Central Visa Unit
The Central Visa Unit (CVU) is the government’s immigration central authority responsible for the implementation of national visa policies and the provisions under the Schengen acquis (as far as visa matters are concerned). The responsibility of issuing a visa is shared with Malta’s Diplomatic Missions abroad.
The Central Visa Unit is committed to facilitate the issuance of a visa to all applicants, who have a valid and genuine reason to reach the Maltese territory.
What is a Visa?
A visa is an authorisation in the form of a sticker affixed to a passport which authorizes the bearer to stay in or travel through Malta during a limited, specified, period. The possession of a visa does not give the third country national the automatic right of entry, as bearers must prove that they will meet the conditions of entry.
Notwithstanding the possession of a visa, border control authorities may refuse entry or annul the visa if it is established that:
- the bearer is not in possession of adequate means of subsistence;
- the data submitted during the visa application produced was incorrect or falsified;
- the bearer is unable to provide details regarding the circumstances of his/her stay in Malta.
Border control authorities may refuse entry also for reasons of security or public policy. Malta mainly issues two (2) types of visas:
- The Schengen Visa (short stay), which is issued for a period not exceeding 90 days and is regulated by the EU’s harmonized provisions; &
- The National Visa (long stay / D-Visa), which is issued for a period exceeding 90 days, but no longer than 365 days, and in accordance with national rules.
The Schengen area and cooperation originate from the Schengen Agreement of 1985.
It represents a territory where the free movement of persons is guaranteed. The signatory States to the agreement have abolished all internal borders in lieu of a single external border. Therefore, common rules and procedures are applied to visas for short-stays, asylum requests and border controls. Simultaneously, cooperation and coordination between Police services and judicial authorities guarantee security. Schengen cooperation was incorporated into the European Union legal framework by the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997.
A Schengen visa is an authorization issued by a Schengen State with a view to:
- transit through or an intended stay in the territory of the Schengen States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180 days period (“short stay visa”),
- transit through the international transit areas of airports of the Schengen States (“airport transit visa”).
Schengen Member States
To date, a total of 26 countries adhere to the Schengen Agreement; 22 EU Member States and another four (4) Associated States (non EU Member States) have abolished border control and have fully implement the Schengen acquis in relation to the issuance of a visa. The 26 Schengen Member States are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland*, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein*, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway*, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland*
(* Non EU Member States)
While four (4) EU Members States – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania – are not yet fully-fledged members of the Schengen area and another two (2) – Ireland and the United Kingdom – maintain autonomous visa, immigration and asylum policies and do not participate in Schengen cooperation.
The key rules adopted within the Schengen framework include:
- Removal of checks on persons at the internal borders;
- A common set of rules applying to people crossing the external borders of the EU Member States;
- Harmonisation of the conditions of entry and visas rules for short stays;
- Enhanced police cooperation (including rights of cross-border surveillance and hot pursuit);
- Stronger judicial cooperation through a faster extradition system and transfer of enforcement of criminal judgments;
- Establishment and development of the Schengen Information System (SIS).
The Visa Code establishes the procedures and conditions in issuing visas for short stays (maximum of 90 days during any 180 days) in and transit through EU Member States applying the Schengen acquis in full, and the associated states. Therefore, any visa applications to enter Malta for short stays shall conform to the procedures established by the said Visa Code.
Visa applications must be in writing and should give all the details required on the Visa Application Form (this can be downloaded from this website or acquired from one of Malta’s Diplomatic Missions abroad).
The Visa Application Form must be signed by the applicant, and should include:
- Passport (validity of which must not be less than 3 months); and
- one (1) passport-size photograph (in colour, taken against a white background and the face should be clearly visible);
Time limit for processing a visa application
In most cases, applications are reviewed within seven (7) to fifteen (15) days.In individual cases, where further scrutiny of the application is necessary, the deadline may be extended up to a maximum of 45 calendar days after the application has been considered admissible.
