Maltese expat residents in endless struggle to get ID e-cards

Published:  20 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: Citizenship
Expat residents on the popular island of Malta are being left in the dark as to the process necessary to apply for a new ID e-residence card.

The Maltese government’s Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs is replacing ID cards issued to non-Maltese nationals with e-residence cards under a scheme announced in January, with applications made in person via an email request. A number of expat applicants who sent emails as long ago as five months have still not received their appointments.

Local media is being bombarded with complainants describing the situation as shambolic, disgraceful and chaotic, with many unable even to get through to the department by phone. Recently-sent emails are bouncing back, and lines to the department are either permanently engaged or, when calls are picked up, no-one answers.

Expat residents who decided to visit the department’s offices in Valetta described the experience as one of panic and chaos, with many hours’ wait to even agree an appointment. The reception desk was not manned, and staff seemed to have no idea what was going on.

Expats were moved between rooms, and the earliest appointments given were in July. Many are concerned as their current ID cards have already expired, although staff at the department have insisted they are valid as ID documents until the end of June.

Questions as to which documents to carry after 30 June have remained unanswered, and a representative from the EU Citizens against Discrimination group is claiming that the new e-cards are illegal in any case. Expats trying to make sense of the mess have also noted that those living on the Maltese island of Gozo rather than Malta itself are having to undertake long journeys just to get an appointment at a later date.
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Comments » There are 10 comments

Oisin Jones-Dillon wrote 6 years ago:

The serious financial consequences of not having a new ID e-Residence Card in terms of - alongside many other institutional services - much higher water / electricity consumption tariffs and public bus fares than those payable by Maltese nationals feature prominently among the hundreds of ‘Reasons for signing’ comments appended to the following online petition: EU Commission: Stop the discrimination of EU Nationals in Malta: https://www.change.org/petitions/eu-commission-stop-the-discrimination-of-eu-nationals-in-malta Oisin Jones-Dillon

The perfectly simple easily attained old ID card which most EU Nationals possessed has actually been extended until the end of November 2013. That is the only good news. Lost or stolen cards can be replaced on presentation of a Police report. People who applied in the very first days, in January 2013, are still waiting for cards to be issued, that's if they have been fortunate enough to even have been called for their appointment. Those lucky enough to have gone through the harrowing experience, are now finding themselves queuing for two hours plus, just to collect this card. Those people collecting the new card are few and far between. There is one very important factor here. Malta chose to introduce an ID/res card for EU Nationals, this has nothing to do with being a member of the EU as many member States actually don't require EU Nationals to hold anything other than an EU passport. The situation regarding the new ecard, (the legality of such a whole other story) is not getting better and in temperatures of 32 degrees plus tempers are rising as fast as the mercury. The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing and the Ministry seem distant to the many problems faced by EU Nationals resident in Malta.

Arleen J Barlow wrote 6 years ago:

I am still waiting for any communication to tell me that my card is ready to pick up after completing all the documents on February 4th. Absolute disgrace!!!! No communication from anyone, no replies to emails, or any of the Ministers including the Prime Minister, It's an absolute shambles and NO ONE is taking any responsibility.

Eihpos wrote 6 years ago:

Hi it took me about 6 months to get it, from booking an appointment in January to getting the actual card yesterday. Applications can be sent via post :) See links: http://mhas.gov.mt/en/MHAS-Information/Services/Pages/Residence.aspx http://mhas.gov.mt/en/MHAS-Information/Services/Documents/Residence/Frequently%20Asked%20Questions.pdf hope it is useful

S Stirling wrote 6 years ago:

The main problem is that people listened to "people who know it all" and were told/advised to wait before they applied to "avoid the queues" - I did not wait and organised my new ID card as soon as I was able to, no problem getting the appointment at that time (if I had waited it would have been a different story - this is what has caused the backlog to build up - everyone waiting till later). When the appointment date arrived I was straight in on time, I now have my new card which i collected a few weeks ago - I did email to see if the card was ready and got a very friendly response. I must be one of the lucky ones because I found it no problem at all.

Steve Cornwell wrote 6 years ago:

This article was incorrect from the second paragraph. It was never announced that we had to re apply for our residence. Apparently it was mentioned in the local press. But I already have a residence and I wasnt informed, I found out on facebook!!!!

Oisin Jones-Dillon wrote 6 years ago:

The serious financial consequences of not having a new ID e-Residence Card in terms of - alongside many other institutional services - much higher water / electricity consumption tariffs and public bus fares than those payable by Maltese nationals feature prominently among the hundreds of ‘Reasons for signing’ comments appended to the following online petition: EU Commission: Stop the discrimination of EU Nationals in Malta: https://www.change.org/petitions/eu-commission-stop-the-discrimination-of-eu-nationals-in-malta Oisin Jones-Dillon

Arleen J Barlow wrote 6 years ago:

Can't believe that my letter arrived yesterday telling me my card was ready. I don't know if it was just :my time: or if it was pushed by the PM's Office as I sent him 2 emails telling him it was an absolute disgrace. Anyway I did the right thing and sent an email to say 'thank you' if you had anything to do with it, and received a reply saying :we try to do our best: Now all Tony (I am wheelchair bound) has to do from what I can gather, is wait another 2 hours to pick it up !!!!!

Dale Thiedeman wrote 6 years ago:

The whole ID card exercise is a total farce, I arrived 3 months ago from the UK to start up in a new position in Malta. Imagine my horror to find that I had to queue for 7 hours in a packed corridor with people pushing and jostling to get seen.No organization whatsoever in place, and not even anyone to tell you if you were in the right queue, EU and Non EU alike struggling in ridiculous temperatures to be seen. Surely it would have made more sense to have a seperate EU and Non EU and a very simple ticketing system as they do in the UK. Eventually after many hours I was seen and presented my paperwork , only to be told it would take 2 months to issue an ID card. It has now been over 2 months and still I still have heard nothing from the department. My attempts to call have been unsuccessful with no answer and my emails have been answered with an automatic reply: With reference to the contents of your e-mail kindly note that new arrangement as hereunder are now in place: 1. EU Nationals EU Nationals should no longer call at the Department for an appointment to make an application for the Registration document. The application can now be sent by post. Apart from the required documents indicated on the application form one is to produce also 2 photographs passport type which should be endorsed on the back by a public officer not below the grade of Principal pr analogous grade, a professional person, a Minister of religion or any other person of similar standing. 2. Third Country Nationals Third Country nationals are no longer required to make an appointment to present an application for a Residence document. Henceforth Thrid Country Nationals shall be seen to on a first-come, first-served basis on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 0830hrs and 1130hrs. Those apppointment which have already been made will still be honoured. Should you require further information you may wish to visit our website:- www.mhas.gov.mt f/Director, Citizenship & Expatriates Affairs Even when i called a different department who gave me the telephone number they told me "not to bother as no one will answer". I am loathed to go up to the office again after my previous experience as I know no one will have a clue. The lack of ID card means I cannot get registered on ETC even though I am a full time employee,a bank account which would be a simple issue with an ID card has become a mammoth task with reference letters having to come from the UK (all at my cost) The whole system is a total nightmare, what is the point of being in the EU when the government can,t even sort out its own e-commerce.

Phil Mc Cullough wrote 6 years ago:

Help please as some advice needed. I have an old Malta id card which expires on Nov 2013. I had to leave Malta for several months so I am not up to date on the new requirements for the e.card. The address on my card is not now my present address Do I change the address for my new one and then apply for an e.card. Does my old green bus pass also need changed. Thanks for any help afforded.

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