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Moving to Malta

A tiny island packed with immense beauty, Malta's sunny shores and ancient architecture have lured many an expat, whether to find work in this Mediterranean paradise or to simply spend their retirement lounging on the beach.

Located south of Italy, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, Malta holds a strategic position between Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As a result, the island has been sought after through the ages and has been occupied by numerous powerful nations, including Ancient Greece and the British Empire.

Lovers of history and culture will be right at home in Malta with plenty of fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore, such as the city of Valletta, the island's capital, founded by the Knights Hospitaller in 1566. Another must-see is the underground chambers of the Hypogeum, which date back to 3000 BC.

The people of Malta, much like its weather, are warm and welcoming. Along with Maltese, English is the official language of Malta and is spoken by 90 percent of the population, while many locals also speak Italian. As an EU state, Malta is a great spot for EU nationals to live and work as they are free to do so without having to go through lengthy visa applications. On the other hand, non-EU citizens will find it difficult to obtain a work permit unless they have specialised skills relevant to one of the island's fast-growing industries, such as online gaming.

With so much to love about Malta, it's not uncommon for expats to end up spending far longer on the island than they initially intended. The relaxed lifestyle, rich culture and friendly locals make for a pleasant and laid-back life.

Fast facts

Population: Around 440,000

Capital city: Valletta

Neighbouring countries: Malta is an island nation and shares no physical borders with any other country, but is located south of the Italian island of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya.

Geography: Malta is an archipelago located in the Mediterranean Sea. There are three inhabited islands: the main island of Malta, and the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino. 

Political system: Unitary constitutional parliamentary republic

Major religion: Roman Catholicism

Main languages: Maltese and English

Currency: The currency of Malta is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. It is relatively easy for expats to open a bank account in Malta, though there is a fair amount of bureaucracy involved.

Tipping: Tipping is customary in Malta. Between 5 and 10 percent is common if a service charge isn't already included.

Time: GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)

Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Flat three-pin plugs are standard.

Internet domain: .mt

International dialling code: +356

Emergency contacts: 112

Transport and driving: Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road. Malta has an established transport network consisting of buses.

Embassy contacts for Malta

Maltese embassies

  • Malta Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 462 3611

  • Malta High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7292 4800

  • Consulate General of Malta, Toronto, Canada: +1 416 207 0922

  • Consulate General of Malta, Melbourne, Australia: +61 3 9670 8427

  • Consulate of Malta, Johannesburg, South Africa: +27 11 706 3052

  • Embassy of Malta, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 676 2340

  • Consulate of Malta, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 970 2509

Foreign embassies in Malta

  • Embassy of the United States, Malta: +356 2561 4000

  • British High Commission, Malta: +356 2323 0000

  • Consulate of Canada, Malta: +356 2552 3233

  • Australian High Commission, Malta: +356 2133 8201

  • South African Consulate, Malta: +39 2248 5441

  • Embassy of Ireland, Malta: +356 2133 4744

  • New Zealand Consulate, Malta: +356 2143 5025

Public Holidays in Malta




New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

Feast of St Paul's Shipwreck

10 February

10 February

Feast of St Joseph

19 March

19 March

Freedom Day

31 March

31 March

Good Friday

15 April

7 April

Labour Day

1 May

1 May

Sette Giugno

7 June

7 June

Saint Peter and Saint Paul

29 June

29 June

Assumption Day

15 August

15 August

Victory Day

8 September

8 September

Independence Day

21 September

21 September

Immaculate Conception Day

8 December

8 December

Republic Day

13 December

13 December

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Working in Malta

Malta has a highly-industrialised and service-based economy with numerous strong sectors and opportunities. Expats working in Malta will find themselves at a convenient pivot point between Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This also attracts foreign companies and investors, who in turn are a source of employment for expats.

Job market in Malta

Malta's economy depends largely on foreign trade, manufacturing, tourism, IT, online gaming and financial services. There is a growing film industry and many well-known movies have been filmed in Malta. It also houses one of the largest merchant marine fleets in the world, attracting international shipping companies with favourable legislation and low taxes.

