With its luxurious lifestyle, bustling cityscapes and never-ending potential for success, the UAE is a dream destination for many. But what if you want to make it your forever home? Can you become a citizen? How can you go about it? The good news is, yes, you can become a citizen – but the process is not as straightforward as one might think. In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about how to get citizenship in UAE, who is eligible for citizenship in the UAE, and how you can apply for dual citizenship. So, let’s begin the journey towards a new life in the UAE!
Can Foreigners Get UAE Citizenship?
While UAE citizenship is largely reserved for those of Emirati descent, some foreign individuals may be eligible under specific circumstances. Foreigners from neighbouring Arab countries may qualify after 3-10 years of permanent residency in the UAE. Foreign investors may obtain a Property Investor Residence Visa, leading to a second passport.
However, gaining citizenship through naturalisation is limited due to the Emirati population’s falling share. The UAE government has strict requirements and maintains discretion over who receives citizenship. While the process is limited, certain individuals can access citizenship under specific circumstances.
The “Executive Regulation of the Citizenship and Passports Law” (page in Arabic) was amended by the UAE Government in January 2021 to let some foreigners, their spouses, and children become Emirati citizens. The amendment permits the naturalised citizen to keep his original nationality and sets forth specific requirements for each category.
Foreigners Who Can Be Nominated for UAE Citizenship
- Individuals With Creative Talents
Who Can Get Citizenship in UAE?
UAE citizens are generally only possible to obtain if you meet certain criteria. UAE citizenship is granted to those born to Emirati fathers or parents or those born to long-term Arab settlers in the country. Citizens of neighbouring countries, such as Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain, are given preference if they’ve lived in the UAE for at least three years, have a decent standard of living, are employed with a legal source of income, and have no criminal record.
The local authorities determine the criteria for this option based on their discretion. Citizenship by investment is also a new option in the UAE, announced in 2021. However, the cabinet, executive councils, and local courts will decide the parameters to qualify for it.
Dubai residents can obtain the UAE passport through marriage, naturalisation, descent, or extraordinary merit. Investors have the option of choosing the latter. They invest at least AED 750,000, or around $200,000, to get a 2- or 10-year resident permit before seeking citizenship.
Eligibility Criteria for Foreigners
- An investor must own a UAE property
- A doctor or specialist must specialise in a scientific field with significant demand in the UAE, have recognised scientific achievements, and have at least ten years of practical experience. They must be a member of an organisation with a solid reputation in the specialisation
- A scientist must be engaged in research, whether it is at a university, a research facility, or a private company. They must have at least 10 years of relevant experience in the subject and must have made contributions. Also, they need a letter of recommendation from a UAE-based scientific organisation
- A patent must be authorised by the UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE) or another respected international organisation, and an inventor must possess one or more patents. Moreover, a letter of recommendation from the MoE is required
- Intellectuals and other creative people should have made significant contributions to art and culture and must have received at least one major international honour. Furthermore, the need is a statement of support from relevant government organisations
Candidates who meet the requirements must swear allegiance and loyalty to the UAE, promise to follow its laws and notify the UAE government entity if they gain or lose any other citizenship. If the conditions are broken, the citizenship may be withdrawn.
How to Get Citizenship in UAE?
The procedure for applying for citizenship in the UAE has no fixed guidelines. Nonetheless, one must complete particular requirements to be eligible to apply for UAE citizenship. Your application process will be on 3 steps,
- The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship chooses a central advisory group and subcommittees to evaluate each applicant independently
- The subcommittees are in charge of analysing all information provided and selecting applicants who satisfy the requirements for citizenship
- Your citizenship application will be sent to the advisory committee, which consists of one person from each Emirate after it has been vetted and authorised for a final decision. Even if you meet all the requirements, there are several circumstances under which you could be denied UAE citizenship. The Executive Council, Rulers, Crown Princes’ Courts, and Cabinet have the last say in certain instances. If the UAE rejects your citizenship application, you might plan to get a UAE Golden Visa. You can get work and resident visas in the UAE using the Golden Visa. You can also apply for the Golden Visa programme, which includes your family members
Investors are interested in making a public investment of at least AED10 million (about $2.7 million) are given a 10-year residence visa in the UAE. Foreign investors who can make a real estate investment of at least AED5 million (about $1.35 million) are eligible for a 5-year UAE residency visa.
How to Get Dual Citizenship in UAE?
Obtaining dual citizenship in the UAE is feasible, provided that the person’s country of origin permits it. Those who avail it enjoy the benefits of freedom of movement, the right to work in both countries and participation in political processes allowed by both governments. Regardless of the birthplace, UAE passport holders can usually retain dual citizenship.
Children born to Emirati parents hold citizenship by blood. Individuals applying for UAE citizenship may keep their current nationality; however, in case of naturalisation, they have to renounce their original nationality. It should be noted that the UAE government has strict rules on acquiring citizenship, especially for non-Arabs.
Applicants must be of good character, have a sustainable income source, be fluent in Arabic, and have lived in the UAE for at least 30 years. This comprehensive guide briefly describes the procedures to help the applicants through the application process.
Acquiring UAE citizenship is a top priority for many foreigners living and working there. However, UAE citizenship is not granted easily as it requires fulfilling specific eligibility criteria highly dependent on the government’s discretion. In addition, to obtain citizenship, you must have lived in the UAE for many years and made significant contributions to the country. Although the process can be long and challenging, obtaining dual citizenship in the UAE is possible.
FAQ – How to Get Citizenship in UAE?
Is it possible to get UAE citizenship?
The UAE offers a pathway to citizenship for some individuals, but it is only available to some. According to current UAE laws, citizenship is granted only to those who have made significant contributions to the country, such as investors, entrepreneurs, talented professionals, and scientists.
However, the requirements and criteria for citizenship are private, and the process is highly selective. In addition, most expatriates in the UAE hold long-term residency visas, which allow them to live and work in the country but do not confer citizenship.
How long does it take to get citizenship in UAE?
The time it takes to obtain UAE citizenship varies depending on individual circumstances. Therefore, the UAE needs a clear pathway to citizenship but grants citizenship case-by-case basis. Generally, to be eligible for citizenship, one must have lived in the UAE for a significant amount of time, be able to speak Arabic, and have made significant contributions to the country. It is recommended to consult with a legal expert for more information on the citizenship application process.
Can I get UAE citizenship by investment?
No, the UAE currently does not offer citizenship by investment. However, the country does offer various residency permits and long-term visas for investors, entrepreneurs, and skilled professionals, which can lead to permanent residency after meeting certain requirements. It is important to consult with qualified professionals and government agencies for the most up-to-date information and requirements.
Does UAE golden visa lead to citizenship?
No, the UAE golden visa does not lead to citizenship. A long-term residency permit allows foreigners to live, work, and study in the UAE without a national sponsor. However, it does not grant citizenship or voting rights in the country.
Can I stay in UAE without a job?
It is not recommended to stay in the UAE without a job or valid visa, as it is against the country’s immigration laws. A valid work visa or residency permit is necessary to stay legally in the UAE for an extended period. It is important to ensure that all necessary permits and documents are to avoid legal complications.
How can I get green card in UAE?
Skilled workers must have a legitimate job contract to qualify for a Green visa. According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, be categorised in the first, second, or third occupational level. Possess a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum.