Malta

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Thursday, 11 December 2014.   This advice contains new information under Safety and security (hunting season is September to January - be vigilant when visiting rural areas during this period). We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Malta.

Malta overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Malta.
  • You should exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia, and monitor the media and other sources for information on local travelling conditions.
  • There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • Some flights between Malta and Dubai stop-over in Tripoli, Libya. We advise against all travel to Libya. Check flight itineraries before booking.
  • See our general advice for business travellers.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest High Commission or Consulate of Malta for the most up to date information.

Malta is party to the Schengen Agreement, along with a number of other European countries, which allows Australians to enter Malta without a visa in some circumstances. See our travel bulletin on the Schengen Convention for more information.

People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) who are carrying 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Under the legislation, the term "cash" includes cheques, travellers' cheques and money orders. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin for more information on terrorism and our General advice to Australian travellers for tips on staying safe overseas.

Crime

Malta has a low incidence of serious crime. However, petty crime including bag snatching and pickpocketing can occur, particularly in areas frequented by tourists and on the main bus routes, especially the 12 and 13 services from Sliema to Valletta and routes between St. Julian’s and Paceville. You should remain vigilant and secure valuables at all times.

We recommend you maintain a high level of personal awareness when visiting nightclub areas late at night, as poor crowd control and excessive drinking can lead to violence. See our Partying overseas page.

Hunting season

The autumn hunting season in Malta runs annually from 1 September until 31 January. Hunting areas are rarely marked and can overlap with camping areas, country walkways and other public areas. Hunting with firearms is common and is permitted from 2 hours before sunrise until 2 hours after sunset, though hunting may occur outside these times and in undesignated locations.

If you are visiting rural areas, be aware that hunters may be in the area, and be vigilant to avoid incidents

Money and valuables

The official currency of Malta is the Euro. Foreign currencies can easily be exchanged at banks, foreign exchange bureau and special ATMs.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Local travel

You can drive in Malta on your Australian driving licence for a period not exceeding 12 months from the date of your arrival in Malta. Australians taking up residence in Malta may exchange their Australian licence for an equivalent Maltese licence. For further advice, see our Road travel page.

If driving in Malta, you should be aware that local standards of driving and road conditions can be poor. Some roads are narrow, congested and can be susceptible to flash flooding in heavy rain.

You should also note that if you are involved in a bumper to bumper accident and no person is injured, there is no requirement to contact the police or local wardens. For any other accidents, the local wardens must be contacted on 21320202 and vehicles must not be moved until wardens have recorded details of the accident. Where people are injured, the police must be contacted on 21224001 or 112.

Airline safety

Some flights between Malta and Dubai stop-over in Tripoli, Libya. We advise against all travel to Libya. Check flight itineraries before booking.

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Malta.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Malta, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we cannot get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Laws for the possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are generally strict. Penalties can include jail sentences, heavy fines and confiscation of property. See Drugs: Don’t carry or consume drugs overseas - Ever.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Dual nationality is recognised in Malta. There are no military/civil service obligations for dual nationals.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

The general standard of medical facilities and care in Malta is good. However, in the event of a serious accident or illness, a medical evacuation to another European city or the United Kingdom may be necessary, costing from $A15,000 to $A30,000.

Malta and Australia are signatories to a reciprocal health care agreement which covers travellers for up to six months from their date of arrival in Malta. The agreement provides Australians with access to government medical facilities and care but does not provide for ongoing treatment of existing health conditions. The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement does not replace the need for private travel health insurance. See the website of the Department of Human Services for more information.

Diving is a popular tourist pursuit in Malta. Decompression chambers are located at Mater Dei Hospital and Gozo General Hospital.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the police at the nearest police station or call them on the national emergency number 112. You should always obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly. The Official tourism office may also be able to provide advice, and you can contact them directly at one of their offices, or call them on their ‘freephone’ service on 80 072 230 (local calls only).

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and cannot do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:

Australian High Commission, Malta

Ta' Xbiex Terrace
TA' XBIEX
Telephone: + 356 21338201
Facsimile: +356 21344059
Email aushicom@onvol.net
website: www.malta.highcommission.gov.au

See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Malta, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the above mission, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.