Most expats who don’t speak Maltese end up working in IT, internet gaming and call centres, or set up their own business in the country. Smaller businesses prefer local candidates who demand lower salaries and don’t need to adapt as much, while larger companies will often hire from abroad. Another plausible avenue for expats is to work for a Maltese company with foreign interests.

Finding a job in Malta

Although it is easier for citizens of the EU to find work in Malta, this can be difficult for expats from other countries. These foreign nationals require a Maltese work permit which can only be obtained once they secure a local job offer. Third-party nations are required to possess skills that are lacking in the country and must work in a sector with a particular demand for workers.

Expats looking for a job in Malta should search online or through local newspaper listings, or consider working through a recruitment agency. Organisations such as the Malta Chamber of Commerce host seminars and gatherings which provide a good way to network.

Working culture in Malta

The working week in Malta differs according to industry, but a standard 8am to 5pm workday is common. Overall, Malta's working culture is not dissimilar to that of the UK or the USA. Preparedness and punctuality are valued and meetings may skew towards formal. After working hours, however, the Maltese are sociable and often go out for drinks with coworkers. Expats will frequently be invited along and should always accept if possible, as this is a great way to make friends and assimilate into a new environment.

Doing business in Malta

With business practices and etiquette that are similar to elsewhere in Europe and North America, doing business in Malta is not complicated.

Malta is a natural business hub in the Mediterranean owing to its central location, investment incentives, modern infrastructure and political stability. Tourism and the service sector are some of the largest and most lucrative industries in Malta. The country also offers a low-cost venue for manufacturing operations, particularly for electronics, ship building and pharmaceuticals. In addition to being the capital, Valetta is the commercial centre of Malta. 

In the World Bank’s 2020 Ease of Doing Business Survey, Malta ranked 88th out of 190 countries. While the country scored well in the categories of enforcing contracts (41st) and trading across borders (48th), the biggest challenges to doing business in Malta are getting access to credit (144th) and registering property (152nd).

Fast facts

Business hours

Office hours are generally between 8am and 5pm from Monday to Friday.

Business language

Maltese and English.


Smart, conservative business attire is typically expected. Men should wear a suit and tie, while women may wear a suit or dress, particularly for meetings. Some business sectors accept less formal clothing. 


Gifts are not expected, but a small gift is always a nice gesture. Giving something from an expat’s home country such as sweets or beverages is common and appreciated.

Gender equality

While improvements have been made in this area, women are not equally represented in senior positions in business.


Handshakes and exchanging business cards on the first meeting are standard business greetings in Malta.

Business culture in Malta


Malta has a well-educated population and English is taught in all schools. Nearly everyone speaks Maltese and English, and many can also speak additional languages such as French and Italian.

Most business is done in English, including legal documents, commercial documents, and official correspondence, which limits communication barriers for expats who speak the language.


Businesspeople in Malta expect prompt service and correspondence; emails and phone calls should be acknowledged quickly. Expats will need to be patient though – doing business in Malta takes time, usually due to restrictions and regulations.

Traditional values

Malta is a fairly conservative and family-orientated country. Although no longer the case, it used to be tradition for women to resign after they married because men were supposed to provide for their families while women looked after the home. Today, women are usually treated as equals in business and it is becoming common to find women in senior management positions.

This patriarchal, family-focused view does still affect business in Malta. Traditional notions of company loyalty and a family atmosphere persist, especially in smaller businesses. This can be a good thing, but it can complicate resigning and changing jobs.


Maltese associates should be acknowledged by their personal or professional titles (Mr, Mrs, Dr) until a good working relationship is established and they suggest moving on to a first name basis.

Dos and don’ts of business in Malta

  • Do acknowledge the receipt of emails and phone calls

  • Do maintain eye contact and be direct

  • Do address those in a senior position in a formal manner 

  • Don’t be late for appointments or meetings

  • Don’t dress casually for business meetings

Visas for Malta

Malta is a Schengen member state, which means that citizens from a number of countries can enter for short stays without having to apply for a visa. Those who require a Schengen visa to enter Malta will need to fill in a visa application from a diplomatic mission or official website and submit the required documents and biometrics.

