It is mainly awarded to non-members of the Order. This Order is awarded regardless of religion, hence those granted it do not automatically become members of the Order of Malta.
The Order pro Merito Melitensi is awarded both by Decree of the Sovereign Council and by motu proprio of the Grand Master.
The awards are made on:
2 February, Candlemas
24 June, feast of St. John the Baptist, Patron of the Order
13 October, feast of Blessed Gerard, Founder of the Order.
Excluded from these provisions are the motu proprio awards and those to authorities and officials of the Order of Malta when terminating their responsibilities and offices.
The grades of the Order pro Merito Melitensi are:
The Collar has a single grade divided into two Classes: Collar pro Merito Melitensi (for Civilians) and Collar with Swords pro Merito Melitensi (for the Military). The Collar is normally awarded to Heads of State