Self Employment in Malta

An overview of the process to be followed by foreigners setting up as self-employed workers, contractors, sole traders or freelancers in Malta. Find out how and where to register and the paperwork required...

Registering as self-employed in Malta is relatively easy, especially for EU/EEA citizens. The process is more complicated if the person is a non-EU/EEA citizen (“third country national”), as a work permit (also referred to as an employment licence) is also required in order to be able to work in Malta.

Work permits for third country nationals are under the responsibility of the Department of Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs, the same body who issues e-Residence cards. This Department acts as a “one stop shop” for third country nationals working and living in Malta, and the work permit and e-Residence card are applied for at the same time with a Single Permit application.

A person wishing to register as self-employed in Malta must follow the following steps:

  • Obtain a social security number; this can be obtained from the social security office closest to the place of residence (Malta is divided into Districts). As long as all documentation is in order these can be issued immediately or within a maximum of three days
  • Obtain an income tax number;. a social security number is required to apply for the income tax number. There is a simple form to fill in, which can be sent by post. Further information on the above and relevant forms are available on the Malta Inland Revenue Department website
  • Register with the ETC as self-employed; an application form must be filled in to register with the ETC. This can be done at the local ETC office, which is often in the same building as the social security office, so registering with the ETC and obtaining a social security number can often be done at the same time
  • Obtain a VAT number; it can be done online on the VAT Department website if the applicant already has a Maltese ID number. If not, a paper application is required
  • Obtain a trading licence; there are various types of trading licence depending on the activity. The online forms can be found on the Commerce Department website

While there may appear to be large number of forms to fill in, they are relatively straightforward and can usually be completed in a few minutes. It is important to have all relevant documents to hand (employment licence, ID or passport, proof of address) as this information will be required multiple times.

Information supplied by Paul Robert Gostelow, Astra Consulting Malta Limited Majestic Court 5, St Mary Street, Mellieha Tel: +356 7932 5469 Email