UAE citizenship

Everything you need to know about UAE citizenship

The UAE has made major changes to the rules and regulations of citizenship for the naturalization of skilled workforce in the country on Saturday, 30, Jan 2021. The categories announced to be eligible to apply for UAE citizenship based on the new regulations are:

  • Foreign investors,
  • Doctors, 
  • Scientists,
  • Artists,
  • Engineers,
  • Authors,
  • Talented and creative workforce.

Those who fall under the above categories can also apply for citizenship for their families. Those who would like to apply for UAE citizenship based on their expertise (plus their family members) can keep their current citizenship and enjoy the benefits of dual citizenship. This is also a major change to the previous regulations as it was not allowed to have dual citizenship, which was a great concern to many foreigners living in the UAE. However, citizenship has always been difficult in the Gulf and is traditionally not being offered to foreigners. Previously, citizenship was only limited to Emiratis’ wives, children of Emirati fathers, and long-standing citizens holding a presidential decree. Thus, the children of Emirati mothers (married to non-Emiratis) were not automatically granted citizenship. They had to apply for it and go through the process each, and the process of naturalizing the children of Emirati mothers could sometimes take years. 

The nominees for citizenship shall be selected by government or royal court officials, consisting of the executive council of each of the seven emirates, the rulers’ courts, or their crown princes. It has been stated that “The UAE cabinet, local Emirati courts & executive councils will nominate those eligible for the citizenship under clear criteria set for each category.” 

 

This decision has been made based on the government deciding to accept the talented workforce working in the UAE as an official part of the society, thus improving their economic and business situation and facilitate their possible ways of running a business. Of course, this is of huge advantage for foreign investors and entrepreneurs who would like to move to the UAE to start or expand their business. Being a UAE national can facilitate the businesses of those engaged in e-commerce business or establishing a corporation. Those who apply for an e-trader license, as a foreigner, cannot make any trades or sell their products, while the UAE nationals can. Also, being a UAE national lifts the necessity of partnering with a local business partner for establishing a business in the UAE. This law is expected to significantly change the future of conducting business in the UAE for foreigners and open new and unique business prospects.   

The major changes in UAE citizenship will, of course, enrich UAE society and help progress the country’s development. With the vibrant economic and cultural environment of the UAE, retaining the skilled workforce and exceptional foreign investors is the right strategy for benefiting from their expertise in the long-run and allowing them to deepen their roots in the country.

 
Citizenship eligibility criteria for foreigners as skilled workforce

The preliminary citizenship eligibility criteria that emerged on Saturday have disclosed some major qualification points regarding those who are considered as skilled workforce by the government:

  • Investors must own a property in the UAE,
  • Doctors and specialists must be specialists in a unique scientific field, must have made important contributions or conducted significant studies and research, and have no less than ten years of experience in addition to membership to prestigious groups and organizations in their field.
  • Scientists must be active researchers at a university or a private researcher center, must have no lease than ten years of experience, must have made contributions to their field by winning an international award or research grant. They must also be recommended by internationally-recognized bodies to be eligible to apply for citizenship.
  • Talented individuals must have patented inventions registered by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce or any internationally-recognized organization. They should also submit a letter of recommendation from the ministry.   
  • Intellectuals, artists, and creatives must have one or more international awards in their respective fields and a recommendation letter from their field’s government institution.

Besides, the eligible applicants should also swear the oath of allegiance. The successful applicants must comply with Emirati laws, also inform the relevant government agency if they acquire or lose another citizenship.

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