Tourist visas for Malta

Expats from non-Schengen countries who want to visit Malta will need to enter the country to obtain a tourist visa.

Tourist visas are valid for one or multiple entries of up to 90 days during a 180-day period. To apply, proof of travel insurance, adequate funds and onward travel must be submitted along with a letter of invitation. Applicants will also need to show evidence of where they will be staying during their visit, either in the form of a booking for short-term accommodation or written confirmation of staying with a personal acquaintance.

Residence permits for Malta

To stay in Malta for longer than 90 days, a residence permit is required. The Maltese residence permit comes in the form of an e-Residence document which functions as a form of identification. Once an initial application is submitted, expats must attend an appointment at the Expatriates Unit at Identity Malta in person to submit original documents.

There are two types of residence permits: the Ordinary Residence Permit and the Permanent Residence Permit. The main difference between the two permits is the different tax obligations they incur.

Permanent Residence Permits are open to any nationality and are renewable once every five years. Holders of this permit pay a flat income-tax rate of 15 percent. Ordinary Residence Permits are open to EU citizens only and are renewable annually. Expats on this permit pay income tax on a sliding scale from 0 to 35 percent.

Work permits in Malta, known as Single Permits, also function as residence permits, so expats only need to make one application to gain the right to both work and live in Malta.

*Visa requirements can change at short notice and expats are advised to contact their nearest Maltese consulate for the latest information.

Work permits for Malta

Work permits in Malta are officially known as Single Permits and are issued by the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC). Foreign workers from the EU don’t need a work permit for Malta, while expats from elsewhere do.

Expats will need a job offer from an employer in Malta to start the process since Maltese work permits can only be applied for by a registered employer. Maltese employment licences are valid for a maximum of one year and must be renewed each year.

Work permit applications for Malta

The work permit application process for non-EU citizens involves the employer submitting an application along with supporting documents supplied by the prospective employee. The ETC then processes the application and grants or denies the work permit. The Single Permit functions as both a work and residence permit.

To renew their Single Permit, expats are able to apply from 90 days before the old one expires. Proof of insurance and having made income tax payments must be submitted.

*Visa and work permit regulations may change at short notice and expats should contact their nearest Maltese consulate or the Maltese Employment and Training Corporation for the latest information.

Cost of Living in Malta

The reasonable cost of living in Malta is one of the archipelago's major drawcards. While it's true that Maltese salaries are significantly lower than in much of Europe, so is the cost of living, evening out into a comfortable and affordable lifestyle.

Valletta, the Maltese capital, and Sliema are popular with expats. They offer resorts, retail shops and modern housing, and are more expensive and populated than other areas.

Cost of accommodation in Malta

It’s possible to find a modern, furnished property with a small garden and one to three bedrooms at better value for money in Malta than in major European destinations such as the UK. Utilities are also less expensive, and most rentals come furnished.

Being selective about the area one chooses to live in can make a difference when it comes to rental costs. Accommodation in smaller outlying towns is cheaper than living in major cities. In larger cities, the city centre will have the highest rental costs with prices decreasing the further away one moves from the city centre. Newer property developments are more expensive than older homes.

Cost of food and clothing in Malta

Local products are cheaper than imported brands, and supermarkets are cheaper than smaller grocery stores. Produce from roadside markets is cheap as well as fresh. Eating out in Malta is cheaper than much of Europe.

The cost of clothing is on par with the rest of Europe, and expats will be able to find many of the same designers and brands, though taxes push up the cost of imported items. Since Sliema and Valletta cater to tourists and expats, high-end clothing shops and small retail stores are easy to find.

Cost of transport in Malta

Thanks to the island's small size, it's easy and cheap to get around. Most expats find the bus and ferry system to be adequate for their needs, using taxi services as an adjunct where necessary. Cars are a more expensive option due to the costs of tax, insurance and petrol. Street parking is usually free of charge but spaces are limited.

