In accordance with the provisions of Article 4 of the Visa Regulation 2001/539, Member States may exempt seafarers from the visa requirement in order to perform their duties.
In this regard, Malta has notified the EU Commission that civilian sea crew members do not require a visa in such case.
In view of such exemption, civilian sea crew members who proceed to Malta directly from a third-country to join a ship berthed in Malta do not require a visa. The following procedure shall, however, apply in such cases.
The agent shall proceed to the Police Visa Office, in good time, in order to notify the Immigration Authorities of the intended on-signers. The agent or any person, who is deemed by the Immigration Authorities as a bona fide representative of the seafarer, shall submit a covering letter with the following information which clearly identifies the company/vessel, that is:
- Name and Surname of the Seafarer
- Date of Birth
- Name of Vessel and location
- Passport Number and validity (photocopy is to be submitted)
- Seaman’s Book (photocopy is to be submitted)
- Flight Details
- Additional information may be requested on a case-by-case basis
In accordance with the Visa Code Regulation, it is mandatory that whenever seafarers are due to enter via a Member State’s airport, the competent authorities of the Member State’s port shall inform the competent authorities of the Member State’s airport of entry by filling in the attached form for seafarers in transit who are subject to visa requirements. In the case of Malta, this is done as explained hereunder.
The said form shall be submitted by the Agent or an authorized person to the Police Visa Office, which needs to be endorsed by the latter after carrying the necessary verifications. A copy will be kept for record purposes. The Agent or authorized person shall transmit the form as explained in the previous paragraph.
In this regard, all agents and authorized persons are encouraged to make the necessary arrangements so that the flight itineraries of the sea crew members proceeding to Malta shall avoid transit through other Member States that may impose a visa. Should they opt to transit in other Member States, all responsibilities vis-à-vis the fulfilment of any immigration obligations rests solely on the agent /authorized person/seafarer. Moreover, efforts are to be made to ensure that the crew member arrives on a date when the vessel will either be in Malta or else due to arrive.
Upon receipt of the form, the Police Office will carry out the necessary security checks. The authorisation for the seafarer to travel to Malta will be endorsed on the same form, which will be handed to the agent/authorized person. A copy of the endorsed form will be sent to the Immigration Police at MIA.
The agent or authorized person shall take all the required necessary action in order to facilitate the embarkation of seafarers at the third-country’s airport of departure.
The Immigration Police at MIA shall follow up on the arrival of the seafarer by stamping his/her passport with a normal arrival stamp (no endorsement). It is to be emphasized that the crew members’ arrival should be scheduled to be after the vessel’s expected arrival time in Malta. Should this not be possible, agents shall inform the Principal Immigration Officer and provide reasons for the relative circumstances. The crew members will be given the authorization to enter Malta at an earlier date before the vessel’s arrival in Malta at the discretion of the Principal Immigration Officer and only if the Principal Immigration Officer is satisfied that the early arrival of the crew is justified.
Notwithstanding anything stated above, certain nationalities may still opt to apply for an entry visa. Currently, these nationalities include but are not limited to Chinese, Libyans, Egyptians, and Tunisians.
The same conditions for departing crew shall apply as those applicable for the arriving crew, whereby it is to be re-iterated that the disembarking crew should have travel arrangements available to leave Malta immediately following their disembarkation and shall depart from Schengen territory through Malta. Requests for disembarkation and immediate same day repatriation, with a maximum stay in Malta not exceeding 36 hours, shall be lodged with seaport police on [email protected]. Seaport Police shall only authorize the disembarkation after having verified that the flight details of the disembarking crew is via non-Schengen and scheduled on the earliest possible flight, which will not exceed 36 hours from disembarkation. The agent shall confirm to the Principal Immigration Officer on [email protected] that the seafarer has actually left Malta as scheduled.
In view of the current COVID-19 exceptional circumstances (and without prejudice to any COVID-19 requirements imposed by the Health Authorities), a justified request for a temporary authorization to stay over for a longer period shall be lodged with Central Visa Unit whenever there is no possible means to leave Malta immediately within 36 hours of disembarkation. In exceptional cases only, this request may be fulfilled subject to the necessary verification, confirming that an earlier departure could not be secured (please refer to Annex 1). Requests for such an extension are in addition to the above-mentioned process with regards to the submission of the relative request and form to the Police Immigration Office.
Such requests shall be lodged not later than 48 hours prior to the scheduled disembarkation of the seafarer. The authorization granted by Identity Malta’s Central Visa Unit shall also be communicated to the Principal Immigration Officer.
Applications for disembarkation and such temporary authorization to stay should be submitted to Identity Malta’s Central Visa Unit on [email protected] together with copies of the traveller’s passport bio-page and the departure flight tickets.
In this case, the agent shall also inform the Principal Immigration Officer on [email protected] and confirm that the seafarer has actually left Malta as scheduled.
Extensions of stay in exceptional circumstances beyond the initial 36 hours from the date of arrival prior to departure from Malta.
As already explained, following arrival in Malta and the approval by the Police Immigration Office to disembark, the seafarer shall not need any further authorisation to remain here for the first 36 hours since his/her arrival.
Identity Malta’s Central Visa Unit shall review on a case-by-case basis justified requests for seafarers to extend their stay in Malta beyond the said 36 hours. It is to be emphasised that such requests will not be fulfilled unless there are exceptional circumstances which are supported by documentary evidence. This extension shall cover the seafarer’s period of stay until his/her departure which shall not be for more than 48 hours in addition to the above mentioned 36 hours.
Requests to extend further the total period of 84 hours mentioned above shall be only fulfilled by the Central Visa Unit in very rare exceptional circumstances and to cover only a few hours in addition to the said 84 hours.