What makes Malta a unique country to travel to?
Malta is a small, developed, democratic Mediterranean island nation, positioned as a cultural stepping-stone between Europe and North Africa. Malta became a member of the European Union in 2004, and became a full member of the Schengen Area in 2008. Tourist facilities of all categories are widely available.
Malta is rated Medium for crime by the Department of State. Most reported incidents are crimes of opportunity for immediate gain, such as simple assault, pick-pocketing, and petty theft. In general, criminals in Malta have avoided using violence in order to achieve their objective. However, while armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides are not as common as in some major U.S. cities, they do occur. . Practice the same good, common-sense personal security precautions that are part of everyday life in urban areas within the United States, particularly when spending time in areas frequented by tourists. Secure your valuables and be aware of pickpockets and purse snatchers; such criminals focus on areas and establishments frequented by tourists. You should be careful in the Paceville nightclub area, where excessive drinking and poor crowd control can lead to violence, including some that appears to be racially motivated. Theft of unattended personal property and car stereos from vehicles is also a common problem. Panhandling is almost non-existent in Malta.
Don’t buy counterfeit or pirated goods, even if they are widely available. The bootlegs are illegal to bring back into the United States, and if you purchase them, you are also breaking local law.
While you are traveling in Malta, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own, and criminal penalties vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in Malta, but still illegal in the United States. For example, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is also a crime prosecutable in the United States.
If you break local laws in Malta, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not in any country you visit. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Malta are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Judicial proceedings in Malta typically last five to seven years and are characterized by lengthy and sometimes unpredictable delays between hearings. Foreign nationals can expect to be denied bail while a court case is ongoing, which can result in lengthy periods of pre-trial detention ranging from several months to several years. Obtaining no-fee legal aid can be a slow and difficult process, delaying already lengthy judicial proceedings.
IF ARRESTED: If you are arrested in Malta, authorities of Malta are required to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. Malta’s laws on rights of arrestees are different from the United States. For example, once you have contacted a lawyer, you lose your right to remain silent.
The Maltese language has a Semitic structure derived from a early form of Arabic. Both Maltese and English are official languages. The written form of Maltese is a Latin script, and it is used in commerce, education and business. However, English is a second language that is taught in school.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Medical care is available through public and private hospitals. The quality of medical care in Malta ranges from adequate to good. Medical Specialists are few with many choosing to work in other countries. Private hospitals generally offer a higher standard of service than the public hospitals. One public hospital in Malta has adequate emergency room and trauma facilities, but its capacity is limited.
Safety and Security
o indigenous terrorist or extremist groups are known to be active in Malta and no foreign terrorist organization has carried out an attack against U.S. interests in Malta in recent years. Due to its geographic location and status as an EU-member country, Malta could be used as a possible staging point for terrorists desiring to enter other EU countries or as a refuge for terrorists attempting to evade detection. U.S. citizens are reminded to remain alert and aware of their immediate surroundings and exercise caution when out and about in Malta.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Malta, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Traffic in Malta flows on the left, requiring attentiveness and caution from U.S. visitors accustomed to driving on the right. Additionally, Maltese drivers may drive more aggressively and with less caution than visitors are used to seeing in the United States. Roads flood easily and are often narrow, winding and congested, with poor visibility around curves. Traffic arteries are prone to bottlenecks and accidents. Buses are the primary means of public transportation. Taxis are safe but expensive and are not metered; it is a good practice to agree with the driver in advance on the charge.