In January 2021, the UAE approved a new citizenship law granting the Emirati citizenship to foreigners.
Although the citizenship can be granted to certain selected categories of people, the announcement is a big news taking into consideration that UAE population is made up of nearly 90% of foreign expats for whom it is also important that according to the new law, the new Emirati citizens can keep their existing citizenships.
The main reason for such major policy change is to attract talents that will contribute to the continuous development of the UAE. The process of granting the citizenship would begin with a nomination by, inter alia, the Federal Cabinet or by the Ruler’s Office or Executive Council in an Emirate. Letters of recommendation are also required for nominations in most categories.
According to the new law, the following categories of residents and their immediate family members (i.e. spouse and children) are eligible for citizenship:
- Investors who own property in the UAE worth of at least AED 20 mil.,
- Specialized talents and professionals including scientists with at least 10 years of experience who are active researchers and have made substantial progress in science as recognized by prestigious scientific awards or funding,
- Doctors and specialists in unique scientific fields with significant contributions and experience of at least 10 years,
- Engineers, Inventors who have been granted at least one patent approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy,
- Leading Artists and Intellectuals, Authors.