It is recommended not to file a visa application later than fifteen (15) days prior to a planned trip, or otherwise it cannot be guaranteed that the application will be processed in time. Holders of multiple-entry Schengen short-stay visas can lodge a visa application before this visa has expired, provided it has been valid for at least six (6) months. Visa applications of family members of EU citizens will be reviewed in the shortest possible period of time.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION, DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF VISA REQUESTED AND/OR ACCORDING TO THE MISSION/REPRESENTATIVE, SHALL INCLUDE:
- The purpose of the visit;
- Means of transport and for the return journey;
- Means of subsistence (support) during the journey and stay;
- Accommodation arrangements.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION, DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF VISA REQUESTED AND/OR ACCORDING TO THE MISSION/REPRESENTATIVE, SHALL INCLUDE:
- A letter of invitation;
- A summons;
- Certificate of enrolment;
- An organised trip.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS REGARDING MEANS OF TRANSPORT AND RETURN SHALL MEAN:
In support of an application for a short-term or travel visa, applicants must show that they are in possession of adequate and valid individual or group Travel Medical Insurance, which covers any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment. The insurance must be valid throughout the Schengen Member States and should cover the entire period of the person’s stay. The minimum coverage is €30,000.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS REGARDING MEANS OF TRANSPORT AND RETURN SHALL MEAN:
- A valid return ticket; or
- A certificate of a reserved and prepaid journey.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS REGARDING MEANS OF SUBSISTENCE INCLUDE:
- Cash in convertible currency;
- Traveller’s cheques;
- Cheque books for a foreign currency account;
- Credit cards;
- Or any other means that guarantees funds in hard currency.
The level of means of subsistence shall be proportionate to the length and purpose of the stay.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS WITH REGARDS TO THE ACCOMMODATION INCLUDE:
- Hotel reservation or reservation for a similar establishment;
- Documents proving the existence of a lease or a title deed in the applicant’s name to a property situated in the country to be visited;
- Where a third-country national states that he/she shall stay at a person’s home or in an institution, the applicant must present a written declaration (Declaration of Proof) by the host, vouching for his/her commitment to accommodate the third-country national. The Diplomatic Mission and Consular posts will verify such declarations, where such checks are necessary;
- Or present a certificate in the form of a harmonised form, which must be filled in by the host/institution and stamped by the competent authority in Malta (according to the provisions laid down in its national legislation), vouching for the host’s commitment to accommodate the third-country national.
TRAVEL MEDICAL INSURANCE
In support of an application for a short-term or travel visa (including Long-stay visa), applicants must show that they are in possession of adequate and valid individual or group Travel Medical Insurance, which covers any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment. The insurance must be valid throughout the Schengen Member States and should cover the entire period of the person’s stay. The minimum coverage is €30,000.
DECLARATION OF PROOF
Applicants, who are being invited from a reference host person in Malta, must present a Declaration of Proof, whereby, the Maltese host will declare that he/she are able to accommodate the applicant and/or being able to bear the applicant’s living costs and repatriation.
The Declaration of Proof form must contain information about the purpose of the applicant and indicate, in particular, the following:
- Whether its purpose is proof of sponsorship and/or of accommodation;
- Whether the host is an individual, a company or an organisation;
- The host’s identity and contact details;
- The invited applicant(s);
- The accommodation’s address;
- The length and purpose of stay;
- Possible family ties with the host.
It should therefore contain complete and relevant information about the host person extending the invitation, the applicant (as the invited person) and their relationship (including any family relationship), along with the purpose of stay to be covered by visa. The invitation should also state whether the host person extending the invitation will also be the financial guarantor for the applicant.
By completing and signing the Declaration of Proof, the reference host person guarantees to be financially responsible for any expenses incurred in connection with the applicant’s stay in Malta and repatriation, if the applicant fails to return to his/her country of origin before the expiry of the visa applied for.
The Declaration of Proof is to be certified, witnessed and stamped by a legal representative. If any information provided is found to be false or incorrect, the host person, whether an individual, a company or an organisation, is liable to criminal responsibility under the Laws of that particular Member State. In Malta, Articles 188 and 189 of the Criminal Code (Chapter 9 of the Laws of Malta) and Article 32 of the Immigration Act (Chapter 217 of the Laws of Malta) will apply along with any other law or regulation which may be in force at the time of the unlawful declaration.
Bound by Regulations, the list of third-countries whose nationals are subject to the visa requirement when traveling to Malta and/or any other EU Member State are:
|CAPE VERDE||CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC||CHAD|
|COTE D’IVOIRE||CUBA||DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO|
|PAPUA NEW GUINEA||PHILIPPINES||QATAR|
|RUSSIA||RWANDA||SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE|
|SAUDI ARABIA||SENEGAL||SIERRA LEONE|
|SOMALIA||SOUTH AFRICA||SOUTH SUDAN|
Third-country nationals who must be in possession of an airport transit visa when passing through an EU airport international transit areas are:
|Afghanistan||Bangladesh||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
Where To Apply
Visa applications may only be lodged, examined and decided upon by the Consulate in whose jurisdiction the applicant legally resides. A visa application lodged by a third-country national, legally present but not residing in its jurisdiction, may be accepted if the Central Visa Unit considers that the justification provided by the applicant on the submission of application to a particular Consulate of Malta, is both coherent and credible.
