Citizenship through marriage to a Maltese citizen is the least expensive way to obtain a Maltese passport. You can apply for citizenship after five years of marriage. It is not necessary to live on the island during this time.
Entering into a sham marriage is a bad idea. If this is established, offenders could face up to two years of prison.
Citizenship by naturalization is granted to those who have lived in Malta permanently and for a long time and have been able to integrate into the local society.
The process of obtaining citizenship by naturalization takes from 7 to 18 years. You will have to go through the following steps one after another: apply for a long-term or Schengen visa then a residence permit. After that you need to apply for permanent residence, live in the country as a resident for five years, pass a language proficiency, Maltese history and law exams . And only after that you can apply for citizenship.
Therefore, naturalization is only suitable for those who live in Malta and do not intend to leave the country.
Nationality by descent or birth is only suitable for children and descendants of the Maltese. Birthright citizenship can be obtained entirely remotely. It is not necessary to apply for a residence permit or to live permanently in the country. However, you will have to prove your origins with documents.
Citizenship through family reunification is only suitable for those who have close relatives among Maltese citizens living permanently in the country, e.g. parents, siblings or grandparents.
Citizenship for distinguished service to Malta. For special merit to the country, a passport is awarded personally by the President of Malta. Most often, outstanding scientists, athletes, cultural figures, politicians and people in business are granted citizenship in this way. It is not possible to plan to obtain citizenship in this way: there is no clear criteria as to whether merit is considered outstanding.
Simply investing money in the country’s economy will not work.
Citizenship for refugees and political asylum is a forced option. Every year, from 8,000 to 9,000 refugees arrive on the island, most of them from Africa and the Middle East. If a refugee stays in Malta, he or she can obtain a passport after six years.
Refugees do not take language and integration tests or pay the state fee for registration. To be granted asylum or refugee status, a person must prove that his or her life is threatened or he or she is discriminated against in the country of origin.
Now for more details on the first five options for obtaining Maltese citizenship.