Don't Leave Home without It...
If You can Get One, That is...
It's the key to the island. The bank wants you to have one or it will tax your accounts; the police want you to have one or they will tell you can't stay in Malta; your employer wants you to have one or...I don't know what your employer will do. Anyway, it's the elusive Maltese ID card I'm talking about.
The hours of the office, located almost underwater in Valletta, are varied: Open only mornings except on Wednesday when they open from 3 to 6 PM on a leap year. Almost no one just walks into the office and walks out with an ID card. You have to apply for it.
And almost no one walks in to apply for one and walks out without having to return. That's why I’m in a bad Malta mood today. This is maybe the second time I tried to apply for one and had to come back again because something was missing among my papers, my information, my personal life story.
So what to expect when you get there? First, some gruff police officer who doesn't speak English (or Maltese) greets you and asks you where you're from. You're not allowed to say anything except where you're from; the officer interrupts you if you try.
Then, depending where you're from, the officer points you to a shabby table in the middle of the room with about five different colored forms. They're all the same except for the titles of the form. Here are two of them:
- Application Form for a Maltese Identity Card for Persons Who are NON-EU Citizens--This is the green one I believe I'm supposed to fill out.
- Application Form for a Maltese Identity Card By Persons Who are EU Citizens of Non-Maltese Nationality--This is the one Mr. S. used to apply for his.
There are several more--all the same except for the title, as I said.
Each form asks for your personal details--name, birthdate, address in Malta, etc.; the personal details of your parents; your passport number and other document numbers--and a declaration to be signed by the applicant to attest that all the above are true or you will be forced to drink ten Kinnies (a Maltese soft drink) in a row as a punishment.
Now here's something interesting. Women who apply for a Maltese ID card--and only women--must produce marriage/divorce certificates. You're come a long way, Malta baby, in women's rights, I see.
Back to my circumstances--I had all my papers--birth, marriage, divorce, toilet--everything with me--plus two passports. One was my old one with my Maltese residence certificate pasted into it--and the other was my new and improved passport which I had to get because the old one was going to expire.
Well, I almost expired when the ID office turned me away because the residence certificate wasn't glued into the new passport. They made me leave, telling me to go back and get the residence certificate placed in the new passport. It didn't matter that I had the residence permit; it was not located in the second passport.
So I left. I hate them--the stupid ID place, all its forms and rules. I hate everything about this office and every office in Malta. But I have to give the ID office credit for one thing which is something close to miraculous in Malta: the ID card is free.