If you want to become a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, your first question would be how to get the UAE passport. Getting the UAE passport was once considered a feat impossible to achieve. The only ways through which a foreigner could obtain the navy blue passport was either through marriage or naturalization or for special merits. Things changed though, with the arrival of 2021. The UAE government made new amendments to the country’s nationality law with the aim to contribute to the nation’s diversity and inclusiveness by facilitating the processes through which foreigners can become the citizens of the United Arab Emirates. This article is a step-by-step guide about getting a UAE passport as a foreigner. Read on to learn more.
Brief Introduction to the UAE Passport
The citizens of the United Arab Emirates are privileged by having the strongest passport among all Arab nations. The navy blue UAE passport is also one of the strongest passports in the world. According to the report of the Henley index, the UAE passport has a global rank of 15th and allows its owners to travel to 175 different countries visa-free or visa-on-arrival.
The navy blue passport also offers its owners the highest extent of mobility. In October 2021, the UAE passport achieved the highest mobility score based on the Global Passport index reported by Arton Capital and was given the global rank of 1st. If you want to learn more about the Emirati pass, we have covered all about the UAE passport in another article.
The New Nationality Law Facilitates Getting the UAE Passport
The United Arab Emirates is relatively a young nation born in 1971. In the short period of time passed from the unification of the seven emirates, the UAE has grown significantly in cultural, social, economic, and technological aspects. Now, to achieve even greater extents of development, the country has to rely on diversity and inclusiveness.
Before 2021, the nationality laws were quite rigid and foreigners could not obtain UAE citizenship except under extremely specific conditions, such as birth rights or through marriage. Even investments could not reward the investors with Emirati nationality and instead, those who were able to make a certain amount of investment in real estate or enterprises were given a 5- to 10-year residency visa.
For a country such as the UAE where expatriates constitute more than 90% of the population, the rigid nationality laws used to make some things more complicated for the residents. For example, the Indian community had to go through the process of Indian passport renewal in the UAE over and over so that they can extend their residency permit.
Today, however, the government of the UAE has acknowledged the importance of diversity and that’s why the authorities revised the UAE nationality law in January 2021. Several amendments to the Executive Regulation of Citizenship and Passports Law were approved to reduce its rigidity. The new UAE nationality law facilitates the acquisition of the UAE passport for foreigners.
According to the new nationality laws, certain categories of foreigners along with their spouses and children can now apply for the UAE passport and acquire Emirati nationality. We have covered all about the new UAE nationality law in another article for your convenience.
How to Get the UAE Passport as a Foreigner
The new UAE nationality law allows the foreigners to obtain citizenship rights if they meet certain criteria. In other words, non-Emirati investors, professionals, and special talents now have a chance of acquiring the Emirati nationality and passport. The process of obtaining the UAE passport comprises several steps which we will review one by one below:
Checking Your Eligibility Status for the UAE Passport
In order to be eligible for citizenship and be able to apply for a UAE passport, a foreigner must first fit into one of these seven categories:
- Investors: If you want to get the UAE passport through investment, you must own a property in the UAE. The minimum amount of investment required for getting the UAE nationality has not been specified yet. However, prior to the approval of the new amendments, when investors were only granted long-term visas of 5-year and 10-year period, a minimum investment of $1.36 million in real estate was necessary for obtaining a 5-year visa. The investor also had to retain their property for three years. On the other hand, in order to acquire a 10-year visa, investors had to make an investment of a minimum amount of $2.7 million. They had to either open a deposit in a bank or register a company in the UAE.
- Doctors and Qualified Specialists: Foreigners who want to apply for the UAE passport as doctors or specialists are required to have obtained a PhD degree from an internationally renowned university (among the top 500 in the global ranking) and specialize in a unique scientific discipline or practice in a field of demand in the UAE. They are also required to have at least 10 years of practical experience in their field of specialization. Membership of a prominent international organization related to the nominee’s field of practice is also necessary.
- Scientists: If you are a scientist and want to get the UAE nationality, you have to be an active researcher at a university, research institute, or in the private sector. A minimum of 10 years of practical research and work experience is also required.
- Intellectuals and Individuals With Creative Talents: If you are an artist or have a special talent you can offer to the UAE, you are eligible to apply for the UAE passport. Intellectuals who want to obtain Emirati nationality are required to be pioneers of their field. In order to be nominated for citizenship, artists and intellectuals must have won at least one international award. A letter of recommendation from the related government entities is also required.
- Inventors: Those who want to obtain Emirati nationality as inventors are required to have at least one globally recognized patent. These patents should have gained the approval of a reputable international authority and also contribute to the UAE’s economy.
If you fit into any of the categories mentioned above, you have high chances of getting the UAE passport. After finding yourself eligible, it’s time to climb to the next step of becoming a UAE national.
