There’s yet more great news for expats in Dubai! Expatriates living in the country can become Emirati citizens under newly-approved amendments to the UAE Citizenship Law. Previously, Emirati nationality was primarily granted based on naturalisation and Arab heritage. But, now Emirati citizenship can be awarded to a wider pool of expats based on their expertise and contribution to the growth of UAE. Let’s find out more about the new Emirati nationality law amendments that allow for select foreigners’ naturalisation.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LATEST UAE CITIZENSHIP LAW AMENDMENTS
For many expats the UAE has always been home. Now the government allows them to become Emirati citizens and enjoy the privileges that come with having a UAE passport.
The UAE Cabinet passed these new amendments to the UAE Citizenship Law as per the directive of the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Cabinet session was led by Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The amendments approved come under the Executive Regulation of the Federal Law concerning Nationality and Passports.
The new law reflects the government’s focus on inclusivity and diversity. It is said these changes have been under consideration for over two years. The aim is to appreciate the talents of individuals present in the UAE and further attract the best minds from all over the world to play their role in the progress and development of the UAE.
WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the decision in a series of tweets. The first tweet outlined the scope of the changes being made to the UAE Citizenship Law:
“We adopted law amendments that allow granting the UAE citizenship to investors, specialized talents & professionals including scientists, doctors, engineers, artists, authors and their families. The new directives aim to attract talents that contribute to our development journey.”
Furthermore, H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum elaborated on the mechanism of this new process:
“The UAE cabinet, local Emiri courts & executive councils will nominate those eligible for the citizenship under clear criteria set for each category. The law allows receivers of the UAE passport to keep their existing citizenship.”
The general reaction from the expat community to the amendments is one of jubilation and delight. Many prominent personalities have thanked and appreciated this step by the UAE government and see it as a landmark decision which will be prove to be hugely fruitful in the long run.
Here is all your need to know about the new amendments to the UAE Citizenship Law:
WHO WILL BE ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR UAE CITIZENSHIP?
As per the new amendments to the UAE Citizenship Law, people falling in the following categories can apply for UAE Citizenship:
WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR EXPATS HOPING TO BECOME EMIRATI PASSPORT HOLDERS?
Requirement criteria has been outlined according to the relevant category:
Investors must own a property in the UAE.
DOCTORS AND SPECIALISTS
Doctors must have a specialised degree in a unique or medical science discipline required in the UAE. Moreover, the applicant’s contribution to studies and scientific research should be incredible, along with 10 years of practical experience. Employment or membership at a reputable organisation related to the field of specialisation is also a must.
Must be an active researcher employed at a research centre, university, or private sector, with at least 10 years of practical experience. The applicant should have won a prestigious scientific award or secured a substantial research grant within the past decade. A recommendation letter from a recognised scientific institution is also mandatory for nomination according to the UAE Citizenship Law’s amendments.
Inventors have to attain at least one patent approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy or a reputable international body, along with a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Economy.
Winners of international awards in culture, arts and a recommendation letter from the relevant government entity.
CAN FAMILIES OF SUCH INDIVIDUALS ALSO APPLY?
Yes, families can also apply for UAE Citizenship.
DO APPLICANTS HAVE TO GIVE UP THEIR ORIGINAL CITIZENSHIP?
No, with the latest amendments to the UAE Citizenship Law, applicants don’t have to give up their original passport. Dual nationality is allowed – a person can simultaneously hold the UAE passport and the passport of another country.
HOW TO APPLY?
Emirati Citizenship can only be acquired by nominations from Rulers’ and Crown Princes’ Courts, the Cabinet based on federal entities nominations and Executive Councils. The process of nominations has not been outlined yet and will be announced in due course.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ACQUIRING A UAE PASSPORT?
There are a number of benefits of being a UAE passport holder, such as having the right to own commercial entities and properties within the UAE, visa-free travel to more than 100 countries, and more.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER REQUIREMENTS?
There are some requirements that come into play once you have qualified for the passport. They include the following:
- Swearing oath of allegiance.
- Committing to abide by the law of the land.
- Informing the relevant government entity in case of acquiring a new citizenship or giving up one.
CAN CITIZENSHIP BE WITHDRAWN?
Yes, in case of breach of terms and conditions, citizenship could be withdrawn as per the UAE Citizenship Law.
Besides these new amendments to the Emirati Nationality Law, there are other ways to become UAE citizens. Eligible candidates can apply for UAE Citizenship at General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in each emirate.
NATIONALITY BY LAW
As per the legal guidelines: “Nationality by law is granted to every Arab individual who was residing in one of the seven emirates in 1925 or before and who continued to reside therein until the effective date of the law no. 17 of 1972.”
Nationality is also granted to the children of a father who is a UAE national irrespective of whether they were born in the country or abroad. Similarly, the UAE nationality by law applies to the children of a mother who is a UAE national by operation of law and “whose filiation to his/her father is not substantiated”.
Those born in the UAE or abroad to a mother who is a national by operation of law and those born to a father with unknown or no citizenship are also eligible. Lastly, infants born to unknown parents with proof of birth in the UAE are also considered to have been born in the UAE.
NATIONALITY BY CITIZENSHIP
On the other hand, the UAE nationality by citizenship is granted to foreign women married to a UAE national. In such cases, the nationality is usually granted seven years from the date of citizenship application to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.
For more information on UAE Citizenship Law, take a look at the official website.
That’s all we have for the new amendments to the UAE Citizenship Law. The new amendment will benefit expats from different nationalities who have contributed significantly to the UAE. This is an absolute win-win situation for all stakeholders involved. Expats can proudly say that UAE is their forever home and continue their diligent work in taking the country forward.
Stay tuned to MyBayut for more updates about the new UAE nationality law and share your thoughts on this update in the comments section.