Cost of living in Malta chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in January 2021.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 900

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 750

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,100


Eggs (dozen)

2.50 EUR 

Milk (1 litre)

1 EUR 

Rice (1kg)

2 EUR 

Loaf of white bread 

1.15 EUR 

Chicken breasts (1kg)

7.20 EUR

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

6 EUR 

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

1.80 EUR 


2.20 EUR 

Bottle of beer (local)

2.50 EUR 

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

60 EUR 


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

0.30 EUR

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

35 EUR

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

85 EUR


Taxi rate (per kilometre)


Bus/train fare in the city centre

1.50 EUR

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

1.40 EUR

Culture Shock in Malta

Culture shock comes as part and parcel of the expat experience. Moving to a new country means that expats need to form new routines in an unfamiliar place, where what is usually taken for granted becomes completely unfamiliar.

Many people are attracted to Malta because of the mild yet sunny climate, the proliferation of English as a spoken language among locals, and the island's affordability compared to other European destinations. Malta offers a broadly Mediterranean lifestyle but has a large foreign population and hosts countless tourists, a fact which may ease the transition. Despite some things being familiar, however, there are specific details of life in Malta that expats will have to get used to.

Aside from missing their loved ones, the main things expats have trouble adjusting to in Malta is the slower pace of life and the small-town atmosphere, which is partially a result of Malta's size and the role of religion in Maltese values. An expat’s happiness often depends on their ability to accept and adapt to their new surroundings, a vital step for overcoming culture shock.

Language barrier in Malta

How expats approach the language barrier in Malta depends on their expectations. Since English is widely spoken, most expats don’t learn to speak Maltese and get through their daily business without much trouble. However, this often means that they don’t make local friends and spend most of their time with other expats.

Expats who value integrating into their surroundings should make some effort to learn Maltese. The language stems from Arabic, uses a Latin alphabet and borrows words from European languages, particularly Sicilian Italian, reflecting the archipelago’s interesting history. A few basic phrases can go a long way to bridging cultural differences and endearing expats to their hosts.

Religion in Malta

Roman Catholicism is the state religion in Malta and is the foundation for many of its customs. The most important dates on the Maltese social calendar are Catholic festivals and saints’ feast days, which are celebrated on a large scale.

Even though other religious views are recognised and respected, Catholicism is practised by 90 to 95 percent of the country and has shaped Maltese society. An emphasis on the traditional family structure affects every level of interaction, and is reinforced by how small the islands are. Gender roles are more traditional and social groups are close-knit. Making local friends can be challenging but is ultimately worthwhile for a fuller experience.

Time in Malta

Many of the expats living in Malta are retired and attracted by the idea of living life at a slower pace. While this sounds easy enough, recent retirees and expats who come for work might take a while to adjust.

People don’t mind taking their time walking between specialised traders to get their groceries, so there aren’t as many supermarkets. Many of these smaller businesses close for a few hours in the middle of the day for a siesta, and stay open a bit later. Service in general can seem unhurried, which can be frustrating for expats from faster-paced places.

Understanding and accepting that things take a bit longer are vital to adjusting to life in Malta – and stopping to appreciate the little things can improve an expat’s stay in the country. 

Accommodation in Malta

Securing accommodation in Malta is relatively straightforward and expats will likely find good-quality housing to suit their lifestyle and budget. 

The stability of the real-estate sector is based on a number of factors, including local demand, the fact that there is limited space to build property in Malta, and a growing expat population. Expat investors capitalise on high-end property for the eventual returns, while pensioners are lured by lower property taxes and young professionals are attracted by reasonably-priced accommodation and work prospects.

Property prices in Malta are more affordable than major European capitals, but there are regional variations and restrictions on foreign property ownership, so many expats rent in Malta at first.

Types of accommodation in Malta

There are various kinds of accommodation in Malta, including apartments, villas, townhouses and maisonettes.

