How to get a UAE passport

Join over 6000 members to get weekly updates on new off-plan launches and latest news & tips

Sign Up and Stay Informed

SIGN UP

Присоединяйтесь к списку получателей

Присоединяйтесь к списку получателей

As of January 2021, investors, professionals, researchers and artists can obtain UAE citizenship. The move was introduced by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and initiated by the Cabinet, headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE. In general, many Gulf countries have taken a moderate approach to the naturalization of foreigners, as it is a long and complex process based on a case-by-case approach.

Usually, legitimate long-haul stay for foreigners is restricted for 2-3 years. This is the duration of the general working visa with the possibility of extension. The launch of the long-term visa programme (for 5-10 years) in 2019 was a new step to ease the immigration regime. They can be issued to investors as well as holders of academic degrees, specialists in certain professions that are in demand in the Emirate and students of marketing. It is worth noting that long-term visas can include family members (husbands/wives and children under 18 years).

Previously, UAE citizenship could only be obtained in 3 cases:

  • Marriage of a UAE citizen and a non-citizen woman. However, to apply for citizenship, the marriage must last at least 7 years.
  • Naturalization. This method provides that a citizen of a foreign state must live for 30 years or more in the territory of the Emirates. They must also have a regular source of income in the UAE and an unblemished reputation. They must be fluent in Arabic and voluntarily renounce the citizenship of another state.
  • Merits. Rarely, a foreigner can be honored to receive a UAE passport from one of the heads of the emirates. This procedure is authorized by the decision of the UAE Government.

The law provisions as of January 2021 marked out the new critical change to the previous naturalization rule – the list of qualified residents was expanded and double-citizenship was endorsed.

Why did the UAE decide to grant citizenship to foreigners?

The UAE government is interested in attracting bright minds for the further development of the state with the reason for this, for its "Plan of the Century". By its 100th anniversary in 2071, the UAE intends to become a leading country in the world, so the state is investing in four main areas: education, economy, governance and social life.

Who may get UAE citizenship and a passport?

New provisions identify categories of foreigners who can apply for UAE citizenship:

Physicians and highly qualified specialists
  • Must specialize in a unique scientific discipline with evidence of techniques in demand in the UAE.
  • Must have a recognized scientific contribution for ongoing research of scientific value.
  • Have professional experience of at least 10 years.
  • Be a member of a reputable organization in their field of scientific specialization.
Scientists

  • At least 10 years of academic and professional experience.
  • Candidates must have had an active research career in higher education, a research center or in the private sector.
  • Having won at least one prestigious international award for their contribution to scholarship or having received a significant research grant in the last decade.
  • Provide a letter of reference from a recognized academic institution.
Inventors

  • Provide a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Economy.
  • Have at least one patent approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy or a reputable international body.
Individuals with creative talents

  • Must be an innovator in their field.
  • Have at least one patented invention registered with any internationally recognized organization.
  • Have one or more international awards for achievements.
  • A letter of recommendation from a government agency in their field.
Investors

  • The exact criteria have not yet been determined, but it is likely to be long-term visa holders who have made a significant contribution to real estate and the economy of the UAE.

Close family members, namely spouses and children, reserve the right to be included in the citizenship application.

Foreign nationals (applicants) are required to take an oath of allegiance to the state, strictly comply with applicable law, as well as the accompanying rules and norms of conduct. In addition, it is mandatory that they must immediately inform the authorities of the loss or acquisition of any other nationality.

Important! In case of non-compliance with the legal obligations or not meeting the criteria for becoming a UAE citizen, the citizenship will be automatically revoked.

How to get UAE citizenship?

Current legislation characterizes a few different ways of becoming an Emirati resident: bylaw, citizenship, or naturalization. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship handles all the related issues.

Each applicant will be considered individually, under the direction of the Federal Office of Identity and Citizenship, a main advisory committee and subcommittees are established to review applications. These subcommittees are assigned to specific regions and will be responsible for verifying all data and for nominating candidates for citizenship according to clear criteria for each category. They also have the right to cross-check all data in greater depth and may obtain additional expertise if necessary.

There is currently no application procedure yet, but there is a general principle for selecting candidates which includes:

  1. Every applicant will be considered individually. Under the governance of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, there will be the main advisory committee and sub-committees organized to examine applications.

  2. Sub-committees attached to particular regions will gather essential data and nominate those qualified for citizenship under clear criteria set for each category. They have a right to recheck all data and appoint an extra examination if needed.

  3. As soon as the application is approved, sub-committees will forward this to the advisory committee of 7 representatives (one per Emirate). They will be responsible for the final decision on granting UAE citizenship.

The perks of obtaining UAE citizenship

In the Passport Global Index, the UAE passport ranks 13th in the world and allows you to freely enter 170 countries around the world. Its owners also have numerous advantages, including:

  • The unconditional right to own commercial enterprises and real estate in any of the zones of the Emirate.
  • The possibility of free education and health care.
  • Subsidizing the cost of living and food.
  • Employment in public institutions.
  • Social security option.
  • The retirement age in the UAE is 49 years for those who have at least 20 years of work experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

The new rules for obtaining citizenship in the Emirates raise many questions. Below we have given answers to some of the most common ones.

