What names are you not allowed to give your children in Malta?

In the first six months of this year, there were 1,200 different names which were given to more than 2,200 babies born in Malta during this period. The most popular names: Noah and Emma.

The Public Registry is linked to the main events in the life of a person, from birth to marriage to death.

If we take last year alone, in Malta, 4,400 children were born – 100 more than last year. The majority were boys.

In the first six months of this year, 2,200 children were born.

Vincent Sladden – Senior Manager at the Public Registry – said that during this period, 1,200 different names were registered.

The most popular names were Noah, Liam, Jake, Thomas and Benjamin for boys, and for girls, Emma, Ella, Martina, Julia and Valentina.

“One can see that over the years, practically the same six to ten names remain popular, both for boys and for girls,” he pointed out.

The Public Registry does not have a list of names that cannot be given to children, but by law there are five criteria which parents need to follow: the name cannot be less than three characters, it cannot be offensive, it cannot ridicule or mock the baby, it should not be a common surname and it cannot include any symbols.

Mr Sladden remarked that there are times when the Public Registry needs to draw the parents’ attention that the chosen name does not follow these criteria. He said this happens usually when the parents are foreign and they chose a name which is not suitable for Malta.

“There are circumstances, and I have to say it is a nice thing, that when we meet with parents and explain the reasons, they appreciate it immediately and sometimes they decide on another name there and then, and sometimes they come a day or two later and tell us their new choice of name,” Mr Sladden says.

He said that this year, 1,400 couples registered their children, two Maltese couples, 550 mixed marriage couples (one Maltese parent and one foreign parent) and 300 foreign couples.

He explained that the parents of all children born in Malta have 15 days from the birth to register their baby with the Public Registry.

He said that nowadays there are various ways to file this registration : at the Identity Malta office within Mater Dei, at Evan building in Valletta and now also on the Identity Malta website. One can also do it by post or by email.

Speaking about fathers who want to register the paternity of their children years after their birth, Mr Sladden said in these circumstances they proceed according to each individual case on the advice of the lawyers at the Public Registry and if there is a Court sentence, the Public Registry is obliged to adhere to this sentence.

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