The EU commission has confirmed details of the soon launching European travel information authorization system, also known as ETIAS. The plan based on the Canadian and U.S visa waiver system will enable potential visitors planning a Europe trip to fill out an online form before departure, giving enough time for visa processing. The application will allow visitors to travel and a stay of 90 days in any Schengen country. It will be valid for 3-years and will cost around 7-euro for people over 18 years. The program will be launched in 2022, after which it will be compulsory for all visitors to Malta and the Schengen region.

ABOUT THE COUNTRY: MALTA

Malta is an archipelago in Southern Europe between the coast of Sicily and North Africa. The island is also renowned as The Republic of Malta. It borders Tunisia in the east, Italy in the south, and Libya to the north. The country ranks as the tenth smallest country over a 316 km2 area and the fourth most populous country with 502,653 people.

The capital of Malta, Valletta, stretches on an area of 0.8 km2, making it the smallest capital city in the European Union. Maltese is the first official language, descended from Sicilian Arabic, while the second national language is English. During the 1934s, the Italian language was the official language of Malta, with many of the current Maltese people being well-versed in Italian.

Most citizens in the area are Roman Catholics, but other sects still exist in limited but active numbers.

MALTA AND ITS PART IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Malta became part of the European Union on May 1, 2004. The Maltese people make a 0.1 percent total population of the European Union. The official currency of Malta is Euro, which replaced the Maltese Lira on January 1, 2008. It is a parliamentary republic holding 6-seats in the parliament and became the council President in 2017. The country is a Schengen-member since December 2007.

FACTS ABOUT THE COUNTRY: MALTA

Malta lies in the central Mediterranean. It is renowned for its turbulent history related to the succession of powers, shaping the culture through centuries of foreign rule of the British, Romans, Moors, French, and Greeks. The country is the global economic, cultural, and administrative hub.

The climate of Malta is hot during summers. With a daily average of 12-hours of sunshine during the day, which declines to 5 to 6 hours in mid-winter.

The Maltese economy generates about 15% of GDP from the tourism sector. The country has numerous tourist spots showcasing the uniqueness of the island and its rich culture and history.

Although, it is the least populous country with just 450,000 citizens. However, the infrastructure of the island needs to accommodate about 1.1 million visitors per year. Tourism is at its peak during the summer months, and Malta’s beaches, roads, waterworks are cram-full. Moreover, the island has recently seen an influx of visitors for health treatments.

MEDICAL INSURANCE REQUIREMENT FOR TRAVELING TO MALTA

The citizens of European countries are eligible for the EHIC, which would allow them to make use of the medical facilities at the same cost as the local ones. That means visitors will get a free-of-charge treatment at any government hospital. However, they have to pay for the services they receive at a private clinic. The European Health Care Card does not cover medical emergency costs such as repatriation. Therefore, visitors must have additional insurance as a backup.

HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENT FOR MALTA ETIAS APPROVAL

The ETIAS for Malta does not need any medical insurance. The online application does not require the authentication of medical insurance. Visitors, however, are recommended to have medical insurance in case of an emergency during their trip.

DOES THE SCHENGEN VISA REQUIRE HEALTH INSURANCE?

Once travelers receive an official Schengen visa, they need to verify their travel health insurance for Malta. The insurance policy must cover at least two guarantees; a minimum of 30,000-euro medical expenses and the cost of repatriation due to a medical emergency.

CROSSING THE BORDER CHECKPOINTS THROUGH MALTA

Malta has abolished its internal borders with other Schengen countries. So a visitor with a Schengen visa is exempted from border checks and customs. However, third-country nationals should carry necessary documents while traveling through Malta borders.

ETIAS REQUIREMENTS FOR CITIZENS OF VISA-EXEMPT COUNTRIES

To date, travelers from non-Schengen countries only had to validate their passports on their trip to Malta. This procedure will change from 2022 onwards when all tourists would have to register for ETIAS. The ETIAS visa would allow tourists to stay and travel within the Schengen area for up to 90 days.

