More than 90% of residents of the UAE are foreigners and have been prolonging their staycation through renewing their residency visas though the UAE’s citizenship and passport laws have always been quite strict. However, not so long ago the UAE government instituted several amendments to the executive regulation of the citizenship and passports law. Thanks to the new UAE nationality laws, foreigners can now become citizens of the UAE and obtain the navy blue passport if they meet certain criteria. Ready to get one of the strongest passports in the world? Then read on. In this article, we are going to explain How you can get UAE citizenship in 2023.
What Were the Previous Conditions of Getting UAE Nationality?
Before 2021, strict rules applied to those who wanted to obtain the UAE citizenship rights. Very few and under extremely specific circumstances could apply for citizenship and obtain the UAE passport. The only way for foreigners to live or work in the country was obtaining residency visas and since they weren’t citizens, they were not allowed to purchase commercial properties in the UAE.
The expatriate community faced other problems too. For instance, Indians, who constitute a significant portion of the UAE’s expatriate community, had to go through the process of Indian passport renewal in the UAE over and over to be able to keep their visa valid. Some of the resident foreigners were also considering leaving the UAE and trying their luck in countries that featured less strict nationality laws.
Prior to 2021, the only ways one could get the UAE nationality and become a citizen were as follows:
- Nationality by Law
When the emirates of the UAE formed a unified nation in 1971, every Arab individual who had been residing in one of the emirates from 1925 or before to 1972 was granted nationality by law. The eligibility for this type of nationality was expanded to the families of these individuals too.
Nationality by law still applies to the newborns. Children who are born to an Emirati father will be granted nationality by law regardless of where they are born; whether in the UAE or in other countries. Same rules apply to the children of Emirati mothers as long as the child is being supported by their father.
Children who are born in the UAE are also eligible to be granted nationality by law even if they are born to unknown parents or to fathers of unknown citizenships. However, the proof of birth in the UAE is required for the child to apply for UAE citizenship.
- Nationality by Citizenship
Nationality by citizenship applies to foreign women who marry a UAE citizen. Wives of UAE nationals can submit their citizenship application to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and nationality will usually be granted to them seven year after the submission of their application.
What Does the New UAE Nationality Laws State?
In January 2021, new amendments to the UAE Citizenship Law were approved by the country’s Cabinet. The Cabinet was under the official instruction of UAE’s president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and was led by the Prime Minister and Emir of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (check out our guide to the UAE royal families to learn more about the Emirati ruling class). These new amendments revise the Executive Regulation of the Federal Law regarding Nationality and Passports.
The officials of the UAE have been considering these modifications for two years. According to the new nationality laws, certain categories of foreigners can apply for UAE citizenship if they meet specific criteria. The new rules were great news for the expatriate community of the UAE who have been living in the country for years. Now the expatriates can become UAE citizens and benefit from the perks that having a UAE passport brings.
The new amendments also allow dual nationality. This means you don’t have to abolish your previous nationality and give up your original passport. You can hold both the UAE passport and the passport of another country at the same time.
The UAE government has recognized the importance of diversity and inclusiveness and the new UAE nationality laws contribute to the nation’s inclusivity. It inspires the notion that if you give your best to the country, you can call it your home. The new nationality laws also allow the government to not only utilize the talents of expatriates to the fullest, but also attract the best and brightest workforce, investors, and minds from all around the globe to contribute to the development of the nation.
Wherever there is diversity, there is also growth. The future that the UAE government pictures for the country is a cosmopolitan utopia of peace, growth, and prosperity. The urban infrastructure for such a utopia has been established and the newly-passed amendments take the nation one step closer to the realization of this dream.
Who Is Eligible for UAE Citizenship?
The aim of the new UAE nationality law is to attract people from all around the world who can contribute in any way to the nation’s growth and development; whether with their talents or through investment. On these grounds, seven categories of foreigners can be nominated for UAE citizenship. These categories are as follows:
- Individuals with Creative Talents, such as Artists
Any individual that fits into one of these categories and meets the prerequisite criteria can be nominated for Emirati citizenship. Moreover, families of these individuals (spouse and children) can also acquire UAE citizenship. Both the individual and their family will be allowed to retain their current nationality.
