UAE Citizenship Law

UAE Citizenship Law

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Everything you need to know about the key amendments of the Federal nationality Law

A significant first for the Gulf state, the United Arab Emirates has announced that foreigners can now apply for citizenship. Moreover, the UAE has amended the citizenship law under certain conditions, allowing foreign investors, professionals, unique talents, and families to acquire the Emirati passport and nationality without amending their original citizenship. As a result, the step will contribute to the development and prosperity of the UAE by recognizing and valuing the skills and talents of the Emirati community.

Previously, UAE citizenship could only be obtained in limited circumstances. The law granted Arab nationality to everyone residing in one of the seven emirates in 1925 or before and continuing to live there until Law No. 17 of 1972. A child of a UAE national born in the UAE gets citizenship regardless of where the child was born. In addition, according to the law, the UAE nationality (by law) is also conferred on children of a mother who is a UAE citizen according to law, regardless of the father's ancestry. Furthermore, those born in the UAE or abroad to a mother who is a national by birth and those born to a father with no citizenship or unknown citizenship are also eligible.

On the other hand, foreign women who marry UAE nationals may apply for citizenship. The federal agency for identity and citizenship grants citizenship after seven years in most cases.

As a country that heavily relies on the services of expatriates, whose residence is often determined by their visas for employment, this move represents a significant change.

Here is all you need to know about the new law.


Passport holders with UAE passports enjoy several benefits, including ownership rights of commercial entities and properties within the UAE. In addition, passport holders with UAE passports can travel visa-free throughout the world.

Furthermore, citizenship in the UAE is now available to people falling into the following categories following new amendments to the UAE Citizenship Law

  • Investors
  • Doctors
  • Specialists
  • Scientists
  • Talents
  • Intellectuals
  • Artists
  • The families of all the categories above.

Listed below are the citizenship requirements according to the relevant type.

  • Investors

Property ownership is required in the UAE.

  • Doctors and specialists

The UAE requires them to specialize in a unique scientific field or any other area in high demand. The applicant must also have contributed, studied, and conducted research of scientific value and must have accumulated at least ten years of practical experience and be a member of a reputable organization in his field of specialization.

  • Scientists

Applicants must be active researchers within an academic institution or research center or have experience in the same area.

Moreover, the candidates must have made significant contributions within the last decade, such as winning a prestigious award or gaining substantial funding for their research. Finally, an institution recognized in the UAE must also provide a letter of recommendation.

  • Inventors

A patent must be approved by the Ministry of Economy of the UAE or any other reputable international body, and requests must come from the Economic Ministry.

  • Creative talents

Intellectuals and artists should be distinguished pioneers in culture and art, and they should have won one or more international awards. Government letters of recommendation are also required.

Other Requirements

If one is eligible, additional requirements include swearing an oath of allegiance, committing to abide by Emirati laws, and informing the relevant government agency of any other citizenship one may have.

UAE Citizenship Law also stipulates that citizenship could be revoked if terms and conditions are not respected.

The latest revision is expected to benefit ex-pats from different nationalities who have been vital to the development of the UAE. The nominations will further be sought from Rulers' and Crown Princes' Courts, Executive Councils, and the Cabinet according to the nominations of federal entities.

PRO Service

16 Apr 2022

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