UAE announces provisions allowing foreigners to acquire the Emirati citizenship

Major amendments were made by the UAE in 2020 by virtue of Federal Decree Law No. (3) of 2020 which has repealed some of the provisions of the federal law number (17) of 1972 regarding Citizenship and Passports, which allows the granting of Emirati nationality to certain categories of foreigners and members of their families (wife and children) based on several controls and conditions. The new amendment also allows an individual to retain the current nationality they hold.

Beneficiaries of the Nationality Law amendments:

Entrepreneurs, investors, professionals in specialized fields of work, and outstanding individuals may be given citizenship subject to the restrictions and requirements outlined in Federal Decree Law No. (3) of 2020 regarding citizenship and passports. We summarize the requirements as follows:

  •  Investor: Must own a property in the United Arab Emirates.
  •  Doctor: Must be an expert in a particular scientific field or fields of science that are significant to the state, and he must have made contributions to the conduct of studies and research of scientific value in his field of specialization. He must also have at least 10 years of practical experience, as well as membership in an esteemed organization in his field of specialization.
  • Scientists: Must have a recommendation letter from a reputable scientific institute in the UAE and be active researchers in their field at universities, research institutes, or in the private sector. They must also have 10 years of experience in that field and have made scientific contributions, such as by winning a prestigious scientific award or securing significant funding for a decade of research.
  • People with talent:
    – Inventors: In addition to a reference letter from the UAE Ministry of Economy, they must have at least one patent verified by the UAE Ministry of Economy or any other authorized relevant international authority, which has a tangible value to the UAE economy.
    – Intellectuals and artists must be trailblazers in culture, the arts, and other fields, possessing at least one international honor in each field, in addition to a letter of reference from the appropriate UAE authorities.

Citizenship is granted, subject to the following conditions:

  1. Renounce his original nationality or any other nationality he holds.
  2. Have a legitimate and continuous residence in the State.
  3. To be fluent in Arabic.
  4. To have a legitimate means of subsistence.
  5. Hold a scientific qualification.
  6. To be of good conduct.
  7. He must not be convicted of a felony or misdemeanor that violates honor or honesty unless he is rehabilitated.
  8. Obtain security approval.
  9. To swear an oath of allegiance to the State.


Foreign woman married to a citizen may be excluded from the application according to the provisions of the law.

Procedure for gaining nationality:

The law states that citizenship can be achieved by the diwans of rulers and guardians of covenants, the executive councils of the local emirates, and the Council of Ministers, based on the nominations of the relevant federal authorities, nominating qualified individuals for citizenship.
Our firm, Mouannes International Service would be keen to address any question you may have regarding the new citizenship law.

For more information, please get in touch with us. Tel: 04 381 2021

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