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The 25th of July 2022 we arrived in Malta and the moment we got out of the airplane we felt the heat. After living in the French Alps for five months during the winter, this was just what we were hoping for. To read more about our experience in the French Alps, read our blog La vie dans les Alpes.
Why moving to Malta
Malta is a beautiful small country island in Europe. There are many reasons why you should move to Malta.
First, you need to know that they speak English and Maltese. Almost everybody speaks English which makes it easy to communicate.
The weather is the second reason why Malta is a perfect place to live. During the summer it gets quite hot but during winter it’s not that cold, but the Maltese will say it’s cold. There are around 300 days in a year that Malta has sun, how perfect is that?
We moved to Malta because it’s a country of the European Union which makes it easier to move and work for us. So, this can be another reason why you choose Malta.
Another thing you will notice immediately when you arrive is that there are many expats living in Malta. You will find people from all over the world. This means that there are many jobs available, and you can easily find a job in the language you prefer. There are jobs available in almost every language. If you speak Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian, English, French, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, etc. I could go on but normally it should not be a problem to find a job in your language.
Besides all the reasons mentioned above, this island has a lot to offer. Although the country is small, there are many adventurous activities you can do. I will write multiple blogs about all the activities in Malta, so keep an eye on my blog.
Of course, every country has its downside. We thought Malta would be cheaper but because it’s an island almost everything is imported which makes things more expensive. Rent can be quite expensive if you live in the busy cities. Also, everything goes a bit slower than we’re used to in Belgium, but you will get used to it. To get medical attention, the system works differently than in Belgium. More about this you will read below in our first experience in Malta below.
Tip: the water in Malta is hard and I started to lose a lot of hair, it was breaking. I bought a shower water filter which makes the water less hard and filters out chemicals.
There is much to know about this country. Read about it in the blog What to know about Malta.
Things you need to arrange when moving to Malta
Moving to a new country is nice but it can be a challenge with all the paperwork. There are some things you need to think about when you’re moving to a new country. If you are from a country inside the European Union luckily it makes things easier.
Make sure you report to the country you are coming from that you will move to Malta. We could do this online, and they send us an email with the steps we need to do. Send an email to your health insurance, travel insurance, etc. that you are moving to another country.
You can make sure you have a job in Malta before you move, or you can find a job when you arrive in the country. Online you will find many jobs in Malta. Some companies offer a relocation package, but you can also relocate on your own. If you get a relocation package, make sure you read the terms and conditions.
If you don’t have a European bank account, first you need to open one in Malta when you move there. When you have a European bank account you are not obligated to open one in Malta. Opening a bank account in Malta can take a long time so it’s recommended to contact a bank (or two) before moving.
Below I will explain step by step what you need to arrange when you arrive in Malta:
- Get a Social Security Number
- Get an E-Residence Card
- European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- Transport in Malta (Tallinja card)
- Optional: open a bank account
It’s important to find accommodation when you move to Malta. I recommend looking for accommodation when you are already in Malta so you can visit the places before you move in. We slept for one week in a hotel and found something during that week. The week after, we could immediately move in.
Tip: some owners will put pressure on you by saying it will be rented out fast. Don’t take it because they pressure you, only rent when you are sure. I recommend you visit different places and then decide.
There are many options, so you don’t need to fear not finding a place. Most apartments are furnished so you don’t need to worry about buying furniture and most contracts are for one year. Rates for electricity, internet and water are most of the time not included in the rent.
Some neighbourhoods are way more expensive than others. The more expensive areas are Sliema, Saint Julians, Msida, Qawra, Valletta and Gzira. If you want to find some cheaper places to live you can go to the South in Marsaskala or more to the North in Buggiba or Mellieha. Also in the center of Malta you can find cheaper places like in Birkirkara and Santa Venera.
If you would rent through an agency you need to pay an agency fee. This fee will usually cost half of one month’s rent to one month’s rent (can be with or without tax). Always ask the price before signing a contract.
Get a Social Security Number
If you move to Malta and you work in Malta, you need to pay a Social Security Contribution under the Maltese Social Security Scheme. The contributions are used to help for payment of social welfare benefits. It will also cover Health Entitlements like free services from the State Hospital Mater Dei and the Public Health Centers.
For more information you can visit the website.
Get an E-Residence Card
If you’re from Europe, you don’t need an E-Residence card, but I could recommend you get one if you are planning to stay long term (six months or longer).
Make an appointment to go to Identity Malta. When you have an appointment, you need to go to Identity Malta with the right documents so they can make your e-Residence Card.
To get an e-residence card the process is as follows:
- Make an appointment to go to Identity Malta
- Make sure you fill in the application form (Form ID1A and Form C) from your working place
- You will need to bring the following documents to your appointment:
- Copy of your passport and/or ID card.