Contacting the Related Authorities to in the UAE
Depending on the category you fit into, you will have to contact a specific government entity of the UAE and introduce yourself as a potential candidate. There are several authorities in charge of reviewing the eligibility of potential citizenship candidates: Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Culture and Youth, and Emirates Scientists Council.
- If you are an inventor seeking Emirati nationality, you should present your pattern to the UAE’s Ministry of Economy (MoE). The Ministry will review your patent and determine whether it can contribute in any way to the economy of the UAE and benefit the nation. If your patents meet the standards of the Ministry, you will receive a letter of recommendation which is a prerequisite for being nominated as a UAE citizen.
The UAE’s Ministry of Economy has two offices; one in Abu Dhabi and another in Dubai. The contact information for these two offices are as follows:
|Call Center||Fax Number||Working Hours||Post Office Box|
|Abu Dhabi MoE Office||8001222||[email protected]||97126260000||7:30 am – 2:30 pm||901|
|Dubai MoE Office||8001222||[email protected]||97143581811||7:30 am – 2:30 pm||3625|
You can also browse through the website of the Ministry of Economy at www.moec.gov.ae/en/home for more information. You can fill in a contact form at www.moec.gov.ae/en/contactus and get in touch with the authorities.
- The Ministry of Culture and Youth assesses the potential candidates belonging to the category of intellectuals and individuals with creative talents to determine their eligibility for getting the UAE nationality. If the ministry accredits an individual, the individual can then be nominated for obtaining the UAE passport. The contact information for the two offices of the Ministry of Culture and Youth are as follows:
|Call Center||Fax Number||Post Office Box|
|Abu Dhabi MoE Office||800552255||[email protected]||24452504||17 Abu Dhabi|
|Dubai MoE Office||800552255||[email protected]||24452504||–|
The Dubai office is located in Dubai Design District, building 3, floor 6. The Abu Dhabi office is in the central ministry building in the Sultan Bin Zayed the First street. Check out the official website of the Ministry of Youth and Culture at www.mcy.gov.ae/en/ to get more information. You can also fill in a contact form at www.mcy.gov.ae/en/contact/.
- For scientists, specialists, and doctors, it is the Emirates Scientists Council that determines their eligibility for getting nominated as UAE citizens. The council reviews the CVs and works of the potential citizenship candidates and accredits those who meet the desired criteria by giving them a recommendation letter. This recommendation letter is necessary for the following steps of applying for UAE citizenship. You can learn more about the Emirates Scientists Council, the members, and their responsibilities at ae/en/councils.
If the authorities and government entities mentioned above decide that your case meets the desired criteria and accredit you, they will usually give you a recommendation letter. This means you are eligible to proceed to the next step and apply for UAE citizenship.
Applying for UAE Citizenship
In the United Arab Emirates, citizenship can only be granted to an individual by the ruler of an emirate, the crown princes, and the members of the executive council. However, this does not mean that you have to contact the royal families of the UAE directly and submit your application to them in person!
There are several government facilities that act as intermediaries between the ruling class of the UAE and the people. These are called the Rulers’ Courts and Crown Princes’ Courts. These federal authorities are available in each of the seven emirates of the UAE and you can submit your application from the emirate you reside in.
The application for UAE citizenship is usually online. However, you’ll most likely still have to attend some meetings in person for your application to be further processed. Application fees are determined by the authorities and vary depending on the situation. For example, if you have any documents that need to be translated or certified as a part of your application, the costs will be included in your application fee.
After submitting your application to the Rulers’ and Crown Princes’ Courts, you will have to wait for your application to be processed. Emirati nationality can only be acquired through nomination from these government facilities. The authorities have not announced the nomination processes yet and further information regarding the application process will be released in the near future, so make sure to stay tuned!
Applying for the UAE passport
After you are nominated for citizenship by the Rulers’ and Crown Princes’ Courts, you officially become a UAE national. However, becoming a citizen of the UAE and acquiring the UAE passport are two separate processes. After obtaining your citizenship, you will have to apply for the UAE passport online through the channels below:
- Website of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs / Citizenship Departments (GDRFA) at gdrfad.gov.ae/en. In the services section, select the “Citizens” tab and browse through the citizens-related services to find your desired process.
- Website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship at gov.ae/en. In the services section, click on the “Issue Passport” tab and start your application.
Keep in mind that applying for the UAE passport is a separate process and will have separate application fees. However, It is much less complicated than the process of getting UAE nationality.
This concludes our guide on how to get the UAE passport. The UAE nationality laws have been quite strict for years. However, after the approval of several amendments to these laws in 2021, foreigners were allowed to become the citizens of the UAE under certain conditions and apply for the UAE passport.
One of the easiest ways of obtaining the Emirati nationality and getting the UAE passport is investment. Investors must buy property in the UAE in order to be nominated for citizenship. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available for sale in all of the seven emirates of the country. You can invest in real estate in Abu Dhabi, buy property in Dubai, or check out the properties available for sale in other emirates to find a suitable option. In any case, our team at dxboffplan.com can accompany you through your purchase.