Goods subject to an Open General Licence


Basic information


Outline of the system

Import licensing is maintained under the Importation (Control) Regulations 1969, published
by legal notice in terms of the Supplies and Services Act (Cap 117) which provides that the Minister
responsible for trade may make regulations to control imports. Licensing, therefore, is required by
statute. Designation of products to be subjected to licensing requires ministerial authority. When a
new item is inserted in the list or an existing one taken out, a copy of the relevant amending
regulations has to be laid on the table of the House of Representatives. The list of controlled goods
can be changed as necessary. The system can be abolished with ministerial approval.


Product coverage

An open general licence is granted for the importation of all goods into Malta other than those
listed in the Schedule to the above-mentioned regulations. A copy of the current unofficial revised
version of the Schedule, published as Legal Notice No 213 of 1990 (incorporating all amendments
thereto as a result of the publication of Legal Notices 52/1992, 27/1994, 35/1996, 19/1997, 6/1998,
267/1998 and 87/2001) is reproduced in the Annex.

Nature of licensing



If Automatic, administrative purpose



If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime


Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

Whereas in past years licensing was generally intended to restrict the quantity or value of
imports in the interests of developing local industry and agriculture, the system is now being regarded mainly as a means of monitoring health, veterinary, security and other similar considerations.Following measures undertaken during recent years, it was found possible to liberalize the importation of all manufactured products, with the exception of handmade lace and jewellery made of silver or gold filigree, which are considered as very sensitive items. With regard to agricultural products, only fresh and frozen whole fish is still kept under qualitative control as a safeguard measure afforded to the local fishing industry. Imports of wheat, barley, maize and certain petroleum products are exclusively state-traded.


Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

Malta no longer administers a quota system in respect of any imported goods.


The system applies to products originating from which country?

The Maltese import licensing system does not apply any discriminatory measures as regards
countries from which imports are made. Importers are free to import from any source except from
countries against which UN Security Council trade sanctions are in force.


Expected duration of licensing procedure

Eligibility of applicants


Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?


What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?

Maltese nationals and eligible local companies may apply for licences for the importation of
goods for trading purposes.


Is there a registration fee?


Is there a published list of authorized importers?

Contact point for information on eligibility










E-mail address




Contact officer

Submission of an application


Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application

Documentation requirements


What information is required in applications?

When applying for a licence prospective importers are required to give the following
a) full name and address of applicant;
b) importer's value added tax (VAT) registration number;
c) country of origin of goods;
d) country from which goods are being consigned;
e) approximate total cost and freight (C&F) value of orders; and
f) particulars of goods to be imported.


What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?

Window of submission of an application


How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?

Where no complications exist, licences may be issued on the same day of presentation of


Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain

Issuing the license


Can a licence be granted immediately on request?


Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence

Applications for licences should be submitted before the placing of orders abroad.


Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?


Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?


Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?

Conditions aimed mainly to safeguard health, security, environmental and other such interests
may be imposed on licences in relation to the goods being imported.

Fees and other administrative charges


Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?

There is no licensing fee or administrative charge.


What is the amount of the fee or charge?


Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?

There is no deposit or advance payment requirement associated with the issue of licences.


Amount or rate?


Is it refundable?


What is the period of retention?


What is the purpose of this requirement?

Refusal of an application


Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?

Except in cases where the importation of certain goods is prohibited, licences are not normally refused.


Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?

Reasons for refusal are generally given


Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?

Yes applicants may appeal.


If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?

Applicants may, if they wish, appeal to the Minister responsible for trade.



Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?


What documents are required upon actual importation?

Upon actual importation, an importer is required to submit the approved import licence.


Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?

There are no other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing, other than in connection with compliance on conditions thereon, required prior to importation.

Conditions of licensing


What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?

Normally the goods to which a licence relates have to be shipped within eight months from the date of issue of licence. In some special cases, licences are issued with a more limited validity period which, however, is always of a reasonable duration and does not preclude imports from any source. The normal period of validity of a licence of eight months may be extended on application to and at the discretion of the Director of Trade.


Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?

There is no penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of it.


Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?

Licences are not transferable between importers.

Foreign Exchange


Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?

Foreign exchange is automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported against supporting documentary evidence.


Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?


Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?


What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?