- Copy of your rental agreement in Malta.
- Copy of your job contract of employment.
- A copy of the document issued from Jobsplus, which advises Approved status.
- You need to go with your documents to your appointment: the Expatriates Unit, Castagna Building, Valley Road, Msida. It’s open from Monday to Friday between 7:30am – 12:30pm.
- Once the ID is printed, you will get a letter in your letter box. You need to collect your card in person from the Expatriates Unit, Castagna Building, Valley Road, Msida.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
The EHIC is important if you are living and working in Malta, but you are traveling abroad inside Europe. When you have an EHIC you are eligible to free or reduced-cost medical treatment during short visits in European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland.
More information about these benefits, you can find here.
Transport in Malta (Tallinja card)
Since the 1st of October 2022 most of the public transport is free if you have a Tallinja card. The day routes, night routes and special services are free. Watch out because the Tallinja Direct (TD) Routes and some other services are still paying services. I suggest you apply for the card because otherwise you pay for the public transport. You can read more about the Tallinja card and register for a card on their website.
More information about the bus system you will also find on their website.
Optional: open a bank account
If you don’t have a European bank account, you need to open one in Malta immediately when you move to Malta. A lot of people have a Revolut bank account. It’s free to make a Revolut and you can just download the app on your phone. To open a Revolut Account you will need a residence card and your tax number (which is given with the social security number).
To open a bank account in Malta most of the time you need the following information:
- Copy of your ID card or Passport
- Copy of your Social Security letter issued by Social Security Department in Malta
- Copy of your contract of employment
- Maltese tax number (if available)
- The Bank will also request a reference letter from your workplace
- You may also be required to have a Maltese E-Residence card
Our first experience in Malta
On the 25th of July 2022 we moved to Malta. It was our first time in Malta and the moment we arrived we already had some problems. We rented a car but it was booked on the wrong day so that didn’t turn out how we thought it would.
Not everything will go like you want. Let it go!
Anyway, the first week in Malta was a bit chaotic because we stayed in a hotel, and we needed to find an apartment, as quickly as possible. We visited many apartments and finally found an apartment in Saint Pauls Bay. It’s the perfect place for us because we live close to the sea which means we can go swimming whenever we want and it’s quieter than Sliema and Saint Julians.
Tip: take your time to find an apartment, don’t decide too fast. There are plenty apartments available, so enough choices.
The 1st of August I (Birgit) started my job in Malta, so we had one week to arrange everything (apartment, internet, unpacking, buying food, etc.). After you arranged an apartment it’s important to look after your social security number, so you get free medical care.
Until now, we love Malta and we gave already many reasons why you should move to Malta, but you need to know that there are some downsides. We already said that it’s more expensive than we thought, and everything goes a bit slower. There is also a lot of unnecessary trash in the streets which we don’t like and there are many abandoned buildings.
For us the medical care was another downside because public healthcare is okay, but you need to plan your whole day to go to the hospital or the health centres. It could be that you need to wait for hours before they help you out. It’s not possible to get an appointment for general practice only if you need to go to a specialist. Besides that, there is only one public hospital and a few health centres. Most people will say that it’s better to go to the private hospitals.
We already needed to get medical care that’s why I want to talk about this part.
Medical care in Malta
Medical care in Malta is different than in Belgium. There are public hospitals and health centres and private ones. If you have a social security number in Malta, you can go to the public hospitals and health centres for free. To go to the private ones, it’s best to have an insurance because the prices can add up. Some jobs give a private health insurance so you can go to private hospitals.
You can always go to a doctor which you will find at a lot of pharmacies, but you pay full price, and most don’t work with appointments so you need to wait in line, and we recommend you to go a bit earlier or it can take a while before it’s your turn.
The public hospital is called Mater Dei and there you get medical services for free if you have a social security number. More information about Mater Dei you will find on this website. To find all the Health Centers in Malta you can check out this website. Here you will also get free medical service if you have a social security number.
Bongu, Mela Malta, Grazzi
We like living in Malta and there is a lot to do in this small country. We will write multiple blogs so you can fully discover this island. The Maltese people are so friendly, and the Maltese language is beautiful, it sounds like a mix of Italian and Arabic.
Tip: learn some Maltese and start understanding this challenging language.
To say ‘good morning’ you say ‘bongu’ in Malta and to thank somebody you say ‘grazzi‘. A word that you will hear a lot from Maltese people is ‘mela‘, this word has many meanings. They say this word when they start a sentence sometimes, it’s like the word ‘So,’ or they use it for ‘Agreed’, ‘Certainly’, ‘Okay’ and ‘Of course’. Mela is also said when it’s obvious. When people say the word longer like meeeela it means ‘no way’.
We can’t wait to explore more in Malta and write blogs about this amazing country. We will keep you posted about all the things you need to know and the things you should do in Malta.