Traditionally, Malta has been one of the most accommodating countries for new arrivals from the UK and other EU countries when it comes to getting a licence: put simply, you didn’t need to, in most cases. However, at the time of writing, uncertainty over Brexit somewhat clouds the issue, and it’s not entirely clear how long that will continue to be the case.
As it stands, though, the rules are quite straightforward: you can drive in Malta on your existing UK or EU licence until the licence is due for renewal, and only at that point will it need to be replaced with a Maltese licence. You will also need to acquire a Maltese licence if your current one is lost, stolen or damaged, or if you commit a driving offence in Malta and are given points on your licence.
Otherwise, you can simply carry on as you were – though you will need to register your vehicle in Malta and be issued with Maltese licence plates.
Exchanging Your Licence
If and when the time does come to convert your licence to a Maltese one, the process of doing so is also pretty simple. Note that information in this section also applies to holders of Australian or Swiss licences.
To exchange your licence, you will need to attend either the Driver & Passenger Operator Licensing Unit in Paola, or the Gozo Licensing Office. There, you will need to hand in a completed DRV 30 form (this can be found here – the equivalent for Australian licence holders is the form DRV 14), along with your existing licence, a colour passport-sized photo and your Identity Residence Card.
You will also need to prove that you have been resident in Malta for at least 185 days. Examples of paperwork that can be accepted as proof of this include income tax statements, end-of-year FS3 forms from your employer (equivalent to a P46 in the UK), a copy of your lease/letting agreement or if you are a student, a letter signed by the Head of your school or college.
The licensing authorities will then check with their counterparts in your home country that your existing licence is still valid. This will take several days, after which they will write to you and you’ll need to return to the licensing office, taking all the paperwork mentioned above with you, to be issued with your new Maltese licence. Note that an €80 fee applies for this.
If you are over 70, your new licence will be valid for only five years, and you will need to undertake a medical (and pay a €30 fee) every five years to have your licence renewed. If you first apply for a Maltese licence at the age of 60 years or over, the licence that you are issued with will expire on your 70th birthday.
Other Types of Licence
If you need a ‘specialist’ licence that covers you to drive a taxi, bus, lorry or certain types of farm equipment, then the drill for obtaining a Maltese equivalent can be a little more complex, and in some cases may involve you undergoing some retesting.
Helpfully, though, the Maltese department of transport’s website has a handy guide to the different processes and procedures for the different types of licences.
The Impact of Brexit
The Foreign Office is currently advising UK drivers that an International Driving Permit may be required to drive in Malta after 29 March 2019. Whether or not that turns out to be the case remains to be seen, but it’s probably worth getting hold of one anyway, just in case!