Living in Malta?

Connect with fellow expats in Malta
Join exciting events and groups
Get information in our Malta guides
Exchange tips about expat life in Malta

Health and Safety in Malta

Living in Malta provides the opportunity to enjoy one of Europe’s prime vacation spots. However, to make the most of this pretty isle, you should also be well informed on the practical details. Our guide to life in Malta offers a helpful overview of leisure, education, healthcare, and transportation.
Malta has a public health insurance system with good primary care and an overall positive reputation.

Safety Advice

If you are about to set out for expatriate life in Malta, there are not many health or safety risks to worry about. Property crimes such as pickpocketing, purse snatching, or theft from parked cars are the most frequent incidents, and violence is rather rare. However, there has been the occasional robbery, sometimes at knifepoint, and some of the popular nightlife spots in Sliema, St Julian’s, or Paceville can get rowdy. Crowded afternoon buses can be targeted by pick-pocketers, especially the 12 and 13 routes between Valletta and St Julian’s. Furthermore, there has been an increase in scams so be cautious about requests for funds, job offers, or a face to face meeting with somebody you have only spoken to on the internet. Nonetheless, living in Malta is mostly safe.

If you should have the bad luck to become a victim of crime, don’t hesitate to call the local police. The general emergency number is 112. In cases of violent crime, such as sexual assault, or if you are accused of criminal behavior yourself, it’s recommended to get in touch with your embassy or consulate. They can help you to get legal advice and other support.

Check-Ups, Common Sense, and Self Protection

Before you leave for Malta, pay a visit to your family doctor to get your booster shots for standard immunizations (MMR, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus), and maybe add a vaccination for hepatitis A and B. There are no dangerous diseases in Malta, so some common-sense tips should suffice.

First and foremost, the local tap water isn’t recommended for drinking, so you have to shell out some money for bottled water on a regular basis. Especially in the hot summer months, it’s important to stay hydrated.

You should also take care to avoid the heat and to protect yourself against sunburn or heatstroke. Ozone levels can sometimes be high, so don’t engage in any strenuous activity outside on such days. Expats with rheumatic and respiratory diseases complain about the damp weather in winter.

Healthcare for Everyone

Short-term visitors to Malta have free access to the local healthcare system for unforeseen treatment as long as they have a European Health Insurance Card. This is an easy way for EU nationals to get healthcare coverage for their travels within the European Union.

Anyone who enters Malta on a Schengen Visa usually has to show proof of health insurance coverage during the application process. Nationals of countries that have a visa waiver agreement for short-term trips to Malta should also make sure to get travel insurance for emergency care.

If you have a paid job in Malta, are officially self-employed or own a small business, you have to pay income-based contributions to the national insurance system. This includes government-sponsored healthcare, and you thereby gain automatic access to public healthcare.

Due to the nation’s past as a British colony, the Maltese healthcare system is closely modeled after the NHS, but it has a better reputation than its UK equivalent. Foreign residents with public healthcare coverage usually go first to a general practitioner or a primary care center. Specialists and hospitals provide them with secondary and tertiary care for more complicated interventions.

Private Health Insurance in Malta

Overseas residents who have not come to Malta for gainful employment are generally required to take out private health insurance to obtain a visa and residence permit. For example, this applies to international students or to anyone applying for the Permanent Residence Scheme.

Unemployed dependents (i.e. spouse, children) of expat employees are the main exception: if their family member is covered by public health insurance, the coverage extends to them as well. Of course, even nationals and foreign residents covered by public healthcare can buy private insurance plans to supplement government healthcare and avoid out-of-pocket payments for costs that aren’t borne or reimbursed by the public healthcare scheme.

Choosing the Right Medical Service

Quality standards of medical care in Malta are good to excellent, and as long as you understand English, you needn’t fear the language barrier. Many doctors speak Italian as well, and you may succeed in finding some physicians with other foreign language skills. According to a 2012 report of the European Commission, some 11% of Malta’s inhabitants are able to have a conversation in French, and there are, for instance, a few German-language doctors as well.

The most important public hospitals in Malta are Mater Dei Hospital in Msida and the General Hospital in Gozo. St James’ Hospital in Sliema is the biggest private clinic.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

Jürgen Hofmeister

"With the InterNations group on Malta, I found some expat guys to go sailing and snorkeling together. "

Natasha Jakov

"I like tha, among the many expats on Malta, the members of InterNations are really reliable people, who are willing to help you out. "

Global Expat Guide

Top Articles Expat Guide