ETIAS REQUIREMENTS FOR THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS

Travelers would require a Schengen visa and a valid passport in the event of non-compliance with ETIAS requirements. Supporting records, including proof of adequate travel funds and medical insurance, must also be provided.

GETTING AROUND IN MALTA

Due to its geographical size, it is easy to travel across the Islands. The Maltese public bus is the most convenient way of travel as these buses are cheap and cover most sight-seeing spots around the city.

Travelers can explore farther parts of the island by renting a car. International driving licenses are acceptable. The vehicles in Malta use left-hand driving and can be hired at daily rates of 16 to 28-euros.

Taxi pick-up services are also available everywhere. Tourists can bargain within city travel fares, except for rides from airports and sea terminals, which have fixed tariffs.

Visitors may take ferry service from Malta to Gozo, which takes about 20 minutes either way. There are daily boat services that can travel to other islands. The Grand Port also has the famous ‘dghajsa’ boats used as water taxis.

The country only has one airport known as the Malta International Airport, which caters to flights from all over the island. The airport is just 3.1 kilometers away from the capital city, Valletta.

The Malta international airport has regular international flights to the European region, most of which are from Malta to Frankfurt and Paris.

The railway infrastructure in Malta has been the victim of an efficient bus system. However, the island still has an operational train tour service, which is also the only railway service in Malta. The train moves across the sight-seeing spots of the Islands of Rabat, Mdina, and Mtarfa. It has an on-board commentary in seven languages that explain the facts about the historical areas and the background details, and the architectural importance of the buildings and temples around the island.

THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN MALTA

Malta furnishes magical vibes through its ancient architecture, temples, and underwater caves. The gorgeous atoll consists of three islands; Comino, Malta proper, and Gozo, all of which encircle azure-blue waters and gold-sand beaches. Each island has its specialties, be it fishing trips, museum attractions, or water-activities. Travelers can also relax and enjoy tasty Maltese cuisine at various restaurants and cafes, offering fresh seafood right out of the sea.

If a tourist is searching for a change in setting and relax, then a visit to Gozo and Comino is an excellent option. The islands have historically distinct topography, traditions and milestones than that of mainland Malta. These sister islands have immediately apparent charm, as they are smaller, more rural and greener.

All three Maltese islands have a range of unique climbing routes. The islands boast over 1300 climbing routes. The great weather all year round makes them a haven for climbers. Tourists may explore a range of climbing forms, from deep water soloing, abseiling, sea-level crossing, and bouldering to sport climbing.

Mdina is a fortified capital of Malta lying in the Northern region. In ancient times the city was known as Citta Notabile, the noble city. It is famous for its day trips and one of the best examples of an ancient walled city in Europe. This unique blend of baroque and gothic architecture has something for everyone.

Rabat is the town adjacent to Mdina and has many attractions and breathtaking architecture to explore. It is a well-known tourist destination owing to its archeological and historical sites.

St. Joseph Church is a magnificent Roman Catholic church in the center of Valletta, which lies in the quaint harbor town of Msida. Visitors coming in the summer months should not miss the feast of St. Joseph town. During the festival, it is one of the best places to visit.

The original Popeye Village is a must-visit attraction. It was created for the Popeye movie and has been on the island ever since.

THE EUROPEAN VISA WAIVER AUTHORIZATION FOR MALTA

Travelers willing to visit Malta from more than 60 countries need to apply for an ETIAS travel permit after 2022. This scheme will strengthen the Schengen-zone and further secure the borders. The online application form is hassle-free and hardly takes 20 minutes to finish. The ETIAS visa waiver will be valid for 3-years and allow tourists to travel to Malta and other Schengen areas. After the launching of the ETIAS in 2022, tourists may need to double-check the list of countries that require an ETIAS waiver before booking a trip to Malta or any European country.