Maisonettes are similar to apartments but have a private entrance rather than the shared entrances typical of apartment blocks.

Maltese townhouses are divided between old and new. Older townhouses usually have several floors, are built from stone and have traditional features such as patterned tiles, wooden floors and stone arches. Newer townhouses, or terraced housing, have a more contemporary style

A distinctly Maltese type of housing is the house of character, usually found in rural areas or small villages. These typically have thick, unpainted stone walls, a central courtyard and sometimes even a well. Three- and four-bedroom houses are the norm and some houses of character date back to the 17th century. Supply is limited, although there are newer houses that replicate this traditional style with a modern twist.

Finding accommodation in Malta

Real-estate agents can be helpful to expats who are unfamiliar with the local market. Aside from taking their clients through the process of renting or buying property and presenting homes matching clients' specifications, some agents assist with setting up utility accounts such as electricity and internet access. The downside is that hiring an agent incurs a fee, usually equivalent to a percentage of the rental price. For expats with money to spare, though, this is the most convenient way of finding a new home in Malta.

Online property portals and local newspapers are other popular ways of finding accommodation in Malta, but listings can be outdated and don’t always give an accurate representation. Groups on social media are a useful source of current listings but available listings move fast.

Renting accommodation in Malta

Even though a lot of Malta's rental accommodation is short term and aimed at tourists, expats will have numerous options when it comes to renting property. Autumn and winter are the best times of year for house hunting as more accommodation is available. Also, prices are usually lower in the off season.

Furnished vs unfurnished

Most rental properties are furnished, so expats may have to make special arrangements if they want to bring in their own furniture. Overall, properties are well equipped but, especially when it comes to houses of character, their interiors may be somewhat dated.

Signing a lease

After finding and securing a property, the tenant and the landlord sign a tenancy agreement. This specifies how bills are to be paid, the duration of the lease and how far in advance notice has to be given before the agreement can be terminated. Long-term leases are usually between six and 12 months, with an option to renew at the end of the rental period.


Utility bills such as electricity and internet are not usually included in long-term rentals. This may take the form of a fixed price or can vary according to bills. We recommend expats ensure any fixed costs are listed in writing before they sign the tenancy agreement.


Deposits are usually equivalent to one or two months’ rent and are refunded at the end of the lease, with any damages to the property beyond normal wear and tear subtracted.

Healthcare in Malta

Malta is well known as one of the world's top healthcare destinations. Despite its small size, the archipelago has a lot to offer when it comes to high standards of care. There are both public and private healthcare sectors in Malta, and the islands have numerous facilities available. Healthcare services in Malta are well priced but in-hospital costs can add up.

Health insurance in Malta

Maltese citizens and expats with work permits have access to free healthcare in Malta. EU citizens can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access state healthcare during a short-term visit. UK citizens can make use of their Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which replaced the EHIC for UK citizens post-Brexit. Employed expats pay social-service contributions and can therefore access services, but those who don't work in Malta will need to take out private insurance if they want coverage.

Luckily, there are many inexpensive medical insurance policies to choose from, so it's generally worthwhile to take out a policy. Since healthcare in Malta is so affordable, some expats take out basic hospital cover only and pay for day-to-day medical expenses, such as GP appointments and medicines, out of pocket.

Public healthcare in Malta

Public healthcare in Malta is provided at the level of public health centres (clinics) and hospitals. Since residents are assigned a clinic based on their place of residence, they generally have shorter waiting times and are a good option for less serious ailments.

Health centres provide specialised services such as immunisation, gynaecology, physiotherapy and psychiatry, in addition to general practitioners and nurses.

Private healthcare in Malta

Although the sector is small, private healthcare in Malta is accessible and holds high standards. Private hospitals offer the benefit of shorter waiting times and superior facilities, though naturally at a higher cost than public facilities. Private hospitals in Malta are, however, affordable when compared with other European countries and are especially popular with British patients who want to avoid NHS waiting lists.

Most foreign residents need private medical insurance which can either be taken out with a local insurance company or an international provider.