What are the conditions for obtaining UAE citizenship?

Currently, only several categories of individuals can get UAE citizenship, namely investors, qualified specialists, inventors, scientists, and representatives of creative professions. To apply for it, you must meet the above-mentioned conditions.

How much should a person invest to get UAE citizenship?

The longest uninterrupted and legal stay in the UAE is possible only with a long-term visa for 5-10 years, or as it is also called the "golden visa". It can be issued on condition of investment in the public sector of the UAE of at least AED 10M (USD 2.7M).

This amount can be broken down as follows: 40% to invest in the purchase of real estate in the Emirate and the remaining 60% in things such as business development, startups, etc.

It is also important that the specified amount should not be as a loan and the property should be held by the owner for at least three years.

Are there any other ways to stay in the UAE for long?

There are several types of visas that allow foreigners to live, work, and study in the UAE for several years in a row without the support of a sponsor. In addition to long-term visas, there are also retirement visas and visas for remote work.

A retirement visa is valid for five years with a possibility of renewal. To apply for it, you must meet several criteria:

- age over 55 years
- valid UAE health insurance
- monthly income of at least AED 20,000 (USD 5,500)
- at least AED 1 million (USD 272,300) of savings or real estate owned in the territory of the emirate worth at least AED 2 million (USD 544,500)

Freelance visas give their holders the opportunity to live in the Emirates for 1 year and at the same time work remotely either in the UAE or in any other country. Also, visa holders can enjoy a number of benefits associated with living in the UAE, including no income tax.

An important factor is that the level of income of the applicant must be at least AED 19,000 (USD 5,200).

The Visa processing fee is AED 1,055 (USD 290).

Can a child born in the UAE get citizenship?

Children can obtain UAE citizenship under the following conditions:

  • Those whose parents are UAE citizens.
  • If the father is a UAE citizen and the mother is a foreigner.
  • Children who were born in the UAE but whose parents' identity is not established are UAE citizens until proven otherwise.

Why is it difficult to get UAE citizenship?

It's quite simple: UAE citizens receive benefits and enormous support from the government. No taxes on wages (for all: citizens and expats), help with children's education and if you belong to a low-income group - help from the government to buy a car, free health care, housing loans and grants, etc. Some of these tendencies are present in other countries of the world too, but not at such a level as in the Emirates. One of the main reasons for issuing these benefits to its own nationals is the government is trying to preserve the authenticity of its native culture, the way of life and its language, as the native population of the UAE is about 1.4M people, which is just over 10% of the total population.

Who is eligible for the citizenship of the UAE?

Since 2017 a UAE citizenship, if certain conditions are met, almost anyone can obtain UAE citizenship, although it is much more difficult than in Europe and the United States.

To be eligible for UAE citizenship, a person needs to be fluent in Arabic, outstanding good behavior and reputation, have a legitimate income and hold academic certificates. The candidates must not have a criminal background and will need to provide security approval. These individuals will have to swear allegiance and comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations of the country.

By marriage. Only foreign women who are married to UAE citizens can obtain a permanent residency permit and then apply for citizenship. In this case, after 7 years of marriage (from the date of application, not from the date of marriage) and having at least one child in the family, the husband can apply for the naturalization of the wife. If there are no children, this period is extended to 10 years. The woman must also convert to Islam and be fluent in Arabic.

Upon naturalization. In this case, residents who have lived continuously in the UAE for more than 30 years can apply for citizenship. As stated earlier, the applicant must have a perfect reputation, witnessed by 1-2 persons of the UAE verbally or in writing and provide all related documents. Fluency in Arabic is also an important condition.

Is the UAE a rich country?

It is believed that all seven Emirates are prosperous because the state is rich in oil and the income from its production and sale is distributed among the residents. However, the reality is quite different. In the UAE, wealth is either inherited or created at the expense of one's capabilities, like in any other country. Each of the residents has their way of life and their income.

If I become a UAE citizen under the new amendments, will I be able to enjoy all the same benefits as locals?

Unfortunately, there is no answer to this question yet.

Key points

  1. In January 2021 amendments to the UAE Citizenship Law were adopted and now certain categories of individuals can apply for a UAE citizenship passport.
  2. Previously, Emirati citizenship was granted primarily on the basis of naturalization and Arab origin. But now it can be granted to a wider range of emigrants based on their experience and contribution to the UAE.
  3. These changes are helping to attract even more investors and people of great ability in science and medicine, inventors and those with creative talents, such as intellectuals and artists.
  4. UAE citizenship offers a range of benefits, including visa-free travel to 170 countries, free tuition and medical care, and the opportunity to retire at the age of 49 with 20 years of work experience in the state.
  5. In addition to citizenship, foreign nationals can apply for visas such as short-term or long-term resident visas, retirement visas or freelance visas.

Join over 6000 members to get weekly updates on new off-plan launches and latest news & tips

Sign Up and Stay Informed

SIGN UP

Присоединяйтесь к списку получателей

Присоединяйтесь к списку получателей