15 March 2010

Getting European Citizenship

Do you have Maltese blood running through your veins? Was one of your grandparents a Maltese who left Malta during the last century in search of a better life? If you answered yes to any one of these questions, then you may be eligible to get Maltese citizenship together with the one you currently have.

Malta is a miniscule archipelago of islands having a total area of 122 square miles. The two islands that are inhabited are Malta and Gozo. The population of Malta stood at over four hundred thousand in 2009. The small land mass contributes to make Malta the country with the 7th highest population density (4th if one excludes territories belonging to a larger country). For those who might not be able to visualize measurements, it would suffice to say that one can fit in thirty thousand four hundred and seventy four Maltas within the US territory.

For a period of around 70 years (from around the turn of the 20th century), Maltese emigrated to countries such as Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. The main reason why people left their home was because there were no jobs. Especially after World War 2, the Maltese state organized ships that transported thousands to the countries mentioned above.

Today it is estimated that there are more people of Maltese descent living abroad than there are Maltese living in Malta. This is, in part, due to legislation by the Maltese government that allows people of Maltese descent to get back their Maltese citizenship (while retaining their existing one). For many, getting their Maltese citizenship gives them a sense of pride in being able to hold official documents that demonstrate their identity. It feels great to be able to show off one’s Maltese origin rather than simply talk about it.

Other reasons are of a more practical nature. For example when one gets his or her Maltese citizenship one automatically gains European Union citizen status. This means that at the moment one becomes a Maltese citizen, one gains freedom of movement as well as all the health, political, employment and legal benefits available to all members of the European Union. Stating on one’s resume that you can work in any European country besides your own is considered an asset in today’s global economy. As a member of a European Union country you are entitled to free medical services identical to that which is given to a native citizen of that member state. In Europe, many countries provide free medical to their citizens.

For those lucky enough to be of Maltese descent, getting a Maltese passport together with your local passport constitutes a win-win situation. You will need to prove that your ancestors are of Maltese origin, but other than that the process is quite straightforward. Stars And Stripes Malta (SASM) is a not-for-profit organization that helps Americans of Maltese descent get their Maltese citizenship back. Go to their website at http://www.StarsAndStripesMalta.com for more information or to contact them.

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