When it comes to exploring the picturesque landscapes of Malta, there's no better way than taking the wheel and cruising around this Mediterranean haven. But before you rev up that engine, it's vital to understand the process of acquiring a driving license in Malta. Whether you're a local or an expatriate, this guide will demystify the licensing process, ensuring a smooth drive on Malta's charming roads.
Malta, an archipelago in the heart of the Mediterranean, offers a unique blend of historical sites, sun-kissed beaches, and vibrant urban life. The compact size of the islands makes it perfect for road trips, where within minutes, you can transition from bustling cityscapes to serene coastlines. However, to truly embrace this experience, a valid driving license is paramount.
Driving License in Malta: The Basics
- Age Requirement: To drive a car in Malta, you must be at least 18 years old. For mopeds and small motorbikes, the minimum age is 17.
- EU/EEA Licenses: If you're from the EU or EEA, your license is valid in Malta. However, if you plan to reside in Malta, it's advisable to exchange it for a Maltese license after six months.
- Non-EU Licenses: Visitors from outside the EU can use their driving license for up to 12 months but might require an International Driving Permit alongside their original license.
- License Categories: Malta offers various license categories, from passenger cars (Category B) to motorbikes and heavy vehicles.
Process of Acquiring a License
Acquiring a driving license in Malta involves multiple stages, ensuring that drivers are well-prepared to navigate the roads safely.
- Learner's Permit: This is the first step for novice drivers. It allows you to learn driving under the supervision of a licensed instructor. The fee for obtaining a learner's permit is €23.25.
- Theory Test: Before heading to the practical test, candidates must pass a computer-based theory test, assessing their knowledge on road rules and safety. The cost of the Driving Theory Test is €30.25. If candidates do not pass on their first attempt, the fee for a resit is €22.50.
- Practical Test: After sufficient training, candidates can book a practical driving test. The fees vary depending on when the test is taken: Mon-Fri at €23.25 and on Sat at €40.00. Upon successful completion, they receive their full driving license.
Points to Remember
- Left-Hand Drive: Malta follows the British system, so you'll be driving on the left side of the road.
- Validity: A Maltese driving license is valid for ten years for individuals under 70 years and five years for those above.
- Renewal: Renewing your driving license in Malta is a straightforward process. Ensure you do so before its expiration to avoid penalties.
Transferring Your International Driving Licence to Malta
If you possess a licence from outside of Malta and the European Union, you're allowed to drive in Malta for up to a year from your most recent entry. When this Maltese equivalent is given, its validity and expiration align with the original foreign licence you present.
Countries Eligible for Direct Licence Exchange
If you become a resident in Malta and hold a licence from the following nations, you can swap it for a Maltese one:
- EU Member States
- European Economic Area (EEA) members: Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein
Malta recognizes any licence issued within the EU, provided it remains valid in its issuing country.
Licence restrictions or other conditions from the aforementioned countries still apply to residents in Malta.
The rules surrounding Maltese driving licences are governed by the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations - S.L. 65.18.
Steps to Exchange Your Foreign Licence
To swap a licence from one of the mentioned countries to a Maltese one, ensure you've resided in Malta for at least 185 days within the last year. Then, based on your licence's country of origin, you'll need:
- Application Form (varies based on issuing country)
- Passport Photo
- Medical Certificate (specific conditions apply)
- Copy of Maltese Residence Permit
- Proof of Residency in Malta
- Current Valid Driving Licence
- Translation if the licence isn't in English
- Driving Licence validation by the issuing authority (specific conditions apply)
Proof of Residency
This can be income tax returns, employment forms, housing purchase or rental contracts, educational institute letters, and more.
Validation and Exchange Process
After receiving your application and the necessary documents, Transport Malta will begin the validation process, which might include verifying your licence's authenticity with its issuing country.
Once confirmed, they'll prompt you to submit:
- The original licence
- Identity or Residence Card
- A medical certificate under specific conditions
Finally, after verifying all requirements, Transport Malta will issue your new Maltese licence. For licences from certain countries, you'll need to surrender the original.
Licence Duration and Costs
- If your original licence isn't expired, the new one is valid until its original expiry, costing €7 annually.
- Expired or nearly expired licences have different validity and fees based on the holder's age.
Further payment details can be found at Transport Malta's official site.