Eligibility Conditions and Laws for Becoming a UAE National
Before the approval of the new UAE nationality law, all the eligible nominees that fit into the aforementioned categories were granted a 10-year residence visa if they met certain criteria. You can still apply for a residency visa instead of citizenship and check your UAE visa status online anytime you need.
After obtaining residency visas, nominees had to go through a period of naturalization, usually involving living in the UAE for 30 years. During their naturalization period, the citizenship nominees were obliged to abide by the Emirati laws and also inform the government officials in case of acquiring or losing any other citizenship. These general requirements still apply to eligible nominees after the approval of the new amendments.
When becoming a citizen, candidates were and still are also obliged to take the oath of allegiance and loyalty to the UAE. If the terms and conditions were breached in any way, their nationality will be withdrawn. The same still applies to the eligible nominees according to the new law.
Nowadays, thanks to the new UAE nationality law, if meet certain criteria (which we will thoroughly review in the following sections), you won’t have to go through a naturalization period and you can apply for citizenship directly. The conditions on which foreigners can be nominated for UAE citizenship varies from one category to another. The following are the criteria each of the categories has to meet in order to be considered a nominee:
- UAE Citizenship Requirements for Investors
As an investor, you have to own a property in the UAE in order to be considered for citizenship. This is one of the easiest options for the UAE’s expatriate community and for foreigners who want to be granted UAE nationality.
Major cities of the UAE such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi feature an ultramodern urban architecture and infrastructure and offer their residents an extremely high quality of life.You can buy property in Dubai or invest in real estate in Abu Dhabi and live a life that feels like a sweet dream. However, you are not bound to these metropolises. The country’s real estate market is quite vibrant and you can easily find a wide range of properties for sale in the UAE across all of its seven emirates.
Aside from the real estate market, the UAE offers several other investment sectors too, including the following:
- Investing in local investment funds
- Establishing a new business with a certain minimum capital
- Purchase a certain minimum of share value and enter a partnership with an existing or a new enterprise
You can also invest in all three sectors. However, your investment in each sector must not be less than 60 percent of your total investment. If you want to obtain UAE citizenship as an investor, you have to fulfill two additional requirements aside from having financial competence. These requirements are:
- Proving you have sufficient funds and are not relying on loans to make your investment
- Committing to keep the investment for a period of at least three years
Obtaining UAE nationality through investment has an additional perk over other categories. If you are an investor and meet the criteria for becoming a UAE citizen, your visa can be extended to include your business partners as well, providing that they have contributed a certain minimum to the business.
If you already own an internationally recognized business, you don’t have to invest in other businesses in order to be considered a nominee for UAE citizenship. You can obtain UAE nationality as an executive.
- Nationality Laws for Scientists
If you want to become a UAE national as a scientist, you have to be an active researcher at a university, research center, or in the private sector. You are also required to have a minimum of 10 years of practical experience in your field of expertise. Your case will be reviewed by one of the recognized scientific institutions in the UAE, such as the Emirates Scientists Council, and if you succeed in receiving a recommendation letter, you will be nominated for UAE citizenship.
3 – 4. UAE Citizenship Conditions for Doctors or specialists
If you are a doctor or a specialist and you want to acquire UAE citizenship as a special talent, you have to meet at least two of the criteria listed below:
- Hold a PhD degree acquired from one of the top 500 universities in the world
- Have won awards or certificates of appreciation
- Have contributed to major scientific research
- Have publications (articles or books)
- Be a member of a prominent organization in your field of expertise
- Have at least 10 years of practical experience in your field
- Specialize in a scientific discipline of high demand in the UAE
5 – 6. Laws Regarding Intellectuals and Individuals With Creative Talents
Intellectuals and those with creative talents who want to become citizens of the UAE have to be pioneers of art and culture. They must have won at least one international award and hold an official letter of recommendation from related government entities. Your case will be reviewed by the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Youth and if you receive accreditation, you will be nominated for obtaining UAE citizenship rights.
