Malta Basics

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The Basics

Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between April and October)

Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. UK-style three-pin square plugs are used.

Money: The currency was changed to the Euro (EUR) in 2008 (Maltese lira are no longer accepted). Banks, ATMs and exchange bureaux can be found all over the islands, as well as foreign exchange machines in the tourist areas. Banks generally open mornings Monday to Saturday, but exchange bureaux at the international airport are open 24 hours a day. Most hotels and restaurants, as well as many shops, accept American Express, MasterCard, and Visa.

Currency Exchange Rates

EUR1.00 = USD 1.11GBP 0.86CAD 1.45AUD 1.62ZAR 16.16EUR 1.00NZD 1.75
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: English and Maltese are the official languages; Italian is also spoken

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Malta. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens and those with passports endorsed 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar need to have passports valid for duration of stay. British passports with any other endorsement must be valid for three months beyond period of intended stay. A visa is not required for passports endorsed 'British Citizen' or 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), 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 within a 180 day period, for holders of British passports with any other endorsement.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Malta. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Malta. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Malta. A visa is required.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay in Malta. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Malta. No visa is required.

Passport/Visa Note: The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, 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.

Travel Health: There are no health risks associated with travel to Malta, and water and food is generally safe for consumption. Travellers coming from recognised infected areas require a yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Malta. A reciprocal health agreement exists between the United Kingdom and Malta. As a result, British citizens receive emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Maltese nationals on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Visitors should, however, take out adequate medical and travel insurance in case medical evacuation or further treatment is required. Medication should be available in Malta but those requiring specific prescription medication should take it with them in the original packaging, accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what the medicine is and why it's required.

Tipping: A gratuity of about 10 percent is expected in hotels and restaurants if a service charge is not included in the bill. Most services are tipped about five to 10 percent (including taxi drivers).

Safety Information: Malta is very safe for tourists. Crime is rare, though theft from parked cars and handbag snatching can occur. Local driving can be challenging so exercise caution on the roads.

Local Customs: The wearing of skimpy clothing away from the beaches should be avoided, and dress should be conservative when visiting churches.

Business: Business in Malta tends to be conducted in the same fashion as elsewhere in Europe. That is to say, both formally and politely. Punctuality is important while dress should be formal. This means a suit and tie being the norm unless the weather is hot, in which case one can forgo the jacket. Handshakes and the exchanging of business cards take place on greeting. English is widely spoken in business and so a translator is unnecessary. Business hours can vary but are usually 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. Some businesses open for a half-day on Saturdays.

Communications: The country code for Malta is +356, and the outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City or area codes are not required. Local and international telephone calls can be made from hotel rooms, and most hotels also offer fax and internet access. GO telecommunications offices also provide these services in the main towns. Comprehensive GSM 900 and 1800 mobile phone networks as well as nationwide 3G coverage cover the islands.

Duty Free: Travellers arriving in Malta from non-EU countries do not need to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco; 4 litres of wine and 2 litres of spirits. Travellers may carry personal items of non-commercial nature worth up to €430 when travelling by air or sea.