Pharmacies in Malta

Every village in the archipelago has at least one pharmacy, and many have more. Pharmacies in Malta dispense medication and provide the services of general practitioners, while some offer on-site specialists at certain times.

Most pharmacies are open from Monday to Friday from 8am or 9am to 6pm or 7pm, sometimes closing for a few hours around midday. On Saturdays, pharmacy hours are generally from 8am or 9am to 12pm. On Sundays and public holidays, pharmacies operate on a rotating schedule.

Emergency services in Malta

The emergency number in Malta is 112. Operators can speak both Maltese and English, and the line can be used to contact various emergency services.

Education and Schools in Malta

A former British colony, the system of education in Malta takes its cue from its former parent country and will be familiar to many expats. The education system is divided into public and private sectors. Expat parents who want their children to continue with a globally recognised curriculum will be pleased to know there are a number of international schools in Malta.

School is compulsory for children between the ages of five and 16 years old, and the education system is divided into public and private sectors.

Public schools in Malta

In Malta, a child’s education is split between kindergarten, primary school, secondary school and high school. Although state education is free, including transport and textbooks, parents are responsible for buying their children’s uniforms.

Except for English lessons, the language of instruction in state schools is Maltese, so older expat students may have difficulty adjusting. However, families in Malta for the long haul may find this a useful method of integration, particularly if children are still young enough to pick up a new language relatively easily.

Private schools in Malta

Private schools in Malta are either affiliated with the Catholic Church or independent, but all of them are overseen by the Ministry for Education and, like state schools, offer the national curriculum. They typically use English as their language of instruction, which gives expat families an alternative to Maltese-language state schools.

Independent schools

English is used as the language of instruction in independent schools, making them much more expat friendly. They follow the same curriculum as state schools, but are considered to offer a better education. However, while the quality of independent education is high, so are the costs. Tuition fees are far from cheap and additional costs such as study materials and transport aren't included.

Church schools

By arrangement with the government, church schools in Malta do not charge tuition. However, parents are obligated to pay an annual donation of a specified amount, although this is still far below the cost of private schools.

Spaces are limited and children are often enrolled through a lottery system. These institutions are usually same-sex schools.

Families aren't required to follow the school's religion to be admitted, but children are generally expected to attend a religion-education class. It is possible to obtain permission for the child to opt out of these classes, though.

International schools in Malta

There are several international schools that cater to foreign students in Malta. All teach in English and offer a range of curricula including that of the International Baccalaureate, the US and the UK. These education systems are widely offered around the globe in international schools, with one of the main advantages being an easier transition between schools.

International schools usually have high standards, highly qualified teachers and excellent facilities, but expats will naturally have to pay for this privilege. Fees can be exorbitant, and expat parents moving to Malta for work are advised to bring international school fees into their relocation negotiation as a possible benefit.

Special-educational needs in Malta

The Maltese government operates on a principle of inclusion when it comes to students with special educational needs. There are four Resource Centres on the island, once known as Special Schools. The name change reflects a change in focus – where once these institutions were run separately from mainstream schools, today they largely operate as support services for special-needs students attending mainstream schools.

Services offered include providing teachers for children with hearing or visual impairments, offering specialised support for Autism Spectrum Disorder and running early intervention services.

Tutors in Malta

There isn't a major tutoring culture in Malta as yet, so options are limited as the industry is still developing. There are a few online directories of tutors in Malta, such as LearnD, as well as specialised companies like Online Tutoring Malta. Some tutors advertise their services in Facebook groups.

Parents should be aware that some tutors hold classes of 10 or more students rather than one-on-one lessons. This is less than ideal for a child who needs individual attention. Concerned parents are advised to find out details regarding the nature of lessons before deciding to hire a particular tutor.

Transport and Driving in Malta

Given its small size, public transport in Malta is limited to buses, with extensive routes on the two larger islands. Other options are taxi cabs and, for expats who would prefer driving in Malta themselves, vehicle hire. Most people find it's not really necessary to own a car.