Should Transport Malta decline your licence exchange application, they'll notify you in writing.
Where to Submit Your Application
You can hand in your forms or communicate with Transport Malta at their Paola, Ħal Lija, or Gozo offices.
Handling Your Data
Any personal data related to these licences falls under their Data Protection Privacy Notice.
Why Get a Maltese License?
- Recognition: A Maltese driving license is widely recognized and could be essential if you plan to rent vehicles during your travels.
- Insurance: Some insurance providers might offer better rates to those with a local license.
- Convenience: For long-term residents, having a local license makes administrative processes smoother.
Updating Your Driving Licence Details
When there's a modification in the details of your photocard driving licence or driver tag — be it a change in surname, signature, address, or identity card number — you'll need a replacement. For this:
- Process: Complete the 'Changes to Driving Licence' form, DRV 010. Along with it, present a photocopy of your Identity Card and your current Driving Licence Card or Driver Permit Tag.
- Fees: Acquiring a renewed licence reflecting these updates costs €10.00. For a new tag with updated information, the fee is €12.00.
Fast-Track Driving Licences
For those in a hurry, the Authority provides an expedited service to obtain your Driving Licence within a day of placing the order. However:
- An additional charge of €25 is set for this service.
- On Fridays or days preceding a public/national holiday, ensure your order is in by 11 am to guarantee timely processing.
What You'll Need:
- 'Changes to Driving Licence' Form.
- In the case of a driving licence replacement: your original Driving Licence Card and a fee of €10.00.
- For tag replacements: the original Driver Permit Tag and a payment of €12.00.
- A photocopy of your identity card.
Driving Licence Renewal
When to Expect Your Renewal Notification
Approximately 8 to 12 weeks before your driving licence's expiration, Transport Malta will send a Driving Licence Renewal Form, along with a return envelope. Additionally, those holding licences in categories C, C1, D, D1, or individuals aged 70 and above, will receive a Medical Certification Form.
Pricing for Multiple Categories
If your licence encompasses multiple categories, the renewal fee covers all, excluding D, DE, D1, and D1E for those 50 and older.
Addressing Special Cases
Some drivers may require more frequent medical assessments, as determined by their doctor, or referral to the TM Medical Team. In such instances, Transport Malta handles these on an individual basis.
Criteria for Document Approval
Documents submitted for renewal undergo verification. If there are discrepancies, such as mismatched names/addresses or inadequate photos, Transport Malta will send a letter detailing the required amendments.
Licence Renewal Fees
Standard full licence renewals come at a fee of €80.00 for ten years. For those 70 or older, the licence is renewed every five years for €29.25. Initially, a temporary licence is issued, with the official photocard arriving later. If the photocard doesn't arrive within six weeks post-renewal, notify Transport Malta within 90 days, and after verification, a replacement will be provided at no charge.
How to Renew
Complete the mailed renewal form and return it using the provided envelope or pay online using your e-ID account. Remember to enter the reference code from the renewal form by its expiry date. In special circumstances, in-person renewals might be permitted.
For a fee of €25, Transport Malta offers next-day processing for urgent licence renewals, applicable on business days. However, on Fridays or the day before a public holiday, requests must be placed by 10 a.m. to ensure timely completion.
Renewals are contingent on compliance with the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licenses) Regulations S.L. 65.18.
- Completed and signed renewal form.
- One clear, colored, passport-sized photo.
- Applicable fee, paid to Transport Malta.
- Medical certificate (for specific categories or ages).
- ID copy, if there's a change in address/name.
Regulations and Legality
Licences renewed with no penalty points or less than 12 points are valid for ten years. Starting January 19, 2013, specific categories have a maximum validity of five years, requiring a medical certificate during renewal to affirm adherence to the Eighth Schedule's standards.
Your licence's validity isn't impacted if you obtain another type/class of licence.
Should you fail to renew your licence within a year post-expiry, arrears and a late renewal fee of €12 apply. At the age of 70 and every five years thereafter, medical certification is mandatory for renewal.
From January 19, 2013, certain licence categories require a medical certificate during renewal, adhering to the Eighth Schedule. Public transport vehicle drivers need a medical certificate at 50 and every five years until 60, then annually (refer to Renewal of Public Transport Vehicle Licence Categories).
