Customs Guide for Personal Effects Shipping to Malta

Essential Documents & Customs Information For International Removals to Malta

With its Mediterranean climate meaning long, hot summers, it’s stunning architecture and rich history, Malta is a popular destination for expats looking to escape the humdrum UK life. At 1st Move International we handle lots of shipments of household goods for our customers who are moving to Malta, and part of the service is to assist them with the myriad of documentation and other requirements needed when importing their personal items into Malta.

Here we present a guide to the process you will need to go through to import your household effects into Malta;

Table of contents

What Are Personal Effects?

According to the website, personal property belonging to someone who is transferring their normal place of residence to Malta from outside of the EU is able to do so without incurring additional costs for import duties if they meet the following criteria;

  • The goods have been used for at least 6 months before the date of export
  • The goods are intended for use at their normal place of residence in Malta
  • The goods cannot be sold or loaned out for at least 1 year after import
  • The goods must be imported within 6 months of the owner’s arrival into Malta
  • The importer has lived outside of the EU for at least 12 months prior to moving to Mata

As well as items such as clothing, furniture, tools and other items that are usually found around the house, personal belongings also include motor vehicles and motorbikes.

What Documents are Required to Import Personal Effects into Malta?

Certificate of Registration (Residence Certificate)

A Malta Tax Residency Certificate is issued by the Maltese Commissioner for Revenue that confirms that an individual has tax residency status. This is used as proof of residency status in Malta.

An individual can apply for this if they have a property in Malta and intend to take up residence in the country and also meets other criteria which includes being in possession of valid travel documents, health insurance and is able to communicate in one of the official languages of Malta.

Proof of Living Overseas

The importer must be able to prove that they have lived elsewhere other than Malta for the 12 months prior to arrival. This must be original proof from a “competent authority” such as the embassy, an employer, a lawyer or accountant.

Authorisation Letter

To enable an agent to clear goods through Customs on the behalf of an importer, they must be in possession of an authorisation letter from them. Our local agent in Malta, with whom we have been working with for many years, can assist in this respect with the wording of the letter.

Valued Packing Inventory

This is a list, description and value of the goods that are being imported and this will need to cover all items that are being shipped. Not to worry though, we will provide you with a blank valued inventory to complete once you have made your booking with us. For Maltese Customs to accept it, the valued inventory must be TYPED as hand-written forms are not allowed.

You will need to present this to Customs in Malta for them to review before they release your personal effects shipment for delivery to your home.

Bill of Lading

Once your goods have shipped from the UK, the shipping line will confirm the sailing date and estimated arrival date. They will also provide us with the Bill of Lading, which is the transport document specific to your shipment.

This document includes the name of the owner of the goods as well as their addresses in the UK and Malta. We will issue an “Express Bill of Lading” which means that an original document isn’t required, and you can claim your shipment with the shipping agent in Malta using a copy only, which we will provide to you.


Whether you have a UK or Maltese passport, or one issued elsewhere, we require a good quality picture of the photo page. This must be in the same name as your shipping documents and be valid at the time of shipping.

You will be required to present your original passport to Customs after arrival in Malta, as well as passports of any family members that are travelling with you.

Notice of Arrival

A notice of arrival is a document issued by the shipping line that includes information concerning a particular shipment. For imports of personal household goods into Malta this must be issued showing the importers name as the consignee, not the agent, and is sent to Customs as part of the documentation required for clearance.

What Items Are Restricted to be Imported into Malta?

Goods that are restricted for import into Malta, and to which there is no duty relief available, include;

  • Drugs
  • Firearms and Ammunition
  • Flick Knives and other Offensive Weapons
  • Alcohol and Tobacco products
  • Radio Transmitters not approved for use in Malta
  • Animal Products
  • Plants and Plant Produce

Sending your valued inventory to us as soon as possible after booking allows us to check your items for potential issues.

Am I Able to Bring New / Unused Items to Malta as Personal Effects?

Any new items, that do not meet the criteria for duty relief when being imported into Malta, are allowed to be for imported into Malta, but they will be subject to duty and VAT and need to be declared separately on the Customs entry.

Maltese Customs will also require invoices showing the full value of the goods, as this will be used to calculate the amount of duty and VAT payable for clearance.

Can I Bring My Car With Me to Malta?

If a person has lived outside of the EU for at least a year, and has owned and used a vehicle for at least 6 months before moving, they are able to import it into Malta as part of their transfer of residence duty free. The imported vehicle then cannot be sold or transferred for at least 1 year after importation.

The vehicle must be declared to Transport Malta within 30 days of its arrival and within 12 months of the owner transferring their residence. You will need to visit the Transport Malta offices in person to sign forms required to register and licence your vehicle after it has been released by Customs.

If you are shipping a vehicle to Malta, then it is in your best interest to enlist the assistance of a specialist car shipping company. Take a look at the Autoshippers website where you can find details of different car shipping services and can ask for a quotation.

Do I Need to Pay Anything to Customs?

A very important thing to bear in mind when importing personal household effects into Malta is that you will need to pay a cash deposit. For personal effects, this is a rate of 5.3% of the value shown on the inventory to cover any duties, and 18% to cover any VAT.

For vehicles, the import duty rate is 10% of the value, motorbikes have a rate of 6% to 8% and both are subject to 18% to cover any VAT.

A year after the date of the last shipment imported as personal effects, the deposit may be refunded once the importer can prove that they have resided in Malta for the one-year period, by providing proof from a “competent authority” or by providing a “promise of oath”

If the deposit is not reclaimed after two years, it is then passed to revenue by the Customs authority.

Shipping Furniture and Household Effects to Malta

At 1st Move International, we have been shipping household goods and personal effects to Malta for more than 25 years. Upon making your booking, you will receive all of the instructions on completing the documentation that are required to ship your goods through Customs in the UK and Malta. We have an excellent local agent in Malta which we have been working with for many years who will be a part of the process and will assist you in Customs Clearance and delivery if required.

Our team of experts are on hand to help with any questions that you have, and to help make moving to Malta as easy as possible.

For a quotation, please complete the form on this page, giving us as much information as possible. Alternatively, during UK office hours, you can call us on +44 117 982 8123 / 0800 389 0784 during UK office hours or e-mail on

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