Travel between the islands is made possible by ferry, seaplane and traditional water taxis known as dgħajsa (pronounced ‘dysa’), which have been used for centuries.

Public transport in Malta


Malta Public Transport operates bus services on the islands of Malta and Gozo. Buses on both islands usually run from 5.30am to 11pm, seven days a week with less frequent night services on weekends.

Buses in Malta travel outwards from central hubs on both islands. Victoria Bus Station is the main transport hub in Gozo while the mainland hub is situated at Valletta Bus Terminal. When consulting a schedule, one- or two-digit routes are mainline routes that operate to and from Valletta, while routes that are marked ‘X’ are express routes that run to the airport.

Single- and multiple-journey tickets can be bought at ticket booths and vending machines at central locations. Certain tickets can be purchased from bus drivers, preferably with exact change as drivers may refuse large notes.

Expats who will be using buses frequently should consider buying a Tallinja Card, which offers better deals on fares and can be recharged online or at vending machines and ticket offices.

Taxis in Malta

The most common taxis in Malta are painted white, with a ‘taxi’ sign on the roof and a registration number on the front doors. New arrivals can catch a taxi from the airport to various destinations at set fees, but passengers hailing a taxi off the street or at a taxi stand should agree on a price beforehand. There are also black cabs which may offer more comfort, but these need to be reserved in advance.

Uber is not available in Malta, but there other ride-hailing applications that can be used, such as eCabs and Bolt.

Driving in Malta

Expats driving in Malta should do so defensively, since the country has somewhat of a reputation for erratic driving. To drive legally, expats will need a valid drivers' licence. Licences from other EU countries are accepted and can be exchanged for a Maltese licence if the holder has lived in the country for six months. Expats from elsewhere can use their home country licence for up to 12 months, after which they will have to get a Maltese drivers' licence.

Banking, Money and Taxes in Malta

In addition to abundant sunshine and warm winters, easy banking and low taxes in Malta make it an excellent expat destination. Malta is renowned for its advanced financial sector and has been an offshore banking haven.

Money in Malta

The Maltese currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents.

  • Notes: 5 EUR, 10 EUR, 20 EUR, 50 EUR, 100 EUR, 200 EUR and 500 EUR

  • Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 EUR and 2 EUR

Banking in Malta

Most Maltese banks will open an account for new arrivals that haven’t finalised their residency, although banks without foreign interests are likely to take longer. International banks are accustomed to the workings of expat finances, although choosing a basic account with fewer services can expedite the process.

Expats who need banking access as soon as they arrive will have to do some work ahead of time. There is a lot of inconsistency in documentation requirements – not only between banks but sometimes even between individual branches belonging to the same bank. Generally speaking, expats will need a deposit, their passport, proof of address and a reference from their previous bank to open a Maltese account, but it's always best to double-check with the relevant branch ahead of time to ensure that the required documentation is brought.

ATMs and credit cards

ATMs can be found all over the islands, near retail shops and restaurants. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are widely accepted, but expats wanting to use a debit card should ensure it is authorised for international use. 

Taxes in Malta

Many expats are attracted by the tax planning and asset protection on offer in Malta, but the benefits vary widely. In general, income tax in Malta is not especially low, ranging up to 35 percent. However, expats fulfilling certain conditions – such as owning or renting property of a particular value, or working in gaming, aviation or finance – will only be required to pay 15 percent of tax on their income.

Malta is in a fairly unique situation when it comes to living off of savings as capital gains can be remitted tax free. The help of a wealth manager is recommended for navigating the tricky details of overseas finance and retirement in Malta.

Expat Experiences in Malta

When considering a move to a new city, there is nothing more useful than hearing real life stories and experiences from other expats who have lived there. We'd love to hear about your expat experiences. Please contact us if you live or have lived in Malta and would like to share your story.

Marianna is an author and transition coach who so far has lived in twelve countries. She enjoys connecting with interesting people and going through turbulent experiences and transformations as part of her traveling lifestyle. She is back in Malta for the third time and just can't get enough of the country. Read about her expat experiences in St Julian's.