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UNEXPECTED LARGE CROWD  for
DUAL NATIONALITY MEETING

A large crowd filled the square outside Dar I-Emigrant in Valletta and two flights of stairs leading to the hall where a meeting was held in early February this year. The meeting was in aid to explain the nitty-gritty of the law on dual nationality.

Some of those present even brought certificates and passports to show them to the minister, who improvised and held two question and answer sessions with people that packed the hall.

Home Affairs Minister Tonio Borg urged those present to be a bit patient. He said "I knew there will be an interest in such a meeting but we did not predict; such a huge turnout. t will call this a happy confusion as the law which comes into effect this week will help many.

Dr Borg said the law is based on three basic rules: dual nationality will no longer be the exception but the rule and any Maltese citizen can acquire one or more foreign citizenship without renouncing their Maltese passport.

Those who once had Maltese citizenship but lost it can now re-obtain it even if they don't reside in Malta. Foreigners married to Maltese may also obtain Maltese citizenship after having lived with their spouse for at least five years.

Several of those present wanted the minister to try and do something about those who had renounced foreign citizenship in order to obtain a Maltese passport. But Dr Borg explained that while the government had the power to change the law locally, it could not change other countries' laws.  "You have to reason this out with your head, not with your heart. I cannot ask another country to change its law," he said.

He said countries such as Belgium and Australia had a strict policy and anyone having their citizenship, lost it as soon as they applied for another one. He said that with the new law, Malta would have dual nationality in the widest possible sense.

Children born to one-time Maltese citizens would also qualify for Maltese citizenship, as their parents would be given Maltese citizenship retroactively.

Dr Borg said it would take some time to process all applications and urged those present to be a bit patient.

You have been waiting for several years. Please bear with us as there will be many applications. The alternative was to delay certain provisions of the law to stagger the number of applications received, but that would have prejudiced those for whom every day counts.

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Dual Citizenship