Penalty Points: What You Need to Know
Introduction to the Penalty Points System
Under the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licenses) Regulations, new drivers are given a probationary licence valid for three years. This licence is contingent upon a penalty points system.
How Points are Assigned
For specific violations outlined in the Regulations' Sixth Schedule, either the Court of Magistrates or the Commissioners for Justice award penalty points.
Impact on Licence Renewal
If a driver has no penalty points or fewer than 12 at the end of the probationary period, they can renew their licence, which will then be valid for ten years. However, if they accumulate 12 or more points during the probationary period, the licence is revoked. Once this happens, the driver has 10 days to return their licence photocard to the Authority. To reapply for a probationary licence, they must wait three months from the revocation date and restart the entire licensing process.
Similarly, any full licence will be revoked if its holder gathers 12 or more penalty points within any given year.
Safety Awareness Test to Reduce Points
Drivers can reduce their penalty points by half if they successfully pass a 45-minute safety awareness test prepared by the Authority. The test features 30 multiple-choice questions, with a passing grade of 50%. Upon passing, drivers receive a certificate. However, only those with 11 or fewer points can attempt this test.
Note: Drivers can only attempt this test once every two years.
Procedure after First-time Revocation
If a driver's licence is revoked for the first time, they must return it to Transport Malta. The driver can retrieve their licence without needing a new driving test after waiting two months from the return date.
Driving Licence Suspension
International Licence Suspensions
Should your driving licence be suspended or revoked in any Member State, you're prohibited from driving in Malta until the suspension or revocation is rescinded.
Court-Ordered Licence Disqualification
If a Maltese court rules to disqualify your driving licence, you are obligated by law to surrender it to Transport Malta. During the disqualification tenure, your licence is safeguarded at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Unit (DVLU). After the period concludes, you may retrieve it from Transport Malta's Paola branch or opt for a collection at their Ħal Lija location.
Licence Suspension Due to Medical Concerns
In scenarios where a physician, either chosen by the driver or appointed by Transport Malta, finds you medically unfit to drive, your Maltese driving licence must be returned to Transport Malta in accordance with legal stipulations. If the medical condition is temporary, your licence is held at the DVLU. Upon receiving medical clearance, you may collect the licence from the Paola office of Transport Malta or arrange for pickup at the Ħal Lija branch.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I get a driver's license in Malta?
To obtain a driver's license in Malta, you need to first apply for a learner's permit and then undergo a mandatory period of driving lessons with a certified instructor. Once you're deemed ready, you can apply to take the theory test. After passing the theory test, you will be eligible to take the practical driving test. Upon successful completion of the practical test, you'll be issued your driver's license.
How much does it cost to get a driving license in Malta?
The cost of obtaining a driving license in Malta varies based on several factors, including the number of driving lessons you require and the category of the license you're applying for. Additionally, there are fees associated with the theory and practical tests. It's best to consult the Transport Malta website or contact them directly for the most accurate and up-to-date fee structure.
What is B licence in Malta?
A B licence in Malta permits the holder to drive passenger vehicles with a seating capacity not exceeding eight passengers and with a maximum mass not exceeding 3,500kg. This is the most common license type for personal car drivers.
How do I renew my Malta driving licence online?
To renew your Malta driving licence online, you'll need to access the Transport Malta online portal. Typically, you would enter the reference code provided on your renewal form, along with other relevant details, and follow the prompts to complete the renewal process. Ensure you pay any applicable fees and upload any required documents.
How do I renew my license online up?
(Seems like there might be an error in the question, assuming it refers to the same renewal process) To renew your driving license online, visit the official Transport Malta website, locate the renewal section, and follow the instructions provided. You'll be asked to input specific details and possibly upload certain documents.
Where can I pay for my license?
You can pay for your license during the online renewal process using various payment methods, such as credit or debit cards. Alternatively, if you're renewing in person or through other methods, payment can be made at the Transport Malta offices or through designated payment partners. Always check the official Transport Malta website or contact them for the most accurate payment information.
Malta beckons with its azure waters, historical treasures, and mesmerizing landscapes. And there's no better way to explore this beauty than by driving through its winding roads and scenic routes. Whether you're taking the plunge to reside on this island or are a temporary visitor, understanding the ins and outs of the driving license in Malta is the key to a hassle-free journey.
Enjoy the drive, and let the Maltese horizons charm you!