As per a circular issued by the Ministry of Justice, United Arab Emirates is soon expected to introduce an amendment to its citizenship laws, which would allow certain foreign nationals to attain citizenship i.e. become Emirati nationals. Professionals, entrepreneurs, investors and persons who possess certain special talents could be considered eligible for citizenship.
Previously, the citizenship by naturalization process of UAE has had a very limited scope, since the share of the natives in the total population has been declining, leading to insecurities of losing the national identity. With the impending amendments, the government seems to be granting an opportunity for more expats to access citizen status.
The criteria for granting citizenship to expats includes:
- Renounce original nationality, or any other nationality held
- Have continuous and lawful residence in UAE
- Be fluent in Arabic
- Have a legitimate source of funds for subsistence
- Possess an academic qualification
- Demonstrate good conduct
- Not have been convicted of misdemeanor or felony that violates trust or honor (unless rehabilitated)
- Attain security approval
- Swear allegiance to the state by taking an oath
Foreign women married to UAE citizens would be exempted from certain citizenship criteria. Two additional amendments will also be introduced – one to prohibit passport usage for reasons other than the purpose for which the passport was issued, and another to prohibit withholding a passport for reasons other than those that are legally established.
In May 2018, the UAE government introduced a new law for granting entry visas to foreign professionals and investors – by offering a 10-year Golden Residency Visa, which permits long-term residence. In September 2020, the government of Dubai announced the ‘Retire in Dubai’ immigration program, which allows expats living in Dubai and foreigners – who are 55 years of age or older – to apply for a 5-year renewable retirement visa.
To fully understand these new residency and citizenship pathways, we invite you to consult distinguished industry experts at our offices across India, or online through digital counselling sessions. The guidance and support of experienced consultants is sure to help you achieve your immigration goals – lawfully and proactively.