His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai announced amendments to the law granting UAE citizenship to investors, specialized talents & professionals including scientists, doctors, engineers, artists, authors and their families.
Who will be affected?
Citizenship is difficult to obtain in the Gulf region and is not traditionally offered to foreigners.
Previously, citizenship was only granted to wives of Emiratis, children of Emirati fathers and long-standing citizens holding a presidential decree. The children of Emirati mothers, married to non-Emiratis, are not automatically granted citizenship but must apply instead. The process of granting the citizenship to the children of Emirati mothers would sometimes take years.
For the first time, an Arab nation has formalized a process aimed at providing Non-Emiratis a bigger stake in the economy by granting them UAE citizenship. Legal changes also mean a person can retain their original nationality, allowing them to become dual citizens.
The new rules do not provide people with a path to apply for citizenship, Instead, skilled professionals would be nominated by government or royal court officials.
Foreigners eligible for nomination include investors, individuals with specialist professions – such as doctors or scientists – as well as artists and other “talented” or “creative” people.
The changes allow the family (spouse and children) of the eligible applicant, to gain citizenship at the same time. Family members may also retain their current nationality.
The government is yet to set out how nominees would be identified.
The conditions that must be met to secure the citizenship are:
- Investors must own a property in the UAE.
- Talented individuals must have obtained one or more patents that are approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy or any other reputable international body, in addition to a recommendation letter from the Economy Ministry
- Doctors and specialists must be specialized in a unique scientific discipline or any other scientific principles that are highly required in the UAE.
- Scientists are required to be an active researcher in a university or research center or in the private sector, with a practical experience of not less than 10 years in the same field.
- Individuals with creative talents such as intellectuals and artists should be pioneers in the culture and art fields and winners of one or more international award. A recommendation letter from related government entities is mandatory as well.
How Santa Fe can assist
Santa Fe can support businesses who wish to employ foreign nationals in UAE by assessing their eligibility to qualify for the required work visas to ensure compliance with the UAE Immigration Laws. We can also review current employees’ visas and if it is found that the correct work visa is not in place, we can assist with corrective measures to ensure compliance.
We can also keep your business updated on further developments in UAE immigration matters and will advise on any changes requiring your attention.
Should you have any questions, please contact the following:
Senior Immigration Consultant – UAE
Santa Fe Relocation
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
D: +97 143 321 595
M: +97 155 367 9870
Regional Immigration Director – India, Middle East & Africa
Santa Fe Relocation
Johannesburg, South Africa
D: +27 (0) 10 595 2337
M: +27 (0) 83 677 7949
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