The representation agreement with Germany in Botswana, Guinea, Mongolia, Namibia and Togo will be re-activated on 31.10.2022. Representation in Zimbabwe will remain suspended until further notice.
In those countries where Malta is served by a Visa Application Centre, applications are to be submitted through these centres:
|ALGERIA||Malta Visa Application Centre||Algiers|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Oran|
|AUSTRALIA||Malta High Commission||Canberra|
|Consulate General of Malta||Melbourne|
|Consulate General of Malta||Sydney|
|AUSTRIA||Embassy of Malta||Vienna|
|BELGIUM||Embassy of Malta||Brussels|
|CANADA||Consulate General of Malta||Toronto|
|CHINA||Embassy of Malta||Beijing|
|CHINA||Consulate General of Malta||Shanghai|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Beijing|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Changsha|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Chengdu|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Chongqing|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Fuzhou|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Guangzhou|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Hangzhou|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Jinan|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Kunming|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Nanjing|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Shanghai|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Shenyang|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Wuhan|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Xian|
|INDIA||Malta High Commission||New Delhi|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||New Delhi|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Chennai|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Kolkata|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Chandigarh|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Bangalore|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Mumbai|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Kathmandu, Nepal|
|RUSSIAN FEDERATION||Malta Visa Application Centre||Kazan|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Krasnodar|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Krasnoyarsk|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Nizhny Novgorod|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Novosibirsk|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Rostov-on-Don|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Samara|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||St. Petersburg|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Yekaterinburg|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Kaliningrad|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Irkutsk|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Ufa|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Khabarovsk|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Vladivostok|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Omsk|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Murmansk|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Perm|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Saratov|
|SAUDI ARABIA||Embassy of Malta||Riyadh|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Riyadh|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Jeddah|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Al Khobar|
|SPAIN||Embassy of Malta||Madrid|
|SWITZERLAND||Permanent Mission of Malta to the UN||Geneva|
|THE PHILIPPINES||Malta Visa Application Centre||Manila|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Cebu|
|TUNISIA||Embassy of Malta||Tunis|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Tunis|
|TURKEY||Embassy of Malta||Ankara|
|Consulate General of Malta||Istanbul|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Ankara|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Antalya|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Bodrum|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Bursa|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Edirne|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Gaziantep|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Izmir|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Altunizade|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Trabzon|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Harbiye|
|UNITED ARAB EMIRATES||Embassy of Malta||Abu Dhabi|
|Consulate General of Malta||Dubai|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Dubai|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Abu Dhabi|
|UNITED KINGDOM||Malta High Commission||London|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Edinburgh|
|Malta Visa Application Centre||Manchester|
|UNITED STATES OF AMERICA||Embassy of Malta||Washington|
|Permanent Mission of Malta to the UN||New York|
Where Malta has no Diplomatic Mission or Consular post, third-country nationals are obliged to apply for a visa at the following EU Diplomatic Missions and Consular posts, which issue visas in representation of Malta:
|TANZANIA||Embassy of Italy||Dar es Salaam|
|THAILAND||Embassy of Austria||Bangkok|
|TOGO||Embassy of Germany||Lomé|
|UGANDA||Embassy of Italy||Kampala|
|UKRAINE||Embassy of Spain||Kiev|
|UNITED STATES OF AMERICA||Consulate of Italy||Chicago|
|Consulate of Italy||Houston|
|Consulate of Italy||San Francisco|
|URUGUARY||Embassy of Italy||Montevideo|
Conditions for Issuing a Visa
If Malta is the sole or the main destination of the visit, it is the Maltese authorities who shall examine the visa application.
In a country where Malta has no Consular Representation, an application may be submitted with the Consul of another Member State with which Malta has a bilateral agreement with.
Malta has also made arrangements with private external service providers so that an application may be submitted at their offices (including the capturing of biometric features).
A uniform visa may be issued for one or multiple entries with a maximum validity of five (5) years. In certain humanitarian cases, the period of validity of a visa may be extended.
A visa application may be lodged by the applicant at the earliest six (6) months before the intended visit. When lodging an application, the applicant must appear in person, unless this requirement has been waived. Apart from certain exceptions, the applicant must allow the collection of his/her fingerprints. Applicant will be exempted from having their fingerprints captured for a period of 59 months and need to pay the applicable fee. The visa fee may be waived or reduced in individual cases, including cultural, foreign and development policy reasons.