- Nationality Criteria for Inventors
The most important requirement for inventors who want to gain UAE nationality is having internationally recognized patterns. In order to be considered a citizenship nominee, inventors must have one or two patents that are approved by a reputable international body including the UAE’s Ministry of Economy (MoE). If you are an inventor, your patent of value must contribute to the UAE’s economy. The MoE grants the owners of the approved patterns a letter of recommendation which is necessary for them to be considered a nominee for UAE citizenship.
If you fit into one of these categories, you can become a citizen of the UAE. Keep in mind though that citizenship applications are not submitted directly. You can obtain UAE nationality only through the Rulers’ and Crown Princes’ Courts, Offices of the Executive Councils and the Cabinet. It’s best to contact the UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) if you need more information. After becoming a citizen, you will be granted the UAE passport. We have prepared a thorough guide on how to get the UAE passport in another article.
Major Benefits of Getting the UAE Nationality
Becoming a UAE citizen comes with a plethora of beneficial perks. We have listed some of the major ones below:
- Citizenship rights: A significant portion of the UAE’s expatriate community, who constitute a whopping 90% of the country’s population, have been working in the UAE for years. Becoming a UAE citizen allows them to prosper further and expand their businesses. They will be able to open bank accounts, register their assets without restrictions, and establish companies in the UAE.
- Strong passport: UAE passport is one of the strongest passports in the world in case of mobility. Having achieved the global rank of 15th based on Henley index, the navy blue passport allows its owner to travel to 175 different countries visa-free or visa-on-arrival. If you want to know more, we have covered all about the UAE passport in another article for your convenience.
- Tax-free businesses: The United Arab Emirates is a paradise for those who want to free themselves from the boundaries of taxes because it features one of the most attractive tax policies in the world. No tax income is collected from any individual and filling a tax return is not required. Furthermore, foreign income from outside the UAE will not be taxed either.
- Never-ending fun and charm: The UAE is full of wonders and attractions. Only in the city of Dubai, you can spend a lifetime and still fail to taste all it has got to offer. From Burj Khalifa and Atlantis the Palm to a plethora of other opulent resorts and enormous shopping centers, this metropolis enchants you with wonders the likes of which you have never seen. The UAE’s unique climate has also provided it with vast deserts perfect to host visitors who want to spend a night or two on their fine sands. You can learn more about these beautiful stretches of sand through reading our article, Best UAE camping spots.
- Colorful culture: You’ll get to taste a delicious cuisine and enjoy a wide range of traditional sports in the UAE. The country also has a rich history full of ups and downs. In fact, in the UAE, there is an exciting story behind everything; from its passport to its flag. Check out our article, the history of the UAE flag, to learn more.
- UAE National Day: This holiday commemorates the unification of the seven emirates of the UAE and the birth of the nation in 1971. The whole country goes extra-vibrant during this long holiday and you’ll be able to find exuberant events around every corner of every city. Become a UAE citizen and you’ll get to spend the time of your life in this country on the UAE national day. We have gathered a thorough list of the things to do on the UAE national day so that you can plan your days off. In addition, if you want to know more about the country’s other holidays, check out our list of UAE public holidays for 2023.
Now that you have learned all about the new UAE nationality law, you can check if you are eligible for obtaining the UAE citizenship rights. A UAE nationality can be acquired through investment or getting recognized as an individual with special talents and skills critical to the nation’s growth.
UAE citizenship was once exclusive to Emiratis and their children and spouses. However, the government recognized the importance of diversity and inclusiveness and nowadays, thanks to the new amendments in the UAE nationality laws, investors, doctors, specialists, inventors, scientists, intellectuals, and individuals with creative talents such as artists can now be nominated for becoming citizens of the UAE if they meet certain criteria. The announcement of the amendments was also great news for the UAE’s expatriate community that have been calling the country their home for years.
Acquiring UAE citizenship through investment is one of the easiest ways of obtaining the Emirati nationality. The UAE’s real estate market is one of the safest sectors for investment. If you want to buy property in the UAE and become a citizen, don’t hesitate to contact our team at dxboffplan.com.
Myriad benefits come with obtaining UAE citizenship. Citizens will be granted one of the strongest passports in the world and will also get to live in major metropolises such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi that offer their residents an extremely high quality of life.