, with singers trailing behind serenading the bride and groom. The Maltese word for this custom is il-ń°ilwa. This custom along with many others has long since disappeared from the Islands, in the face of modern practices.

The cuisine of the Maltese Islands is an eclectic mix of Mediterranean cooking. Fish fresh from the surrounding Mediterranean Sea is a consistent feature in the cuisine, especially aliotta, a delicious garlicky fish. Sample gbejniet, the local sheep's cheese, zalzett, coriander flavoured Maltese sausage with galletti and broad bean pate, served with Maltese bread and olive oil, or on a cold day hot pastizzi, savory ricotta filled pastries or bowls of golden minestra, a very thick vegetable soup.

Summer days on the beach means hobs biz-zejt, a popular snack made from a thick slice of Maltese bread, rubbed with juicy, red tomatoes and topped with mint, a little onion, sheep's cheese and anchovies all soaked in delicious green olive oil.

We are sure this has given you a taste of sunshine and a taste of Malta, and before long you will be heading to these beautiful islands to experience it all for your self.

Purchasing a Property

Citizens of all European Union member states, who have resided in Malta continually for a minimum period of five years at any time preceding the date of acquisition, may freely acquire more than one immovable property without necessity of obtaining a permit. EU Citizens, who have not resided in Malta for at least five years, but have the intention of purchasing their primary residence (take up residence in Malta), do not require a permit, under chapter 246, nor do they require a permit to purchase immovable property required for their business activities or supply of services.

Acquisition of Companies - A body of persons, other than a commercial partnership, established in, and operating from a European Union member state may freely acquire immovable property that is required for the purpose for which it has been set up as long as it is directly controlled by citizens of the European Union Member state who has resided in Malta continuously for five years.

A commercial partnership established and operating from a European member state (therefore including Malta) may freely acquire immovable property that is required for the purpose for which it has been set up as long as such partnership is controlled by and at least 75% of its share capital is held by a person (or persons) who is a European Union member state citizen and who has resided in Malta continuously for five years.

Any other body of persons require a permit, which is only granted if the property is required for an industrial or touristic project or as a contributor to the development of the economy of Malta. Permission may be refused for the purchasing of property, which is considered to be of historical interest. There are some restrictions on what types of real estate a foreign national can own in Malta.

Generally speaking, a foreign national is able to buy one piece of residential property that will be used as that person's primary residence or that will be used by that person as a holiday residence during part of the year.

With this in mind, an individual foreign national is not able as a general rule to buy commercial or industrial real estate in Malta. There are some instances in which a foreign national will join with citizens of Malta to form a joint legal venture -- usually in the form of a limited liability company -- to by non-residential real estate. It is important to keep in mind that this type of arrangement does require approval from different governmental agencies in Malta.

Even for EU member state nationals (Malta is now a part of the European Union) the ability to own real estate in the country is limited at this point in time. There is some natural and necessary movement to relax different real estate laws in regard to foreign nationals in the future to bring Malta more in line with the open market concept that is the centrepiece of EU membership.

It is important to seek the advice of an attorney who specialises in real estate who will be able to give you full information, this is just a guide.

Fees & Taxes

Duty on document or transfer tax 5% of the value of the property.

Notarial fees 1% approximately.

Searches & Registration 600 euros.

Legal fees between 1%-1.5%.

Ministry of Finance fee Lm100 on application for an Acquisition of Immovable Property Permit 9A.I.P Permit). This is applicable only to non-residents.

These expenses are the liability of the purchaser, while the brokerage fee is the responsibility of the vendor.


Visas

Entry requirements for Americans, Canadians, Australians, Irish nationals, New Zealander : US citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Malta. No visa is required, for stays of up to 90 days.

South African citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Malta and a visa is required.

British citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Malta. Passport exemptions apply to holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar authorities, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom'. A visa is not required for passports endorsed British Citizen; nor for holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar authorities, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom'.

No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days, for holders of passports endorsed British National (Overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizen (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and British Subject (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom).

Passport/Visa Note: The border-less region known as the Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries.

Additionally, non-EEA passengers to Malta must hold return/onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country. For visitors who are visa-exempt, extensions of stay are possible, by reporting to the Police Headquarters in Malta, no later than one week prior to the expiration of the period of visa exemption.

Note that a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required, if arriving within six days of leaving or transiting through an infected area. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

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