A visa is refused if the applicant:
- Presents a false travel document;
- Gives no justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay;
- Provides no proof of sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of the stay nor for the return to his/her country of origin/residence;
- Has already exhausted the 90 days of the current 180 days period;
- Is subject to an alert in the Schengen Information System (SIS) for the purpose of refusing entry;
- Is considered to be a threat to the public policy, internal security or public health of one of the Member States;
- Provides no proof of travel medical insurance, if applicable;
- Presents supporting documents or statements whose authenticity or reliability is doubtful.
In certain cases, the period of validity of a visa may be extended, while under certain circumstances, the visa may also be annulled or revoked.
Applicants who have been refused or have had their visa annulled or revoked, have the right to appeal against such decision to the Immigration Appeals Board within fifteen (15) days of the notification of such decision. Any communication to the Immigration Appeals Board should be addressed to:
Immigration Appeals Board
15, 1st Floor
City Gate Building,
Visa Appeals Procedure
Whenever a visa application is refused, annulled or revoked by the Maltese authorities, the applicant is issued a refusal letter notifying him/her of the reasons of such refusal.
Applicants who have been refused or have had their visa annulled or revoked, have the right to appeal against such decision to the Immigration Appeals Board within fifteen (15) days of the notification of such decision. Any communication should be in English and addressed to the Immigration Appeals Board as follows:
Immigration Appeals Board
15, 1st Floor
City Gate Building,
Applicants must submit to the Immigration Appeals Board within 15 days a copy of the refusal letter and other supporting documents justifying the grounds on which the decision should be reviewed. Such documents must be certified true copies of original by a lawyer or notary.
Subsequently, the Immigration Appeals Board will notify the person lodging the appeal and the Central Visa Unit with its decision.
Visa Student Application
Third-country nationals attending courses of a duration that does not exceed 90 days are to be issued with a Schengen Short-Stay Visa (C-Visa).
The applicant is to present his/her application at one of the submission points indicated below where the applicant resides or is legally present together with supporting documents:
- Directly at one of Malta’s missions or consular posts;
- At the premises of another Member State representing Malta, or;
- At the premises of an authorised External Service Provider.
Together with his/her application, the applicant is required to submit their biometric data.
If approved, the visa shall be granted on the basis of a multiple entry visa for the duration of the entire course, plus a 7-day grace period, provided that the total amount does not exceed 90 days.
In normal circumstances, the processing time, from the date of submission of the application to the final decision on the application, shall not exceed the period of 15 working days.
The above procedure is not applicable for students who are listed as visa-exempt nationals.
Applicants (including those TCNs who are visa exempt for 90 days) who apply for courses which exceed 90 calendar days are to be issued with a National Long Stay Visa (D-Visa).
Applicants must present their application at one of the submission points indicated below:
- Directly at one of Malta’s missions or consular posts, or;
- At the premises of an authorised External Service Provide.
- In all cases where the course exceeds 90 days, except for higher-education courses recognised by MQRIC at Malta Qualifications Framework Level 5 or higher, the further authorisation to stay in Malta shall be extended by a national D-visa for a maximum period of 365 days counting from the initial date of entry into the Schengen area.
- Students who would require a further authorisation to stay in Malta are required to contact the CVU not before 30 days, and by not later than 21 days, before the expiry of their visa, and present all the required documents including proof of satisfactory performance and attendance.
- If the duration of the course exceeds 365 days and the student would have already exhausted the validity of the national visa, or his/her stay in the Schengen area already exceeded 365 days, the student must apply for a residence permit in order to extend his/ her stay in Malta. Applicants will be required to contact the IMA Expatriates Unit not before 30 days and by not later than 21 days before the expiry of his/her visa and present all the required documents including proof of satisfactory performance and attendance.
- Students (as defined in Subsidiary Legislation 217.22) following a higher-education course which exceeds 90 days must apply for a residence permit before the expiry of their initial authorisation to stay.
- Completed and signed visa application form duly filled in English, together with one recent passport-sized photo;
- Valid passport, showing at least three blank pages, with a validity period beyond the duration of the entire course plus three months;
- Proof of sufficient financial means which are equivalent to 75% of the national minimum wage for every month of study;
- Air ticket/s to the final destination with the return trip, where applicable;
- Host/hotel confirmation for the duration of the course;
- Letter of sponsorship, including a copy of the identification document and contact details of sponsor/s, if the applicant is sponsored by a third party;
- Proof of scholarship, if applicable;
- Students who are not pursuing a higher-education qualification must provide an enrolment/ acceptance letter from a local education institution licensed by the national regulator. For courses below MQF level 5, the documentation must include a confirmation that the student will be covering a minimum of 15 contact hours per week, a copy of the time table and a schedule of lessons per every month of study.
- Students who are pursuing a higher-education qualification must provide an enrolment / acceptance letter from a local education institution licensed by the national regulator. The document must include a confirmation that 60 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) are obtained within a maximum period of one year. The same proportion will be applied for other credit systems. These students also have to present evidence of the times table and a schedule of lessons per every month of study.
- Proof of sufficient language proficiency to be eligible to apply for the selected course of study;
- Travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000;
- Full-refund medical health insurance from a recognised provider covering the entire duration of the course. The policy must cover the entire duration of the course and not the duration of the visa originally issued to the applicant;
- Birth certificate/family book, in case of minors;
- Authorisation of the two parents or legal guardians, in case of minors. The authorisation document has to be duly authenticated. In case of any doubts the Consul may always request further information or documents;
- Passport data page of both parents or legal guardians, in case of minors;
- Proof of payment received by the education institution related to the applicant’s course:
- For courses of a value of up to €1,000, the receipt covering full payment shall be requested;
- For courses of a value of more than €1,000 but less than €2,500, the receipt covering up to 75% of the course shall be requested;
- For courses of a value that is equal to or higher than €2,500, the receipt covering up to 50% of the course shall be requested;
- Any additional documents that may be deemed necessary by the Consular Post.
- Representatives of educational establishments will be requested to submit a list of accepted students to the CVU prior to the commencement of the visa process. Following preliminary checks, CVU will communicate the approved list of students to the respective Consular post or Member State (in case of representation). CVU shall inform the respective educational establishment of the list of students that may submit their application and the relevant submission point. CVU clearance does not equate to an approval of the visa application.
- Normal visa procedures, including interviews with the applicants and additional due diligence procedures, are to be followed at the discretion of the CVU and the Consular Post.
- Consular offices will process student visa applications as provided for by CVU in line with IMA policies.
- Consular offices will keep CVU updated on the outcome of the visa process. They must return the list of applicants together with information about the outcome of their applications.
- CVU shall inform the relevant educational establishment, MEDE and IMA Expatriates Unit of the list of students who have been granted a visa to pursue a study course in Malta.
- Education establishments are obliged to inform MEDE and CVU immediately regarding:
- Non arrivals of student/s in Malta who have therefore not reported to the school;
- Any changes in accommodation arrangements or course of study of the students;
- Unjustified students’ absence from the school, or;
- Any other relevant matters which may lead the authorities to revoke an issued visa or residence permit.
- Schools may be obliged to forward to IMA monthly attendance records of each student issued with a visa or residence permit. IMA may also request a progress report on individual students.
- IMA and the Police Immigration Office may carry out physical inspections at the school and monitor attendance of the students concerned. Any information concerning irregularities of shortcomings by the schools with respect to immigration matters will be passed on to the relevant national regulators for any action which may be deemed appropriate.
Students who do not qualify under the provisions of Subsidiary Legislation 217.22, and are following courses which exceed 90 days, may take up employment in Malta. Access to employment may be granted subject to conditions imposed by Jobsplus, including those sectors where these students would be allowed to work. Students will only be allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week after their first three months of study in Malta. These provisions are subject to change from time to time according to the discretion of the Ministry responsible for Jobsplus.
TCNs pursuing a full-time course leading to a higher education qualification recognised by MQRIC may take up employment for a maximum period of 20 hours per week, starting from their first year of study. In such instances, the student may apply for a work permit upon the issuance a residence permit, which will include specific reference to S.L. 217.22. It must also be noted that an application for a work permit will be considered more favourable if the employment offer is related to the student’s chosen area of studies.
Applicants must pay applicable fees in accordance with Fee Ordinance L.N.287 of 2020.
The Central Visa Unit accepts credit card and cheque payments.
Applicable fees for a long-stay visa application are as follows:
(a) Study purpose €70
(b) Any other purpose €100
Children under the age of six years are free of charge.
Central Visa Unit – Malta
Monday to Friday from 08:00am to 02:00pm
Central Visa Unit – Gozo
Monday to Friday from 08:00am to 12:30pm